Last week it was reported that Universal Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure, a live show that’s been part of Halloween Horror Nights for many years, has been cancelled. The show came under fire for its apparent homophobic and possibly racial remarks. I haven’t seen the show myself, but from what it seems like after reading reports on various news outlets including this one from the Huffington Post, is that it’s nothing we haven’t seen getting joked about on TV. The show is supposedly geared toward an adult audience and features double-entendres.

To fill your Bill and Ted void this Halloween, please enjoy a comic I created using my action figures and a lot of gas to take me around the entire state of New Jersey. With advice from Mark and Mark over at Weird NJ, Rufus takes Bill and Ted on a WEIRD NJ Adventure for Halloween!

Mural Memories and Macabre Scenes in Middlesex NJ

The store window of Ghouls Gags & Gifts, a Halloween costume shop, features masks of Jason, Vader, and Chewbacca in the window along with rental costumes of Dracula and Wonder Woman. A Thriller zombie dance is happening in the street while the Bride of Frankenstein looks like she’s heading into the store do some damage on her credit card.

The artist drew a happy fanboy from NJ reading Weird NJ and wore a Mezco Toys t-shirt
I’ve always been a big fan of hand painted wall murals. My Aunt and Uncle had several done in their house before I was born and they are still there ’til this day. I admire the shit out of them every time I visit. There’s something about artists applying their work directly to a wall of a place you live in everyday that evokes such a one of kind feeling in me. To a lesser degree it’s like a tattoo. This all depends on how good the artist is of course. My sister drew on her walls when she was a kid, and that’s certainly not the type of wall artwork that I had in mind. Her sloppy scrawling of “I love Jordan Knight” although memorable, is nothing compared to the interior wall art we’ll look at in this post. I appreciate wall murals most when the subject matter reflects the inhabitants’ vibe and personalities, such as at Ferraro’s Pizzeria and Pub in Middlesex, NJ.

I love how the trees seem like they are growing out of the mural and
the canopy fits right over the view of the inside of the cafe

Depending on the nature of the mural I tend to appreciate the kitsch factor. When there’s a lot of details to investigate I’ll wind up mesmerized. As I mentioned, the murals my Aunt and Uncle have in their place include a ’50s diner scene as well as a scene of the New York City skyline viewed from within Central Park. I have vivid memories of studying these as a kid. They seemed so grand and enormous in scale to me when I was young. In comparison to having Samantha Fox and LJN WWF action figure posters plastered all over my walls, a mural was serious business. A mural is actual art. It’s not a framed replica of art or a vintage movie poster. It’s much more permanent. If you get bored with a poster in a frame you can just remove it and slip another one in. This was the real deal – directly on the wall.

Elvira, Vampira, or non-descript Goth woman? Up to your imagination.

When I went with Miss Sexy Armpit to Ferraro’s for a birthday party for a dear friend a couple of years back, I wound up frozen in amazement once inside the party room. My eyes squinted while my head scanned the walls slowly back and forth to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. Sure enough, there were these cool murals all over the walls. It not only gave the space a cozy atmosphere, but it was also kitschy without being tacky if that makes any sense. If the walls were all just one bland color, such as beige, the atmosphere would’ve been excruciatingly dull. These murals made being in the space feel like it was another dimension set apart from the rest of the restaurant. It’s not often a restaurant has such a conversation piece like this that distinguishes it from other places in the local area.

Girls Gone Wild Mardi Gras Edition Starring Slave Leia and Jabba The Hutt

The element of surprise also played a factor in my admiration for these murals. I can’t say I expected to see any of “my friends” on the walls of what I thought was a run of the mill Italian place. By friends I mean Elvira and Slave Leia. The murals were like an explosion of pop culture characters along with an infusion of local flavor. The murals feel like they come alive in certain aspects. I’ve held onto the pictures I took that night and have been meaning to post them during the last two Halloween Countdowns, but I kept forgetting that I had them. I hope you enjoy perusing them as much as I did. Check out the place if you’re in the area. The food is really good and they have some excellent liquid concoctions at the bar.

This isn’t so much scary as it is a bit perverse. You can’t see it, but the person opening the
towel is actually a dude. Just kidding. And the guy with the mirror/ping pong paddle has NO EYES! That part is true. That must have some deeper meaning.

Ferraro’s Pizzeria and Pub
275 Lincoln Blvd
Middlesex, NJ 08846

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 16: Retro DC T-Shirts


Fellow Jersey blogger Tommy Salami of Pluck You Too tipped me off to this weeks NJ T-shirt Tuesday offering. Tommy sent me the link to the Retro DC T-Shirt Shop which is run by Steve Jencks of the horror/b-movie blog Lost Highway: A Detour Through B-Movies and Cult Films. Steve is a versatile graphic designer who specializes in illustration, web design, and logo branding. Jencks has created many awesome T-shirts available online through his Retro DC T-Shirt Shop.

In addition to his other Zombie, Lost Highway, and Pinball Playtime designs, Jencks offers 2 New Jersey related T-Shirts. The first, “New Jersey ate my Neighbors,” features a graphic of a green, throbbing, one eyed monster reeling in a nice lady from the neighborhood. He gets hungry, can you blame him? The 2nd one is the “Jersey Devil Dark T-Shirt,” and it’s badass. The skeletal remains of the Jersey Devil look as if they are buried in the state like dinosaur fossils! It’s an original take on the Jersey Devil legend, one that I have yet to see, especially in t-shirt form!

The majority of shirts offered at Retro DC are available in a slew of different colors so you aren’t limited to the black ones I’m showing you here. Also, at the top of his online shop, Jencks mentions that you can contact him for your very own custom t-shirt design.

I was curious to find out if Steve Jencks is from Jersey because many people who aren’t from Jersey despise this state and would probably never spend the time designing a shirt inspired by the most toxic state in the U.S. Who can blame them? I was able to ask Jencks through his Twitter page ( and his reply was “Nope, I’m not from Jersey, just a big fan. I love Weird NJ and all the legends. Hope to visit someday!” Right on Steve!

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.16: The Legend of Jason Voorhees Begins!


Why should I beat a dead Kevin Bacon and sound completely redundant when I know damn well that more in depth information about the relationship between Friday the 13th and New Jersey exists all over the place? (You can visit Weird NJ for the best in New Jersey lore, myths, and legends.) What inspires me to touch on the subject here at the Armpit is that I find myself baffled. I often speak to people locally that have no idea that the first Friday the 13th film was filmed right here in our very own state of New Jersey! I can’t expect everyone to be obsessed with horror movies, but how about some awareness of pop culture history folks? To assume that everyone knows that Camp Crystal Lake was actually Camp NoBeBoSco is definitely pushing it.


In anticipation of the new version of Friday the 13th hitting theaters in a few weeks (2/13/09), I figured I’d brag a little bit about New Jersey being the place where the legend of Jason Voorhees began.


The unbelievable website Friday the 13th, offers a thorough tour through the New Jersey sites that appear in the film. The site offers a “then and now” look at Blairstown, Hope, and Hardwick Township, New Jersey. It’s fascinating to see how the screen shots match up to photos taken close to 6 years ago. The rest of the films in the series completely ignored New Jersey as a filming location, possibly because of the exorbitant fees associated with filming here. The Friday the 13th franchise further snubbed N.J by choosing to have Jason “take” a certain place that eternally shadows New Jersey in part 8.

Jason (Ari Lehman) and Alice (Adrienne King) share a poignant moment in between takes.
The township of Blairstown seems to be embracing it’s starring role in the iconic 1980 horror film. Check out the Blairstown Theater Festival website which also details the township’s connection with Friday the 13th.

“On July 13, 2007, Friday the 13th was screened for the first time on Blairstown’s Main Street in the very theater which appears shortly after the opening credits. Overflowing crowds forced the Blairstown Theater Festival, the sponsoring organization, to add an extra screening at 11:00 PM. The event was covered by local media and New York City’s Channel 11.”

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.10: What NOT to Watch This Halloween: Dark Ride

I should’ve known that any movie the Sci-Fi Channel airs that’s not an established classic usually sucks ass. I wish I would’ve watched their presentation of After Dark Films 8 Films to Die For: Dark Ride (2006) before I unwittingly purchased the DVD.

I admit I was enticed by hearing that there was finally a horror movie about a Dark Ride. Who doesn’t love Dark Rides? If it was up to me, when you walk into my condo you’re automatically invited onto a boat and take a dark ride through the place. The only catch is that the only way to get around the condo is to take the dark ride. I’d wake up in the morning with my pajamas on and my eyes half shut and take the boat over to the bathroom. I’d do my thing, wash my face, and then hop on again over to the kitchen for breakfast as I narrowly escape some robotic monsters trying to kill me. What? It’s time to go to work? This boat is damn slow and we aren’t even passed the walking corpses and the Pinhead animatronic display! I hope I make it to the front door in time! I know, I know…keep my feet and hands in the ride at all times. Forget that, we can do it cartoon style and I wouldn’t even have to take a real shower anymore. I’d hop on the boat and have water jets and soap spray me down after I go through the Dr. Satan exhibit. Shit, I may as well make the upstairs into a fountain of youth ride. Anything’s possible in dark rides, except for making a good movie about them.


Now that’s acting!

Jamie Lynn Sigler was the real grabber for me in this one. I think her performance would’ve resonated more if she video conferenced all her scenes in from her bedroom at home. Her work on The Sopranos is masterful and glorious compared to the hack job she turned in on this film. What a mess! I’m usually a fan of really bad movies like this one, especially of the horror genre, but so much of this movie let me down. It seems like the casting folks on this film tried to get Sigler because of her eternal connection to her starring role as the daughter of a mob boss from New Jersey.

Now that’s acting!

Being a lifelong native of New Jersey, I was excited to see that the movie was based in Asbury Park. The dark ride itself was in a haunted house on the boardwalk. One dark and spooky night a bunch of “meddling kids” broke into the attraction to pull a prank on Jamie Lynn Sigler’s cheating boyfriend. But as it turns out, there’s a killer on the loose that lives inside the Dark Ride! How much more dull can we be here? The male stars are actually the better actors in the film and that isn’t saying much.

Now that’s acting!

Now that’s acting!

Oh, and if you thought I was too harsh on Sigler’s performance, you have no clue what you’re in for with David Clayton Rogers performance. Here’s another idiot that thinks he’ll get further in his career if he has 2 first names. This kid redefines that old addage “don’t quit your day job.” Before he decided to become an actor I heard he would sneak into public ladies rooms and steal the money out of tampon machines. What a dick! That money benefits autistic children, doesn’t he know that? Despitef his previous career as a complete loser, someone actually let him be an actor. The fact that Hollywood is still letting him practice this craft is completely beyond me. I hope and pray to the Gods of Film that I never have to witness an atrocity such as David Clayton Rogers ever again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish anything bad to happen to him, I just wish that he would realize he sucks and try his luck at another career. Isn’t there a Jack in the Box or a Carl’s Jr. you can work at?



OK, I feel like I’m being too harsh. Dark Ride does have some redeemable qualities but what stunk most about this film is that it could’ve been so much more. Being from Jersey, I was blessed with some of the best haunted houses and dark rides ever. Take Castle Dracula in Wildwood or the haunted castle at Six Flags Great Adventure for instance would make great stories. Because of lame producers, filmmakers are constantly dumbing things down. This movie is not one that a fanboy, or an X-E fan would enjoy.

After feeling guilty that they didn’t film in Jersey,
they flew their film crew to quickly take some footage of Asbury Park and The Stone Pony
Why didn’t the producers hire Weird NJ to hop on as consultants? Let’s talk urban legends, local myths, etc. Any film about the Jersey Devil has sucked and now they’re sucking any coolness out of dark rides from Jersey as well! C’mon…The Jersey Shore used to be famous for it’s haunted houses! It’s interesting to note that the majority of this movie wasn’t even filmed in New Jersey, but in Los Angeles and at the Santa Monica Pier. That’s most likely because it’s so damn expensive to film in Jersey.

Horror Freak from Oregon on IMDB claims that he didn’t see the twist at the end coming at all. I think he may just be completely out of his mind. This was the most predictable movie, possibly as predictable as a Full House episode. I hate this movie so much, if I keep writing about it, I don’t think I’m ever going to want to blog again. So in an attempt to save my hobby from the clutches of the evil movie Dark Ride, my little boat ride stops here.

Mike Spade’s Haunted House

Last week my girlfriend told me that I had to check out this house that was all done up for Halloween. My first reaction was, “How cool can a house be?” I figured it was done by some run of the mill obsessive decorator, like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. You know how neighbors are always trying to one up each other. Well, I’ll be damned, because I was dead wrong about this one!

Mike Spade, a local magician, has the most kickass Halloween setup and he told me he’s been doing it for about 19 years. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard about this and I lived in the area my entire life! It’s obvious that Mike genuinely loves putting his Haunted front yard up year after year. The amount of work that goes into his display and the details that you can pick out are spectacular. After checking it out on a cold October night, it was outrageous.

I’ve been to a ton of haunted houses. I’ve visited independent walk throughs, Disneyland, big sponsored haunted ordeals, and I can tell you that nothing can compare to one man’s quest to scare the shit out of people. Mike basically put a dark ride in his front yard sans the boats. What’s most surprising is that he does this all because he loves it and he doesn’t charge people, he only puts out a donation box.

Mike’s Halloween setup has been featured in Weird NJ. For those who aren’t aware, Weird NJ is a magazine that began as a small fanzine type newsletter featuring oddities around the state and now it’s gotten so popular that the publishers Mark and Mark have hosted their own show on History Channel and now also publish books about oddities in other states.

There’s only one day left but you should definitely check out “Mike’s Haunted House.”

Pictured above are some of my favorite moments from the display. You’ll see Samara from The Ring crawled out of a television set and is climbing up a tree. There were some glowing ghosts that moved so gracefully, exactly how I picture a real ghost. Mike also built an old fashioned hearse with a coffin inside that won’t stay closed because of that damned skeleton in there! Coming out of the ground are some ghouls that clearly want to come and join you while your taking your spooky stroll through Mike’s haunted house. For more info about Mike and video of the display click here.