Audio

Halloween

halloween_no one TRACK 110:
Halloween by Halloween
What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a song called Halloween by a band called Halloween? Sounds like a triple threat to me.
But who the hell is Halloween? It’s a great question, one I found myself asking just a few weeks ago.
Known to the Motor City as Detroit’s Heavy Metal Horror Show, Halloween didn’t find a whole lot of notoriety outside of their niche in early 80’s metal. Hampered by line-up changes, delayed album releases and shelved efforts, Halloween just never seemed to gain any traction.
However they’ve had numerous reunions over the years, re-releases and they even still play Halloween shows to this day. Hell, you could probably go see them right now in Detroit. They played last year, and I think they’re doing it again this year as well.
All I know is that we just found these guys and overnight they became Shindig All-Stars. How a band called Halloween somehow slipped through the cracks we may never know, but like all hidden Halloween gems, these treat don’t escape our tricking grasp for long. And with songs like Halloween Night, Trick Or Treat and Tales From The Crypt you can be sure you haven’t heard the last of Halloween.
So, let’s welcome the boys of Detroit’s Heavy Metal Horror Show into the fold with a ceremonious Hallo’s Eve initiation, aided in part by that creepy old druid lady from Halloween 6, and Tommy Doyle of course, overacted to perfection by a very young Paul Rudd.
Halloween, take your rightful place amongst your brothers with all the other hallowed horrors of our Halloween halls.
On Halloween, here’s Halloween performing…Halloween.

 

Night of The Demons

Night of the Demons 2009TRACK 109:
Night of the Demons by 45 Grave
Great Pumpkins are few and far between, so to stick two so close together is indicative of the kind of block where in here toward the center of our hallowed playlist.
At last count there were four total; two tried and true Halloween Pumpkins, one Monster Song Pumpkin and another by way of Devilish Track. That’s the bases covered, doubly so in that The Monster Squad is also a Monster Rap.
This one though, this one is the gold standard. This is the one which inspired the category. This is the one by which all the others are measured, and even they fall short of the Shindiggery on display here. If the playlist had its own theme, it would probably be this song.
It’s not necessarily may favorite song on the Shindig (though it would definitely be up there), nor do I mean to suggest it is the best, but it’s so exemplary of what this playlist is all about that it beggars belief. Horror Movies, the music from them, the referential Rock ‘N Roll about them and of course Halloween, all succinctly served in a 4 minute sonic stew.
Is it any surprise that such a song should come from 45 Grave? Not to this guy it doesn’t, and when i first heard it back in 2010 my jaw dropped and I immediately shouted “Holy shit does this song need to be on the playlist.”
But because nothing could be that perfect, naturally, there’s a catch. In this case (and it’s perhaps a bit of my own prejudice rising to the surface) it is the caveat that the song is that comes from the the Night of the Demons remake. Which is a solid soundtrack, to be sure, but a terrible remake. Moreover, it was a terrible movie in its own right. However. as a remake to one of my favorite Halloween movies of all time, it’s even worse.
So, to balance out that factor, I’ve book-ended it with samples from the original, because, how could I not? This song could have been on the original soundtrack. It should have been. So let’s just pretend it was.
And with that, 45 Grave and I invite you to drink, get stoned and party all night, for the demons come alive on Halloween.

 

Audio

Night Of The Demons Theme

Night Of The Demons 1988TRACK 108:
Night Of The Demons Theme by Dennis Michael Tenney
There are few Halloween movies I love as much as Night of Demons. It satisfies all the criteria for a Halloween horror hit. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing it, click here for some reasons why it should be playing right now on your television set. Or better yet, just click this to watch the fucker immediately on whatever screen you happen to be reading this. To hell with the rest of my post. You’ll hear the song right off the bat and see the real animations where the gifs originated. I won’t be hurt, you’ll be watching Night Of The Demons and my goal will have been actualized.
notd_open1Still here? Alright, fair enough. Maybe you’ve already seen it. Or maybe you’ll just wait. Or maybe you don’t care at all about watching Night Of The Demons. If so, you’re probably not reading this either, so who cares about you? Why am I continuing to address you? Back to people who care!
One of the things I love most about Night the Demons is this great theme from director Kevin Tenney’s brother Dennis and the awesome opening credit sequence which it accompanies.  notd_title
What better way to kick off a Halloween gore fest than with some seasonal synth and some simple, spooky animations? A solitary glowing Jack-O-Lantern and some scarier synth? Yeah, maybe you’re right. But there ain’t no gore in Carpenter’s original, so my statement still stands.
So, if you’ve already had your fill of Michael Myers, pull up a chair and spend All Hallo’s with Angela, Stoogie, Sal, Suzanne and the rest of the demons gang. You may not live to regret it.
notd_pump
 

 

Audio

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

dickiesalbum_killer klownsTRACK 107:
Killer Klowns From Outer Space by The Dickies
What can be said of this classic and perfectly executed Title Track?
If you’ve ever seen Killer Klowns From Outer Space then you know first hand how nicely this clown-car 80’s tune from The Dickies bookends this wonderful creature feature of camp from monster mavens The Chiodo Brothers.
Cheesy, gory, funny and at times even downright creepy (using a dead sheriff as a ventriloquist’s dummy or the sight of a Klown summoning a small girl from a burger joint come tokk_klowns2 mind) Killer Klowns was a movie I couldn’t get enough of in my youth. It frightened me, amazed me, made me laugh and held my full, undivided attention every time HBO decided to play it.
The Klowns are a marvel of animatronic suit work, the story is bonkers, and the music has got the tone to match. No Halloween playlist should be lacking Killer Klowns from Outer Space by The Dickies.

 

Audio

Fright Night

fright nightTRACK 106:
Fright Night by The J. Geils Band
Good evening, horror fans. Did you know that all Title Tracks were not created equal? The J. Geils Band did.
Let’s face it, while all Title Tracks are great, some (Fall Break, Don’t Go Into The Woods…Alone) are less awesome than others (The Devil’s Men, Leatherface.)
Hell, there’s even a hierarchy of applicability. The Maniac Cop Rap is less a Title Track than say Scream and Scream Again. Shocker is  a truer Title Track than a by-liner like Dream Warriors. And then some Title Tracks simply define the category. Fright Night is just that type of Title Track.
A popular band at the time of release, almost inexplicably tapped by the producers to cut a song so unlike the rest of their catalog you wonder just how the hell it even works. But work it does. Fuck, it works a 70 hour week under the table with no overtime.
It works on Labor Day.
Or more appropriately, and perhaps more criminally,…
It works on Halloween.
And thank God for that, cause your Halloween playlist needs it. You’re Halloween needs in. Hell, you’re life needs It. Listen to it now, and then go watch Fright Night. I just did. It was a great decision.
From that 80’s realm of self aware horror (somewhere between The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys) where characters versed in fictionalized horror find themselves face to face with that horror in the real world, Fright Night follows horror nerd Charlie Brewster as he attempts to prove the new next door neighbor is a terrifying creature of the night.
You got Chris (Prince Humperdink) Sarandon creeping up the joint as 80’s vampire benchmark Jerry Dandrige, Steven Geoffreys being his typical spazzy self as (you’re so cool) Brewster’s pal Evil, and Roddy McDowell just knocking it outta the park as the Cushing-modeled celluloid vampire hunter/ TV horror host, Peter Vincent.
Add to that a fantastic script which balances tone so effortlessly, plus some truly memorable visuals from The Entertainment Effects Group. Fresh off their stint on Ghostbusters, these guys provide another barrage of makeup and creature FX wizardry, not the least of which is one hell of a harrowing reverse werewolf transformation.
It all adds up to a genuine high point in 80’s horror that no fan should miss. A loving nod to the horror of yesteryear and that old Hammer feeling right in the midst of the 80’s slasher onslaught. Whats more? It resonated, made a shit ton of money and endured immensely to this very day.
And the kicker? This awesome Title Track. So perfectly 80’s, so perfectly referential and so perfectly fitting. You can’t fuck with this song.
Welcome to Fright Night.

 
 

Audio

Vampire Hookers

album artTRACK 105:
Vampire Hookers by Unknown!
Vampire Hookers; honestly I could have used a little more nudity.
Nathan “Unpainted” Arizona and I guy I thought was Michael Rooker for the about the first 20 minutes play a pair of bumbling greenhorn sailors on shore leave in the Philippines. At the local cemetery, they run afoul the pimp-hatted head vampire John Carradine and his titular hoes. Late 70’s porn music and goofball shenanigans ensue.
They’re trying, I’ll give ’em that.
It’s filled to the brim with silly slapstick and toilet humor that’ll probably set both of your eyes on a pivot, but it’s rarely boring, and at 78 minutes it feels pretty brisk and good natured.
Poor John Carradine though stumbles around waiting for a check, spouting Shakespeare and poetry, which could either be interesting or irritating depending on your temperament.
There’s also a fat Filipino familiar who farts a lot for comedic effect. Whether you laugh at his flatulence will also depend on your temperament.
Seen as well is a ladyboy pissing at a urinal, which apparently doesn’t tip off old Nathan Arizona, who proceeds to engage in a sexual transaction. Later Michael Rooker yells “Oh God! Balls!” which is always funny to hear someone shout after grabbing a lady’s crotch.
A few silly fistfights later and where onto the cemetery and our plot.
Though severely deficient in the generalized sleaziness and nudity you’d expect for a film called Vampire Hookers, you’re eventually treated to a 7 minute slow-mo vampire 4-way between Michael Rooker and the 3 sex-starved immortals. Thankfully, John Carradine bows out of that one, but the fat familiar watches and farts a bit. Probably jerks off too, couldn’t really tell and thank god for cinematic ambiguity. It’s pretty awesome though, complete with its numerous and repetitious cutaways to the lascivious murals painted around the room of beasts and Devils fornicating. Who’s turn is it?
And that’s not even the best part of the movie.
That would be our next Shindigger at #105, the Title Track Vampire Hookers, played to rousing appreciation during the picture credits at the end of the films. I love picture credits! And Title Tracks! And hookers! What an ending. If only we knew who the hell was performing this tune. It’s a Shindig first; an Unknown Artist! I searched endlessly to no avail as I could not track down the culprits. If anyone happens to know who performed this tune, we’ll gladly update the entry.
“Blood is not all they suck,” informs our unnamed composer. The Skinemax orgy sequence tells a different tale, I’m afraid. However, I think it’s safe to assume some sucking has taken place regardless, one way or the other.
While never terribly funny, it is somewhat fun, particularly in a group setting and there’s plenty of worse ways to spend 78 minutes. Plus, those’ll typically end up sucking an extra 20 minutes from your life and still not have the goddamn common decency to give you the reach around of an awesome Title Track.
So, as far as The Shindig is concerned, Vampire Hookers, you’re all right. As Lord Summerilse might say “you will sit with the Saints, among the elect,” here in our Title Track-heavy center block.

 
 

Audio

He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)

he's backTRACK 104:
He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask) by Alice Cooper
In 1984, Paramount Pictutres made way too much money on Friday The 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter to let that truly be Jason’s final chapter.
So they set upon quickly churning out a part 5. Only Jason was dead now,…for good,…right? What’s a greedy production company to do?
So in 1985, Paramount quickly proceed to fuck right up. They essentially took the exact same model, delivered a by the numbers Friday installment, with Jason in a hockey mask and called it A New Beginning. Only they pulled the old Kansas City Shuffle. It wasn’t actually Jason. Fans were pissed.
Roy? Who the fuck is Roy? Seriously? This dude’s name is Roy?

Here’s Roy.

roy burns
Fans didn’t cotton to old Roy here.
“But why?” You may ask.There’s a guy in a hockey mask brutally murdering teenagers at a summer camp. Isn’t that the point? Fuck, Roy kills 18 people for Christ’s sake! Jason ain’t puttin’ up those kinda numbers yet. Who cares who’s under the mask? It’s been a different actor, sometimes in the same damn movie, since part 2. Is it that important it be Jason Voorhees?
Apparently so.
I’d say it’s a least somewhat important, if only to keep Friday the 13th from turning into a running Scooby-Doo gag. “Why it’s old man Burns, the guy who run’s that haunted ambulance!”

Plus, we always get a peak at Jason, and it’s usually fucking horrifying. Observe…
friday3_jason
Maybe it’s a little important. No?
So, Paramount quickly swung in on a jungle vine for some damage control. In 1986 they unleashed Jason Lives and changed the entire franchise forever.hesback_junglejay
No more is Jason a mere mortal stalking the woods of Crystal Lake. He’s now a full fledged supernatural, unstoppable zombie killing machine.
No longer is the series a straight faced stalk-n-slash either. Tinges of satire, self parody and silliness have entered the Friday landscape.
Additionally this installment, while producing a sizable body count, is suspiciously lacking in the gore department. It’s also the only entry to feature no nudity. Fo reals?
But more importantly pop icons appear.

Enter Alice Cooper and his single He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) blatantly reassuring allhesback_jalicecoopees the Friday Freaks that yes, he’s back. Yes, the man behind the mask, Jason. Don’t worry, we even put his name first in the title to placate all the doubters and haters that may not come to suckle from our money cow’s teat.

Jason goes for a full blown team-up. Music videos, multiple songs, Fangoria spreads which give us such awesome images as this.
jason and aliceThankfully, Jason didn’t take too many cues from Freddy, and remained silent. I don’t know if I could have handled a wisecracking Voorhees.
Despite its lighter tone and generalized Skynet-like self-awareness, Jason is still pretty menacing, and there are some good kills, however neutered they may appear. It’s certainly not the poorest entry and it has a lot of style. It may just be one of the more entertaining of Jason’s outings, but that’s all up for debate, as that sort of assessment depends largely on your temperament and what kind of Friday you prefer.
It remains perhaps my favorite of the post zombie half of the series. It’s all downhill from 6, by degrees. I gotta a lotta love for aspects of 7 though, so there’s some wiggle room with that declaration.
Pulling Jason Voorhees clear in the the mid-80’s, here’s Alice Cooper’s He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)

 

Audio

Dream Warriors

dokken-dream-warriors-singleTRACK 103:
Dream Warriors by Dokken
With perhaps the exception of Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters, no Title Track has as much standing as a legitimate hit than Dokken’s Dream Warriors.
And why not? It was a great tune featured in a popular franchise hitting the height of its popularity, played by a popular band at the height of their popularity. Sounds like a formula for a hit to me.
It isn’t so overly explicit as to put-off non-Freddy fans or become regulated only to annual Halloween airplay. By that same token, it isn’t so vague as to be completely unrelated to the action onscreen. Perfect pop balance? Marketing genius? dreamwar_george1Lucky strike? Either way, whoever’s idea it was probably got a raise.
It’s also from arguably one of Freddy’s finest outting. While I’m inclined to side with original in almost every case (including the Nightmare series), many fans cite Part 3 as the best Elm Street installment, or at least their favorite. I’ll agree so far as to say this is Freddy’s best sequel, without question. I may love me some Freddy’s Revenge but I think Dream Warriors is legitimately his best numbered go-round.
Cooler than 4,  livelier than 5, more coherent than 2 and less stupid than 6, Dream Warriors hits the right wave of scary and goofy Freddy. He’s not quite the running joke he becomes from The Dream Master on. You see it brewing here, but he still has some shred of his former menacing self.
Also with more ambitious effects, wilder sets and more imaginative dreams sequences than the previous installments, Dream Warriors is where the Freddy becomes Freddy; not just the horror icon, but the cultural icon. And Dokken has its hand in that too, no doubt.
dreamwar_george2After Dream Warriors, all bets are off; Late Night appearances, hit songs, window clings, his own television series, his own album – Freddymania is on.
Initially, Craven (back on board after his complete absence from the completely absent Freddy’s Revenge) intended this film to wrap up the entire saga. However, New Line made way too much bank on this outing to let Freddy rest quietly in his junkyard grave and proceeded to milk every last drop out of blood from the dream demon.
Interestingly enough, for this installment Craven also pitched the idea of Freddy coming out of the screen to torment the Elm Street actors in real life. New Line rejected that nonsense altogether. At least for another 6 years or so, until Craven got the go ahead to realize this plot in his true return to the series in the form of New Nightmare.
While it may have been interesting to see all of that played out earlier, Dream Warriors stands up just fine in its presented form.dreamwar_freddyshred
So, come Weeners, we are bound together by our love of Halloween, Horror and Horrific Halloween Music. The Shindig is waiting for you. Listen now, cause maybe tonight you’ll be gone.
Here’s Dokken’s power ballad battle cry for the children on Elm Street.

 
 

Audio

The Wicker Man

Iron-Maiden-Rock-In-Rio-2001TRACK 102:
The Wicker Man by Iron Maiden
One of my favorite horror movies of all time is The Wicker Man. It’s awesome. If you’ve never seen The Wicker Man, it comes highly recommended from Halloween Shindig.
Being part of what was referred to in the 70’s as Folk Horror, The Wicker Man follows Police Sargent Neil Howie as he investigates an anonymous tip of a missing girl on Summerilse, a secluded island off the coast of Scotland.
There, a small but jovial group of Celtic pagans are free to practice their religion unfettered by the prying eyes of a judgmental society. That is until devout Christian Sargent Howie starts poking his disapproving nose around.
It is slow burn horror at its finest with an unsettling sense of dread which mounts to one of the great reveals in horror history.
With effective turns from horror vet Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle, Edward Woodward as Sargent Howie, plus a cast of creepsters as wide as the island, The Wicker Man isn’t your typical horror movie. Lacking gore, trite frights or largely any of the overt trapping of the genre, The Wicker Man‘s true horror is a psychological and social one that is both subtle and unnerving, and lingers long after the embers of its titular effigy fade.
It would double feature nicely with Dead and Buried, another creepfest about a small town of weirdos doing weird shit.
All that said, one of my favorite bands of all time is Iron Maiden. With Steve Harris’ unstoppable bass, the dueling harmonies of Adrian Smith and Dave Murray, Niko McBain’s thunderous percussion and Bruce Dickenson’s stainless steel vocals, they’re a heavy metal force for the ages.
So when these guys decided to cut a track about The Wicker Man, you know it’s a guaranteed Shindigger.
And though I like the studio version, it can’t hold a candle to the intensity of this opener from their Rock In Rio live album. Plus, it’s got that epic instrumental introduction, just perfect for overlaying this equally perfect sample.
So, come Weeners, it is time to keep your appointment with The Wicker Man.

 

Audio

Leatherface

leatherfaceTRACK 101:
Leatherface by Lääz Rockit
There’s no shortage of music for 80’s horror icons, no matter how popular or obscure. From Matt Cordell to Horace Pinker, no psycho is too small for a Title Track. Hell, even Bud the C.H.U.D. has his own song, and he ain’t even a real C.H.U.D.
However, when it comes to The Big 5, there’s a lot of representation from some pretty heavy hitters.
And though Freddy may have Dokken (and The Fat Boys), and Jason may hang out with Alice Cooper, and Pinhead might be backed up by Motörhead and Michael Myers may just have greatest theme in horror history, Leatherface gets the baddest song of the bunch, in my opinion. It may be from virtual nobodies Lääz Rockit, but this song is tough as shit.
The whole Leatherface soundtrack is pretty rock solid, but this Title Track is everything you want for everyone’s favorite chainsaw-wielding, cross-dressing, skin-wearing, Texas-fried lunatic; some kick-ass shredding, some disgruntled vocals and some highly referential lyrical content. Handled.
I’ve lead the track in with Tobe Hopper’s iconic introduction (as read by Night Court’s John Larroquette’s) because let’s face it, that intro from part 3 sucks balls.
From just another of the forgettable retreads in the under-capitalized Texas Chainsaw franchise, it’s Lääz Rockit, headin’ for the crossroad with Leatherface.
Here’s your invitation.