DIO’S GIANT SPIDER.

Ronnie James Dio. The greatest heavy metal vocalist of all time. He would have turned 79 this year.

Dio’s band in 1988, a tight pack of monster players who are the best at what they do, performing at a high level every night and mystifying fans with their musical chops. What else could they possibly need, you ask?

An 8 foot wide giant robotic spider that shoots laser beams, THAT’S WHAT, YOU IDIOT. Watch the video below to examine.

Who doesn’t love a good practical effect? OK fine, who doesn’t love a bad practical effect? I’m dead serious because even a big, goofy stage effect like this one is 10x more fun than the soulless, digital nonsense and giant screens we get shoved in our faces at some concerts these days. On Dio’s 1988 Dream Evil tour, a giant laser-firing spider crawled from the rafters and hovered over guitarist Craig Goldy during his guitar solo. They couldn’t just let him solo. He needed to fight an 8 foot arachnid. Was it cheesy? Yes. Was it incredible? Double fuck yes.

Now here’s where the pain sets in. TNUC missed out because just a few years ago the mechanical spider was sold in an auction!

Photos courtesy of Julien’s Auctions on behalf of the Ronnie James Dio estate.

LOT CLOSED – SOLD PRICE: $3,200

“A massive hydraulic powered welded aluminum black widow spider with eight fully articulated and bladed legs emanating from a central thorax fitted with eight spotlights with retractable caged head containing an additional light and red gel; the large abdomen houses various control and power mechanisms, including a Dayton motor. During the 1988 Dio Dream Evil Tour the spider was suspended above the stage and slain by the band. Currently housed in a grey rolling crate.”

Dio was always known for elaborate stage props, especially when he broke the bank on the previous Sacred Heart tour as he unveiled a massive dragon on stage. According to Craig Goldy in a recent interview “Ronnie practically cut his profit margin in half bringing the fans an 18 foot fire breathing dragon. It really did have fire coming out of its mouth, lasers shot out of the dragon’s eyes, and wherever that laser would land an explosion would take place, both visual and audio. He didn’t hike up ticket prices for all that…. it was his way of giving back to the fans.” 

Dio and dragon

This is why I will always prefer a *good* roadside haunted house with DIY effects that you know they put a lot of work into, rather than screens or zombies and clowns roaming around at random. Give me a rotting cornfield maze featuring some grim reapers, paper mache props, foam graveyards, busty vampirellas, rubber props, airbrushed carnival art and someone going way too hard with the fog machine. My happy place.

Watching Dio’s giant spider reminds me of the 1986 movie Spookies, a certified classic on the Mount Rushmore of horror cheese. The special effects however, are unbelievably tremendous. The movie can be tough to sit through at 2am but man, you will never forget the practical effect scenes. My favorite being the “spider woman” segment (teaser above).

It’s probably a blessing in disguise that I didn’t get a chance to purchase the spider because knowing my luck, it would have come alive during a lightning storm one night. The last thing I need is Ronnie James Dio’s mechanical spider coming to kill me while I sleep. Although, I could have convinced an ex-girlfriend to go check out the box in the basement like in the Creepshow story “The Crate”. And just when she gets a little too close….

FACE THE MASTER.

“The bats have left the bell tower”

UNCLE TNUC’S DEAD. UNDEAD UNDEAD UNDEAD. Actually, quite the contrary because it’s finally fucking FALL again and that means Uncle T and most of you are feeling more alive than ever. It’s that special time of year again when pumpkin shaped Reese’s Cups and dollar store rubber rats come out to play. The crunch of leaves under my boots. The smell of apple cider donuts. It feels like somewhat of a spiritual awakening. In the coming weeks, rides in the car down country roads just become something else. As soon as that first sip of (spiked) generic red punch hits my lips on Halloween night, I’ll beg to hear “Dead Man’s Party” so I can get frisky on the dancefloor.

Turn up the volume and press play.
Turn up the volume and press play.
Turn up the volume and press play.

This 2022 season, the TNUC Manimal has vamped out in a major way by summoning the wretched spirit of one of his favorite bloodsuckers of all immortality, KURT BARLOW. The iconic vampire from Stephen King’s classic novel Salem’s Lot is truly one of the all time greats.

Especially when he turned into a blue-skinned Nosferatu with yellow eyes, hissing and screaming like a rabid animal in heat. The 1979 TV mini series directed by Tobe Hooper is such a special thing. WE WELCOME UNCLE BARLOW.

TNUC has a good amount of tricks up his sleeve this month for you disciples to devour. This year’s annual Halloween mixtape I’m especially excited about. It’s been as they say “in the can” for quite a while. Revisit all the TNUC mixtapes on Mixcloud while you wait for the new one!

Here’s one thing I can share right now. We have brand new, XL-sized sticker packs for sale in the haunted gift shop.
Click on the photo below to order!

ORDER HERE TODAY! Artwork by Matthew Skiff.

Each set contains what you see in the photo:
(1) ‘Camp TNUC bumper sticker’ 11.5″ x 3″
(1) Uncle Barlow’ 6.5″ x 7″
(1) ‘Face The Master headshot’ 3.5″ x 4″ (Each set includes a signed note from master TNUC)

I’ve always found it difficult to wrap up the first article of our little countdown to Halloween. So I’m going to stop writing and just leave you with the quintessential goth masterpiece that literally sounds like no other piece of music that came before or after it. Of course I’m talking about “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus. I also find that every time I look at this new Uncle Barlow artwork by Matt Skiff, for some reason this song starts playing in my head.

CLASSIC PIZZA HUTS ARE BACK.

Do you know that strange feeling immediately after waking up from a pleasant dream and thinking that it’s real?

The following story is just like that feeling…only multiplied by 10, smelling like bubbly cheese and being absolutely real.

After years of hope, frustration, bitterness and dismay, the pizza lords have granted us disciples with their biggest blessing known to man. Something that our cynical and easily distracted society I think desperately needs. Ladies and gentlemen of the TNUC nation,

CLASSIC PIZZA HUTS ARE BACK!

I write this with such conviction and pride in my tone because we have been clamoring to #MakePizzaHutGreatAgain for what feels like a century. For the longest time we’ve had to bare witness to Pizza Hut transform from a once family-style, sit down, FUN restaurant to a generic, carry-out thing shoved in corners of ugly strip malls across America. Gone of its charm. A shell of what it once was.

Those days are apparently coming to an end after what I witnessed firsthand last week while traveling to Minnesota for a wedding. About 14 miles from Minneapolis in the city of Spring Lake Park, an oasis in a hot desert came in the form of a red roof and an old familiar logo with the word CLASSIC literally below it.

There she was in all her glory. “Old Faithful” with the V shaped windows, tan & red exterior and gleaming, tomato sauce-colored hut roof. That happy place firmly planted in our memories which has for recent years only been seen when watching old movies and commercials. This classic Pizza Hut clearly wasn’t some abandoned “used-to-be-a Pizza Hut” decaying away or becoming an insurance agency. This beautiful healthy fortress was alive and well. Ready for steamy, hot pizza action.

Myself and a cousin-in-law were beside ourselves as we pulled into the parking lot. We couldn’t wait to see what wonders lay ahead. In the words of Freddy Mercury “Is this the real life…is this just fantasy?”

Photos taken by TNUC. All rights reserved.

I’m not sure what they intend to do beyond a handful of these classic Pizza Huts popping up around the country, but all we can do is hope it continues, expands and fully crystallizes.

Uncle T could have walked out of there complaining about there not being a tabletop Pacman game, salad bar or the Priazzo. I just feel like that would be splitting hairs. Dan Carney and the experts at Pizza Hut have given us so much by turning back to the original formula of the old restaurant parlor.

Regardless of whether or not you like Pizza Hut’s food, there is a bigger picture here. This is one of those important examples of when simplicity works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Having sit down, family style pizza parlors brought people together. Friends on Friday nights. Birthday parties. Celebrating Uncle Red getting out of his 9th stay at rehab. Pizza shouldn’t always be about take-out and throwing it on the coffee table at home. Sometimes we need the paper plates and sticky floors from decades of spilled root beer. When’s the last time you SAT DOWN for a pie with someone? Hopefully it’s as often as possible.

Pizza Hut……..MAKIN’ IT GREAT!

(THE LAST GOODBYE) HORSES.

Q Lazzarus – the elusive and mysterious musician who rose to notoriety with her 1988 song Goodbye Horses died last week. The song was of course best known from an unforgettable scene in the Oscar-winning film Silence of the Lambs.

If there’s one standalone moment about the movie that has made a lasting impression on me or better yet, haunted my soul for decades, it’s Goodbye Horses. Buffalo Bill’s “transformation” scene wouldn’t have been nearly as creepy and shocking without Q Lazz crooning the words to Goodbye Horses over that hypnotizing melody as it echoes through Bill’s dungeon basement.

Before the song is introduced in the film, the build up of POV camera shots inside Bill’s lair are pure nightmare fuel. Peeking around the cave-like corners and seeing mannequins, women’s clothing, flying bugs and general filth. It feels like you’re walking through a haunted house and wondering what monstrous thing you’re bound to encounter next.

Then it’s time for Goodbye Horses.

As music placement perfection in film goes, it doesn’t get any better than this. The song starts playing in between close-ups of Bill’s makeup, tattoos and piercings — then switches back to poor Katherine’s desperate cries for help from down inside the underground pit. As she attempts to lure his dog “Precious” to the edge of the pit, the volume of the song is echoey and distant, adding to the atmosphere of being in an actual basement and the music coming from dark, unknown depths.

I’ve never been exactly sure what “sound design” means but if I had to guess, this scene probably defines it. The song gets louder until it’s finally fully exposed and we see Bill applying his makeup and skin. Finally, the infamous “tuck” scene arrives and sends people like my mother turning the movie off and leaving the room in 1993.

You’ll never forget the scene as you’ll never forget the song. They compliment each other to provide maximum effect. What’s also fascinating about Goodbye Horses is how infectious and genuinely great the song actually is. The drums, lyrics and THAT VOICE. It’s a dark and eerie masterpiece.

Before the internet, my friend and I would creep out at the song and wonder what a “Q Lazzarus” must look like. The deep vocal part had us questioning if it was a male or female, which I think subconsciously does wonders for the scene in Silence of the Lambs.

According to it’s writer, “the song is about transcendence over those who see the world as only earthly and finite. The horses represent the five senses discussed in the Bhagavad Gita and the ability to lift one’s perception above these physical limitations and to see beyond this limited Earthly perspective.”

Allegedly as the story goes, Q Lazzarus (real name is Diane Luckey) was a cab driver in New York in the ’80s when she picked up filmmaker Jonathan Demme. She played her demo tape for him in the taxi, and he was blown away. He used her music in not only Silence of the Lambs but three of his other films as well.

It’s amazing to think about the impact she left with just one song. Truly iconic. R.I.P.

TIM CAPPELLO LIVE.

Outside, on a breezy summer night, I just saw Tim Cappello live in concert. I repeat….I JUST SAW TIM CAPPELLO — live with saxophone, chains, oil and codpiece. I had to say it twice outload because it seems unbelievable. But it was real, it was absolutely real.

It’s been 35 years since the infamous Santa Carla boardwalk show that featured the glistening saxophone icon playing I Still Believe to a frenzied crowd of teenage locals and carnival-goers. That infamous “scene” from 1987’s The Lost Boys clocked in at approximately 14 seconds. To think that over three decades later, this seconds-long performance had so much of an impact that he’s able to play in front of crowds in 2022 is remarkable. Last weekend he played to a sold out parking lot crowd by himself, with no backing band, at 67 years old! The man is still in top powerful form, still lathered in oil in chains and playing that saxophone like it’s the end of the world. Here is my video footage from the show:

He still has the power. The thrusts. Everything still intact. His set featured a handful of songs which included a funky, almost Cuban sounding sax-jam, a song from his days playing in Ringo Starr’s band and of course the seminal hit I STILL BELIEVE. Between songs he joked with the crowd, told stories and had a hilarious, interactive dance session with the audience. He told a story about working with Don Johnson on Miami Vice that had everyone busting up.

Tim Cappello appearing in the Miami Vice episode “Theresa” from Season 3.

Cappello has been doing this for the last few years — showing up at conventions, movie screenings and signings. For an old Santa Carla streetwalkin’ cheetah like Uncle T, finally seeing the guy LIVE was a surreal moment that I’ll never forget. I can remember walking into Tape World at the mall as small child and walking up to the front counter with The Lost Boys soundtrack because of that song.

I Still Believe is one of those songs that to this day I can’t get tired of. That lion-roaring-saxophone-eruption is so timeless and unforgettable. I must have responded to it so much when I was younger because he plays the sax like a guitar. It’s loud, in your face and doesn’t take no for an answer.

I recommend — no fuck that — I demand every Lost Boys fan reading this to buy a ticket to Tim Cappello if he comes around your neck of the woods. This isn’t just some novelty, niche, nerd-horror convention thing AT ALL. This is a guy who played in Tina Turner’s band on some of her biggest hits. A guy who played with Ringo Starr, Carly Simon and Peter Gabriel. Tim is the real deal and he commands the stage with the sax as his battle axe.

For several moments I would close my eyes and with the cool breeze and sound of the saxophone, it felt like I was back in Santa Carla again. I finished the night by getting my ear pierced and racing dirt bikes on the foggy beach.

BONUS/DISCLAIMER: As you know, TNUC likes to stick to the same essential food groups. Saxophone, Pizza Hut, The Barbarian Brothers, Long-Butts, Beer Wolf, Halloween and Summer Camp. If you’re a regular around here, you know we can’t help constantly talking about these things and devoting entire articles to their causes. So because Uncle T always likes to give something away, here is the demo version of Ozzy Osbourne’s “See You On The Other Side” which features a choir and SAXOPHONE. (No, it’s not Tim Cappello playing…but enjoy).

EDDIE MUNSON’S HELLFIRE BASEMENT TAPE.

Eddie Munson has all the nasty attributes to be chiseled in stone forever inside TNUC’s “hall of icons and misunderstood powerhouses”. Troubled upbringing, parental guardian issues, heavy metal weirdo, basement dweller, held back at school, sells drugs at school, plays Dungeons & Dragons, loves Dio, lives with his uncle, he’s an axe-grinder, piledriver and so on and so forth. Plus, that battle vest he wears? Reeks of cigarettes and Spaghetti-o’s…guaranteed.

All of this mind you, and he’s the coolest motherfucker at Hawkins High. Jocks fear him and geeks worship at his D&D altar. The cheerleaders and country club girls agree he’s a weirdo — but secretly they’ve always been fascinated by this “dark horse” wondering around at school.

After the character of Billy Hargrove was introduced in Stranger Things, I didn’t think it could get any better. That’s why in 2019, TNUC made Billy’s Hot Camaro Tape. Also this was due to the fact that Uncle TNUC’s “Manimal” mascot and Billy were alike in so many ways. Some theorize that we were separated at birth. Brothers forever..

Eddie is a completely different story, of course. Eddie is the SPIRIT of all the great controversial figures who mouth-breathing turkeys have tried to take down for decades. Whether it was Tipper Gore and the PMRC, or the conservative church group in your town, there will always be some dingus hollering about how guys like Eddie must be devil worshippers or a bad influence on kids. Ozzy Osbourne, Blackie Lawless, Alice Cooper, King Diamond, Sammi Curr and now Eddie Munson.

A few of Eddie’s ‘Hellfire Club’ compadres provided TNUC this mixtape straight from the depths of the D&D master’s basement. So spark up some of that burlacious ganja-bud because it’s going to be a long night. Press play and roll the dice for EDDIE MUNSON’S HELLFIRE BASEMENT TAPE.

^ WELCOME TO HELLFIRE ^

A note from the author: Uncle T hopes you disciples enjoy this mixtape as much as he enjoyed gathering songs, going through newspaper archives at the local library and interviewing ex-PTA meeting moms about “satanic panic” in small towns across rural America. But seriously, thanks for keeping up with the ‘NUC. I realize things have been a bit quiet over here lately. I’m at a crossroads if you will on what to do with the website. It’s not going away, but the site is long, long overdue for a massive renovation and update. For now, take a deep dive into this mixtape. For long-time readers and listeners, you know there’s a big difference between a curated mixtape and a goddamn Spotify playlist!

d/l link

Behold…the “Eddie Munson limited edition signature BC Rich Warlock guitar”
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