Audio

The Monster Mash

TRACK #171:

The Monster Mash by The Krypt-Keeper 5

Born from the same scuzzy streets, Foodland chipped ham and shitty, 3-story apartment building in “downtown” Monessen, Pennsylvania that also gave birth to Halloween Shindig, The Krypt-Keeper 5 and this playlist go together like apples and caramel.

A band of bored effects students joined forces in the winter of 2005  to cut a Christmas album. Deck My Balls: Seasons Beatings from The Krypt-Keeper 5 was a substantial, 28-track package of punk covers, originals, re-workings and Christmas classics.

Featuring the vocal stylings and ivory work of a man you may be familiar with; sculptor, mask-dork, punch-technician and friend of The Shindig, Mikey Rotella.

Rhythming it up behind him were bassist and 4th Keeper Chuck Hendershot (aka Klaus Satan Von Chudberg), Timmy “Tiny Timminy Grinch” Estes slinging a six-string, and Todd Russell Parker McCulloch filling in with drum fills, guitar licks and just about anything else required.

They even played a couple of shows which, for any of the poor souls trapped in the Monongahela Valley, was probably the freshest air they’d ever breathed. Unfortunately, The Shindig never got to see them perform live, as it had moved on to the good life out in California’s beautiful San Fernando Valley by 2005. However, we can all pretend like we were there thanks to the miracle of modern video.

Yeah, that’s great an all, but the last time I checked this was Halloween Shindig. Why the fuck are we sitting here, 3 days before Halloween, talking about a goddamn Christmas album?

Well, that’s because buried deep within this seasonal offering is another kind of festive shanty, and it’s the 5’s take on a Halloween Classic, The Monster Mash.

And when Monessen’s own sons, The Krypt-Keeper 5, take on All-Star Boris Pickett’s seminal Halloween hit, there’s nothing but room for them on Halloween Shindig.

So, c’mon Weeners! Join Dracula, his son….and the wolfmaaan! It’s a graveyard smash.

 

Audio

Haunted Cathouse

TRACK #147

Haunted Cathouse by The Nekromantix
What Haunted House tour would be complete without a stop at a haunted whorehouse?

Here’s a psychobilly banger from The Nekromantix which has the guys reminiscing about the good old days, ya know when they got free blowjobs from weird creatures at this spooky brothel.

I lead in the song with a clip from Blood Sisters, Roberta Findlay’s late-era slasher where some sorority sisters are challenged to spend the night in…a haunted whorehouse!

With Roberta’s name and the plot outlined above, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were getting into some top-notch 80’s slash-sleazery. Unfortunately, you’d be mistaken, and probably fairly disappointed by this scavenger hunt, genre mash-up which delivers little in either haunted house chills or hack-n-slash thrills.

It’s not even terribly sleazy, which is a pretty hefy sin for a movie about a haunted whorehouse where a bunch of sorority girls are having a sleep-over.

Oh, well. At any rate, here’s The Nekromantix describing a house which would have been much cooler than the one we get to see in Blood Sisters.

 

Audio

Terror (in the Haunted House)

TRACK #146:

Terror (in the Haunted House) by Blitzkid

Though they share titles, I’m not entirely convinced Blitzkid was inspired by the film Terror in the Haunted House to write this upbeat spookster.

See, Terror in the Haunted House doesn’t really take place in a Haunted House. I suppose House of Haunted Hill doesn’t really either, but it at least it pretends to. Terror in the Haunted House doesn’t even do that.

What it does do however, is attempt to bug you out with a bunch of subliminal messages and images cut into the movie. They called this gimmick “Psycho-Rama!” which sounds way cooler than it actually is.

The look of these messages is pretty goofy. They’re actually kind of distracting and not at all effective. Take a look. I’ve slowed them down for optimum perception!

Not so spooky. Hell, the later ones seem pretty aftermarket. Particularly this red snake one, instructing you to “Rent Rhino Videos Everyday.”

Yeah, pretty sure prints didn’t ship with that message in 1958.

No, Terror in the Haunted House is much more a psychological thriller than horror, and not an entirely ineffective one at that. A bit silly sure and no doubt more than just a little Castle-esque, but it is occasionally somewhat sinister and intriguing.

Mostly though, it’s just a snoozer. And with the absence of any fun ghosts or phantasmic goings-ons, 100% missable.

So, let’s just enjoy this spooky spin from Shindig All-Stars Blitzkid. It’s shorter and a lot more fun.

 

Audio

House On Haunted Hill

The song is actually featured on the compilation Gothabilly: Rockin’ Necropolis, but that album cover sucks, so lets just look at this one, cause it’s awesome.

TRACK #142:

House on Haunted Hill by The Ghastly Ones

I love House on Haunted Hill. It’s my favorite William Castle outing, with maybe The Tingler taking a real close second.

It’s great. I love it. I have since the 1st  time I saw it over 20 some odd years ago on Halloween night. It even managed to sneak it’s way into my DVD player again last Hallow’s Eve, the slippery bastard. Wasn’t even thinking about it before it crept in.

Similarly, I love surf music. I have since I heard my dad’s old crackly LP of Telstar probably 20 some odd years ago.

What do these 2 seemingly unrelated loves have in common? Why it’s the Guys from Van Nuys again bringing 2 of my favorite things together as only they can.

For lack of a better term, Surf music has always been a rather incestuous scene. With modern Surf bands no doubt cutting their teeth shredding through old Ventures‘ tunes, Dick Dale licks and smooth grooves from The Shadows. It seems a rite of passage to add your own flare to a tried and true Surf standard. No Surf album, old or new, is complete without at least one cover of a classic or even more obscure number. Hell, most of the time there’ll be more than just one, rest assured.

Even the old timers did in their day. Sure the songs weren’t old then, but they passed them around all the same. It’s no surprise to find the same song recorded by 3 or 4 different bands, sometimes more. What is surprising, sometimes, is to find out who actually cut it first.

Such is the case with our next tune, a track I thought for years was a Ghastly’s original. How could it not be? Oh my surprise some years back when at my local CD Trader I ran afoul an interesting 3 CD set entitled “Halloween Nuggets: Monster Sixities A-Go-Go,” comprised largely of songs hitherto unknown to the Shindig. Needless to say we were sold, but it was a curious track on disc 3 which really sealed the deal.

House on Haunted Hill? By Kenny and The Fiends? Holy shit. There’s another song about  House on Haunted Hill?

Here’s my money Mr. Used CD man. Thank you very much.

What happened next was a mixture of both delight and disappointment all wrapped up in the same strange smirk. Yes, there was a song about House on Haunted Hill. Well, sort of. A funky instrumental it was, which while a bit disheartening, quickly inspired a Myers-esque head tilt. This song sounded familiar. Holy shit! This is The Ghastly One’s House on Haunted Hill! Those fiends!

The Shindig didn’t find a new song that day (well, not that one anyway) but it did gain a renewed appreciation for an old Shindig mainstay, a renewed love for a favorite band and a little elucidation on the age old art of the Surf Cover.

True to form, the Ghastly’s dry brush their own green twang onto this old Aurora-fashioned go-go surf-spookster and keep the tradition alive.

However, surf lacks the, shall we say, lyrical content to truly bring the ideas together beyond a simple title and a little atmosphere. Sounds like a sample lovers dream, and the Shindig is always up to that challenge.

So at number 142, Kenny and the Fiends via The Ghastly Ones and William Castle via Halloween Shindig, submit for your audio pleasure…House On Haunted Hill.

Are you ready, dear?

 

Audio

Trick Or Treat

114_return-of-the-loving-deadTRACK #114:

Trick Or Treat by Nekromantix

Referential hits, spooky themes and inclusive Rock ‘N Roll are all well and good, but nothing really captures the spirit of The Shindig quite like a straight up Halloween jam.

And psychobilly spooksters Nekromantix (a name which itself is referential) have just the jam the mad doctor ordered.

Trick Or Treat is the kind of no frills Halloween gem that’s just kinda toss onto an innocuous album because well, that’s just how they roll. “Halloween? Sure, we gotta Halloween song. Here ya go”

Full of nostalgia and rubber remembrance for the Halloweens of our youth, this tune is essentially all about the costumes; picking out the right one and having a great time doing it, all in the spirit of trick or treating. And just like any good Halloweeners, they’ll even catalog passed costumes and the myriad of ideas they have for upcoming costumes as well.

So come on Weeners, whadda you gonna be this year?

 

Audio

Hellraiser

007_blitzkid_let-flowers-dieTRACK #113

Hellraiser by Blitzkid

Shindig All-Stars Blitzkid are back and whaddya know, they’re singing about an 80’s horror movie.

This time Hellraiser is their pleasure (sir) and we’ve spiced it up with a hefty dose of Pinhead’s verbose bullshit to really make it feel at home.

So come on, solve the easiest puzzle box/portal to ungodly horrors that ever existed. Seriously, they couldn’t have made that fucker a little trickier to crack? Nothing that contains that much crazy shit should be that easy to just accidentally open by rubbing your thumb across. Jeez guys.

 

Audio

Night of The Demons

109_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

The Wicker Man

102_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

It’s Only Halloween

086_butch_only-halloweenTRACK #86:

It’s Only Halloween by Butch Patrick

Show business can be a bitch. One day you’re a hit, the next day you can’t find work as extra in a community theater production of Our Town. What’s an actor to do?

Well, it’s even worse if you’re a child star. Not every Richie Cunningham can turn lemons into an Academy Award.

So, what’s Butch Patrick left with? Well, when your 1983 hit “Whatever Happened to Eddie” fails to make enough waves to buoy your career, I guess you take another stab at referentially cashing in on your former success.

In 2007, Butch cut the seasonal track It’s Only Halloween, where he does his best Shanter impersonation over a requisite Halloween beat.

Say what you want about this song, but I like it and given it’s a Halloween song recorded by Butch Fucking Patrick, I can’t think of a more fitting place for it than right here, with every other spooky, bizarre and otherwise unwise track on Halloween Shindig!

 

Audio

Making A Monster

077_blitzkid_trace_of_a_strangerTRACK #77:

Making A Monster by Blitzkid

Perennial spooksters and Shindig all-stars Blitzkid are back at #77 with their ode to Mary Shelley’s classic tale of science gone wrong.

Sympathetically written from the Monster’s perspective, the song actually has a bit more in common with the source material than the 1931 film used to lead the track in. But a clip that perfect can’t be ignored, not by The Shindig at least.