My First Mission as a Pint-Sized Ghostbuster

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As a kid, most movies I saw made me want to actually be in the movie itself. This compulsion lead my best friend and I to initiate what’s basically equivalent to role playing our own story lines with complete creative control, but without having to rely on rolling dice. We usually made the stories up as we went along, culled directly from our active imaginations. It’s a practice commonly referred to as pretending. One of the earliest memories I have of one of these sessions was back in the summer of 1984.

We lived our characters. If we “played Batman,” we had costumes and props and if we “played Back to the Future,” my buddy wore his down vest a.k.a his “life preserver.” Aside from Masters of the Universe and Super Powers, one of the earliest memories I have of doing this was the day I became a Ghostbuster. This was way before being a Real Ghostbuster was even possible because it was right after my mom took me to see the original Ghostbusters at Movie City 5 in Iselin, NJ in 1984.

After seeing Ghostbusters, my path in life was revealed to me. Although, that same summer I also wanted to enter a karate competition and get a black skeleton body suit, but the Ghostbusters gig actually came in handy sometimes.

Some kids are fearless. It would be unnatural to say I wasn’t scared of anything back then, but as a little tyke I was really only scared of Michael Jackson in Thriller when he had those yellow eyes. Nothing was creepier to me. But when it came to the supernatural and ghostly activity, I loved it. I wanted to be around the supernatural as much as humanly possible. Even before I ever saw Ghostbuters, my favorite attraction in Disneyland was the Haunted Mansion. After my first trip there ever, all I talked about was that ride. My parents still tell me how enthralled I was with seeing the hitchhiking ghosts and how supremely amused I was at having sat by an actual ghost (or so I thought) in our Doom Buggy as the ride came to an end. I was the type of kid who loved all the stuff that scared the crap out of all my friends. It may have been all this conditioning that prepared me for my first ghostly experience.

It’s not often that I have to do much in the way of investigative work to formulate a post for this site. Once in a while though, it helps to return to the scene if details in my brain are sketchy. In preparing to write this post, I felt that I needed to jog my memory since what I’m about to let you in on happened so long ago when I was very young.

First, the back story. When I was a little kid, my older sister had a close friend who we’ll call Mary. It was no big secret that I had a major crush on the angelic Mary. Although I would get all weird and uncomfortable if anyone asked me about my dreamy, dirty blonde maiden or mentioned my infatuation for her in conversation, I still didn’t mind advertising the fact that I adored her, it just had to be on my own volition.

Mary’s appearances were rare. Only getting to see her maybe a few times a year amplified the occasions that I did see her. The only sucky part was that she wasn’t there to see me, she was there to hang out with her pal, my sister. When the time came that the two of them would get together, I knew that the time I’d get to be in her presence was limited. And yes, I was the annoying little brother, but I complied when I was told that they needed to hang out by themselves with no interference.

Once in a while, when the situation presented itself, I was invited to hang out with them. Those times were few and far between, but I savored those moments. And it wasn’t just to be able to hang out with the object of my desire, I also loved being able to hang out with my sister too.

Early on, Mary lived fairly close to us, but she moved about 1,400 miles away due to her father’s job. You can imagine how much more rare her visits became. Fortunately, Mary’s grandparents used to live in an old house a few towns away from us, and when she did come to visit, maybe once or twice a year, she’d stay with them. Their development was filled with giant houses built around the turn of the century. As I eluded to, I’m not sure why, but I was invited along with my sister to go to Mary’s grandparents house one day when she was visiting.

When we pulled up to the house in my Mom’s early ’70s Chevy Caprice, a car that felt like a 2-door Peacekeeper missile to a preschooler, I was in awe of the “mansion” that towered before us. It wasn’t an actual mansion, but to me, it sure looked like one. With an imagination as wild as mine was, this place could easily have had 37 bedrooms inside for all I knew. My house had 3 and I thought that was a lot.

Just like plenty of houses built during the same time, the interior seemed to be made of some kind of expensive wood. I’d never been in a house quite as stately before. We were in a middle class town, so the property wasn’t exactly built on a sprawling estate. My feeling probably stemmed from the fact that I was a little kid and it all seemed so grand at the time and different than what I was used to.

Perusing the inside, I noticed the seemingly never ending staircase, which immediately reminded me of the scene in Ghostbusters when they took the emergency stairs to the top of Dana Barrett’s apartment building. Thinking back, the staircase reminds me more of the one in the Bates house in Psycho rather than the scene in Ghostbusters, but I hadn’t scene Psycho yet.

It didn’t take more than a few milliseconds before my curiosity took control of me and launched me up the stairs without any regard for the inhabitants of the house. I sped up the stairs with reckless abandon. What if I’d be walking in on someone getting out of a shower, or waking someone up who was taking a nap? I didn’t care and I finally made it to the first landing. There was an open window adorned with white drapes that were slowly lifting by themselves (or so I thought) due to the incoming breeze. There was something so haunting about the silky, white, almost see through drapes, especially on such an eerily calm day. It was cloudy, warm, and comfortable, but not hot or humid enough to need air conditioning. In fact, it looked like it might storm later that day. As I toured one of the upper floors (there were at least 3 levels and an attic) I noticed that most of the other windows in the house had a similar drape situation as well.

The breeze moving the drapes made me feel like this place had to be haunted. I ran back down the stairs to make sure my sister and Mary were still there. Oblivious to the fact that Mary was standing behind one of the drapes, she jumped out at me and thought she scared the living crap out of me, but little did she know that it was merely a matter of a day or two since I’d seen Ghosbusters so instead of getting scared, I just got excited. “This could be my first job” I thought to myself. Next thing I knew, I was pretending to bust ghosts while upstairs in her grandparents house.

We couldn’t find my sister but I assumed she was hiding to try and scare me too. As Mary and I descended the stairs, my sister seemed to have come out of nowhere before us. That’s when they started getting serious. Keep in mind, the girls were only a few years older than me, but we were all very young at the time. They started telling me that they planned on trying to scare me, but instead they began telling me all about the ghosts that they believed haunted the house. Just as I expected. Janine, don’t worry about ringing the buzzer, I got this one. Sorry about the bug eyes thing, I’ll be checking out Mary, uh, I mean Mary’s grandparent’s house.

It did cross my mind that if this house was haunted, that’s precisely why I was asked to join my sister – to bust some ghosts! Of course! I listened intensely to Mary and my sister describe the array of mysterious occurrences that happened in the house. Mind you, these are stories that were actually reiterated by her grandparents to my own parents, meaning this was the real deal, not just a couple of ball busting kids trying to scare the youngest one.

I heard all about bedroom doors that slammed by themselves and the aforementioned drapes on the windows continued to ripple even after the windows are closed. I knew something was up with those damn drapes. They went on to describe hearing people walking up the creaky wooden stairs, but no one was ever seen.

I believed ALL of it, and I was taking detailed mental notes as if I just accepted a job to eliminate a focused non-terminal repeating phantasm or a class 5 full roaming vapor at the Sedgewick Hotel. I would’ve given off a more professional vibe, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later that Kenner marketed an actual Proton Pack and Ghost trap toy. Armed with nothing but an imaginary proton pack, I swore I would protect the girls if anything happened. It wasn’t about showing off or being brave in front of my princess. It was now about defeating evil spirits who may not have liked us being in their old dwelling playing around. I knew how things worked, even back then and I didn’t need Tobin’s Spirit Guide either.

The fun didn’t end after the girls kept trying to freak me out. That didn’t work because I just kept getting more excited. Another kid might’ve cried and begged to go home. I wanted to stay forever.
As if the day wasn’t overwhelming enough, Mary asked if we wanted to go try on costumes. When the hell could any kid refuse a good cosplay session? I’ve always loved dressing up for Halloween so this was a super appealing suggestion to me. We made our way back up several flights of stairs and then it was time to go into the attic.

The attic was huge. It was a quintessential attic that you’d see in a movie. It was filled with dusty old creepy paintings in ornate gold frames, seasonal decorations, ancient photos, and boxes of random knick-knacks. The Goonies hadn’t been released yet, but if you remember when Mouth, Chunk, Brand, Data, and Mikey were all up in the attic discovering all the cool artifacts up there, this was very similar. There were big old wooden trunks filled with costumes and masks that we tried on. My sister and Mary wore beads and put on crazy hats while trying to act glamorous. I wasn’t part of their little costume party since there was mostly just girl stuff and I was on important business to take care of. I was concentrating on locating the evil spirit and locking it away indefinitely.

My endorphins were off the charts and I didn’t think my imagination could get any crazier at that point, but it did. We left the attic and Mary and my sister brought me over to a small compartment in the wall outside a couple of the bedrooms. Mary opened it and told me it was a trap door. Where the hell was I? This was a haunted house! It was actually a dumb waiter! I thought a dumbwaiter was a secret elevator for kids. Other than Webster, I personally never knew of anyone rich enough in my limited circles during that time to have one of these. At that moment it was so cool and mysterious. In my mind, it very well could’ve been a trap door.

It really felt like it was just the three of us. As I made my way up the stairs even further, I remember the house being virtually empty except for “the spirits,” that my sister and Mary told me about. To you, the reader, it sounds logical that my sister may have informed Mary that we had recently seen Ghostbusters and they devised a plan to try to freak me out. A game of “hide and scare,” if you will. Little did they know that I was on my way to becoming an official pint sized junior Ghostbuster and it would only enhance my experience “playing Ghostbusters.”

If you ask my sister about this, she’ll remember the day, but not the details. That’s most likely because it wasn’t as monumental of a time for her as it was for me. Coming off seeing Ghosbusters for the first time ever and getting to hang out with Mary, I was pretty much on a high that whole summer. A young boy let loose in the immense antique abode in the early ’80s, just call me Danny Torrance. Only I was a kid turning the corners of the halls of the house in an imaginary Ecto-1, not getting scared by the Grady Twins, but my big sister and her friend…my first crush.

Real Ghostbusters Ride Into A Ghost Town…in NEW JERSEY!

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New York and Chicago are home to many of history’s “mainstream” mobsters. The fact is though, the mafia has always been heavily attached to New Jersey culture as well. Even if you weren’t aware of that, The Sopranos helped further cement it (cement shoes style) into public consciousness. More recently, HBO was yet again responsible for directing everyone’s attention to Jersey’s criminal affiliations. This time it was Nucky Thompson, a politician and organized crime boss in Boardwalk Empire which is set in Atlantic City during the prohibition era. Sure, you’ve become familiar with Tony and Nucky, but there was also an animated TV crime lord that you may not remember. His name was Boss Poso. Chances are, if you never crossed the streams and drank your Ecto Cooler every morning like a good little kid, you probably remember this big fat tub of purple ectoplasm.

Growing up in Jersey, I knew of so many people who were said to be “connected.” I can’t imagine that there’s heavy mob activity in North Dakota or Mississippi, so, living here in the Tri-State Area comes with the added bonus of real life exposure to organized crime. It was even in the shows I watched as a kid.

Like a lot of you I was religious about watching The Real Ghostbusters. It was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. Seeing that my state was mentioned frequently throughout the series always amused me. I saw both Ghostbusters films in the theater when they were originally released and I obviously realized that they were filmed and set in New York City, but as a kid, New York City seemed like a totally different world. As I got a little older, I realized that New York City was right through the tunnel, or what we used to call “the straw.”

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My queen Janine Melnitz in Poso’s Clutches – very similar to Leia and Jabba in ROTJ

With our close proximity to Manhattan, it was almost a given for New Jersey to get some air time once in a while. Even with all five boroughs for writers to play around with, they still found reasons to send the Ghostbusters over to Jersey. Not much has changed because the Garden State was still the brunt of jokes back in October of 1989 when the episode of Slimer and The Real Ghostbusters “Partners in Slime” first aired.

In the episode, Poso, a Jabba the Hutt inspired ghost, involved in organized crime, wants to become the godfather of all the ghosts and maintain control over them. He figures that the easiest way to go about this is to take over the Ghostbusters operation. To accomplish this, his minions (who resemble 1930s gangsters) pluck Janine and Louis Tully out of a mall (enjoying our minimally lower sales tax while shopping on Janine’s birthday) by trapping them Tower of Terror style in an elevator. Poso then takes them for ransom and won’t let them go until the Ghostbusters fork over their headquarters and their ‘busting equipment to him.

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Shifter points out Ghost Town, NJ but his finger is NOWHERE NEAR NEW JERSEY!

Slimer apprises the guys of the situation. The rest of the episode involves the Ghostbusters orchestrating a pretty elaborate plan to rescue Janine and Louis. The guys release a ghost, Shifter, who used to be Poso’s sidekick. He’s instrumental in their *SPOILER* eventual nabbing of Boss Poso, whose lair is located in Ghost Town, NJ. When hearing the term “Ghost Town,” it might bring to mind a desolate town out west or down south with tumbleweeds rolling across the dirt. Nah, it’s in Jersey and on the Ghostbusters Wiki it’s described as “a run down town in New Jersey.” Gee thanks, not another one! These episodes were only 22 minutes long, so for the sake of time, the Ghostbusters only had to make the trek over the Hudson river to Jersey in a spooky little “ferry” similar to the one Charon paddles around in the original Clash of the Titans.

Four other great things about this episode:

  • An Undead Hooker
  • Mood Slime returns!
  • Cameos by the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and Samhain
  • A Vigo The Carpathian Shout-Out
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The fact that The Real Ghostbusters wasn’t just a knockoff of the feature film was an element that didn’t bother me. I remember some friends in school not liking the show just because it “wasn’t like the movie.” I doubt the people responsible for the show back then expected 6 year old kids to have such discerning taste. After a really good run of several seasons, the show morphed into Slimer and The Real Ghostbusters. The plots began to feature more of the exploits of Slimer and Janine Melnitz. Each episode became a slightly more goofy and child friendly in nature. Not necessarily worse than previous seasons, just infusing more Slimer. The ghosts weren’t as nightmare inducing, and the major villains weren’t as formidable. But you already know that. Maybe Boss Poso shouldn’t have been lumped in with the likes of Tony Soprano and Nucky Thompson after all!

*Read about The Real Ghostbusters and The New Jersey Parallelogram  and be sure to Take a look at some animation cels from this episode with Shawn from Branded in the ’80s 

Santa Brought Me Some Cool Shit

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KISS + The Beatles = The Beats T-Shirt and Batman lounge pants and Bat-Beer Koozie

Coal is some HOT shit. Instead, I got some cool shit for Christmas. Every year I’m very appreciative of the gifts people give me, the time and effort they put into choosing, buying, and wrapping them, and this year is no different. As usual, the holidays passed by so fast, and now I finally have the chance to look back at some of my gifts.

Usually it’s hard to even think of ideas to tell the people in my life who aren’t sure what to get me for Christmas. But it should actually be pretty easy come to think of it. I’ve liked comics, Batman, WWE/WWF, music, movies, KISS, SNL, Disney, and horror movies since I was a little kid so there’s a wide range of stuff to choose from right there. You can’t go wrong with a person who has a lot of interests.

Oh, and of course there’s my little obsession with the toxic sludge flooded state I call home. As highlighted here on The Sexy Armpit, pretty much anything Jersey related will also do the trick. To avoid having to do the previous rundown every time someone asks me for ideas, I usually just ask for some Tinker Toys…and iTunes and Amazon gift cards. The ‘Pit Crew picked out some really great ones this year. Let’s take a look at some of them:

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Disney Traditions Hitchhiking Ghosts Statue by artist Jim Shore

I’m a foolish mortal, and a HUGE Haunted Mansion fan. Last time I was in Disney World, I drooled over this baby in every store we shopped in. Thanks to Ms. Sexy Armpit for this badass surprise!
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Funky Chunks Soaps!

When you’re done reading this, click over to FunkyChunks.net and pick up some of their creatively handmade 100% Vegan soaps. Their soaps smell amazing and lather up nicely. After you’re done perusing, read about Michele Rosta, the former punk rocker from Cleveland turned New Jersey soap maker. I was happy to receive The Jersey Devil soap (pictured above) with an order I placed for Christmas. This gray, concrete looking bar of soap smells awesome and has a masculine sensibility, while their Jersey Girl soap (below) is more of a chick soap.

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For you non-Jersey maniacs out there, don’t worry, they also offer soaps that aren’t Jersey related such as Frosted Pumpkin, Bewitched, Secret Sin, and Lavender Lemonade to name a few. Trust me, if your mom is going to put soap in your mouth for dropping an F-bomb, you better pray it’s Funky Chunks!

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Ghosts of Central New Jersey and Hot Wheels FrankenBerry Van

My sister picked me up The Ghosts of Central Jersey by Richard J. Kimmel which is right up my alley, but I must confess, I bought the Franken Berry van for myself at Pathmark of all places. 

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 26: The Proprietary House

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Got Ghosts? The Proprietary House Ghost Tour T-Shirt

The Royal Governor’s mansion in Perth Amboy NJ, also known as The Proprietary House, is the only original Governor’s mansion of the original 13 colonies that is still standing today. New Jersey’s last Royal Governor, William Franklin and his wife, lived there from 1774 – 1776. The mansion was built in 1762, and since that time the Proprietary House has taken on different owners who used the mansion for various purposes. After being home to the Governor, it was a hotel, a resort, a home for disabled ministers, their wives and children of deceased ministers. The building also served as apartments, and a public restaurant, until ownership went to the State of New Jersey. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is maintained by the non-profit Proprietary House Association. www.proprietaryhouse.org
As with many historic buildings like this, an abundance of ghostly activity has been reported throughout the years. Thanks to the concentration of paranormal activity there, every Halloween the Proprietary House and many gracious volunteers put on a Ghost Tour through the spooky old mansion. When I say “old mansion,” I’m not talking about a classic haunted mansion you’d see in a classic horror movie, this is a REAL haunted mansion.

Proprietary House, Perth Amboy
Your average volunteer probably couldn’t handle hosting a group of nearly 40 people on a tour through this rickety old mansion, they’d probably launch themselves out the window mid tour out of fear. Naturally, I’m embellishing a bit, but what makes a tour like this more memorable than running like mad through an insane haunted attraction that employs actors wielding fake chainsaws and breathing down your neck, is that you’ll be in the same spots where actual ghosts have walked. After having so many owners and inhabitants, The Proprietary House has no shortage of spirits materializing in it’s haggard halls.
Many prominent paranormal investigators have visited The Proprietary House. The Ghost Hunters have investigated the building on the SyFy Channel and The Halloween Ghost Tour that I took was hosted by psychic Jane Doherty. Jane’s expanding stomach is her trademark on ghost investigations. When she passes through the path of where the spirit has walked, her stomach expands widely. Doherty informed us that the phenomenon still goes unexplained by her Doctors. Currently, she’s working on a reality TV show called Ghost Chicks, a group of female paranormal investigators. For more info on the show click here: www.ghostchicks.com

Halloween House Display in Woodbridge, NJ

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On the ride home last night I swear I noticed Dracula on someones lawn. The Frog Brother in me told me that I needed to pull over and check it out. I wouldn’t want any blood sucking house invasions taking place in a nice town like this! When we pulled up to the house I let out a sigh of relief because the vampire wasn’t real, it was all part of a killer Halloween display that the good folks of the house have been putting up every year for the last 9 years!

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The display, which takes up their entire lawn, steps, and porch, includes Frankenstein, skeltons escaping from the ground, and glowing window characters. The setup was well done and exceptionally scary! One of the best things about Halloween and Christmas is that you never know what kinds of unbelievable decorations you’ll see when driving around. So many people put forth much effort into their lawn displays and they need to be appreciated!

Pac-Man Power Up Energy Drink!

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For the last 2 years, my apartment has been haunted.

I’ve tried everything from contracting a couple of local paranormal investigators, to calling in a family friend who is a priest at the church in town to attempt to exorcise the apartment. I am getting desperate now. Everyone I tell about this thinks I’m out of my frigging mind, and I probably am. Ahh, well, I need to get out of this room, out of the apartment, and enjoy the day. There’s no sense in becoming more exasperated. I’ll figure out how to get rid of this thing. **Note to self, I got rid of my Kenner Proton Pack years ago, so don’t think for a second that I’m going to spend hundreds of bucks on eBay to buy a hollow piece of plastic that has no actual ghost catching abilities.** (My future self will thank me for not draining my Paypal account to relive my youth.)

While on an unplanned trip to Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth, NJ, I found this Pac-Man energy drink at the F.Y.E store. I didn’t expect it to taste very good, I had a feeling it would be a generic citrus flavor since Pac-Man is yellow. It turned out that Ben was f-cking WRONG and my insight DID NOT serve me well!

Even though my hopes weren’t high about its flavor, I held off on drinking this sucker until it was properly chilled. After a few hours, I opened my refrigerator door and there were creatures writhing around and they were growling and snarling, and there were flames and I heard a voice say Zuul! OK, so that was Dana Barrett, not me, but there is no Dana Barrett only Zuul.
After exhausting my Ghostbusters quote quota for the day, I actually got around to trying this energy drink. Upon pouring it, I was surprised that the moderately bubbly liquid was a dark pink color and not the Mountain Dewey yellow I’d imagined. My initial sip informed me that the drink was raspberry flavored and only tasted average. It was very sweet, but different enough to set it apart from other typical energy drinks. If you enjoy raspberry or some sort of generic “berry” flavor that the scientists came up with, then you may really dig this.
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Pac-Man energy drink is only worth a buy for the novelty factor. The can offers a cool package featuring a graphic of Pac-Man and two ghosts in front of the video games screen. So if you’re one of those people who still has all of their Pac-Man collectibles, cereal box, and bedsheets, then I suggest you hover your round yellow ass over to an F.Y.E store.
Oh and BTW, the Pac-Man energy drink IS actually good for one thing…I just ate a shitload of ghosts that were hanging around my apartment!

Back Off Man, I’m From New Jersey!

Aside from having tons of rain here in the toxic waste capital of the world, it turned out to be a momentous week since we saw the release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game and the original film on Blu-Ray.

I had a feeling that GB on Blu-Ray wasn’t too much different from the previous DVD releases, but it didn’t stop me from ripping open the cellophane on both of these suckers. Straight into the PS3 the game disc went. The video game took what felt like 70 minutes to process its initial 4 GB load, so I entertained myself by actually reading the booklet that was inside the game case. Once I thumbed through the first few pages, I noticed New Jersey reference #1 right here:

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As Ray Stantz began to teach me the art of “ghost wrangling,” I hit the ground running. I’d say I’m not bad at throwing a proton stream, but I still need more practice. It would be a stretch to say that I was as quick a learner as Winston Zeddemore, but I am NO Louis Tully and let’s leave it at that. The rest of the Ghostbusters crew talked to me after I captured a few ghosts in the sub-basement of the firehouse, and that’s when it happened! New Jersey reference #2! It seemed to good to be true, so I captured it on video so you would all have no choice but to believe me:

What’s with the connection between Ghostbusters and New Jersey? Here are some links to my previous posts regarding The Ghostbusters and New Jersey phenomenon:

The Sexy Armpit visits Blood Manor New York City’s Premier Haunted Attraction

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Zombie Girl: Come see me later and I’ll give you a Brazilian on your head.
Jay: No, I’m gonna give you a Brazilian!
Zombie Girl: Too late!

This was an exchange I had with just one of the many wickedly costumed dwellers of Blood Manor whom I encountered as they lurked about at Home the swank club/lounge underneath the haunted attraction. I’ve heard of New York City’s Blood Manor before but I never experienced it. While at the Monster Mania Con I noticed a bunch of postcards ads for it on a vendor table. The Sexy Armpit was lucky enough to enjoy the special press preview of Blood Manor. The building is closer to Penn Station than I realized and it only took about 10-15 minutes to walk there from MSG. (542 W. 27th Street) I have to hand it to the organizers of this attraction since they truly built up my anticipation and curiosity as to what kind of terror I’d find within the walls of Blood Manor. If you’re saying to yourself “But Jay, it’s a haunted house, if you’ve been in one, you’ve been in them all.” Then you simply have not experienced the better ones. Blood Manor is one of the best I’ve been through.

For a Thursday night this was a formidable graveyard smash. Filing in were the super cool hip and trendy group of TV, radio, and print folks with their ultra fashionable messenger bags. (I packed light a cell phone and ice breakers) We all assembled in the sleek Home lounge while enjoying drinks from the bar and watching scenes from horror films on the large drop down screen. It was like a Disney character breakfast except for it being evil, twisted, in the evening, lacking breakfast food, and no shortage of Vodka. That’s smart, give your visitors a bunch of cocktails and then let them loose in a haunted house where they’ll no doubt be so scared and disoriented that they’ll piss themselves. I love it when a plan comes together! The bartender thought he was Ashton Kutcher and he even had one of those plastic hair bands holding his long hair back. You need to remember, this is New York we’re talking about…everyone wishes they lived in L.A but they’re all really from Jersey.

My friend Steve and I were about to sit down on a leather bench until the moment we realized we wouldn’t be doing much relaxing. All of a sudden a freaky fellow welcomed the crew to Blood Manor and began rapping “The Blood Manor Theme Song” which was actually an awesome song with a hip hop vibe to it. It definitely begs to be a part of the Halloween playlist on my iPod. Just as the song started blaring, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Samara, and a host of other characters made their presence known by greeting each and every person in the lounge by scaring the bejesus out of them. Freddy Krueger kept clinking the blades of his gloves together by my ears and telling me in that slithery voice of his that I was an easy target, which was a correct assumption since he successfully startled me numerous times throughout the night. Later, a little gothic girl who reminded me of one of those living dead dolls came over and stared at us with her huge innocent eyes as if she was confused as to why we just murdered her entire family. We actually didn’t murder her fam but she sure as hell made it seem like we did! The actors did not break character once and their costumes and makeup were exceptional. The oddities continued haunting us until the first group was let into the elevator and finally brought into Blood Manor.

Going into too much detail about the specific rooms inside of Blood Manor would spoil your experience. But I’m feeling generous so I’ll give you a few teasers: The Electrocution is sickeningly realistic, you also may want to reconsider your appointment for that makeover at the beauty parlor, you’ll feel like you’re in another world in the 3-D room with surreal blacklight murals all over the walls, then there’s the Saw room, and of course the boiler room. There are some genuinely unsettling parts of the walk through. The actors do a helluva job of freaking you out without touching you or doing anything crazy. If you’re like me, you’ll probably be more taken aback by some of the unexpected scares rather than the blatant ones. Some of the most fun moments come when you’re unsure of where you’re going in complete darkness. I must say that the finale is the best part. If you make it that far…

Once you’re out of Blood Manor alive, it feels like it didn’t take very long to get through. This might be the “I had so much fun effect” where you’re having such a good time that you had no concept of time or it’s just over too quickly (insert sex joke here). Infusing some good old fashioned carnival simplicity might do the trick. One way the attraction could improve is by possibly adding in a few different transitional areas without actors in between the main rooms. Doing that would make the ride longer as well as calm your senses a bit before you get the shit scared out of you by some of the actors again. These rooms could be just for viewing only and they don’t need to be elaborate. Another aspect that Blood Manor and other haunted houses lack is the presence of ghosts. With all the concentration on such iconic and recognizable horror movie characters, a simple eerie light show projecting some apparitions might work perfectly. Not everything has to be so “in your face.” Ghosts are spooky, just think back to the first time you saw one sitting in your cart the first time you went on the Haunted Mansion ride in Disney.

Blood Manor capped off an amusing night filled with scares, adult beverages, and me almost breaking my nose. In addition to it’s proximity to Penn Station, Blood Manor will not take a big chunk out of your night. Go ahead, plan a night out in New York but if I were you, I’d make Blood Manor you’re first destination rather than you’re last mwahahahaha!!!

The Sexy Armpit’s Guide to Becoming an Official Ghostbuster

Rumors have been swirling about another Ghostbusters film and I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us welcome the new film but have to see it to believe it. Aside from the possible new installment, we as Ghostbusters fans have a lot to look forward to. Not only is there an upcoming Ghostbusters video game, but there’s also the forthcoming DVD release of the entire run of The Real Ghostbusters animated series! In order to properly prepare yourself for all this bustin’ you’ll be engaged in, you’ll need to be put through proper training.

STEP 1: Head over to Shawn Robare’s Branded in the ’80s where last year he posted an excellent scan of The Official Ghostbusters Training Manual. I ordered this from the Troll book club back when I was in elementary school. The anticipation to get this book from the time I ordered it to the time I got it was unbearable. I still have the book in great condition but since Shawn’s entry and scans were masterfully done, there was no need for me to scan in mine as well. If you’re not already an official Ghostbuster than I recommend you go through the training. If you make it through successfully than you will receive a Certificate of Achievement stating that you are now an official Ghostbuster.

STEP 2: You got the talent, so you now need the tools! Go into your messy closet and dig out your old proton pack, PKE meter, and Ghost Trap. If you don’t have yours anymore, prepare to spend upwards of $100 at least for Kenner’s classic RGB toy on eBay. Another possibility is finding an actual replica of the pack on eBay like the one pictured to the left. Shipping on the item is $125, so you may be better off fashioning a proton pack of your own. You can consult Squidoo for an entry all about homemade proton packs!

STEP:3 You can’t catch ghosts in your Mumm-Ra t-shirt. Get your Ghostbusters His and Hers jumpsuits! Or if you’ve used the LAST of the petty cash on some magnificent feast, then go here to get a Ghostbusters uniform T-Shirt. This is reminiscent of the ever popular “tuxedo t-shirt” that we joke about but secretly would love to wear to an upscale gathering.

STEP 4: Make your Official Ghostbusters ID card. I actually still have my original Ghostbusters ID Card that came with the proton pack. I scanned in the card and deleted my name and old address which was scrawled by a 5 or 6 year old ME! It’s ready to be filled out and flashed at spooked hotel owners everywhere. All you need to do is print it, fill it out, fold it in the middle, and if you’re feeling saucy you might even want to laminate that sumbitch!


For a more professional look, head over to GBfans.com. They feature a promotion called “Create a Custom Ghostbusters ID Badge.” Their ID’s look very professional and I’m sure your card will grant you access into the firehouse with no problem. Access to the protection grid is another story!

Congratulations! Now all you need to do is wait for the call! Or hang out under Janine Melnitz’s desk!

A Few of my Favorite Movie Scenes

An excellent horror movie blogger, Final Girl, has inspired many of us bloggers to write a positive piece about films rather than being negative and ripping a film apart. So as part of the Hey, Internet, Stop Being Such Cynical Effing Douchbags Blog-A-Thon I’ve decided to concentrate on certain movie scenes that I always wish I was in. Some arouse feelings of nostalgia, fantasy, or they just look so damn cool. I’ve always wanted to actually experience these scenes first hand rather than just passively watch them.

In 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Kirk Douglas thinks the Nautilus is a sea creature and is about to throw a harpoon at it. The Nautilus was mysterious and it evoked intensity and suspense. The sub, even though it was an extension of Captain Nemo, seemed to have a life of it’s own. Later on we get to see the lush decor on board and I never thought the inside of a submarine could be this cool.
In the 1966 Batman movie, I was seduced by the idea of having poles to slide down into the bat cave. To have an “instant costume change lever” that was actually labelled with its title would be even more awesome. Shit I just used my basement as a low rent bat cave.

Obviously, Labyrinth has a ton of classic scenes and shots. This one really captured the first moment where we see a full view of the Labyrinth and what’s in store for Sarah. When I saw this movie for the first time I don’t think I was old enough to even define the word labyrinth so seeing that Sarah was about to head into a whole adventurous world of mazes and creatures made me want to jump into the screen and join her in the search for her brother Toby.
What I would’ve gave to ride my big wheel around the deserted Overlook hotel while horrifying spectacles are haunting every corner just like Danny Torrance in The Shining.
I take a lot of flak for always referencing Sleeping Beauty as one of my favorite films. The exciting finale featuring Maleficent’s fire breathing dragon (GREEN fire by the way) vividly sticks out in my mind.
The documentary within the movie Boogie Nights is classic. Dirk Diggler’s speech touches on subjects like Napoleon, jealousy, and how he’s “gonna keep rockin’ on.” It’s some of the most eloquent stuff I’ve ever heard! DIRK: “Like my shoes? They’re like this patchwork reptilian pattern design.” I can’t leave out the recording session where they record “Feel My Heat” and “You’ve Got the Touch” which frequently come up in my iPod shuffles.
This scene in Love Actually perfectly captures how every guy feels about a girl at one time or another. You know when there’s a girl you like and she’s with someone else and you desperately want to show her that you could make her happier than the guy she’s with? This guy goes into Bob Dylan mode and knocks on aptly named Juliet’s door. He shows her notes he wrote on poster board expressing romantic sentiments while her boyfriend is sitting on the couch inside. Even though it’s apparent he’s got zero chance, he gave it his best shot. He settled for letting her know truly how he feels. She gave him a consolation kiss. It doesn’t hurt that Keira Knightley looks hot as hell either.

Return to Oz depicts a very different, more realistic Oz than the glistening green skyline we’re used to seeing in the 1939 version. As a kid it was pretty scary after realizing that the whole sparkling city was turned to stone and the wheelers vandalized it. If you’re an adult and you still haven’t experienced Return to Oz, then GET ON IT!
The finale of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, shows Jack Sparrow once again taking the helm as Captain of the Black Pearl: “drink up me hardy’s Yo Ho!” Then Klaus Badelt’s “He’s a Pirate” kicks in to pump you up.After the kick ass water slide scene, The Goonies kids discover the cou de gras…The Inferno, (One Eyed Willie’s Pirate Ship)…with TONS of rich stuff aboard.
I must have a million more, but for now…what are some of your favorite movie scenes?