MURDER IN SONG: THE IRISH BALLAD-TOM LEHRER (1953)

What is a murder ballad? A murder ballad is just what it says it is: it is a song in which a murder occurs. Most murder ballads, but not all, follow a general rule of recounting the details of a true crime (“Nebraska” by Bruce Springsteen being a good example as it details the killing spree of Charles Starkweather) or a mythic one (“Where the Wild Roses Grow” by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue being a good example here). A murder ballad tells us who the victim(s) are, the motive of the killer, how the victim is lured in and the act of murder itself. It may also, and usually does, include the capture and imprisonment/execution of the killer. Some are told from the point of view of the killer (“Tom Dooley“) and some from the side of the victim (“Lord Randall“). Murder ballads can be found in many different genres of music including country, folk, bluegrass, rock and even rap to name a few.

This is the first of what will, hopefully, be a new weekly post. I plan to feature a different murder ballad each week. I will try to have a video, lyrics and a brief and accurate history of the song.

The first song I want to feature is a song by Tom Lehrer entitled “The Irish Ballad“. It is the tale of a young girl who dispatches her family in various grisly ways. It is from his album Songs by Tom Lehrer and was released in 1953. I hope you enjoy hearing it and that you will come back each week to hear more.

About a maid I’ll sing a song,
Sing rickety-tickety-tin,
About a maid I’ll sing a song
Who didn’t have her family long.
Not only did she do them wrong,
She did ev’ryone of them in, them in,
She did ev’ryone of them in.

One morning in a fit of pique,
Sing rickety-tickety-tin,
One morning in a fit of pique,
She drowned her father in the creek.
The water tasted bad for a week,
And we had to make do with gin, with gin,
We had to make do with gin.

Her mother she could never stand,
Sing rickety-tickety-tin,
Her mother she could never stand,
And so a cyanide soup she planned.
The mother died with a spoon in her hand,
And her face in a hideous grin, a grin,
Her face in a hideous grin.

She set her sister’s hair on fire,
Sing rickety-tickety-tin,
She set her sister’s hair on fire,
And as the smoke and flame rose high’are,
Danced around the funeral pyre,
Playin’ a violin, -olin,
Playin’ a violin.

She weighted her brother down with stones,
Rickety-tickety-tin,
She weighted her brother down with stones,
And sent him off to davy jones.
All they ever found were some bones,
And occasional pieces of skin, of skin,
Occasional pieces of skin.

One day when she had nothing to do,
Sing rickety-tickety-tin,
One day when she had nothing to do,
She cut her baby brother in two,
And served him up as an irish stew,
And invited the neighbors in, -bors in,
Invited the neighbors in.

And when at last the police came by,
Sing rickety-tickety-tin,
And when at last the police came by,
Her little pranks she did not deny,
To do so she would have had to lie,
And lying, she knew, was a sin, a sin,
Lying, she knew, was a sin.

My tragic tale, I won’t prolong,
Rickety-tickety-tin,
My tragic tale I won’t prolong,
And if you do not enjoy the song,
You’ve yourselves to blame if it’s too long,
You should never have let me begin, begin,
You should never have let me begin.

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SHORT FILM SATURDAY: CRUSH THE SKULL (2010)

A young couple’s car breaks down on a desolate road. When a stranger shows up out of nowhere to assist them, all signs point to one conclusion; the stranger is most likely a serial killer.

Directed by Viet Nguyen.

Written by Christopher Dinh and Viet Nguyen.

Starring Walt Bost, Christopher Dinh, Tara Perry.

Filmed in the United States.

Nine minutes and twenty-two seconds.

It doesn’t matter what the situation is that we find ourselves in; when a stranger stops to help us our suspicions rise like hackles on a mangy dog. It’s what we do with those suspicions that matters. Enjoy this little comedy-horror-thriller hybrid for one example.

 

FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE TRAILER PARK: THE CONTROL GROUP

Synopsis: Five college students wake up in an abandoned, locked-down insane asylum – with no idea how they got there and no means of escape. They discover that they are the subjects of secret experiments, but these tests have awakened something that cannot be explained by science. The group must now fight to escape both the human and supernatural threats if they are to survive and break out of their prison.

This debut feature from writer-director Tom Hurd stars Brad Dourif and is on available  on several VOD platforms including  iTunes, Dish Network, Vudu, Xbox, Google Play, and YouTube. Look for it on DVD sometime in May and check out the trailer and poster right now and right ↓.

A-Z TRIVIA WEDNESDAY: CURSED

In 2014, Costar Judy Greer spoke of the film in an interview: “I don’t know why that movie got so fucked up. I don’t understand it. I thought the script was fine. Honest to god, I didn’t get the big deal. I don’t know who kept making them fuck with it”. “Then we shot the movie for, like, seven years. I think they said we had four movies worth of footage. It was so fun, but so weird. I don’t get it. I couldn’t figure it out.”

ALT-POSTR-MONDAY FOR MARCH 20, 2017

March rolls on and here are ten more alt-posters to keep it moving.

Edward Scissorhands by Chris Skinner

Fight Club by Tomer Hanuka

Hellraiser by Bastien Deharme

Kong: Skull Island by Randy Queen, Martin Able and Gino Acevedo

Labyrinth by Tracie Ching

Motoko (Ghost in the Shell) by Jeany Ngo

Night of the Living Dead by J. Wrig

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Lon Chan

The Raven by Francesco Francavilla

The Wolf Man by Laurent Durieux

SHORT FILM SATURDAY: BLACK AND WHITE (2014)

Deep in the countryside a man fights to survive a surprise sex party with his soul intact.

Written and directed by Richard Williamson.

Starring Shaun Goss, Melissa Howard, Daniel Niceski, Kathryn Tohill.

Filmed in Australia.

Fifteen minutes and thirty-five seconds.

Life has been strange for me these past few weeks. I hope you all enjoy this tale of sex and the occult from Richard Williamson.

FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE TRAILER PARK: ROCK PAPER DEAD

Synopsis: A reformed serial killer is released and moves into his family’s ancestral estate and is haunted by his past – both the living and the dead.

Tom Holland, the director of Child’s Play, Fright Night and Thinner, is back with Rock Paper Dead. Starring Luke Macfarlane, Jennifer Titus, Michael Madsen, Tatum O’Neal, Anna Margaret, Gabrielle Stone Ari Lehman, John Dugan and Maureen McCormick, Rock Paper Dead is written by Kerry Fleming and Victor Miller. For more info check out the official Facebook page. Meanwhile, check out the trailer and poster ↓.