“Sleep. Those little slices of Death. How I loathe them.”
– Eddie Allan Poe
It’s October of 1988. My parents ship me off to boarding school at one of the snottiest and most prestigious prep schools in the country. Talk about a fish out of water. To say I wasn’t pleased would be an understatement. I’ll never forget my old man grabbing me by the single-dangling earring and whispering into my ear with last night’s peppermint schnapps’ on his breath, “go clean up your act…or else”. I didn’t have much of a choice.
Campus life at a boarding school in New England ended up not being so bad. Like a magnet I gravitated to a pack of juvenile delinquents as we bonded over good music, hijinks, horror movies and sneaking off into the night with the girls from Omega Mu.
Aside from Brad in his daddy’s Porsche, the kids at school loved us. We threw the best parties and turned everyone onto the cutting edge bands about to break. During the day we’d hang out in the quad and trade cassette mixtapes while the girls tanned and frisbees soared over our heads. My trench coat pockets were always loaded with tapes, a sack of ‘ludes and my trustee switchblade.
The richy kids and trust fund dependents called us the “Twisted Sister Society”, because apparently that’s what we looked like with our rat’s nest-teased hair and prep school blazers-turned-into-trench-coats. We eventually started our own fraternity and plans immediately began for the biggest Haunted House Party in the academy’s history.
Halloween night, ’88. We formed a secret handshake plan to host the party in the basement boiler room of the institution’s old mansion. It’s the most ancient building both on campus and in town. This place had serious history. Macabre history regarding a disfigured maintenance worker who was locked inside the boiler room and left to die. We figured what better place to crash on All Hallows’ Eve?? Party on!
All were welcome under a couple conditions. No going home until dawn and positively NO SLEEPING.
All night long we drank punch, smoked skinny joints, scared each other, danced around the fire, headbanged over burning barrels, chased girls through the boiler room, ate candy, stair-dived into kiddie pools of beer and played hide the salami. One of our groups even held a séance with pentacles drawn in rat’s blood and black candles lit.
If anyone was caught trying to sleep, they were escorted to a special locked room and were forced to listen to young TNUC’s mixtape creation, ‘NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES’. This mix was carefully constructed to evoke spirits, night demons and other horny apparitions to keep you wide awake.
Now decades later I call on you disciples to wrap a pair of headphones around your skull and sink deep into TNUC’s Nightmares & Dreamscapes.
Thank you to Kane Banner for killing it with the mixtape artwork this year! Also a huge thanks to Auntie TNUC, Chad Allegro and Heath So Spooky for their relentless support and ideas over the years. And last but not least all you BEASTS IN THE NIGHT aka TNUC Disciples for spending any of your time on this website. I realize a portion of people stick only to the social media output, which is OK — but these “blogs” have become secondary to some people and that sucks. For those of you reading this, that means you’re actually here…so THANK YOU. I love you all.
Peter Steele. Lord Petrus Steele. Green Man. Gothic Gaston, Big Pete. The Girthy Godfather. Uncle Pete. The Jolly Green Giant. At least two of these names are correct.
Type O Negative’s towering lead singer and brooding bass player was a musical force that we all miss dearly. His deep baritone was a perfect and unique delivery for the band’s songs about love, death and nature. Dark, heavy music had never been done in a style that combined feelings of power, romance and violence, all the while never losing a sense of humor. The band’s 1996 release ‘October Rust’ is one of my listening rituals during the Halloween season. I can’t go through the month without going on a few “October Rust rides” in the car.
Guys wanted to be him. Ladies him inside of them. Need proof of that? Go jump on social media and start looking at Peter Steele content. 11 years after his passing and they still lust for The Green Man.
Let’s ponder at some of the reasons why we love Pete…
#5 HIS OBSESSION WITH AUTUMN
Begin by watching this video of Pete standing in the woods and opening up about his love for the season of change. Many of us can completely relate to his words. I don’t know what Mr. Steele’s living situation was up until his death at the early age of 49, but I really hope he got to live in the woods with his woman to worship her the rest of his life.
#4 HE USED TO DRIVE A GARBAGE TRUCK
Anyone who knows TNUC knows about my love for garbage trucks and admiration especially for guys who ride on the back of garbage trucks. I’ll never forget being a kid and seeing the guys hanging on the back and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. When I discovered that right up until touring with Type O Negative in 1994, Pete used to drive a trash truck for the New York City Parks and Recreation, this catapulted him to the raddest bastard on the planet.
“Green Man” is what the kids in the park used to call him because he would wear a green uniform. Imagine this 6 ft 8 inch vampire tossing bags in the truck with one arm dangling and winking at your mom as he drives by? Coolest man alive and dead.
#3 HIS ANTI-WEAKLING GOTH PERSONA
When I think of gothy types these days (meaning males), the only thing that comes to mind is Twilight movies, Damien from Bride of Chucky and pasty kids with huge black sweatshirts staring at their shoes. The ladies pull it off with excellence but something about the male goth species just doesn’t click.
Big Pete on the other hand was a different story. Pete got the job done. First of all, he looked like a wrestler or a guy who should be galloping through the mountains on a horse wielding a sword and decapitating people. This is definitely not the guy ANYONE fucked with in high school. He beat up the jocks and could steal their girls if he wanted to.
However at the same time his lyrics were often deeply personal and vulnerable. Pete had a tender side that he balanced exceedingly well.
#2 OFF-STAGE APPEARANCES
For having such a dark and brooding presence, Pete showed his humorous side when making appearances on talk shows including The Jerry Springer Show and Ricky Lake. But the most legendary appearance was when he posed nude for Playgirl in 1995 to show the world his jolly green giant.
Steele later found out from his guitarist Kenny Hickey that only 23% of Playgirl magazine subscribers were female. After being asked by men to sign copies of the magazine, Steele somewhat regretted the decision: “After I did it, I thought, ‘Oh my God, what did I do?’ It was more than upsetting that so many guys had it. Girls, OK, but there just seemed to be at least as many guys. Not that I’m homophobic, but it was certainly irritating.”
#1 THE SONGS
It all comes down to the songs. All these reasons why we love Uncle Pete couldn’t exist without the music he left us with. Whether it’s Type O Negative or his previous band Carnivore, this man was a powerhouse of a vocalist. He brought such a unique style and insane vocal range that is honestly incomparable to any artist.
A dreamy heavy metal masterpiece right here. I can listen to this music any time of year but during the Autumn season it just hits different. Drink some wine and crank these up by a bonfire.
Autumn in her flaming dress
Of orange, brown, gold fallen leaves
My mistress of the frigid night
I worship, pray to on my knees
There will never be another Peter Steele. REST IN POWER.
The place your parents warned you about. The place where both dreams and nightmares are made!
This lost video was recently found in TNUC’s dusty attic and restored as best as possible for your viewing needs. Please share it it around if you enjoy it.
Music: Steve Moore – The Jefferson Institute
As I write this passage, it’s the eve of October.
The black candles have been lit.
The cauldron is about to boil.
All is right.
It’s also during this time when the cool air moves in like a power surge. Everything we love about the Halloween season is about to erupt. Just today the band Ghost released a song called “Hunter’s Moon” from the upcoming MIchael Myers sequel, HALLOWEEN KILLS.
Not only do I love the song and can’t wait to see our favorite Boogeyman stalk babysitters on the big screen again, but it’s also just unbelievably refreshing to have a big rock tune on a major motion picture soundtrack. Especially a horror flick! I can’t remember the last time we had a band do a proper song for a movie. Bride of Chucky? Queen of the Damned? It definitely feels like a lost art.
I’ve read interviews with Ghost and when they cite influences and references, they never mention Blue Öyster Cult. I find it pretty strange given the blatant similarities. This isn’t a knock on the band at all (I support ’em), but you can’t deny the resemblance. The sweet-sounding vocals contrasting with macabre lyrics, occult imagery and now a song titled “Hunter’s Moon” which after listening to almost feels like a sequel to BÖC’s “Harvest Moon”.
It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. Two stellar tracks that bring to mind the pure atmosphere of Autumn. Howling winds carrying dead leaves to the ground…decaying cornfields…creaky cemetery gates…
The creaky floorboards. The flickering television playing old monster movies. The alluring stench of rubber latex and fake fur. Uncle T in the corner, melting a crucifix and medallion into molten silver and pouring it into a bullet mold. This could only mean one thing.
You’ve stepped inside
TNUC’s NIGHTMARE GIFT SHOP!
Welcome babes and boogeymen of all shapes, sizes and sexual orientations. We can’t wait to show you what adorns these dusty, wood-paneled walls!
It’s funny how certain memories from childhood become so hazy over time and harder to remember details, while other memories — like first encounters, are so vivid. Take for instance my first experience at a Halloween costume shop. I remember it like it was yesterday.
This would have been around 1989 or 1990 at a crusty mom ‘n pop place in the city. After seeing an ad in our local newspaper during the month of October for place to buy/rent costumes called ‘Morris Novelty’, I begged my parents to take me. My imagination ran wild that a place could even exist that was dedicated to costumes, gags, masks and make-believe. Mind you, I wasn’t a horror fan at this point…but I was more than intrigued.
We drove to the location and what I pictured in my mind was not what stood before us — an abandoned looking building with not a single car in the lot. But venturing this far out in the Volvo station wagon, we weren’t turning away without checking it out.
Sure enough this unassuming place was indeed a business. The first floor looked like a dilapidated department store. Some clown costumes and ballerina stuff. Costumes that were obviously geared more towards theater people. The place smelled like a wet carpet and old fried food. A bit of a letdown, until we saw a wooden staircase with a sign pointing up that said MASKS.
My parents led the way as we proceeded upstairs and began to hear one of those Halloween sound effects tapes playing. This second floor was darker but not intentionally dark. Minimal lighting like your grandmother’s attic or your sketchy uncle’s “devil’s den”. Strange smells too. Then I glanced upwards to feast my eyes on a vision that hit me like a ton of bricks. A mountain of masks towering over us on some wood paneling and corkboard walls. An intimidating sight to behold.
Ghouls, demons, weirdos, beasts, old creeps, Hannibal Lector’s “muzzle” mask and things that my horror-virgin self couldn’t wrap my head around. I didn’t run out of there screaming or anything, but all I could do was stare in awe/shock.
Shelves upon shelves of hideous freaks with fangs and rotting flesh looking down at you like they want lunch. Again, I hadn’t dipped my toe in horror movies at this point, so even movie references were way over my head. My only exposure was quickly shuffling through the horror section of the video store, looking at the artwork and thinking that anyone who watches this stuff must be completely mental.
It’s one of the earliest memories I have of getting a true feeling from all of this. It’s that same fascination yet intimidation as when your friend’s older brother plays you Pantera and Iron Maiden for the first time after you’ve been listening to nothing but Green Day.
That’s why our theme this year is dedicated to all the Halloween costume shops of the world. Weather it be Frank’s Freaky Novelties, a drug store in the middle of nowhere or Spirit Halloween, we salute them all. There’s no feeling quite like walking into one of these stores and getting your monster fix.
A monstrous-sized FUCK YEAH to my pal Cody Kaufman who came up with the incredible artwork for this year’s theme. I can’t stop staring at it! [click here to enlarge]
We have a slew of goodies coming this way for the spooky season. Next week we’ll premiere our promotional video for TNUC’s Nightmare Gift Shop, so keep your eyes on this site.
If you have memories of old Halloween costume shops, please share in the comments section!
We’ve all heard stories of people finding strange things in the middle of the woods. Or perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself. Objects, structures, cars, staircases, graves, ancient relics and other random oddities that seem like they were dropped out of nowhere. The same puzzling thoughts enter our minds. Why is this here? How did it get here? Where the hell am I?
It happened to Uncle T during a recent weekend trip to the (almost) tip of Cape Cod when a TOWER FORTRESS appeared seemingly out of thin air. Soon after I would discover a legend behind the tower…
It’s called the “Jenny Lind Tower” and it’s location is on the property of an abandoned air force base in North Truro, Massachusetts. It’s also pretty much footsteps from the ocean and the beautiful National Seashore. The story of how this castle-like structure found its way out here goes like this:
A 19th century opera singer named Jenny Lind was supposed to perform in Boston in 1850 in an auditorium above a railroad station. *This tower was part of the original railroad station structure.* However the concert was oversold and when many people couldn’t get in, they rioted and crashed the gates. As legend has it, to calm the angry concertgoers Jenny Lind climbed the tower and sang to the public. P.T. Barnum was the publicist for Lind so its possible he created the legend behind the name.
In 1927, the station was being torn down and a rich man named Henry Aldrich had the tower dismantled and transported by train way out to Truro, Massachusetts. Aside from having the money and resources to do this, it’s unclear as to why exactly he wanted this specific tower near his seaside property.
Where this story gets ghastly is its connection to a famous ghost called “The Witch of Wellfleet” who haunts the woods of Truro and the town of Wellfleet. Her real name was Goody Hallett and she was the lover of an actual pirate captain named Samuel Bellamy. For over 300 years stories have been passed down about “banshee screams” heard on the sea cliffs, putting a curse on the passing ships and causing them to wreck as Samuel Bellamy’s pirate ship did in 1717. Local legend says that when the banshee witch starts screaming, the ghost of Jenny Lind ascends her tower to sing and her enchanting voice stops the witch and frightens her away.
That’s right, Jenny Lind is a good witch.
I should also note that the walk to this “haunted” tower through an abandoned air force base was also very cool. The base has been inactive for some 27 years, but the radar structures and old buildings are still very much intact.
Happy wandering, TNUC disciples. You never know what you’ll encounter.