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

Ghost Fever

ghostfever

TRACK #149:

Ghost Fever by Sherman Hemsley

Ok, so Ghost Fever‘s a pretty shitty movie, right? Oh, not sure you believe me? Go see for yourself. I’ll meet you back here in 92 minutes.

Alright, so now that we’re all on the same page, we can hash this thing out.

I’m not sure how much Ghost Fever you actually came down with but chances are it wasn’t enough that you’ll be requiring any antibiotics.

That being said, I love Ghost Fever. It has the distinction of being the only movie where Sherman Hemsley plays corner man to Luis Ávalos as he boxes Smoking Joe Fraizer with the assistance of Southern ghosts. Well, the only one that I’ve seen anyway.

It’s also the only movie I’ve ever seen with a break-dancing mummy.

gf_mummydance3Now, that’s pretty awesome.

All of this however does not make Ghost Fever a good movie, it just makes Ghost Fever a movie I enjoy watching. Admittedly, it is a little more than hard to sit through but if you can get behind a poor idea executed in the poorest possible fashion with the more eye-rolling bafoonery this side of Pandemonium, it’s a certain kind of treat.

James Ross at Badmovienite.com probably puts it best in his humorous review:

“At times it’s like a live action episode of Scooby-Doo meets the Harlem Globetrotters. Except it’s not really fun, or funny, and there are no talking dogs.”

Well, there’s definitely no talking dogs, I’ll give him that. But I’m laughing (kind of), particularly when it decides to get all batshit crazy toward the end. It’s not always the kind of laugh Alan Smithee is intending, but a laughs a laugh, right?

Oh yeah, did I mention Ghost Fever is an Alan Smithee film? That oughta give you an idea of what’s going on here.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Smithee, he’s a pseudonym the Director’s Guild of America allows a filmmaker to use if he feels too embarrassed with the final product and can demonstrate a lack of artistic control.

Yeah, so even the director Lee Madden disavowed this pile. I’m not quite sure it’s exactly so bad it’s good material but it’s definitely bad, that much I can say with confidence. But, dear Weeners, it’s not without its moments and with the right amount of intoxicants and the right amount of friends with the right sensibilities, it could be the right movie.

Of course, here on The Shindig, we don’t talk about this kind of nonsense without merit or a cause célèbre and Ghost Fever (as you might imagine) has a fucking doozy.

Submitted for your Halloween enjoyment, here’s George Jefferson himself spiriting his way through a disco title track of supernatural proportions.

Cause I got Ghost Fever!

 

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

Haunted House

TRACK #145:

Haunted House by Chris Kevin and The Comics

Well, here’s another Haunted House song inspiredly titled Haunted House. I suppose you can’t fault anyone for directness, or at least maybe you shouldn’t, especially not Chris Kevin or his Comics.

So, who are Chris Kevin and The Comics, you ask? Oh, you didn’t ask that just now, reading the above lead-in? Hmm, well indulge me for a moment as I pretend as though you give a shit.

Turns out I have no idea. None. And I couldn’t find much in the way of information regarding these guys on the old Internet either. Maybe one day some other goofball will be searching for information on Chris Kevin and The Comcis and stumble across this hole and shriek out in hope. Not bloody likely, and then not exactly helpful to him, as I have no damn information for that guy either. Sorry guy.

Curiously though, despite the frivolity suggested by Chris’ band’s name, their Haunted House is perhaps the least silly novelty song the Shindig’s ever run across. I mean, they’re not even trying to make this shit funny.

Quite the contrary in fact, as this song actually leans more toward religious cautionary tale about the dangers of a Haunted House. Well, the dangers of not living “right,” anyway (read: probably heterosexually.)

Your soul will be all caught up and burning and so on and so forth, you know the drill. What this has to do with a Haunted House, I haven’t the slightest idea, but if you enter this one, I guess you’ll be damning yourself for whatever reason.

Seems a little arbitrary though, no? Suppose you’re planning on battling the evil forces on behalf of Christ while you’re in there? Suppose you were selling Bibles door-to-door? Suppose you just happened to breakdown in front of this particular house and needed some assistance? That doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that should damn your eternal soul. But you’re ok, cause you got that whole “living right” caveat working for you.

So, don’t blow any dudes inside the Haunted House, have some premarital sex, light a joint or read any communist propaganda, or shit I don’t know, touch yourself or something – whatever the hell passed for not living right in 1959. I’ll bet it didn’t include gender reassignment surgery or locking up a 12 year old in a basement for 9 years, I can tell you that much.

But hey, let’s keep this light, huh? This is a novelty song from a band claiming to be The Comics,  whoever the hell they may be.

 

Audio

Haunted House

TRACK #144: 

Haunted House by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons

Here’s a dusty old ditty that proves folks have been fascinated with Haunted Houses for well over 50 years.

From Jumpin’ Gene Simmons comes this light hearted tale of terror with an upbeat tempo from 1964. However, this song was originally recorded by Johnny Fuller in 1959. If we’re being honest, we prefer Johnny’s version quite a bit more than Gene’s. It’s faster, more bluesy and Johnny sings the thing with a lot more character. It’s just more fun in Johnny’s hands. Have a listen – you be the judge.

 

However, we’ve officially opted to include Gene’s version on the Shindig for 3 reason:

  1. It appears on Elvira’s Haunted Hits (and Vinyl Macabre for that matter)
  2. It’s a little more polished and user friendly.
  3. KISS’s very own Gene Simmons took his stage name in tribute to Jumpin’ Gene, and that’s pretty great.

Despite starting his career with legendary Sun Records and opening for Elvis Presley, this was Jumpin’ Gene’s only Top 40 hit, and it made it all the way to #11! Not bad for a silly novelty song about a haunted house. I guess people were into that sort of thing back in 1964.

What a world. I can’t picture anything even mildly resembling this song performing as well in 2017.

In fact, check it out at your next Shindig. See how a modern audience reacts to this little rockabilly spookster. My guess? It won’t make it to #11 with any of your guest.
But it definitely makes it to at least #144 here on Halloween Shindig.

 

Audio

Amityville

TRACK #143:

Amityville by Lovebug Starski

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!

 

Audio

The Haunted Mansion Theme

TRACK #141:

The Haunted Mansion Theme by Buddy Baker & Xavier Atencio

I’ll start this off with the perhaps blasphemous admission (particularly considering my Southern California residence) that I have never been to Disneyland. I’ve heard every reaction, so feel free to engage in whichever one comes most naturally to you.

It goes without saying, then, that I have also never been on The Haunted Mansion ride. Though, if I were to visit the happiest place on earth, it would probably be for the explicit purpose of doing just that.

I have, however, heard its theme song an innumerable amount of times and it’s pretty damn Halloweeny, so I would be rather remiss to omit it from a playlist such as this.

There’s a lot of great voice talent on display in this old, fun tune from the 50’s. It’s great to think a song this old still plays in the halls of The Mansion some 60 odd years since its inception.

In a world that perpetually moves on, upgrades and reboots, it’s just nice to know Eddie Murphy isn’t cackling his way through some Rick James produced ghost rap. Though honestly, having just type this out, that actually sounds pretty fucking awesome. But the Mansion is still better off without such nonsense, regardless of how much I desperately want to hear that song now.

I’ve collided the tune with the ride’s own spoken intro for a little extra spookiness. So grab a hatbox, your death certificate and don’t close your eyes! It’s time for Disney’s Haunted Mansion!

 

 

Audio

Monster Shindig

TRACK #122:

Monster Shindig by Danny Hutton

The last time I checked this was a fucking shindig.

But what is a shindig, exactly?

Well, Merriam-Webster defines shindig as follows:

 

ˈSHinˌdiɡ/

noun informal

  1. a social gathering with dancing
  2. a usually large or lavish party

Google definitions had this to add:

  1. a large, lively party, especially one celebrating something.

Now, if you listen to any of the turkeys over at Urban Dictionary, they’d all have you believe a shindig is a small affair, consisting of anywhere from 5 to 20 people. One bozo even suggests it can contain no more than 12!

That’s why Webster’s is Webster’s and these idiot kids are logged into Urban Dictionary from their mom’s laptop.

No one better try curtailing our shindig, particularly not because some dildo in the cafeteria uses it improperly. No, we’re going definitive with our socially lavish and lively gathering that’s celebrating something.

And around here, that something is Halloween, which encompasses jack-o-Lanterns, trick or tricking and and all sorts of spooky shit of a generalized nature. That definitely includes Monsters.

From Hanna-Barbera’s 1965 record of the same name, Monster Shindig looks to muscle in on Boris Pickett’s racket by throwing their characters Super-Snooper and Blabber Mouse into the mix, stumbling upon just this type of haunted jamboree.

The cat and mouse team doesn’t show up in the song however, leaving this bizarro tune free to roam around the streets on Halloween night.

So, lets have a party…big big big and kick-off the second half of our playlist right, with another kind of shindig, performed here by Danny Hutton, who some of you may know as one third of Three Dog Night.

Bring a ghoul-friend and go berserk!

 

Audio

Thriller

TRACK #119:

Thriller by Michael Jackson

Thriller.

That’s it. That’s pretty much all there is to say.

I’m gonna say more, naturally, but I thought it was worth noting that that’s all anyone really needs to say.

Thriller. That’s what’s next.”
“Oh, ok. Sure. Of course it is.”

If anyone at your party has a reaction any less than the one I’ve described above, they don’t deserve to be celebrating Halloween. Take their mask, steal their candy and egg them back to the Stone Age.

The last time I checked (which was yesterday) Thriller was still the biggest selling album of all time. What? That’s crazy. It’s 33 years old, how is that still true? It’s cause it’s Thriller, that’s why.

For no mere mortal can resist…and so on and so forth. Probably some horrible music industry warlock bullshit, you ask me. Stick that into your Google and search it.

But I digress.

Thriller’s reach far extends that of the horror genre, Halloween or even this playlist. It literally extends to just about anyone who’s ever lived on this planet during the last 33 years and has functioning ear drums. That’s how huge it is. It’s the biggest thing on this playlist. It’s the biggest referential track ever recorded. How? How was such a niche song this fucking huge?

Well, I’d say it’s more the album than the song itself. Both Billie Jean and Beat It trump it in the singles department, no question. Thriller itself never hit number 1, staying in the Billboard 100 for 14 weeks but topping out at number 4.

You could make an argument for Ghostbusters being a bigger hit, as it was legitimately a number 1 record. But I’d say that’s about it. Nothing else comes close.  Though as much as I love Ray Parker Jr.’s Title Track (definitely the biggest Title Track ever recorded) it’s not quite Thriller. Though both were contemporaries that changed the way music was conceived, created and sold, Thriller still has a little something extra. That extra is no doubt Michael Jackson.

Though that’s to say nothing of the video, revolutionizing the young media form and setting a standard I still think has yet to be matched. From Rick Baker’s werewolf transformation to his zombies, to the choreography, to the eerie quality with which John Landis imbues the whole proceedings. It’s unmatched and a Horror fans dream video.

And it scared the living shit out of me as a kid. Having greater access to the Thriller video than most horror movies, it absolutely haunted me. The werewolf transformation was an initial jolt. Then Michael suddenly becoming a zombie just fucked me up. What!? He was just singing to her, now he’s a zombie? 

Though even more terrifying was once the music stopped and the horror movie started. The girl taking refuge in the abandoned house and Michael and his zombie horde busting through ever inch of it to get at her. He was just Michael Jackson! They were friends! Now he’s trying to kill her! That level of broken trust rocked my young mind.

Ah, but it was all a dream! There’s Michael. “What’s the problem?” He asks. A sigh of relief washes over me. It’s all ok.

But then, the absolute kick in the nuts. Finally, once I feel at ease again, there he is, turning around and looking dead at me with those fucking werewolf eyes. Holy shit….it’s not ok. Freeze frame. And a child’s nightmares were born. It still sends a little shiver up my spine every time I see it, all these years later.

The 3D Viewmaster I had as a kid didn’t help either. Remember Viewmasters? They looked like this.You held it up to the light and clicked through a wheel of stereoscopic photos.

We had a giant, Talking Viewmaster that looked like this.

It was cool pretty cool. The wheels were larger, like scan-tron cards and had audio accompaniment. For this Talking Viewmaster, we had this.

A few Christmas’ back, my mother had pulled the old boy out for my nephews to play with. I hadn’t seen it in years. I immediately recalled my youthful terror and scrounged for the Thriller cartridge. I needed to see it; the image that haunted me all my life.

Sure as shit it was there. And sure as shit, it still gave me the creeps. Holding it up to the light, I perched my phone as close to the eyepiece as possible. I needed to capture this.

Holy shit.

As an adult, It’s obvious to me that Ola Ray and Michael are clearly having fun and chuckling to themselves while taking these photos. Fright is at a minimum, but damn it if that wasn’t the scariest shit I ever saw when I was 7. I had to flick passed. Nope. Couldn’t handle it.  Still trips me out.

But anyway, back to the actual song. Of course you have Vincent Price, adding his singular voice and an air of authentic late night 50’s horror double-feature flair to the entire affair.

That mixed with the lyrical references and allusions all wrapped up it a supremely dance-able 80’s rhythm that no mere mortal can resist.

Each one of these facets gives Thriller its collective undefinable quality. And it’s a quality that all understand, as everyone at your party is about to dance. Seriously. I don’t care who they are or what they’re doing; drunk, high, tired, newly arrived, mid-conversation, about to leave, taking a piss – don’t matter. Just watch your guests, this song comes on and people flip the fuck out. It might take a second for everyone to register what’s happening, but once it does, that’s the ballgame, jack. Maybe it’s all that warlocking.

Leaving this one off your Halloween playlist is absolutely unconscionable. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that If you asked 10 random people on the street for just 1 song they associate with Halloween, I guarantee every one of them will name Thriller.

It’s close to midnight…

 

Audio

The Monster Mash

TRACK #117:

The Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and The Crypt Kickers

Around Halloween, dozens of internet outlets will cough up a dozen or so songs they think you ought to play at your Halloween party. The more enterprising sort might even toss you a couple you didn’t think of or haven’t heard before. The too-cool-for-ghoul-school nitwits’ll even attempt to buck convention with some underground hits which barely qualify and have little to no business playing at your party.

Invariably though, most Halloween playlist fakers (particularly the the oh-so-hip clique) tell ya the one thing you should never even consider playing at your party is The Monster Mash; so horrifically lame, so dreadfully passé.

I read one list that even had the audacity to claim it didn’t conjure up any feelings of fright. Are you serious? It’s a novelty song…about a bunch of monsters…having a party. Of course it doesn’t conjure up any feelings of fright you fuckin’ nimrod, it’s a joke.

They also went on to suggest I play Disturbia by Rhianna. 

They shouldn’t be allowed to make Halloween party playlists and they certainly shouldn’t come up on the first page of a Google search.

Moreover, they included The Freaks Come Out At Night by Whodini. Who-fuckin-Dini! They have a song called The Haunted House of Rock, which is played at a Halloween Dance in a movie titled Trick Or Treat. F minus to your bullshit suggestions.

These people are idiots. Don’t listen to them.

Is The Monster Mash played out? Of course it is. It’s 50 fucking years old and the only time anyone ever plays it is at Halloween.

Can you’re Oct. 31st spare 3 and half measly minutes for The Monster Mash? Yes it can and you should take off your fucking mask and hang your head in reverence for the Halloween National Anthem. The fucking heathens…..skip The Monster Mash….skip your passing interest in a holiday that didn’t need your bogus suggestions. Can’t even find The Shindig in a Google search on the matter and I get these bozos telling me to pass on The Monster Mash.

Ok, if you’re offering up 10 suggestions, I can seeing glazing over it in lieu of a few songs that people are less familiar with. Should have made it 13 songs and showed a little class. Even still, what’s 13 songs? You throwing a party for an hour?

Saw a list of 25 once. Could have just made it 31 and been a bit more festive. Still ain’t handling the job of party DJ.

That’s why Halloween Shindig exists, to rebuke these johnny-come-latelies and offer up a list of serious suggestions; to encompass all and handle the task at hand. Does anyone need a 12 hour Halloween playlist? Probably not but it’s here and growing longer each year. I hope to one day have 24 hours worth so your Halloween couldn’t possibly fit anymore music.

You only need to fill 4 hours? We’ll hook you up 3 times over again. Only want a party filled with Monster Raps? No problem. Here’s 2 hours worth.

Is Love Is A Lie very Halloweeny? Not at all but it’s in Friday 4 when Crispin Glover dances like an idiot and that’s the kinda Halloween party some people are throwing. Not your Shindig? There’s 230 other songs to pick from but it should be represented, just like The fucking Monster Mash should be represented.

To hell with your non-festive, non-referential garbage pop. Play that shit at your wedding. Tonight is Halloween and you should be playing the goddamn Monster Mash.