There’s always been some crossover between the icons of rock, punk, and metal into Hollywood. Lots of musicians and lead singers have appeared in multiple TV shows and films. Here’s a few rock stars who have dabbled in acting (and some who still do): Alice Cooper, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Meatloaf, Henry Rollins, Courtney Love, you get the picture. The Misfits probably didn’t even come to your mind as I was rattling off that list. Well, I take that back. It probably did because it’s the subject of this whole post as indicated by the title and the introduction.
There may be no Golden Globe awards in their future, but that was never their mission. Once the mid-’90s rolled around, the public and Hollywood were realizing the impact that Misfits have had on music and pop culture. Their logo was everywhere, even nearly twenty years later at that point. Not only did their music still sound hard edged and haunting, but they were such a visual band that it just made sense to get them into films. It was about time to exploit them to the next generation of kids with their brand new, young lead singer Michale Graves. Their first appearance right around that time in 1995 was in the movie, Animal Room, about a former drug user (Nail Patrick Harris) in a drug rehab program at his high school gets tormented by a bully (Matthew Lillard).
Animal Room was the debut film of NJ-born and raised writer and director Craig Singer. If you’re a long time Sexy Armpit reader, you might remember when we talked about one of his later films, Dark Ride which, as I look back at it, I was probably way too harsh on that movie. Perhaps I’ll go back and watch it this Halloween season. Back to Animal Room – it was billed as a drama and science fiction film and according to Wikipedia, it was a “modernized version of A Clockwork Orange.” The movie was filmed in Asbury Park and Glen Rock, NJ. Here’s a pretty badass scene from Animal Room starring The Misfits which also winds up being surprisingly grisly:
Next up for The Misfits was a quick scene in the Insane Clown Posse movie, Big Money Hustlas in 2000. It’s a pretty whimsical scene and not one you’d expect to see the ghoulish Misfits show up in, but that makes it even more surreal and memorable. The movie stars Harland Williams who appears in this scene which takes place in a Donut Hut, a diner situation whose logo combines Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts. Here The Misfits are seen enjoying a few cups of Joe and chucking a donut at a cop. Punk cred still in tact.
In, Bruiser, the 2000 DVD thriller directed by George A. Romero, a man always getting shit on by people awakens on day to find that his face is now a blank, white mask. Note that the bullying theme was also present in the previously mentioned, Animal Room. Maybe we need to call WWE and let their Be A Star campaign Superstars talk to these bullies.
The Misfits were always known for being punk outcasts, but I have no objections to seeing them sneakily appear in a few movie cameos. None of these were big movies by any stretch, so you can’t accuse them of selling out to do these films. If they appeared in Soul Plane, we might all think a little differently about their career decisions, wouldn’t we?
The Misfits’ history of kicking ass has far surpassed any punk grading system that people might hold them to, and their brand has risen above the divisive fan base including those who are Danzig loyalists and the true Fiend Club members who still appreciate the band today still as macabre looking and monster movie loving as ever.
Typically, I’ve been reading my comics through the Comixology app, which I get a lot of shit for. It’s similar to how audiophiles felt when people started buying cassettes and CDs and they remained loyal (and snobby) to vinyl. I had no qualms about moving on from the actual physical comic book to having them beamed to my device digitally. I’m fascinated by technology, what can I say? Many of my comic book readin’ friends still worship the actual book. Not sure if they are trying to be hipsters or counter-culture or whatever, but I’ve moved on. This time though, Mike mentioned that I could find Unbearable at Little Shop of Comics in Scotch Plains, NJ. So I went retro.
I’ve been to Little Shop a bunch of times so I stopped there after work one day. The woman working there directed me right to Unbearable which was highlighted by a small sign attesting to the fact that this is a local book by an indie company. While I was there I picked up a couple of other DC issues that caught my eye and went on my merry way.
Reading Unbearable was definitely not akin to it’s title, although some parts hit close to home (pun intended). The story centers around an aimless, out of work dude named Ben who is living in his girlfriend’s place in New Brunswick, NJ. Ben and his friends chill, play video games, drink beers, and get high, all while he’s NOT looking for employment opportunities – something that royally pisses off his girl Liz.
On a larger scale, whether intentionally or not, writers J.C Luz and Cliff Galbraith bring to life a group of guys who are notoriously “Jersey.” For all the ambitious celebrities and rock stars from New Jersey that I discuss here at The Sexy Armpit, there’s hundreds of unmotivated slackers in this state who talk a lot of shit, but never actually do anything. Kevin Smith wasn’t joking around when he showed us similar characters in Clerks and Mallrats. That wasn’t an exaggeration. It’s not like we’re in the mid-west where a kid with dreams of going to L.A or New York would have to save enough money for a plane ticket before setting out on their quest. We’re merely miles away from the greatest city in the world and we still manage to breed so many slackers. But, that’s not to say we don’t have a high concentration of go-getters, it just makes me wonder why staring at that New York skyline in the distance isn’t igniting even more creative fires. In Luz and Galbraith’s case it wasn’t New York City, but New Brunswick, NJ that set their minds in motion.
There were aspects of the book that reminded me of people who I once knew and some who I still know today. The first issue, while mostly serving as set-up, features our main character in an uncomfortable situation. The dude can’t keep his shit together so I went from rooting for him all the way to thinking “Dude! How could you forget your girlfriend’s BIRTHDAY?” Ben is certainly frustrating, but there’s room for improvement. I doubt he should even entertain trying to win Liz back though, she’s clearly not right for him.
I haven’t read Galbraith’s Rat Bastard, so I can’t compare, but the art in Unbearable shows hints of The Simpsons and even the short lived late ’90s animated sitcom Mission Hill. At the end of this issue Galbraith reveals that Unbearable was originally planned as a possible TV show for UPN, and it certainly has that TV-type quality to it. The art was fun and the book was not hard to follow. My favorite panel is when, in horror, Ben sees that he has 47 messages from Liz on his phone. We’ve all been there.
So, a directionless crew of bros who drink, smoke pot, and play video games sums up about 45% of New Jersey – guys and girls. It’s sad that not much has changed since the early ’90s, but this is precisely why Unbearable works – it’s familiar. A lack of direction has actually simultaneously opened up a world of possibilities for Ben and his friends. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.
**The New Jersey references were a bonus for me since I obviously love NJ crap. There were references to The Misfits, a knockoff version of The Court Tavern (The Cork Tavern), and the Englishtown Flea Market.
Stealing from a couple of classic Christmas movies and songs, there are a few ways I can start this. Mrs. Shields wanted us to write a theme so here goes or if anyone wants any last minute gift ideas for me, (that means YOU Cousin Eddie) and there’s also the Tenacious D/Sum 41 song “Hey now Santa I’m writing to you cause there’s a lot of cool shit I want…” Either way, like Bob & Doug said, “There’s lots of ideas in here, so listen and don’t get stuck”:
These are just a few of the things I want. I know I can’t have them all, but if I don’t write them down I might forget. Would you mind keeping these on file for next year in case you can’t make one or two of them happen? Thank you, and you can be sure we’ll leave some good shit for you in case you have the munchies.
The Sexy Armpit
1) The He-Man Power Sword – offered by Toonseum and Filmation, it was the actual sword He-Man used on the float at the 1986 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
2) A flyby from TokiDoki Tattoo Barbie in her Barbie Glamour Jet – Please instruct her to blow me a kiss before she drops a huge shipment of Margaritaville Salsa.
3) Rhonda Shear and Up All Night is making a comeback – you can check that one off the list
4) Force Chris Collinsworth into retirement from sportscasting
5) Convince Hef to Let The Sexy Armpit Re-Open The Great Gorge Playboy Club in NJ
In this Christmas wish the old Playboy Club in New Jersey is back in action, and it’s rocking better than ever. Hugh personally tapped me to be in charge of it. On one cold Friday night I’m chilling in a hot tub sipping Bubble Gum flavored Kool Aid that Amber Heard served to me in her bunny outfit. To my right is Katy Perry in Rainbow Brite getup. The Bella Twins are laying behind me sprawled out on the deck whispering cute little flirtations into my ear and giggling while sipping a moderately priced champagne. To the left of me is my pal Larry Dallas who’s cracking me up while his on again off again lady friend Princess Giselle looks on with a smile in awe. Providing tunes up on the nearby stage is none other than Prince who just invited Meatwad to join him for a duet of “Little Red Corvette.”
Louis Tully stands by in pajamas with feet and his earmuffs on grasping his canon and saturating us with pink mood slime. Seconds later the record scratches as the maniacal Purple Pie Man crashes the party. We thought he was going to wreak havoc, but he just had a huge blowout with Sour Grapes and wanted to come see if Raspberry Tart and her pet monkey wanted to get into some late night mischief. After some mind altering experiences we take the Batplane to Houlihans and enjoy a shitlaod of their delectable So. Cal Fish Tacos. I can’t stay out too late though because I have a mini-golf outing planned the next morning with Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. I need to be on point because he’s a bad ass on the course.
6) CGI Danny Devito as a normal Penguin into Batman Returns
I tend to watch Batman Returns during Christmas time and as much as I love Tim Burton I always feel like it needs a lot of improvement. What I’d really love to see with modern computer technology is a revamped version that makes it more of a traditional Batman film. One of the making of documentaries explained that Burton was hesitant to do a sequel to Batman but was coerced into it when the WB big-wigs said he could “make it a Tim Burton movie.” That’s what makes Batman Returns so different than Batman. There would be more of a connection to the first movie if it wasn’t so warped. Penguin never had flippers for hands or ate raw fish right out of it’s scaly body. He was a little rich pipsqueak. There’s a lot of haters of the ’60s Batman show, but Burgess Meredith really nailed the original vision of The Penguin. I know that Burton’s freakish take on The Penguin was just an alternate way to see the character, but I think making DeVito’s Penguin more like the Batman Returns figure that was released by Kenner would’ve made a better Bat-film.
7) Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes
It’s never been depicted on a map and Santa Claus isn’t even aware of it, but right beside the Island of Misfit Toys lies the Island of Fiends. Everyone who resides there is covered in ghoulish fiend makeup and Misfits songs are piped through speakers all over the island. During Christmas you might see a lot of people wearing these holiday themed Misfits t-shirts. The first one features a fiendish creature who bares a resemblance to The Grinch and is rocking a skeleton jacket and gloves. We know The Grinch is a humbug, but who knew he was such a punk?
The brand new Misfits album “The Devil’s Rain,” is in stores today. Since the horror punks from Lodi, NJ always offer ghoulish graphics on their t-shirts, let’s take a look at one of the tees offered at The Misfits online store. The first tee has Arthur Suydam’s artwork from the new album The Devil’s Rain and on the right is the “Mystic Fiend” shirt. The Misfits play their annual Halloween show at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on 10/28/11.
October 4th 2011 will be an exciting day for Misfits fans because it marks the release of the first full length Misifts album of new material in about ten years. Many fans abandoned the NJ horror punk group in recent years because of all the lineup changes and direction of the music. Personally, they’re still The Misfits to me and the fact that they’re keeping the spirit of the band alive is cool. But then again, I’d probably go to see KISS even if there were no original members left. What can I say, I like their music!
The album is called The Devil’s Rain and it promises to be a treat for those hardcore fans who hung in there. The album was produced by noted punk producer Ed Stasium and it’s said to be a return to the sci-fi themes and monstrous sounds of their past. The Amazon.com sale page describes the album as “not just a continuation of a historic legacy, it’s a total reboot ushering in a new era of terror.” Sounds good to me.
Also, if you bought the Misfits last 2 singles “Land of the Dead” and “Twilight of the Dead,” they have been re-recorded for this album. Recently the band dismissed Robo for Murphy’s Law drummer, Eric Arce, now known as “Chupacbra.” Hopefully they can stick with this lineup for a while.
I’m looking forward to this new album and it’ll be a great addition to my October playlist! Also look out for The Misfits LIVE on tour. Their Halloween show happens on Friday, October 28th 2011 at The Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. Click HERE for tickets!
The Chiller Theatre Expo vs. The Monster Mania Con has become an often debated clash amongst fans and bloggers. While it’s not quite the magnitude of Frankenstein vs. The Wolfman, it has sparked some contention.
Both events are pretty damn cool in their own right, it just becomes a matter of preference. Many con fans have become vehemently opposed to Chiller for some reason. But what I find is that both conventions offer similar dealer tables, the same lines for overpriced autographs, and the same lack of parking. Although I will say that you have a better shot at parking at Chiller in Parsippany than you do at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, where I feel like I park 16 miles away sometimes. I plan it out so I don’t hit the brunt of the insane crowds. I also don’t linger around. I make sure I hit everything and then I’m out of there!
Monster Mania gears their con more toward horror rather than the pop culture Chiller has evolved into. If you want Tom Savini you go to Monster Mania, if you want Cindy from The Brady Bunch you go to Chiller, or you can be like The Sexy Armpit and just go to both! These conventions are always fun and I consider myself lucky to live in an area that offers this type of event. If I lived in a less populated area I might be salivating at someone else’s blog post recapping events like these.
Out of the slew of guests that appear at Chiller, I usually zero in on one or two who I am interested in meeting. I was anticipating the spring installment of Chiller for months because I was excited to see that Suzanne Snyder (Return of the Living Dead Part II, Killer Klowns From Outer Space) and Judie Aronson (Friday the 13th IV, American Ninja) who played Deb and Hilly from Weird Science, would be appearing. Weird Science is one of my favorite movies of all time to the point where I know every line of dialogue. In the film, the fantasy girl who Gary and Wyatt created was Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) but I was never attracted to her at all, I had the biggest crushes on the ’80s mall chicks Deb and Hilly. I never thought in a million years I’d be introducing myself to these hotties in the same geeky way that Gary and Wyatt did in their bathroom.
Both ladies eagerly interacted with their fans. The best part is that Judie Aronson, owner of Rockit Body Pilates in California, remembered The Sexy Armpit from Twitter! What a sweetheart. Now I don’t have to go into a social coma!
There were a few very surreal moments for me this time around at Chiller. For instance, talking at length with Rob Romanus, who played Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, was so frigging cool. It’s another one of those things that I never thought I’d be doing. Chatting it up with Damone about how his character is so embedded in our pop culture. I also told Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds that I was listening to the Nerds rap on my iPod on my commute to work that morning (…”Now clap your hands everybody…”). Just the fact that I was driving to work listening to that song was weird enough, it never crossed my mind that later that day I would actually be telling the guy who rapped the song that I was listening to it. That’s the place Chiller has in my life. Years ago at a Chiller Adam West handed me the Batphone because he said it was for me. That one really blew my mind.
Way too much money was extracted from pockets all weekend. let me give you a quick summary of some of cool stuff I picked up.
Within a few minutes of entering the dealer room, my eyes immediately locked onto a thrilling piece of art. I went over to the table where I saw the black and white print hanging where I met artist Mike Turso. The ingeniusly conceived, beautifully painted piece was a horror parody of the KISS album Dressed To Kill. Being both a hardcore member of The KISS Army and a horror fanatic, this was a jackpot for me. Naturally I couldn’t afford the $700 dollar price tag of the original print, but I snatched up a smaller $20 print without even blinking an eye. I balled for several minutes to Mike about what an awesome idea it was and how much I loved it. Mike’s work is brilliant and if you’re a fan of comics, horror, or movies, he will have a print you will want, I can guarantee it. Check out his website HERE for a gallery of his work.
I also added a couple of Hot Wheels to my collection: The DeLorean and The Batman version of the Batmobile which I recently read about on Moongem Comics.
Retro Lovely is a premium magazine filled with pinup models and retro style photography by Ric Frane artist known for Monsters, Pinup Girls, and Danger! Also, from the Troma table, I bought a Toxic Avenger collected edition comic that I’ve had my eye on at the last couple of cons. And finally, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein of The Misfits commented on how much he liked my tattoos, and in turn I endorse his MADE IN HELL hot sauce. It’s not so hot where your mouth becomes numb and it had so many different subtle flavors that it’s probably more suitable for use as a spicy marinade for chicken than it is just a regular hot sauce.
The legion of KISS fans are known as THE KISS ARMY, while fans of The Misfits are The Fiend Club. This weeks 2nd offering for NJ T-Shirt Tuesday is the official Fiend Club T-Shirt available at 80stees.com.