Roy Orbison: Music for Psychopaths

I’ll cop to the fact that I’ve got the song “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison on my iPod.  Let me explain.  When I was about 13 or 14 years old I read a very interesting comic book. The first thing that was interesting was the fact that on the back cover of the dust jacket were the words “suggested for mature readers.” The second thing that was interesting was that it was a story about Batman. The third thing that was interesting was the opening pages depicted a young boy named Amadeus taking food to his mother who subsequently vomited up a bunch of cockroaches while mumbling the words “I’ve eaten.” There were about three hundred more interesting things that happened as I traversed my way through Grant Morrison’s and Dave McKean’s nightmarish graphic novel Arkham Asylum. The final pages are what sparked this entry, however. Each of Batman’s psychotic rogues have little messages scrawled out at the end of the book, almost like an epilogue to the story. The one that stuck with me the most, and terrified my little 8th grade soul was this quote given by Dr. Destiny (who later became one of Neil Gaiman’s most malevolent villain in his Sandman series). He wrote, “In dreams I walk with you…” Something about the three little dots at the end of this statement haunted me…

Flash forward about ten or eleven years. I was in college at that point, and had just made the decision to watch David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet. I watched it alone in the middle of the day, and felt my guts twist up into knots whenever Frank Booth was on screen. Simply put, the dude is the embodiment of bestial cruelty, and you were never quite sure when he was just gonna snap and take you down with him. Anyway, there’s this scene where Frank has Jeffrey in his nasty clutches and they go visit a dude Frank calls Ben. Ben’s apartment is a prime example of Lynchian f***ked up-ness. The lighting is too phosphorescent, there are carney-folk prostitutes hanging around, and overall it looks like someone just puked up a few loads of vintage clothing all over the place. After a brief dialogue between Ben and Frank, Ben cues up “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison. He pulls out one of those floodlights with the bulb encased in a metal grate and starts lip synching the song into the light. Just what in the hell kind of people are these? Immediately following this bizarre performance, Frank drives Jeffrey out into the middle of an industrial complex where he voraciously applies layers and layers of thick red lipstick to his lower face. He boots Jeffrey out, and as he’s kicking the crap out of him, he bellows the phrase, “In dreams I walk with you!” Turns out, that’s a damn lyric from Roy Orbison’s popular hit about “the candy-colored clown they call the Sandman,” entitled “In Dreams.”

So I bought that shit on iTunes. Whenever it comes on in my shuffle, I just sit back and replay in my mind the many shades of chaos that these lyrics represent:

“In dreams I walk with you.

In dreams I talk to you.

In dreams you’re mine.

All of the time we’re together

In dreams, In dreams.”


There’s Always Room for Giallo


I suppose this all started as a result of the following unholy union: iTunes+Castlevania: Symphony of the Night+morbid curiosity= ?. It was a cold, dark night. While slouching in my chair, eyes half closed with a clear stream of drool issuing from the corner of my mouth, I was poring over the current Genius recommendations that iTunes had for me. The songs all bled together into a cacophonous mass of sights and sounds. Unable to handle the sheer psychological stress of the depths of which I was traversing, I blacked out. When I came to, my computer screen greeted me with this disturbing image:


Had I been in full posession of my faculties, I would have just closed iTunes and forgotten that the whole thing had ever happened. But at this particular moment in time, I did click, and I did listen. As the audible insanity of Goblin assaulted my mind grapes, a slew of haunting yet familiar images started to form within my nebulous brain. A castle, inverted. A male hero who was drawn with a very feminine facial structure. Bats, fish-men, skeletons, zombies, and…Death Incarnate! Was it? It was! Castlevania: Symphony of the Night! The salacious synths and guillotined guitars of Goblin could have been pulled directly from the haunted screens of the aforementioned graphical distraction!

Having long abandoned my sanity, I probed deeper into the mystery of Goblin. After wandering lonely online avenues that I will not reveal, my search lead me to an Italian dude, his trilogy of witchcraft, and the terror of….Giallo.THE DUDE: Dario Argento, master of Mediterrenean macabre! THE TRILOGY: Le Tri Madre (The Three Mothers), wanderers across the wide world of witchcraft! GIALLO: It’s description is to terrible for my fingers to form into words…behold, if you dare!

The unbridled terror that presented itself after my frenzy-induced Google search caused me to black out for a second, and more prolonged period of time. I awoke around dusk of the following day, covered in dozens of ham and cheese Hot Pocket wrappers and lying face down in an unfamiliar parking lot. I arose to observe my surroundings. The parking lot belonged to a local video rental chain. Disobeying the last shreds of humanity that were faintly screaming for me to halt and return to my normal, God-fearing ways, I entered.

I was drawn to the horror section like a vulture to a rotting bison carcass. Almost purely involuntarily, my hands reached for Suspiria and Inferno (comprising volumes one and two of the trilogy) but where was the third? Where was Mother of Tears? Ignoring all sense of public decency and decorum, I approached the counter attendant and urged her to contribute to my insanity by locating volume three of the trilogy. When she could not, I thrashed and I bellowed, knocking over a shelving unit filled with Jujy Fruits, Sno-Caps, Dots, and Junior Mints…sweet memories of a world of which I was no longer a part. I fled the scene with my prize and swiftly returned to my abode to obliterate what was left of my sound mind. I watched them both without pause, but without the third film, something was incomplete. Now, I am but a wanderer, searching for this last volume that will either bring me peace…or damnation.