It’s tricky to rock a rhyme. It’s trickier to rock one about monsters. These tricksters have all treated us to some tracks about trickin’ and treatin’. As The Cryptkeeper might say…”They all arm me with harm…ony, yeeeheeeheeeehaaaha!”
Trick Or Treat – what more can you possibly give The Shindig? Haven’t you given enough already? Surely there are no more Halloween delights under your thin candy shell.
Oh, but there is – a thick nougat center of Monster Rap awesomeness.
In between all the Fastway rocking of the Trick Or Treat soundtrack, tucked away so’s you might not even notice, is this curveball of horrific proportions.
From 80’s Hip-Hop maestro’s Whodini comes one of the finest Monster Raps featured on The Shindig, The Haunted House of Rock.
Played during the Halloween Dance sequence, just before Roger turns the speakers over to Sammy Curr’s backwards metallic cassette, Whodini rocks a rhyme about the monsters and mayhem taking place at the titular haunted abode.
What is this song doing on this soundtrack? What is this song even doing in existence? I don’t have an answer to either question, but in both cases I’m sure glad it is.
Succeeding in just about every way Lovebug Starski’sAmityville fails, The Haunted House of Rock features an actual Haunted House propagated by a multitude of real ghouls with no sign of any Starship Enterprise crew members in sight.
Amityville only outshines it for a brief moment when Dracula raps. That’s pretty huge and should not be ignored. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Amityville and it’s ridiculously unhaunted tale, but Whodini delivers the goods in way Starski only aspires to and remain the champs of the Haunted Monster Party Rap game.
Haunted House of Rock may even be the champ of the Monster Rap game in its entirety. But it does have some stiff competition.
In 1985, this guy named Lovebug Starski (best known for, well this song) decided it’d be a good idea if he just recorded some random track about Amityville. Not for any Amityville movie mind you, but rather during a 5 year lull in the franchise (3D having been released in ‘83, and Curse not for another 4 years.)
Hell, he didn’t even make it in reference to the movies really, but just cause he thought it’d be fun I guess and maybe even a hit.
And he was right! This sucker broke the Billboard Top 20 in ‘86, which means that, for a period of time in America, people were legitimately rocking out to this song. Which is totally understandable. This song is awesome and weird as shit.
Starski uses the real Amityville legend (I guess?) as a sort of jumping off point for some crazy ass song about a vaguely Haunted House where nothing much happens, but everyone goes.
A Karloff-esque butler greats Starski upon his arrival, then later Dracula shows up for no good reason and raps. Now, that alone is enough to have Amityville make the cut for every Halloween party playlist ever created.
As if that wasn’t bizarre enough though, just for the hell of it, Captain Kirk, Scotty and Spock arrive at one point to talk about Starski over the spooky beat. I’m sorry, what? Why? This song is fucking nuts.
Apparently, looking at the 45 sleeve above, you’ll note the record came complete with a “Free Black Hole,” ya know, for all the “time-shift special appearances.” I guess at least they tried to justify this nonsense with some kind of acknowledgement. Not sure if that makes it more or less weird, though.
So take a drive out to Amityville. You know, the house on the hill. You just make a left, then you make a right and……Amityville!
Since everyone got so pissed off this summer about the Ghostbusters remake, and even more pissed off about the new song by Fall Out Boy ft. Missy Elliot (definitely not featured on the Shindig), I thought we’d take a look at another Ghostbusters Theme reiteration that surely pissed off purists in its day.
I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, but when it comes to Monster Raps, no movie’s got that shit on lock like Ghostbusters 2.
A prime example of this is Run D.M.C.’sGhostbusters, which (as sacrilegious as it may sound) I actually enjoy a little more than Ray Parker Jr.’s seminal theme.
Don’t get me wrong, Ray’s original Title Track is an unrivaled classic, both for Halloween playlists and just generally speaking. It also serves as the basis for Reverend Run and Co.’s sonic sequel. This jam however is way less played-out, awesomely 8o’s in its own distinct way and just plain old fashioned ridiculous in the best way possible.
Sampled up with tons of clips of the boys bustin’ and schillin’.
Fred Krueger the myth or Fred Krueger the man? It doesn’t matter cause they’re still rappin’ bout him, understand?
The lesser heralded of the 2 Freddy rap songs, I feel Are You Ready For Freddy is superior to Nightmare on My Street for several good reasons:
It’s The Fat Boys and they’re cooler than Will Smith any day of the week.
It’s offically from a Freddy movie (Part 4: The Dream Master)
It actually features Robert England rapping as Freddy, as opposed to whoever the hell is rapping on the DJ Jazzy Jeff track.
It’s less generic about it’s Freddydom, as multiple Elm Street films are referenced and sampled.
And if that wasn’t enough, lines like
“With a hat like a vagabond
Standin’ like a flasher
It’s Mr. Big Time, Fred Krueger
make all the difference in the world.
Freddymania is in full swing here in 1988 and the series has finally degraded into pure schillery. Freddy is a tradable commodity now, hitting the talk show circuit, making more music video appearences and hanging out in the windshield of cars.
I actually own this and it’s fucking awesome
A double-edged sword no doubt, as it’s exactly this kind of boardroom buffoonery that gives us such an awesome track as Are You Ready for Freddy (and my equally awesome sunshield.)
But in terms of the movie, well viewers paid the price. Freddy’s crackin’ wise, sportin’ sunglasses and eatin’ pizza like some damned Ninja Turtle. Ceasing to be at all frightening and with the cleanest sweater I think he’s ever worn, Freddy’s less your dirty old dream diddler and more your pal. Hell, he’s brought back from his “grave” by the fiery urine of Kincaid’s dog Jason. Yeah, it sets up its jackassery early and securely.
But I enjoy The Dream Master for much the same reason I enjoy Freddy’s Dead: I love Freddy as a character (either scary or silly) and it’s just a ridiculous piece of horror filmmaking.
Plus it has this song.
Which, interestingly enough, has an alternate version. There was a second, longer version of the track cut for the 12″ single. What? Now that’s the kinda shit The Shindig lives for.
So why isn’t that the featured track? Well, to be honest, I don’t like it as much. It’s a bit slower, the beats a little different and there’s a bunch of extra incidental sounds tossed all over it. It’s kinda weird. Plus, it cuts out Freddy’s original rap at the end! What?! You get an alternate, almost spoken-word outro from The Dream Crasher, which is fun but just isn’t quite the same.
However, it does feature some pretty fantastic extra verses in the middle where The Boys detail the plot from the original Elm Street and talk about Freddy more. And there’s more samples from the original Elm Street thrown in for good measure. Bonus.
Since we all know and have just addressed with whom you’ll contact over telephone wires should it become apparent that you in fact have harmful apparitions approaching, let’s task listeners with a similar question:
Yeah, but who do you call when you have Monsters?
That’s right and at last we come to The Monster Squad. From the very first CD in 2002, The Monster Squad has been a permanent fixture of Halloween Shindig and remains one of my favorite selections on the playlist.
Granted, I may be a bit biased but this song is representing hard. Let’s check the stats:
Is it about a horror movie?
Check, it’s about the goddamn Monster Squad.
Ah, yes, but is it in the movie?
In it? Motherfucker, it’s the Title Track. Triple check that shit.
We talkin’ bout Monsters?
Fuck yeah we are. It’s like a goddamn monster mash up in this motherfucker. Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. That’s the big five, son. Throw in some sexy vampire chicks, a grotesque bat transformation and a werewolf exploding out of the sky and you’ve got some real monster shit on lock. Check + to Monster Song.
What more could you ask for? Well, they even mention Halloween too. Sure, it’s to illustrate how this ain’t Halloween (or some phony deal) but we’ll just look that other way on that one. They say Halloween and damn it if that ain’t all that matters sometimes.
Now all of that sounds like a Referentially Inclusive Monster Halloween Title Track to me, gang. That’s Great Pumpkin status right there.
And it’s a Monster Rap to boot? Holy shit, is there anything this song can’t do?
One of the most ridiculous tracks you can imagine, The Monster Squad was suspiciously recorded by some anonymous collective of Hip-Hop Demigods that chose to remain nameless. What?!
Why the hell anyone would elect to do this is so far beyond the scope of my imagination it boarders on madness. If I was responsible for this song I’d put it on every job application I ever filled out.
2 years as an Assistant Hanger Inspector for Sears and Roebuck.
4 months as a Substitute Wigsmith at The Downtown Clownery.
Oh yeah and I wrote the motherfucking Monster Squad Rap. What’s up?
From a time when everyone thought something like this was a really great idea, The Monster Squad (for anyone thinking otherwise) is a really great idea.
It’s is pretty whack? Yeah, I guess so. If you wanna be a jerk about it.
Is it poorly conceived and equally executed? Yeah, I suppose I’d have to concede that fact too, if you really want this to be a frank discussion about musical integrity.
But fuck that discussion and fuck you for wanting it pal, cause this song fucking rules. It’s a rap song about a group of kids fighting The Universal Monsters. Oh, did you not catch that? It’s a rap song about a group of kids fighting The Universal Monsters. Whomever is responsible for this song should be a cultural icon. They should have a fucking Grammy and an Academy Award.
Instead, (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing took the honor that year. All right, fair enough. Maybe that’s a better song, but it lacks the lyric:
“We don’t wanna hang with the walking dead, so we gotta kick some monster butt instead.”
What’s up now, Academy of Arts and Sciences?
Looking into this travesty further, I discovered the competition that year was actually pretty stiff. Check this shit out:
Damn, that’s a solid 80’s line-up right there. Maybe I spoke too soon. Still, it should have been nominated at the absolute least. Who the hell is still talking about Cry Freedom 26 years later?
No one, that’s who.
But I digress.
An interesting side note to this song: the original version I had on the 2002 CD was pulled from my old VHS copy of Monster Squad. Incidentally, this was later signed by Tom Woodruff Jr.
Check it out.
This version contained the line:
“First came Dracula, now the Wolfman too, The Mummy and the Gillman swimming in the pool.”
What? Why did that roll call just fall the fuck apart?
Hear that sample below.
I always thought this was a pretty strange and horrendous line, particularly when they could have just as simply said “and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
But I guess they couldn’t say “and the Creature from the Black Lagoon,” for the home video release. Damn copyrights.
All things considered, that’s not a bad save. Syllabically sound, it even sort of rhymes, at least no more or less than the original false rhyme. But damn is it silly. Why is he in the pool? Did I miss a scene where he climbs out of a pool? Why did he just say that?
Upon upgrading the tune for better quality many years later when The Monster Squad finally saw a DVD release, I noticed the line was suddenly changed to “and the Creature From The Black Lagoon” and I thought “Shit, that must have been the original lyric. How about that.” Now, I just feel sort of nostalgic for the old, butchered scab.
But I’ve spoken too verbosely about all of this as is, so let’s just make with the goods, huh?
One of my favorite songs on the playlist from one of my favorite movies of all time. Here it is….The Monster Squad.
As longtime followers are probably (painfully) aware, Monster Raps are load bearing supports in the Halloween Shindig rotation.
And when it comes to Monster Raps, few come as tailor-made awesome as Yeshwua Barnes and B Dub Woods’Maniac Cop Rap.
Check the stats:
Does it take the movie’s score and mix into an awesome beat? Check. Does it play during the end credits? Check. Does it feature the title repeated ad nauseum? Check Does it talk about how badass the main character is? Check Does it feature the most ridiculous lyrics you can image? Check plus.
Here’s some choice selection from the track…
Set ‘em on fire, I shoot ‘em with a Uzi
But he’ll show up in you’re jacuzzi!”
And don’t waste time dialin’ 9-1-1
Forget karate and forget yer gun!
You won’t get a ticket or pay a fine
You might as well be dealin’ with Frankenstein!
Without any further adieu, segueing out of our 80’s Oddball Sequel Dance Party, from a sequel that’s better than the original, 1990’s Maniac Cop 2, here’s the Manaic Cop Rap.
Over the years, as the musical climate shifted, Boris Pickett attempted to recapture his Monster Mash lightning into all manner of bottle. The results were, well, not quite as successful.
In the early 80’s he tried rap, much to the delight of the Shindig.
Easily my favorite Boris Pickett tune, this goofy number is, I think, the funniest of his career. The ridiculous chorus of “Shock the body. Shock the body, body” in that Karloff voice is unmatched. Plus a rapping Frankenstein in the form of “Monster Mouth” is pretty fantastic too.
Though, I think the funniest aspect of the track is Boris’ initial excitement to hear the monster rap, and how quickly that turns to complete annoyance once the creature “won’t stop rapping.”
Even in the form of a silly rap, some remnant of Mary Shelley’s themes still persist,…kind of.
Either way, Boris Pickett’sMonster Rap is Shindig gold, all the way around.
When it comes to Monster Raps, no movie’s got that category on lock down like Ghostbusters 2.
Whatever your take on the movie itself (I happen to enjoy it, though not nearly as much as the superior original) its soundtrack is pretty serious, and as such has a lot of representation on The Shindig.
The year was 1989 and the soundtrack certainly feels that way, bridging the gap between 80’s pop and paving the way for what would be the mainstream explosion of rap the following year. Hats off the the music supervisor’s foresight on that one.
Like any good soundtrack it also consistently reminds one of the movie, as the music is featured so predominately within the film.
The first Shindig cut from that album is Doug E. Fresh’sSpirit. Some people hear it, some people fear it. Some people just won’t go near it.
In the early 90’s both hip hop and Tales from the Crypt were riding high on the pop culture wave, so it seemed only natural to some sleazy executive to combined these two concepts.
The result is The Crypt Jam, a rather curious musical number that finds our pal the Cryptkeeper inviting us to a “monster bash, if you will.”
The next 3 minutes or so is The Cryptkeeper (voiced by the great John Kassir) rhyming and punning his way through a generic 90’s hip-hop beat.
Even better is the video, featuring our pal dressed up in typical gansta threads of the era, dancing with a dozen or so fly-girls and a coupla pop-lockin’ zombies.
Was it a good idea? Well, The Shindig certainly thinks so, as this type of thing is right up our alley over here. However, that may not be everyone’s conclusion regarding this particular Monster Rap. Either way, the Cryptkeeper’s in the house, and we couldn’t be happier about that.