Jason and the Monster Problem

September 19th, 2009 6 comments

B&W mockup and color “final” that I drew at age 6 for a book written by my Mother. Cubist!

Well hey there everyone! Nice to see you, nice to see you. So I’ve gotten a lot of really great and supportive emails lamenting the lack of activity (ahem, not to mention *files*) here on Scar Stuff, and while I’ve done my best to catch up with most of them I figured that it’s probably well past time for me to post a somewhat more public explanation regarding my absence/ silence/ total lack of awesomeness/ etc.

The short story is that a while back (after a brief period wherein Blogger had inexplicably frozen the site) I was hit up w/ a “Cease and Desist” demand concerning an OOP file I was sharing, and since I preferred to pay for bandwidth and host things myself (rather than utilizing a file hosting service like Rapidshare or whatever) my provider was hit up as well. After a day or two of reflection this led me to decide that I might as well go ahead and delete the majority of the files here and essentially close up (virtual) shop. To be honest the timing wasn’t bad; I was finding spare time in my life to be in short supply and since my original intent wasn’t much more than to get the “share ball” rolling (trust me, I succeeded *well* beyond any initial hopes I might have conjured up) as well as connect with other like-minded folks, it all seemed to be something close to kismet.

That said, I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything. While I’d never intended for Halloween records to be my main focus (no, really), before I started up Scar Stuff I can’t say that I’d ever found anyone else who cared much about them. When I’d tour the US with one of my bands I’d hit the used record stores to see what kind of weird/ spooky audio they had, and was usually met with a response something akin to “meh”. When I’d poke around on line for info (or audio) I’d inevitably come up completely empty handed. Yet as soon as I started posting vintage Halloween records myself the response was instantaneous and overwhelming positive; across the board I was met with a highly receptive and enthusiastic audience who were anxious to share tons of fascinating info, memories and experiences around this junk. Whether emailing me directly or using the site comments I honestly received nothing but scads and scads of positive feedback (certainly I never had any trouble w/ “trolls” or anything of the sort), and in the intervening time I’ve seen my LP rips and cover scans (credited or not, I don’t really make a distinction), not to mention dorky *passion* for this stuff spread rapidly all over the world. Not bad!

“Kid Dish Originals” that I drew when I was 5 & 6.

Another awesome side effect that I didn’t expect: I’ve scored simply tons of cool stuff thanks to the great folks I met here. Over the duration of Scar Stuff’s activity people would send me records (either digitally or physically) on a regular basis, and whenever I managed to aquire some long wished for childhood item (like the Gayle Records “Haunting” 7″, the Moon Monster poster, or a 16mm print of the Centron Halloween Safety Film in which I had a role as a kid), I was guaranteed a built-in audience of like-minded folks to share it all with. Very, very cool.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. The files are indeed gone but they were snatched by so many folks that I’d think with a little digging people should be able to scare them up online somewhere. Over the years I’ve occasionally ripped sets of 4 DVDs composed of the Scar Stuff files which I’ve given to cool people who have hit me up and are working on like-minded projects. As a kind of final “giving back to the community type” thing (and to show my appreciation for all the great stuff this project has brought me), if some enterprising soul out there wants to set up the infrastructure for a “sharing tree” along these lines I’ll be more than happy to kick out the first 10 or so sets. To be honest my organizational skills are horrible when it comes to that kind of thing, but for the 2009 Halloween cycle I’ll be happy to kick start what I can. It’s really a one-time seasonal offer (as I’m sure I’ll find that my intentions rapidly fall behind my situational reality), but don’t be shy about cooking it all up if you think you can swing it; sharing has been the whole point.

And again, thanks for all of the emails and kind words everyone; I’m glad to say that I’m doing fine. As for me, these days I’m mostly busy with work and a few other projects I’ve been tinkering with (a book composed of letters to porn stars, a music documentary that I’m v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y piecing together, some new drone/ psych/ audio nonsense, etc), as well as plain old general life. It’s good.

Thanks again, and Happy Halloween everyone!

best, Jason

Modeling my 1976 “Creature from the Black Lagoon” Halloween Costume

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Flyers: Punk Rock & Then Some (1981 – 2006)

January 1st, 2008 28 comments

While it’s still very much a work in progress, I thought a few folks might enjoy seeing what I’ve scanned in from my collection of (real, physical, paper — I ignored digital versions even if I created them) flyers. As it turns out there are actually a few more to come (I just found another small pile), but this is easily the lion’s share.

My history with these things is pretty casual/ non-obsessive really. I’m not sure why exactly, but I started grabbing them off of utility poles & record store counters when I was around 10 or 11 years old, then securing them all over my bedroom walls with a wretched substance called “Fun-Tak” (you’ll see a lot of oily corner spots as a result). Around 1985 I started making them myself (both because I loved the music so much and because it got me in to the shows for free) and this early design work, along with the little photocopied Punk Rock ‘zine I was doing at the time, were most certainly my entry points into the world of graphics — the field in which I work today.

Of course like most folks who’ve gotten bit by the Punk Rock bug, these flyers represent a mere fraction of the time I’ve spent in loud dark rooms (though I didn’t see every single show pictured here either), but I’m still both happy and amazed that I’ve somehow held on to as many as I have. Hope you have fun checking ’em out!

Flyers (1981 – 2006)

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Secret Wars II Continues In This Issue

December 20th, 2007 10 comments

As part of CRAZY CROSSOVER MULTI-BLOG LIMITED SERIES TIE-IN, I feel duty-bound to alert you to a recent post over at the mighty Secret Fun Blog.

Y’see, over a year ago Kirk posted an old ad that I’d nearly forgotten (“Chimp Artist Will Paint For You!”), but which had captivated my imagination as a kid. As a direct result of some of the info passed along in the comments for that post, I ended up buying a pair of supercool paintings made by Cheeta the Chimp which now grace my bedroom walls & give me no end of delight. After emailing Kirk again to express my thanks (they really are pretty rad), he casually mentioned that he’d one day like to see all the other junk I might’ve collected & hung up around the house.

Well a project like that sounded kinda cool to me, and to be honest I figured if I did it first I could more easily coax him into doing the same in return (based on what little he HAS shared I’m confident that it’d be worth it — this public “calling out” is merely phase two of my plan). So yeah, even though the idea had to fester and turn around in my brain for over a year I eventually got it together and took the snaps (figuring that for the end of the story and mostly happy to cross one more item off my mental “to do” list — my head seems to work on a one-for-one basis at times and to make room for a new idea an old one must be acted upon).

Well THEN, thanks to what I will assume was something of a momentary lapse of judgement, Kirk asked if he might actually be able to share the gallery with his readers on the always-awesome Secret Fun Blog.

What happened next? Sorry, but in true crossover fashion you’re just gonna have to follow this link to read the rest of the story…

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Christmas 1978, Halloween 1980

October 31st, 2007 25 comments

Well I usually don’t post stuff like this, but my audio server is tragically out of bandwidth for the month (I’d allotted myself a bit more than $200 for Oct & was crossing my fingers that it would hold out, but I got over 7,000 uniques yesterday alone with lotsa repeat traffic so it looks like I’ll really have to up the ante next year). Anyway given the situation it seems like it might be a good time for me to dip into some personal nostalgia in visual form, and to that end here’s a quick trip down some of my own spooky memory lane:

The first pic you see is me & my brother Craig on Christmas of 1978. As you can tell I’m proudly modeling my (Sears Wishbook bought!) Famous Monsters sweatshirt here (and while you can’t see it, he’s actually sporting a Dawn of The Dead shirt himself). I later rebelliously wore this sweatshirt for my 3rd grade yearbook picture; partially because it was my favorite, but mostly because my teacher forbade it & claimed she’d yank me out of line if I dared to come dressed for such an important day with the visage of a decomposing ghoul on my person. She didn’t do a thing, and in the finished shot you can clearly see the corpse reaching up out of the bottom of the image. I thought that was pretty cool.

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UPDATE: Three pages of ads for the Warren shirt line (Famous Monsters #129, Oct 1976)

Next up it’s me flexing my “artistic talent” in public for the first time. In Lawrence KS where I grew up, the downtown merchants allow kids from local grade schools to paint tempra recreations of pictures (that they cook up themselves) on the windows of their businesses for Halloween. It’s a really cool program and makes shopping downtown during the Fall extra creepy & special. Somewhat amazingly, this still goes on there today, and you can even see a short video clip about it here.

So back in 1980 I entered a drawing into the competition for the first (& only) time, and here you can see me proudly standing next to my finished piece “Rotting Corpse (with one “Tales from the Crypt” inspired eyeball) Hanging from a Noose in a Graveyard Above a Bloody Axe While a Bat Flies Toward the Full Moon”. Extra cool was that as I was painting it, a newspaper photographer came by & took some snaps of me at work (though these aren’t those), and I ended up getting a big picture in the paper for my efforts (I think he picked me partially because he thought my painting was good, and partially because he thought it was funny that it was painted over half of an Air Force recruiting office window. Well and maybe because I looked like such a hippy). Oh, and you probably can’t tell, but I’m wearing an iron-on t-shirt design that I ordered from the Johnson Smith Novelty Company showing an undertaker excavating a corpse above the words “I Want Your Body”. This was by far my favorite shirt in 1980; I guess I had a thing about the rotting (sentient) dead.

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Here’s a detail of just my painting:

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…and to cap it all off here’s the (Yeah! That’s right!) FIRST PLACE PRICE that I won for my efforts. Naturally, to inspire my current visual output, to this day I have this rather prestigious award proudly displayed on the walls of my home office:

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You know, it seems that sometimes my lifelong desire to hold on to weird junk from my past (either physically or as memories) can pay off in unexpectedly cool ways, and the reaction I’ve gotten from far & wide to this blog is easily the most amazing example of that I’ve encountered in my life to date. Thanks so much to everyone for making this stuff more fun for me than ever before, and a heartfelt wish to you all for a really, really Happy Halloween (oh and don’t worry, I should still be here throughout the rest of the year sharing some of my other audio obsessions.)

Thanks again everyone! Happy Haunting!

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Richard Taylor "Nightmare", "Horror", "Terror", "Fright" (Major/ Random Records, 1962)

October 28th, 2007 10 comments

Acting as both an addendum and a slight re-cap of two earlier Scar Stuff posts (feel free to check out my earlier entries on “Nightmare” and “Terror”), here’s the complete 4 LP run of Edgar Allan Poe stories narrated by Richard Taylor. Well, probably the complete run — an additional record entitled “Strange” (Random cat #40) is mentioned on the back cover of some volumes in the series, but I can’t find evidence of it anywhere else (I’d love to be proven wrong here, so if anyone has a copy please drop me a line.)

Mr Taylor’s sketchy profile claims him as “one of the newest sought after ‘thriller’ actors on the scene today”, with producers allegedly finding “his sinister voice mystifying and full of suspense, and in direct contrast to his handsome appearance”. Now this all may well be true, but what really strikes me in his delivery is the breathy, manic and nearly unhinged quality he gives these readings. In the best parts (like when the character is all worked up), there’s a real sense of low-budget madness coming across — kinda like the archetypical creep in the cellar was awarded a recording contract or something.

These LPs were initially issued under the “Major Records” name (here’s an early ad), but over the years could be more commonly found with the “Random Records” logo attached to a generic cover design (hand stamped in the upper left corner with the word “Nightmare”, “Horror”, “Terror” or “Fright”). While these dime store sounding recordings got their start in life at the beginning of the “Monster Kid” boom in the early 1960’s (they were heavily advertised mainstays in pages of Famous Monsters, Horror Monsters, Mad Monsters, Monster World and probably 50 other magazines with the word “monster” in the title), amazingly enough as late as 1981 you could still pick them up in the back of FM for only $1 each. Since I’ve already shown the classic early ’60’s ads on Scar Stuff a couple of times, here’s a slightly more “contemporary looking” variant that ran in Creepy, Eerie & Vampirella after Bill DuBay took over as their editor and changed up the art direction in the early 1970’s.

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Oh and one last warning before you get going, side one of “Fright” (aka “the House of Fright”) is missing a few lines right at the tail end, but it really doesn’t detract much from the story, which is a two part adaptation of “The Fall of the House of Usher”.

Okay! Let’s get those “Eerie Midnight Ghoul Parties” started!

Richard Taylor “Nightmare” (Major/ Random, M-36, 1962) (192 kbps)

Richard Taylor “Horror” (Major/ Random, M-37 1962) (192 kbps)

Richard Taylor “Terror” (Major/ Random, M-38, 1962) (192 kbps)

Richard Taylor “Fright” (Major/ Random, M-39, 1962) (192 kbps)

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Mail Order Monsters

October 27th, 2007 7 comments

Hey everyone! Well this week has been a lot crazier than I thought it would be, but I’m still planning on getting my act together enough to post a few more pre-Halloween audio goodies. In the meantime however I figured I’d issue a stop-gap in the form of some visual treats, specifically several scans I’ve made of (mostly) monster-related mail order items from the 1960’s.

Some background: The majority of these come from Charlton Press’ “Mad Monsters” & “Horror Monsters” magazines, and a smaller percentage are from even less common mags like “Modern Monsters” (Prestige Publications), “3-D Monsters” (“Fair Publishing” — actually Myron Fass!) and “Monster Mania”(Renaissance Productions).

Warren Publications and the Captain Company are represented by a few pages from “Monster World” & “Spacemen” (most of the “Spacemen” ones are at the end of page 4 — some cool stuff I’d love to check out there), but for the most part I tried to avoid the big guns (Famous Monsters, Creepy, Eerie, etc) since many of those ads are readily available online (case in point: here’s a great Flickr set.)

I also avoided using anything from the 1970’s (Monster Times, Castle of Frankenstein, House of Hammer, etc etc), but I bet I eventually break down & just start scanning everything in. That’s how this stuff always starts, isn’t it? Anyway, enjoy!

Monster Magazine Ads from the 1960’s

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Gayle House Records "The Haunting" (Gayle House, GH-101, 1971)

October 13th, 2007 86 comments

You know, the last year of my life has been absolutely amazing in terms of fulfilling my childhood comic-book dreams. Nearly everything I’d ever lusted for in those (already) out of date pages has fallen into my lap. Abstract art paintings done by a chimpanzee? Check! That Super-Cool “Giant ‘Life Size’ Moon Monster Poster” I’d dreamt of for so long? Check! With all of this good fortune sailing my way, what could be left?

Well truth be told, there was only one more “top of the list” type thing I could think of. One more thing that (casually but persistently) still preyed on my comic-book-ad-loving imagination. That’s right — the record described in the ubiquitous early 1970’s ad with the cloaked ghoul commanding the reader to “Invite Your Friends Over For A Haunting”. Sooooo rad looking; it just HAD to be great. I mean — how could it not deliver the goods? Just look at that fantastic copy:

“Just imagine how scared your friends will be when you flip out the light and they start hearing creepy sounds like the howl of a wolf, a creaking door, chains rattling, and then a man’s voice telling them that the house is haunted and they are to die — one by one. They’ll be scared stiff when they hear footsteps coming across the floor, the sound of people fighting, glass breaking, hideous laughter, terrible shrieks and screams, eerie moaning and then more footsteps, more screams… Each person in the room will think that he is going to be the next victim.”

Man. How fucking awesome was this record going to be? Why, completely and utterly off the scale of awesomity, naturally. So yeah; I’d poked around for this one pretty frequently over the years, but the few people I could find who’d actually heard it assured me that it was both “pretty bad”, and that it was “basically the same as the Johnson Smith Novelty Company ‘Horror Record’“. Naturally the first statement made me want it all the more, but the second statement actually gave me pause. In fact the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me that a single company might well have churned out just one 7″ 33 RPM record’s worth of spookiness in the early ’70’s, and then licensed it off to a few mail order companies simultaneously. Yeah, that’s probably what happened. Oh well, it was still a cool ad.

Well as it turns out that’s not what happened at all. In fact as you’ll soon be able to discover, not only are the sounds on the Gayle House single unique, the record has a freakishly lame and astoundingly perfect charm all its own. It even manages to scrupulously follow the rules of the mighty Rip-Off Halloween Record genre (those being: a totally half-assed “story telling” side, and a banded “sound effects” side using most of the same audio library just without the narration), while still happily amplifying both their cheapest AND most exploitive qualities! Yeah! I honestly don’t want to spoil it for you too much (Threadbare plot! Terrible narrator! One sound effect repeated ad nauseam! Children in peril!), but believe me, as far as I’m concerned it was more than worth the 30+ year wait. And hey, it even works just like the ad said it would!

Oh, and one more side note, here’s a link to the current owner of the PO Box featured in the ads. My guess is that they probably don’t have a lot of leftover “Haunting” records laying around but hey — you never know.

(Click To Expand)

Gayle House Records “The Haunting” (192 kbps)

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Samhain "Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Aug 21, 1984"

October 6th, 2007 15 comments

In keeping with the season and my desire to get some more of my old live recordings out there, here’s a complete Samhain show I taped way back in 1984. I’ve only copied this off one or two times over the years, but (as I’ve seen it pop up on a few tape trader lists since then) I guess that was enough for it to start making the rounds. However the good news is that this is the first time it’ll be taken from my original source cassette so even the biggest Samhain fans out there will at least be getting a sonic upgrade.

So let’s see, how to frame this? Well I guess it’d be easy for me to open up by casually bragging about how I snagged a copy of the Misfits “3 Hits From Hell” single (ahem, 1st pressing with Fiend Club insert, if you must know) for 10 cents at Kief’s Records in 1981. Sounds pretty good, right? Well it’s accurate and everything, but to be honest I had no fucking idea who they were at the time. None. In fact I only bought it because it WAS 10 cents, the Misfits logo on the insert was swiped from Famous Monsters magazine, and I noticed that the skull on the back was nicked from the 1972 Amicus “Tales From the Crypt” flick (which had blown my mind during its 1978 re-release). So no, I wasn’t the hippest 12 year old in the world or anything, it was just total blind luck. Kinda de-cools it, I know.

Of course that single was GREAT and I played the hell out of it, but somehow I still managed to keep the Misfits pretty low on my radar over the next few years. In fact I was out of the loop enough that by Sept of 1984 I didn’t even know the band had been broken up for almost a year — not till I saw the flyer for this show which announced that “from the ashes of the Misfits” something called Samhain (which my friend Andre kept telling me was properly pronounced “Sow-ween”) had risen. So while I was curious enough to wanna check ’em out, my investment level wasn’t terribly huge. Really, I was more pumped up about catching 7 Seconds (who were on the same bill) for the first time. Kinda de-cools it, I know.

Flash forward to the show: 7 Seconds went on first and they WERE great; easily the best time I would ever see them over the course of the 80’s. They played a very tight set to a packed floor and when they were done I enthusiastically picked up a copy of the “Nuke Your Dink” single (from Kevin) and a semi-slick fanzine called “Hard Times” (from some other guy) outside the hall. Samhain seemed to be taking forever to set up and when I finally wandered back in I noticed that the crowd had kinda… changed. Instead of the “hyper youth” that had been all over the place 30 minutes earlier, these older looking folks were up front and a bunch of local KC punkettes were confusing me by busily screaming the word “Mommy!” over and over (I hadn’t heard “Walk Among Us” yet). All of a sudden Samhain started playing and to be honest, I didn’t know what to make of them at first either; a lot of their music was slower (with melodies hidden more deeply inside the dirges) than most of what I’d been listening to, and what the hell was this “harmonizer” that they kept demanding be turned on? Where were all of the catchy pop choruses? Did I like this or not?

Well by the end of their set I’d figured out that I liked it a lot (perhaps you can make out some of the, uh, insightful conversation my friends and I are having during the encore clapping), and I played the hell out this tape that fall and for several falls to come, sparking a real obsession. Coming across more of this kinda stuff was somewhat hard in those days (I remember driving for well over 2 hours to the house of a guy I didn’t even know so that I could try and convince him to dub me a crappy 10th generation tape of a few Plan 9 singles), but 23 years later the magic of the internet allows me to easily share my little time-travel memory trip with YOU. All Murder, All Guts, All Fun!

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Samhain “Live At The VFW#18 in KC, MO Aug 21, 1984” (192 kbps)

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Halloween Safety [Second Edition] (1985, Centron)

October 1st, 2007 11 comments

Okay Educational Short Film Fans! Direct from 1985 I present “Halloween Safety [Second Edition]”, yanked straight from the Centron/ Coronet film vaults. Produced 8 years after the original, this was also filmed in my hometown of Lawrence, KS and stocked with local acting talent & scenery.

Really more a complete reworking than a “second edition”, the difference in both era and production aesthetics is apparent within the first few seconds of the film’s un-spooling: check out that killer montage of awesome dime-store masks flying through the air! Yeah! This is immediately followed up by some great & simple shots of kids walking around in cheapo store-bought Ben Cooper & Topstone getups, which felt just perfect. I mean, maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, but despite the fact that on the real Halloween night in 1985 I was busily enjoying something billed as “The Scum Of The Earth Costume Party”, seeing those kids parade about in their outfits more than managed to resurface plenty of decade-dormant memories. Sadly none of my childhood regional Midwestern candy faves show up during the treat sequences though — where the hell are the Cherry Mashes & Valomilks? Ah well, I guess you can’t have everything.

So anyway, settle back from the vantage point of 22 years worth of hindsight and help yourself to loads of quality advice on pumpkin carving, fire hazards, costume functionality, mask visibility, street crossing etiquette, vandalism & mayhem, treat tampering (bear in mind that this was only a few years after the 1982 Tylenol murders), and more — all told against a sub-Michael Jackson soundtrack by an animated Jack-O-Lantern narrator!

Part One:

Part Two:

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Halloween Safety (1977, Centron)

September 8th, 2007 24 comments

Okay! Just amazing! I finally (finally!) acquired a 16mm reel of the Centron/ Coronet Halloween Safety educational film I appeared in back when I was 7 years old! It had been so long that I could scarcely remember a thing about my involvement, and mostly questioned whether or not it would turn out that I was even really in the damn thing after all. But as of today, for the first time in 30 years, I can confirm that: yes, yes I am. The grand screen-time-total of my glorious film debut? About 14 seconds. 14 seconds of complete fucking Halloween awesomeness.

So the basic deal is that in 1976 I was asked to be in this thing by a casting scout who visited my grade school and picked me out of my 2nd grade class’s outfit parade. My costume was a homemade Creature From The Black Lagoon getup with a thin rubber mask ordered out of a comic book for the head, and my previous year’s Sears-bought “Planet of the Apes” suit turned inside out, dyed dark green and accented with darker green hanging cheesecloth (which was supposed to resemble seaweed) for the body. Well as it turns out — and I had completely forgotten this ’til I started watching — I wasn’t actually allowed to wear my rubber Creature from the Black Lagoon mask in the film at all, since a key safety point seems to be that masks are oh-so-very-unnecessary for Halloween fun. Instead (and this all came rushing back to me) they had some make-up dude come in & paint my face like a graveyard ghoul — it looks great! Really crude and minimalist but still completely in step with my cheesecloth-covered-costume, which now looks to be the dismal shroud of the roaming undead. Man, I totally should have ripped off that look for my costume the following year.

So anyway, what actually happens in those earth-shatteringly historic 14 seconds of mine? Well basically you see me put in a set of vampire teeth (with a giant strand of drool stretching from my hands to my mouth) and then start to apply some white face paint to my lips. Next we cut to a “Halloween Party” scene, and here I remember initially being in front of the whole group only to be shamefully sent to the very back after trying to eat a cookie before the camera started rolling. As the scene pans around you can see me talking to a couple of other kids for a few frames (at least 3 of them were grade school pals of mine) and then… well that’s pretty much IT for me actually. Totally incidental! Totally forgettable! Totally worth the three decades wait!

Check the exciting “Jason Only” edit here:

…and then don’t miss the REAL full-length 1977 version, where you can watch a reasonably creepy Witch costume devolve into an utter wreck of reflective tape and white fabric over the course of 11 minutes.

Part One:

Part Two:

Coming soon: the completely different “second edition” version from 1985. All new plot! All new kids! All new safety tips!

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