Beware the Ides Of March. No I’m not talking about Shakespeare. This is about the band The Ides Of March. What does that have to do with a horror blog? Depends on how closely you listen to the lyrics of their 1970 hit, “Vehicle.” Don’t get me wrong. I loves me a good horn band. Blood Sweat And Tears, Chicago (before they went all wimp rock), even the horn segments on Alice Cooper’s “Welcome To My Nightmare” and The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown’s “Fire.” But “Vehicle,” well, let’s just pause here for some analysis, shall we?
I’m the friendly stranger
in the black sedan.
Won’t you hop inside my car?
Uh, no. First off, how is that not creepy? Second, ain’t much of a leap from that to Tom Waits’s super-predatory song “$29.00” from his Blue Valentines album. And third, some of us were “fortunate” enough during our formative years to have Irma Joyce’s nightmare fuel Golden Book, Never Talk To Strangers.
If you’re mailing a letter to Aunt Lucille
And you see a car with a whale at the wheel,
Stay away from him and his automobile.
Never talk to strangers.
See? No cars! Or apparently whales.
But along comes “Vehicle,” flaunting not only conventional wisdom but also every phobic utterance our mothers ever made about cars and strangers. You remember: heartwarming parables about being drugged, kidnapped, tortured, mutilated, and god-knows-what-else, then ending up disposed of in the woods or. Or, to borrow one of my dear late mum’s favorite admonitions, “You wanna end up dead in a ditch somewhere?” Ah the 70s. Such carefree, feelgood times.
I got pictures, got candy. I’m a lovable man.
Is it just me, or does “lovable man” take on a fairly twisted context when combined with the pictures/candy thing? Like, “candy from strangers” or “Hey little girl…” I mean, seriously. And pictures? Of what exactly? Anything else while we’re at it? Duct tape maybe? Chloroform? Clown mask?
Okay, the clown mask may have been a step too far for some of you. Apologies. Feel free to contact me if you can’t sleep tonight. Pretty sure I’ll still be up too.
If you do need something to occupy your time later because you find yourself awake and terrified by visions of Pennywise, look up the films of Sid Davis. He made a whole slew of those classroom scare flicks from the 50s through the 70s. Kind of a little paranoia buffet. The Strange Ones (which already sounds like a horror movie) offers some particularly timeless and, shall we say, invaluable insights:
You never know when there might be a Strange One around.
There’s no way to tell.
The Strange Ones look just like everyone else.
Could have come right out of Never Talk To Strangers. Wonder of he and Irma knew each other. Come to think of it, she did write for Golden in the 60s.
Anyway, we end with this:
I can take you to the nearest star.
Nearest star. Riiight. Or at least to the nearest secluded cabin complete with a concrete-lined basement room lit by a single bare light bulb hanging by a cord from the ceiling.
Ugh. Feel like I need a shower. Glad I sleep with a hammer next to the bed.