Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween 2013: Disc Jockeys In Horror ~ Spinning The Wrong Tune Can Be Deadly!

Here’s a list Christine and I cooked up, the disc jockeys of terror! Everyone on this list has filled the rare but charming role as a DJ or radio personality in a horror film. It’s a pretty neat occupation, but how will it help you in the throes of supernatural mayhem? How many of our beloved spin doctors made it out alive?


Dread-locked, tattoo-covered bohemian Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is one third of an independent rock radio station in Salem, Massachusetts. A recovering junkie, her record collection and her friends are what get her through the tough times. Unfortunately for her, things are about to get a whole lot worse, for her blood is cursed. The weirdness begins with a mysterious record demo packaged in a crude wooden box. To: Heidi. From: The Lords. The team decides to feature the cryptic gift on their radio segment “Smash or Trash”, where they play a demo and let the listeners phone in and give their opinions on it. It’s then that it becomes clear this is no ordinary record; while to the male audience it sounds like some creepy ritualistic crap, it sends the women of Salem into a haunting trance, and sends Heidi off to bed with some very disturbing dreams. This is no mere earworm, it is only the first sign of the ancient wrath that is in store for Salem./MR


When radio talk show host Fran Ambrose (CCH Pounder) asks for callers to tell their story on her show about matricide, she gets the mother of all guests when Norman Bates calls in.  Using the name "Ed", Norman gives his first-hand account of all the reasons he had to commit such an unholy crime.  We get flashbacks to Norman's childhood that probably explain much of his deranged behavior throughout his life.
It doesn't take too long before Fran realizes that "Ed" is the infamous Norman Bates, and that he has perhaps come unhinged again and has serious doubts about his own situation at home: his wife is pregnant with their first child and Norman has decided perhaps it isn't wise to keep his family line going.  Will Fran be able to talk Norman down in time?/CH


Sasha (Tara Reid) is a fiery blonde who hosts a risqué talk radio show. The topic of conversation is usually that of a carnal matter, where audience members may call in with their blush-worthy questions and scenarios (a couple locked in a sex position, for example) and Sasha will oblige them with her advice. She is friends with Natalie (Alicia Witt), who is the center of all the murderous mayhem that is going on around campus (a hooded killer slaying college students using the story lines of popular urban legends). However, Sasha feels an eerie connection with the first murder, because apparently the girl who was killed was listening to her radio show the night of her death. I’m not sure which was more uncomfortable for the killer hiding in the backseat, listening to Sasha’s radio show or enduring his victim’s horrendous singing!/MR


With little more than a cameo here, Gene Simmons nonetheless makes an indelible impression as rock-n-roll DJ Nuke.  When Eddie Weinbauer's (Marc Price) favorite metal star Sammi Curr dies in a mysterious fire, he is devastated and looks to the local rock station to appease his loss.  Disc jockey Nuke soothes his broken heart by giving him a copy of Curr's final record (which has not even been formally released yet): Songs in the Key of Death, which apparently when played backward, ends up being Curr speaking from beyond the grave.  Mostly silly, Trick or Treat is one of those classic campy 80's films that is near and dear to many fans' hearts, and Gene Simmons role as Nuke is certainly part of its charm./CH


Vanita Brock (Caroline Williams), or Stretch, is the daisy-duke toting DJ of a country radio station with a voice like salted caramel. Her steady night job takes a sinister turn when she receives a prank phone call from two boys speeding drunkenly down a country lane (so sad I wasn’t alive to witness the golden era of the car phone). While at first she begs them to get off line to make way for other callers, she is then forced to listen to them be terrorized and murdered by those delightful rednecks we have come to know as the Sawyer family. Stretch knows that Leatherface (Bill Johnson) was behind the murder (the growling of a chainsaw is a dead give-away) and she then uses her radio station to try and gain the help of vigilante ex-Marshall (Dennis Hopper). How does she do this? By playing the recording of the murder every hour on the hour. Now that’s morbid, Stretch./MR


In the latest film to feature a radio personality, Shadow People has Charlie Crow (Dallas Roberts of The Walking Dead fame) hosting a call-in show in which people ramble on about their problems and Charlie makes fun of them tries to help them out with words of wisdom.  One day, a man calls up claiming that the Shadow People are stalking him with intent to take him. When said caller ends up dead, Charlie's radio show blows up in popularity and at the same time has Charlie curious about the Shadow People and their possible role in SUNDS (Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome). Supposedly based on a true story, the film does have its creepy moments, and certainly SUNDS is one of life's most curious medical mysteries - but whether or not Shadow People have anything to do with it remains to be seen./CH


The always delightful Stephen McHattie is spot-on in his portrayal of grumbling, grizzled Canadian DJ Grant Mazzy. While Mazzy used to flood the airwaves with obscenities, he has since—reluctantly—had to tone it down. What was expected to be another dull night at work becomes increasingly bizarre when their field reporter informs them first of a riot outside the office of a Dr. Mendez (Hrant Alianak), then of a strange virus that is causing people to repeat a word or phrase over and over again until they die violently either at the hands of others, or themselves. As a mob closes around the dinky radio station in the small Ontario town of Pontypool, Dr. Mendez arrives, hoping to get his theory about the virus on the radio. His theory is this: that the English language is infected, and specific words are triggers which turn people into babbling zombies. The responsibility then falls on small-town DJ Mazzy to save the town./MR


Adrienne Barbeau stars as Stevie Wayne, the local DJ of the California town of Antonio Bay, who broadcasts her radio show from a defunct lighthouse. One morning before she goes in to work, Wayne’s son, Andy (Ty Mitchell), gives her a piece of driftwood that reads “DANE”. She decides to take it to work with her, and sets aside while she does her show. However, when the driftwood suddenly starts leaking, the water drains into her tape playing, causing her broadcast to short out and is replaced by a foreboding message of revenge that swears “six must die.” Everything goes back to normal, but not for long. As the town is enveloped in a thick, luminescent fog, Stevie must use her vantage point from the lighthouse and her reign on the airwaves to try and save the town from supernatural doom!/MR


Nothing worse than having a one-night stand with someone who turns out to be a raging psychotic bitch. Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) is a disc jockey spinning records at a California radio station who ends up with a (Stephen King's) Misery-esque Number 1 Fan in one Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter).  She follows him to a local bar she hears that he haunts and proceeds to coerce him into having sex with her. The shit hits the fan afterwards when she starts stalking him and - in a very similar pre-Fatal Attraction stunt, tries to kill herself in his home for attention. Even a stint in an asylum can't keep Evelyn from relentlessly pursuing Dave and requesting, just one last time, that he play 'Misty' for her. /CH

1 comment:

Kev D. said...

Pontypool is a CLASSIC. McHattie is insanely good in it.