Everyone knows Stephen King stories are pretty much synonymous with the state of Maine. The master of the macabre and the Northeastern coastal state have met in most of King’s literature and in doing so, also on the big screen as well. Whether it be the fictional towns of Castle Rock, Derry or Salem’s Lot, to a real town like Bangor, it feels like the quaint and spooky atmosphere of these small towns is as much a character in the story as the people or monsters.
I’d be lying if I said I’ve read a huge number of his novels, but I’ve seen just about every film adaptation. While growing up and inching my way into horror, some of those first experiences of terror were with Stephen King movies. The Shining, Creepshow 1&2, Pet Sematary, IT, Cujo….you couldn’t get away from these on TV and falling victim to one on a rainy Saturday afternoon was a rattling feeling I’ll never forget. Brilliant storytelling with engaging characters, unrelenting fear and dark settings that I could relate to being a native New Englander.
The fictional names of towns King uses in his stories are based on real places the author either grew up in or areas that for whatever reason resonated with him. I had been hearing that many of the “shot on location” settings are still to this day exactly how they appear in the movies.
Beautiful rocky coastline, eerie woods, sprawling farm towns, lobster shacks and endless blueberries….Uncle T’s mind was made up. It was time to make a pilgrimage to this bizarre state and experience standing in one of these horror locations that has haunted my brain for decades (in a good way).
The cool thing about Maine is that so much of the state is unchanged. While driving through small town after small town, this is immediately noticeable. *Granted we focused our attention on rural, off-the-grid areas of the state to get the full effect*. The following seemed to repeat for miles: old diner, old church, ancient cemetery, dilapidated barn, rusty auto body shop, general store and antique shop. If that sounds backwoods-ish and boring, trust me it was not. There is a classic sense to these areas that just feels right. Like a vintage pizza parlor that knows nothing will ever beat their charm, so they refuse to go modern. However, the small towns do shift back and fourth from gorgeous, picturesque, New England landscape to spooky and strange. So again, what’s not to like!
I could trail on about how much I loved touring this state, but instead let’s stick to the subject and check out TNUC’s self-guided Stephen King tour:
The venture started with finding locations from my all-time favorite Stephen King adaptation which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, Pet Sematary.
Creed Family Home, 1989.
Now in 2019.
Driving up to the house was pretty surreal. At about a 1/4 mile before the house it already felt like we were approaching the old movie scene. I could see the set up of Jud Crandall’s house to the right, the sprawl of woods on the left and the Creed property coming into focus after we began descending down a hill. There it was. The exterior of the home and general landscape are virtually the same three decades later.
All that was missing was the tree with the tire swing and pathway to the pet cemetery. I didn’t feel the need to take a photo of Jud’s house across the street, because even though it was there, in the film they built a facade on the exterior, so nothing about the current home resembles the movie version.
Little Gage about to get plowed by the semi truck.
Just like in the film, the park where Louis Creed and family are having a picnic is right next to the house. I regret not having Auntie T take a photo of Uncle T screaming on his hands and knees in the middle of the road like Louis did to really make this photo come alive. It might be just a road, but it’s the road that shaped a devastating scene in King’s book and the 1989 film that fans will never forget.
The family picnic before all hell brakes loose.
From this point we ventured to the little town of Sedgwick to find the infamous MICMAC BURIAL GROUND.
This was more off the beaten path than I realized and Auntie TNUC wanted to ring my neck when she saw what I was dragging her out to see. The actual location of Micmac Burial Ground is on top of an old blueberry field. It requires some off-roading and then walking up a hill to the burial summit. The giant, somewhat circular solid rock looked precisely the same, minus the evil rock formations that set designers created to give it a ritualistic vibe. Several piles of rocks were still strewn about the area, although it was difficult to tell if they were the same ones used in the film.
Something about standing at the top of these ancient sour grounds with only gusts of wind and a few birds chirping seriously fueled my soul. It didn’t feel like most movie locations where it’s so clear that fans visit all the time. This was pretty remote and it made the experience feel more unique.
As for the cemetery location where Louis digs up Gage and Stephen King makes a cameo appearance as a minister, I was pressed for time but quite frankly its just a very well-kept cemetery in a city so it didn’t seem that interesting.
Thanks for reading about my voyage to Pet Semetery locations in Maine. There’s more…so stay tuned for PART II!
The moon is rising. Night winds blow seductively. A strange, bubbling-red mist erupts from beneath the ground…
Yes, the trail to The House Where TNUC Dwells AKA Manimal Mansion is a long and treacherous one. One of the bizarre things is that the trail actually disappears during the day. You would assume it would be easier to navigate during daylight hours, but for whatever reason (probably something to do with the Native burial grounds it crosses through) the trail is only somewhat manageable after the sun goes down.
Courageous hikers, city punkers and groups of frisky teens give it their best each year, and predicatively as the years pass, fewer and fewer return home. The milk cartons with “MISSING” labels show up in town every couple weeks into October. Preachers and churchgoers run frantically around town warning people. Angry townsfolk carry lead pipes, chains, flaming torches and pitchforks toward Manimal Mansion in hopes of destroying it…but never return.
Brave souls need not only to follow the path to the old house on the hill but also follow their nose as the stench of the night beast TNUC has chained up to an old oak tree on his property can be smelled from miles away. “Just follow your nose” it reads barely legible on a piece of plywood that kids painted at the edge of the trial.
Crossing through swamps, fog-drenched cemeteries, cornfields, then over the deadfall and under rock boulders they make the trek. At this point the deformed weirdos of the woods start coming out. One of them is typically our alcoholic, perverted groundskeeper “Petey” who has a knack for scaring girls in particular, getting them to clench onto their boyfriends’ letter jackets that much tighter. Petey has worn the same single pair of overalls since 1972 and he can always be seen clinging onto a bottle of Four Roses. He’s a rotten ol’ prowler but TNUC respects his dedication to working hard at Manimal Mansion all these years.
Next you’ll be dodging a series of masked psychos, winged creatures, dead Camp TNUC lifeguards, ghouls sitting around campfires, mindless slaughterers and living dead babes that you’ll be tempted to flirt with but beware…THEY BITE.
One creature-repellent that’s proven to work for some survivors has been having some righteous tunes. The right playlist of music can wean off even the worst of the worst. It actually puts them in a good mood. This will provide a nice head start to your journey and believe it or not, you might get a glimpse of monsters and killers dancing in the moonlight while that boombox is blasting. TNUC’s Spooky Mixtapes are highly recommended. There’s currently 9 of them so grab those here if you haven’t already.
…But make your own lists as well! The more appropriate for the setting, the better. If someone brings Maroon 5 or some modern pop pig vomit, prepare for immediate death.
Here’s an obscure slice of Swedish heavy metal appropriately titled “Nightwinds” by a band called Parasite that our creatures of the night are sure to dig.
Don’t stop there. Load up that mixtape with all genres, then hoist that boombox on your shoulder and good luck to ya out there…
“Do you like the dark?
Do you like the way it moves?
Do you come alive when neon kills the sun?”
– Dio ‘Night People’ (1987)
Ever since I was a young creeper, the Halloween season can’t ever truly begin until I FEEL IT in the air. These days stores start selling Halloween junk earlier than ever, and while I do appreciate getting a head start to the season, I don’t feel that ravenous urge in my loins until a chilly breeze combs over me, leaves start crunching on the ground, lightning strikes our town’s clock tower and I get a feverish appetite to watch The Howling in the middle of the night with all the living room windows open.
A stubborn ol’ bastard like Uncle TNUC simply won’t budge until it hits him that directly. Once that old familiar feeling does arrive, villagers and townsfolk start reporting of that eerie silhouette of a heavy-metal-rat’s-nest hairdo and glowing red eyes on the porch of the old farmhouse looking ghoulish as hell in the pale moonlight.
WELCOME TO THE HOUSE WHERE TNUC DWELLS: the moss-covered mansion on the hill with the rusty gates, creaking floorboards, chairs rocking by themselves, cobwebbed chandeliers, billowing curtains, perverted groundskeeper, unidentifiable smells, Elvira cardboard cutouts dancing in the living room (strung up like Kevin did in Home Alone), screams coming from the attic, electric blue lighting coming from the basement bulkhead and a chained up beast in the backyard howling at the moon.
Uncle T was inspired after listening to Purple Stuff Podcast’s ongoing ‘Spooky Songs’ series and hearing Dino Drac’s inclusion of the more under the radar spooky songs to present a rare tune of my own today. The sort of song that might not be so on-the-nose or conceptually Halloweeny but still reeks of deadly vibes and eerie atmosphere.
My contribution to that category is from the late-great Ric Ocasek of The Cars. With the very recent passing of Ric, this track from his 1986 solo album is all too appropriate and provides an extra layer of emotion. ‘Coming for You’ is such a massive song in terms of production, lyrics, guitars and SPOOKY FEELING.
The song has a build of tension and dread that I can’t help imagining a pack of braindead flesh munchers coming for you.
† WELCOME TO THE TNUC 2019 HALLOWEEN SEASON †
It’s 2019 and a brand new RAMBO movie is just a mere few days away from existing. Everyone needs to stop complaining, whining and being offended by every day things in life because we have so much to be thankful for…like for instance the 73 year old unstoppable force known as Sylvester Stallone brutally slaying what hopes to be hundreds of drug cartel savages in Rambo: Last Blood.
It’s been 37 years since the American action classic First Blood rocked our souls. The original film was about a man pushed until he wouldn’t be pushed any further. Not just a man, but a green beret war hero from Vietnam who returns home to the USA to find himself lost and having no one to trust except his 15″ hunting knife. A man who’s been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would “make a billy goat puke” as stated by Colonel Trautman. It’s a movie that is equally effective and relative in 1981 as it is today.
The sequels that followed were less meaningful, but more explosive and big-budgeted with highlights such as the exploding head guy that Rambo shot with one of his explosive arrow tips at in Rambo: First Blood Part II.
After a long break from the trilogy, John James Rambo returned in 2008 in the film simply titled Rambo, which I believed to be another blockbuster achievement in the film franchise. Sly and his disciples did a fantastic job bringing the character back to life after such a long hiatus of John living in Thailand, making a crappy living being a snake catcher and providing boat rides across the river.
254 was the number of confirmed on-screen kills by 62-year old John Rambo in Rambo IV. LOOK AT THIS SON OF A BITCH.
Now in 2019, in a mission to save his daughter from the Mexican drug cartels, this senior citizen war machine is back in Rambo: Last Blood. Such a perfect title. Go see it this Friday and report back to Uncle T!
Before we part ways, let’s examine some of pop culture’s more strange fascination with this character through the decades. Rambo has been portrayed by actors in TV/movies such as Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, The Simpsons, Hot Shots! Part Deux, “Weird Al” Yankovic’s UHF and many other notable appearances.
Let’s dig into some of the less remembered, more bizarre tributes…
DISCO RAMBO! This song is actually pretty great. Apparently the character made a big impact on the European disco scene in the mid-1980’s, because this it’s actually 1 of 2 different tracks that tribute the man…
ANOTHER DISCO RAMBO! A few years ago TNUC published a monthly saga called “Deadbeat Of The Month”. One of our chosen deadbeats was “Fake Rambo”, a Rambo impersonator named Wayne Scott who released an Italian disco record in 1985. More on that here https://uncletnuc.com/2014/07/08/julys-deadbeat-of-the-month-fake-rambo/
BLACKIE LAWLESS OF W.A.S.P.! Even the iconic lead singer was portrayed on a very hot slice of tour merchandise which goes for a pretty penny on eBay these days. This makes sense because Blackie was into EVERYTHING COOL back in the day like Rambo, the Ghoulies movies and The Dungeonmaster!
HALLOWEEN MASKS! Last year Uncle T picked up one of these terrifyingly detailed and realistic Rambo masks which hail from 1988. We took to the woods with the mask to capture Rambo in his most comfortable territory. Watch the video.
In all seriousness, I hope Rambo: Last Blood gives the action movie genre a much needed kick in the ass. The horror and sci-fi genres will always have a huge supporting community, but these explosive blockbusters don’t get enough respect. Although we need some new blood to step up as well, Stallone at 73 years old still doing what he loves is just fucking cool. The action hero really doesn’t exist anymore, and please I’m not talking about comic book people with capes. I miss the oiled up, long-haired, 1-man army war machines that didn’t say much, loved America, always looked pissed, hung out of helicopters with one hand, fired off rocket launchers with ease, ran around to pulse-pumping soundtracks, ate sandwiches, wore lots of denim and made women melt.
Unfortunately like all the greats, Stallone won’t be around forever. Now go show some respect and see Rambo: Last Blood!
Uncle T’s deepest apologies for the lack of content this summer. What can I say…it’s been a busy few months but the good news is that I’ll be back in full form very soon.
To ease our souls during these times of suffering, let me remind everyone that Patrick Swayze bought a Delorean on October 19, 1982 after a little success starring as the leader of a street gang in the TV show The Renegades. Let that sink in while looking over these photos.
With TNUC’s lack of time for writing, there’s nothing like a dose of Swayze to hold us over.
BONUS: Johnny Castle singing his seminal hit “She’s Like The Wind” off the Dirty Dancing soundtrack from somewhere in Norway. I’ve always cherished these TV performances and could care less about it being lip-synched.
Leather jacket. Baddest mullet. Bolo tie. Black jeans. Bulge. He’s the best there ever was.
Rest In Power, brother. Miss you everyday. ♥
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*