H13 : Sal Canzonieri - Electric Frankenstein Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 29 October 2011 04:00


Uber Rock's 13 Days Of Halloween has trawled the trashy depths of horror over the past ten days, now it goes for the classics. Sal Canzonieri, guitarist and founding member of New Jersey garage punk legends Electric Frankenstein, is an original Monster Kid, growing up with the Wolfman, the Creature, Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster as atrocious allies. Read on as Sal educates today's feral youth with classic after classic after classic....




What are your most vivid childhood memories of Halloween?


Ha, going to the store and deciding which monster mask and costume to buy! I grew up in the 1960s, monsters were VERY popular everywhere then. There were so many kids into monsters. We were called The Monster Kids by all the adults back then. We used to get the Ben Cooper Monster costumes most of the time - plastic clothes with image of monster on chest and a plastic mask painted with really wild florescent paint (you can find  images on the internet easy). I remember getting a Frankenstein one, of course; the Wolfman; The Creature from the Black Lagoon (my favourite!), and other monsters. We didn't do the make up thing back then.


Why do you think that the worlds of horror and metal/punk have always been so closely linked?


Well, for one reason, being different by being into punk/metal is a lifestyle decision and immediately puts you into a position where you forsake society and its norms and values. You become much more independent and you educate yourself more than the average person, and you set yourself apart from regular boring people by the clothes you wear, how you do your hair, and so on. All of which usually scares average people, ha ha. They do treat you like you are a monster!


Last year I asked if remakes and rehashes were killing horror, now it seems to be the in-your-face turkey that is 3D - what are your thoughts on this money-grabbing gimmick that is souring cinemas and the state of current horror in general?


Well, I don't really like the remakes, it pulls people's skills and talents away from new ideas. Instead of having instant stories and doing over films that do not need any improvements, people waste a great deal of time and money making remakes that will be soon forgotten. I can see totally remaking a movie to make it a lot more like the books might be, but otherwise not worth the effort. I think it is the state of new films in general now to be lazy and do just enough to get by, without making any challenging, thought provoking and very exciting material. There is no mood in films today, just either shock after shock or nothingness dressed up in fancy clothing.


But, to tell the truth, I am not against 3D, I grew up when 3D films were a really cool thing. I enjoyed seeing a lot of old monster movies in 3D, including the Creature From The Black Lagoon and it did not take away from the experience. I even saw Andy Warhol's Frankenstein and Dracula films in 3D in the theater and it was a great experience. What is not good is when they just transfer a film to fake 3D appearance and did not make the film with the 3D medium in mind. Then you get just gimmick to charge people extra money for not much value in return. But when it is done right it can be great. Plus, I collect old monster and comic book material done in 3D. I have copies of old porno magazines done in 3D!


Has there been a horror remake yet that has bettered the original movie?


Hmm, I think there has probably been at least a small few, but most of them have not been at all, not at all. Ha, I can't even remember a good one.


What's the greatest ever horror movie kill?salh13240


Hmm, I think that the Night of the Living Dead was great because you didn't expect the deaths as they happened. It's hard to beat those early gore films like Friday the 13th and Halloween. When those types of films were new and not saturating the market, it was scary.


BUT, as far as outlandish and crazy movie kills, hands down you can't beat the scenes from any of the great Hershel Gordon Lewis films! I loved the over the top crazy death scenes in Wizard Of Gore, Color Me Blood Red, 2000 Maniacs, and so on. Even the titles of his films are wild!


Who is the baddest ever horror movie villain...and why?


Hmm, there are so many. But the most unrelenting horrible villain is the creature from the Alien films, when you think about it. There are so many way those creatures can kill you and so fast and in so many shapes and forms that it is very scary to put yourself there in those scenes and try to figure out how you would survive those scenes!


Who is the greatest ever Scream Queen?


That's a hard question as there have been so many great women Scream Queens. One can go far back to Fay Wray in the original King Kong film for basically starting that whole trend. I think that the one who most epitomizes the era of the Scream Queens is Jamie Lee Curtis though. Halloween set the standards for many things back when it was a new film and Jamie's performance was powerful.


Name your Top 5 favourite horror movies of all time...and tell us why!!


Well, that would have to be the classic Universal Horror films then, if only 5, ha ha.


Frankenstein - It is a masterpiece by James Whales, and started the whole big giant monster movie thing! Not that it is super scary, but the story is compelling and when you are a kid who is not like everybody else, you can identify with the monster. The scenary, the lighting, the characters, the acting, it is all perfect as a whole package. AND Boris Karloff as the monster can never be repeated! Not to mention the makeup that created that monster look.


The Bride of Frankenstein - I love this film because I love the idea of it, I love the female monster character, she is beautiful as well, and there is a lot of sadness in this film that is strong. Again, the look of the film is great, continuing and improving from the original Frankenstein film.


Wolfman - Well, this was just a perfect monster when you are a little kid! The idea of a werewolf lurking behind your window scared the hell out of every kid I knew that saw this back then. The makeup was impressive to a little kid. Who didn't run around pretending they weren't the Wolfman!


Dracula - Again, this movie set the stage and standards for a long time. Bela Lugosi was the most perfect actor in this film, when actors were really actors and not just line readers! Reinfeld is incredible as well. All strong performances, amazing scenes and sets.


The Creature From The Black Lagoon - I always loved this film not only for the BEST designed monster ever, but for the fact that it was an amazing attempt by Universal films to make a monster that was new, original and fresh and not based on an old book character. The Creature was totally unique. Also, the music was scary too! Whenever you see a Creature toy or model kit somewhere it is very hard to ignore it. The Creature always excites no matter how many times it is viewed because it always bring you back to the day you first saw it and how enthralled you were by it when you were a young child!


What underrated horror movie would you recommend to our readers just in case they have never seen it?


I think that Carnival of Souls is one of the best and scariest of the old black and white days of horror films. Candace Hilligoss was totally great in this film. The ending is unexpected. It is a real true horror that relies on atmosphere rather than on special effects to create a mood of unease and foreboding that carries the film. The feeling of foreboding in this film is almost a character in itself. The ghoulish figure (aka The Man, played by director Herk Harvey) seen throughout the film is a great horror element causing much fear in the lead actress as its image follows her around. The organ music is haunting as well. The film becomes more and more surreal until we get to the surprise ending.


What is your guilty pleasure, the trashy horror flick that you hold dear but everyone else runs away from?


Ha, that's all the Nudie Cutie films from the old days, the ones that featured monsters and naked women, ha ha. Perfect combination, I think! Films like Kiss My Quick, Night on Bare Mountain and so on were trashy but fun. It's so crazy to mix monster and naked women in a horror_hotel_poster_01film for no real good reason like in this films. They are just very silly and crazy and that's why I enjoy them.


What is the greatest ever horror movie poster?


Wow, there are many really great ones! I used to have a big collection of them, but I sold them all. Invasion of the Blood Farmers; Ilsa She Wolf of the SS, Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Hmm, but I think my most favourite one is the poster for Horror Hotel, that featured art by Jack Davis. I can never forget that really cool idea of having the evil people all surrounding and looking down on you the viewer in the poster! Jack Davis was a totally amazing artist that made such great and detailed semi humorous monster art.


What 'star' of the music world would you like to see slaughtered in gory horror movie style?


Ha, hmm, now who would that be? A "star" of the music world? Well Michael Jackson did a good job of ruining his own life, so I don't need to go there. Maybe, it would be Britney Spears! She represents all that is shit about pop music and white trash America at one time. Yeah, she would be perfect, plus maybe there would be some nudity in that film, ha. Only thing she has going for her is a nice ass, sorry to be sexist!


What are your plans for Halloween this year?


Go to the Chiller Theatre Horror Convention, which I go to every year for 20 years. It takes place right near my house for one thing! It is only 5 minutes drive there. Every year you can meet all the old and new greats, they have had guests from just about every horror film that is well known and many of that are obscure cult films.


It is always much fun, lots of cool stuff to see and buy. I always bring my daughter with me since she was 5 years old, she loves horror and monsters as well. She draws monsters and such since she was a little kid.



[Electric Frankenstein logo by Gary Pullin]


The split album from Electric Frankenstein and The Hip Priests is available in a limited vinyl release of only 100 copies - get it here!!!