Billy goddamn Hargrove. When this character first appeared in Season 2 of Stranger Things back in 2017, the parallels between him and our mascot the TNUC “Manimal” hit me like a ton of bricks. The greasy mullet, denim on denim, single dangly earring, slaying of cougars, ripping of cigarettes, nasty attitude, iconic muscle cars, being pissed off, loving RATT, having a bulge. BILLY = TNUC.
From the first time he graces the screen it’s a nonstop roller coaster of TNUC Detention Hall 101. It was almost too good to be true.
As episodes progressed, the similarities kept coming and not a day went by that I didn’t hear from one of you TNUC maniac disciples comparing these two brothers from other mothers. Of course we noticed it, but the outpour of comments from total strangers was a bit overwhelming. Even my friend Big Mike aka Mike Ballermann had strong feelings that series creators The Duffer Brothers were directly inspired by the Land of TNUC.
Now that we’ve watched Season 3 and witnessed the arc of this character, all this son of a bitch needed BADLY was his own power hour mixtape for cruising in the blue ’79 Camaro. Amidst all the Stranger Things mania happening in the world right now, a crucial tribute to Billy Hargrove is absolutely paramount. Billy rules. Crank it up!
“Billy’s Hot Camaro Tape” is also a nod to some of those older brothers we knew growing up. The intimidating ones who were into ice hockey and Iron Maiden while us impressionable kids were still into kiddie stuff. They could be total dicks at times but were scary and cool as well (Billy). I’ll never forget meeting my friend’s older, long-haired brother “Rocky” for the first time. We wandered into his cigarette-hazed bedroom and looked around at skulls, blacklight posters, a shitty weight bench and band logos written in black marker all over the walls while this band called Pantera blasted from the stereo. I was never the same.
Hot tip: Don’t listen to this mixtape “passively” i.e. through a cell phone or while doing stuff on your computers. This thing was engineered for hot nights, long drives, backyard BBQs, house parties, panty raids, sweaty air drumming or bedroom rage-outs with the door closed and mom downstairs ironing. *REALLY LISTEN*
In the summer of 1971, the whack-job horror movie titled Let’s Scare Jessica To Death was released.
Forty-eight years later, a whack-job manimal named Uncle T paid a visit to Old Saybrook, Connecticut to visit the terrifying house seen in the movie!
But first, a little plot explanation for people who maybe aren’t familiar with the film:
Jessica has been released from a mental institution and her husband Duncan thinks it’s a good idea to take her to the quiet and peaceful country. Duncan, Jessica and their friend Woody head upstate with plans to shack up in a farmhouse that one of them recently purchased. Jessica begins hearing voices and seeing a mysterious girl around the property. This leads to a series of oddball events throughout the movie which involves Jessica either suffering from a mental state of daytime hallucinations or the reality that the group have landed in a small town of actual vampires.
The bizarre nature of this movie is thanks to the spooky atmosphere and slow-burn dreaminess. There’s something about daytime horror films and the off-beat mood that keeps you immersed in a different sense than nighttime horror. It’s always struck a nerve with me. Rarely do filmmakers pull it off effectively, but prime examples can also be found in Jaws, Cujo, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Creepshow 2’s “The Raft”. Jessica is played by Zorah Lampert and her performance is also a huge reason why the film is so strangely intriguing. Her dialogue, facial expressions and frolicking around will have you asking if this “actress” could possibly be a real escape mental patient. It’s also one of those movies with weird 1970’s realistic-looking small town folk that you’d never want to run into if your car broke down.
OK, back to TNUC’s excursion…
From reports from the internet, I knew the old farmhouse was off a turnpike but shrouded with trees and overgrown vegetation. The only thing else to do was keep that foggy shot from the movie in mind.
THERE IT WAS. IT HAD TO BE THE PLACE. I crept up the driveway, neglecting the “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signage because that’s the sort of curious asshole your Uncle T is.
There she was, all decrepit and rotted and glorious as could be.
The exterior has this yellowish-grey crust that most horror movies dream of recreating. The windows are mostly boarded up, shielding any creatures or hippie cannibal cult members that are attempting to make this place a home. Can you imagine what the BASEMENT looks like?
I’m such a sucker for eerie locations like this. Abandoned structures dying a slow death, only effected by the elements. What’s the history of the house? When was it built? Why hasn’t it been bulldozed? All I can tell you is that forty-eight years following the release of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, the house is exactly what a horror movie house should look like.
Clearest shot of the house in 1971.
Apparently a couple of the cemeteries seen in the movie are in the neighboring towns as well, but I’ll save those for next time.
Big thanks to JW Ocker over at OTIS for the much needed location info and scaring Uncle T to death!
Although the first day of summer doesn’t hit for another couple weeks, it sure felt like the season had officially began the moment this New Coke and Stranger Things 1985 Limited Edition Collectors Pack landed on my doorstep on a sunny late afternoon this week.
As I stood on my porch just about to open the box, the sky became stormy with clouds rolling in, looking very apocalyptic. Then I started to smell raindrops hitting the warm asphalt in the street. Nothing beats that feeling in the air just before a storm breaks.
Now this next part might sound fabricated but I swear to you it’s 100% true. As I cracked open the packaging tape around the box and opened it up, a spider crawled out. Mind you this box was sealed up very tight so I’m pretty sure this spider traveled all this way directly to the TNUC lair…as if he or she was sent for a purpose. If that isn’t some sort of sign from the secret laboratories in Hawkins, Indiana, I don’t know what is.
When Coca-Cola announced in May that the company was bringing back “New Coke” in a partnership with Stranger Things Season 3, my excitement went through the roof because not only do I love the TV series but I cherish a good promotional tie-in and this one makes so much sense. Plus I missed the original launch of New Coke back in 1985 during its three-month lifespan, which means I missed out on tasting the product and witnessing its quick demise.
In case you disciples aren’t up on your soft drink history, in the mid-eighties Coca-Cola sales were rapidly declining due to diet drinks and non-cola beverages being all the rage. Pepsi was on the rise with a majority of people preferring its sweeter taste. So in an effort to mix things up, Coca-Cola experts and researchers developed a new recipe that they predicted would revolutionize the soft drink world. “New Coke” was introduced to the public and became almost an instant failure. People didn’t respond well and the company reintroduced the original recipe within three months.
…Well, that sad story suddenly took a wild turn because 12 oz cans of New Coke are BACK (yes, the original batch) for a limited time available at CokeStore.com/1985. Purchase yours today or regret it for the rest of your life.
GET A LOAD OF THIS GUY. While listening to the latest Purple Stuff Podcast, Uncle T came to find out that “upside-down” Stranger Things-inspired vending machines started popping up in select cities and dispensing free cans! If you can find one of these in a 100 mile radius of your location, GET THERE. Otherwise pick up New Coke at CokeStore.com/1985!
So…how does it taste? TNUC will conduct a full-frontal taste test this week! Stay tuned to the Instagram ♦
For the first time in the annals of history, two of our favorite supreme beings have joined forces to present us with a powerful musical offering like no other. One half of this united awakening is SPIROS, the romantic phantom hailing from the Mediterranean who’s given TNUC three musical journeys in the past (SPIROS I, SPIROS II and SPIROS III). The other is Kurt Sloan, the spirit-obsessed warrior of the wind who’s blessed us with such mixtapes as Deep Mountain Meditation and Ride Like The Wind.
Just this week I received this letter postmarked from an undisclosed exotic location…
The letter read the following:
The search for Tammy Hutchins had come to a crossroads. Al the clues had dried up. Kurt Sloan had nowhere else to turn. He had to seek out the guidance of the Seer. In all his years of being a bounty hunter in the Arizona deserts, only once before had he sought her council. He took one last look at Tammy’s photo, wondering where she could have gone. She was a classic West Coast babe – her blonde hair glistened with hair spray, and her well-tanned and oiled bod was covered by a white one-piece swimsuit with a high hip cut. He carefully folded the photo, put it into his back pocket, and revved the throttle on his bike. He was off to Sedona.
Kurt climbed the deep red sandstone steps that spiraled up the butte, until he came upon a hollowed out cave at the top. Cedar smoke and incense poured out the entrance as he brushed aside the beaded curtains, and took his place on the hand-woven Navajo carpets. He was face to face with the Seer for the first time in years. They sat in silence, with only the stillness of the desert wind between them. Then, without a word she rand a Tibetan singing bowl, whose deeply resonant pitch ran throughout Kurt’s body and reverberated around the hollowed out stone chamber. She opened her pale, translucent eyes and looked right through Kurt and into the mesas and valleys beyond.
“The Great Spirit sees all things my son. He has given me these visions: I see a crisis of Spirit. I see a young woman trapped in a labyrinth. I see a phantom watching over her from his villa. He sings of passion and lures her towards realms beyond.” She grew silent as a shadow fell across the whites of her eyes, and her wrinkled face strained in concentration.
“Interesting, yes, yessssss. Yes, very interesting indeed. I can see you now. Amidst the Gardens of Illusions and Mirrors”.
7 Months Later…
I have found him. These must be the fabled grounds of SPIROS himself. I see the shadows of his villa silhouetted by the soft moonlight. With each step I take the foliage becomes denser, the fog grows thicker, and the labyrinth becomes even deeper. Hedges, marble statues, and grand fountains await me at periodic intervals, serving as an ever more complex series of landmarks. Between those landmarks I brushed aside ferns, ivy’s, palms and tropical fronds.
But, something else entirely happened to me there. Something I cannot begin to describe. My identity, my very spirit itself fractured, reflected, refracted, and echoed around the gardens, and I lost all sense of who I was. Suddenly, I had many identities, I was many selves, many possible experiences. My spirit entered a gateway into the Astral Plane, where it fused with the eternal flame of SPIROS himself. What came next cannot be put to mere words. So, all the beauty, the passion, the mystery, and the menace can be found within this mix journey, formed during our union in the Gardens where all identity becomes lost. These are but some of the myriad of experiences that I and now you will have amidst The Gardens of Illusions and Mirrors…
– Kurt Sloan
P.S. I would like to thank Uncle T on his tenth anniversary for giving a mysterious stranger from the Mediterranean a place to call home. And for allowing these wholly original creations to evolve and flourish over the years.
Back in 1991, there was this arcade in our city where all the baddies and punkers hung out all the time. It was only open at night and the vibe was intimidating as hell. The place was in one of those dilapidated old factories in the armpit of the city. You had to climb under fences and through tall weeds to find it. This huge Japanese street gang guy in a trenchcoat worked the front door. We were too young to be allowed inside so my friends and I would sneak into the back alley and climb onto dumpsters to take a peek through a window. We’d stand there in the pouring rain for hours just to catch a glimpse of the action and hear that music. This place had EVERYTHING. Double Dragon, Castlevania, Mortal Kombat, Turtles, T2: Judgement Day, Contra, Street Fighter II, Rad Mobile, Splatterhouse, Bad Dudes. Not to mention all the Dominos pizza, Jolt Cola, Dunkaroos, Bubble Tape, cigarettes and Fruit Sharks you could possibly imagine…I’m talking a lifetime supply of bad snacks.
All the rougher, older kids who took shop class in school had been going to this arcade for years. They’d be in the upper loft area playing all the ‘exclusive’ arcade games, smoking cigs, comparing switchblades and controlling the mysterious music playing over the PA system.
Truth be told, we never made it inside the arcade before the place ended up being condemned in late of ’93. However the worst part about the arcade being bulldozed had nothing to do with the games. Let’s face it, arcades were everywhere. What ruined me for the next decade was never finding out what that mysterious, incredible music was playing inside the walls of the arcade and where it came from.
Almost 20 years later an electronic duo from Australia by the name of POWER GLOVE seemed to appear out of thin air. The name grabbed me from the get-go, then I pressed the play button and heard white-hot anthems of synthesized armageddon that brought me to my knees. I couldn’t believe how immediately it brought me back to those dangerous days at the forbidden arcade. The pulsating rhythms, distorted samples and dream-crushing synths were exactly what I remembered hearing outside standing in the rain.
Over time Power Glove released a slew of singles, two EP’s and two amazing video game soundtracks (the latter which they were clearly born to do). However an actual full length record is something I know many of us have wandered the streets salivating for.
Well disciples, the wait is over. Power Glove are ready to release their first official LP entitled PLAYBACK on Friday May 17th!
Artwork by Chrome & Lightning
I’m so thrilled for these guys. To say it’s been a long time coming is quite an understatement. I’ve heard most of the album because TNUC is granted access to such royalties and secret handshakes, and believe me when I say Power Glove are about to deliver the kick to the prick this genre so desperately needs right now. So many electronic artists try to emulate a similar vibe, but Power Glove always stuck out in the pack by creating a sound simply felt bigger and more authentic than the followers. Just wait until you hear what these two lawyers sent from the future have been brewing.
Let’s have a taste right now. Uncle T has the keys to an exclusive new track called ‘Daybreak’. Listen now.
Man, if there was ever a track to embody the image of a clenched fist after just reaching the summit of a plateau in the desert, this is it. The synthesizers sweep into this song with such ease and sway, it brings to mind a desert warrior walking into the sunrise over the end credits of a film. During the middle the track the Giorgio Moroder influence kicks into high gear and all I can picture is Manny Ribera’s floral shirts effortlessly blowing in the Miami breeze.
Check out the album trailer above, then don’t forget to order ‘Playback’ wherever cassettes, compact discs and records are sold.