In 1987, after struggling to work within the studio system and the unfortunate box-office performance of Big Trouble in Little China, John Carpenter decided to go rogue once again.
And rogue indeed, producing a straight-faced and strange (maybe even ahead of it’s time) film that I can’t imagine any major studio green-lighting.
What emerged was an atmospheric, dread-drenched affair of Science converging with Religion to prove the existence of God.
Or perhaps more appropriately, the existence of Satan.
Sub-atomic. Moving within the atoms of things, where logic need not apply. Liquid evil. A green, putrid substance filled with all the abominations of the earth.
It was captured and sealed up long ago. A race of Humanoid Aliens, of which Jesus was a member, kept watch. But the truth was hidden. Wrapped in metaphor and buried under ritual.
Now, in light of our faithlessness, it has awoken, and it wants control.
I like Prince of Darkness. It’s a little talkie, sure, and maybe a tad slow, but I don’t mind. I could listen to Egg Shen spout off about theoretical physics all night. Donald Pleasence is solid, even if he feels like he’s just plugged in from The Devil’s Men, andA.J. Simon is only distracting if you actually used to watch Simon and Simon, which you probably didn’t. The supporting players do a fine in their respective roles, including Carpenter regulars like Victor Wong, Peter Jason and Dennis Dun.
And, once the scientists start getting slowly absorbed by the evil and the hobos begin to gather, John turns on the gas a bit.
Speaking of the street people, Alice Cooper jumps in to play the pale-faced, beanie-rockin, head-hobo. He even kills a dude with a rusty, old bike. A dude who happens to be listening to this very song on his Walkman….meta.
Seems this bike was Alice’s own personal prop too, as he used to do this gag live during his stage show. Now thats pretty bitchin’.
Here’s reigning All-Star Alice Cooper rockin’ again with Prince of Darkness.
While fairly understated and never quite as rousing as it seems like it should be, The Devil’s Men is a somewhat worthwhile endeavor, if only to see card-carrying good guy Peter Cushing all cloaked out and evil, raising a 10 foot, fire-breathing Minotaur statue he calls “lord.” Oh yeah, and all the creepy robed Minotaur worshippers. Oh yeah and them all exploding at that end. That shit is pretty awesome.
But it’s mostly worth seeing for the grooviest title track this side of Scream and Sceam Again, which incidentally, Cushing also appears.
Paul Williams, whom many of you may know well from his performance in and musical contributions to, Brian DePalma’s Phantom Of The Paradise, wrote and produced this shindigger. And props all around, cause it’s a doozy.
However, much like the last 2 cuts in this True Title Track block, someone had it out for TheDevil’s Men, someone who sucked at their job.
They took it and retitled it Land Of The Minotaur. Which (while in and of itself isn’t such a bad title) seems pretty unnecessary, particularly during the 70’s satanic panic where one would imagine a film called The Devil’s Men might play just fine.
They also saw fit to removed a bunch of violence and all the nudity. Seriously? What’s next? Did they cut out an awesome Title Track too?
Yes! That’s exactly what they did, and they should be tried and hung for the successive severity of their crimes.
So, if your gonna watch The Devil’s Men, make sure you watch The Devil’s Men, and not Land of the Minotaur, cause it doesn’t have a lot going for it to begin with, and the censored version removes just about every reason there is to watch it at all. For shame.
Here, now returned to its former glory, it’s Paul Williams with The Devil’s Men!
Aerobicide/Woman On Fire by Mary Hylan/Jill Colucci
For a certain type of 80’s horror junkie, Aerobicide might be a wet dream come true.
There’s a formulaic and totally telegraphed whodunit plot. There’s an impractical and ridiculously oversized safety pin for a murder weapon. There’s an awesome hard-boiled detective. There’s even awesomer private investigator played by 80’s cheeseball-badass Ted Prior. There’s cheap karate, a rake fight, nudity and no shortage of 80’s babes in workout gear getting physical.
But above all, there’s absolutely relentless 80’s synth-pop soundtrack.
However, there’s a couple injustices besetting this soundtrack. Namely, it was never officially released. Why? This thing is great. And why hasn’t anyone resurrected it yet? Where’s Death Waltz Records on this forgotten gem of a soundtrack?
There are rumors of promotional copies floating around that were release in ’84. It’s also said that all of the songs were released separately on 7″ vinyls by their various artists. Good luck finding any of those.
Secondly, and most unfortunately, the greatest of all these tracks is featured so briefly in the film it beggars belief. Worst of all, it’s the film’s Title Track. What? This isn’t the song played over the credits? This is the song that gets barely a minute of screen time so as we can’t even steal it properly? What cruel rouse is this?
Perhaps it can be explained by the inexplicable decision to retitle the film Killer Workout. Why would someone do such a thing? Is Aerobicide too high-concept? Too confusing? Similar to Land of the Minotaur, it’s not a bad title on its own. But when you compare it to Aerobicide, it’s no contest.
And because of that, this song should be all over this movie, or at the very least played during the credits. As a people, we need this whole song.
But, beggars can’t be choosers, so well provide what’s available of that track and just lead it into the aptly titled Woman on Fire by Jill Colucci, cause what else can we do?
On a side note, if you happen to find the voice of Jill Colucci sounds a bit familiar to you, it may be because she’s responsible for the theme to America’s Funniest Home Videos. Ok, that’s pretty weird.
For now, take what you can get and try to grab a copy of Aerobicide for yourself, which was finally made a whole lot easier last year when Slasher//Video released both a DVD and Blu-Ray of a video transfer.
Oh, and keep and eye out for this spray paint, which predates the film Death Spa by about 3 years. Coincidence? I dunno, but these 2 would make for one heaving, sweaty double-feature.
There’s an 80’s horror fan reading this right now. Aerobicide is their favorite movie, they just don’t know it yet.
If there’s one thing The Shindig hates, it’s when foolish producers try to bench a perfectly good Title Track. The Shindig lives for Title Tracks and finds this practice to be an affront to both the movies and their visionary creators.
A great example is our next digger, a song we absolutely love, Fall Break.
Now this is a Title Track; tailor made, vaguely referential, tonally incongruous and totally bizarre. It sounds like an 80’s sitcom theme and it’s awesome.
But somebody with a suit and a wallet thought no one would watch a movie called Fall Break. He was probably right. It’s a strange title. Is Fall Break even a thing? I’ve never heard of it outside of this movie. We certainly never got one growing up. Fuck, the school year just started, they need a break already? It sounds like some lame version of Spring Break in New Hampshire with no bikinis. Who’s getting jazzed for Fall Break?
Nobody, that’s who, and the money guys know it. They want rentals at the local Video Stop, and that same nobody is renting Fall Fucking Break.
Enter: The Mutilator.
People wanna see The Mutilator. Hell, I wanna see The Mutilator, it sounds tough as shit. It’s direct, violet, unambiguous, and a hell of the lot more intriguing then whatever stupid shit is happening in, what did you say that title was again? Fall Break? Yeah, that’s gotta go.
”But the movies already been made, cut and released as Fall Break. We even have a song called Fall Break playing during the opening credits and everything!”
Yeah, whatever to that bullshit, it’s The Mutilator now.
And a Title Track died.
Except, technically the film was released as Fall Break, so here on The Shindig we’re keepin it real; resurrecting all Title Tracks and returning them to their rightful seats on the throne!
Fall Break, like its title, is a strange song. It’s a great fit for the playlist, inspiring autumnal images perfectly befitting our night of All Hallows. As a Title Track to the film however, it feels a little out of place.
As mentioned above, it seriously sounds like a sitcom theme, with a tone straight off the Silent Night, Deadly Nightsoundtrack. There’s nothing ominous here. In fact, it’s a rather nice love song of sorts, ringing with the hopeful promise of an Autumn getaway; beer, football, leaves, skinny dipping and fun at a beach house. In a way, I guess it’s like the beginning of a slasher movie. No fear, just fun. Maybe it’s not so out of place after all.
Speaking of the beach house, here’s a warning to all would-be college kids seeking a weekend getaway at a similar beach front condo…
If the man who owns the house has a framed picture of a guy he “accidentally” murdered with his ski boat – leave. That’s it. Just take off. Politely excuse yourself, and say “Nope. Not stayin’ here. I hope you understand, but that photo is just too much” and leave. I don’t care if dude’s there or not. Doesn’t matter. Just terminate your presence immediately.
Because this is not just any picture of the guy, mind you, it’s a photo of his actual corpse. Not the guy hanging out during better times, ya know, as a nice reminder of their friendship – it’s his dead fucking body, gore strewn, presumably only minutes after the incident.
This photo is crazy. Why does Big Ed have this picture, and framed no less!? Why aren’t any of Ed Jr.’s friends the least bit perturbed by this photo? It’s absolute madness.
As far as the movie is concerned, I’d say apart from a couple of pretty interesting murders staged by Anthony Show and Mark Shostrum (who would later go on to produce FX for Dream Warriors and Evil Dead 2 amongst other things) Fall Break is a rather throwaway mid-era slasher devoid of any laughs, intentional or otherwise.
There’s barely any skin and all the tension of an untied shoe, kind of like the prospect of a Fall Break. Essentially, this is a who-dun-it where you already know who-dun-it before they’ve even dun-it. What’s the point? I dunno, some cool gore scenes, I guess. Oh yeah, and an awesome title track.
Speaking of which, here it is, the best thing about Fall Break, its Peter Yellen and The Breakers with Fall Break!
What better place to bring our Haunted House Rockin’ block to an end than here, at the Berber House with Hauntedween, a Haunted House Halloween Title Track?
While not a real haunted house, The Berber House is just a festive Haunted House, or rather a Haunt, which has hitherto but unrepresented in our block.
A staple of the season since well before I was brought to this plane of existence, The Haunted House is as much a part of Halloween as Trick-or-Treating, Jack-O-Lanterns and slutty costumes.
High school kids in rubber masks weave through a thick mist of dangling limbs and fake fog looking for their next mark.
Disorienting lights strobe to the beat of pneumatic pistons firing foam jump scares.
You can hear a chainsaw perpetually chugging, but you can’t see much of anything at all.
Grown adults tip-toe around corners in the dark, weary of things they know aren’t really out to get them.
The nervous shriek, the tough guys almost instictively punch and the weirdos laugh uneasily.
Some are good and some are terrible, but they all have that same smell, that same vibe, the same excitement, and you should always treat yourself to at least one visit a season.
Hauntedween is a low budget affair filled with that same sort of passionate home-town charm and love for the holiday you find in local Haunted Houses, and it features a killer lying in wait at just such a local Haunt. You can read The Shindig’s write-up here!
This Title Track (which it is gracious enough to give us) plays over a montage of the Sigma Phi frat boys rebuilding the old local Haunt in preparation for a holiday fundraiser to save their fraternity!
It may be awkward to say, and it may not make one bit of sense, but here it is all the same…it’s Hauntedween!
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.
Now, 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.
Since our Halloween movie countdown is focusing on Halloween Seqeuls, let’s keep the sequel soundtrack train rolling over here with a tune from an actual Halloween sequel.
If you’re a C.H.U.D. fan, a horror fan or even just a normal person trying to sit down and watch an enjoyable movie, C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D. doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot to offer you.
If you’re Halloween Shindig, a blog centered around a Halloween Playlist which encompasses all types of random nonsensical horror-related music from the movies, suddenly C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D. has something quite fantastic to offer.
And that thing is out next number, by-liner title track Bud The C.H.U.D. from Kipp Lennon.
Who the hell is Kipp Lennon?
That’s a great question. Apparently he’s a founding member of the folk group Venice. Yeah, I’d never heard of them either.
However, it appears he’s also the voice behind mental patient Leon Kompowski who believes he’s Michael Jackson in the Simpsons episode “Stark Raving Dad.” As such, he’s the guy who sings “Happy Birthday Lisa.” That’s pretty weird.
Seems he’s had a handful of gigs impersonating Michael Jackson’s voice. He doesn’t do that here unfortunately, presumably using his natural God-given sound to accentuate all the incredible lyrics Bud the C.H.U.D. has to offer.
Outside of this track, C.H.U.D. II is a rather harmless, if midly entertaining tangent to the original C.H.U.D. It also takes place during Halloween and features a pretty great Halloween party sequence (a staple) and some fun trick or treating.
Compared to some of the junk featured on The Return of the 31 Days of Halloween Horror list, you can do a lot worse this season the C.H.U.D. II.
So, if you’re feeling festive and silly, pop it on and you’ll be treated to this fun 80’s tune from Kipp Lennon.
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’.
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.
Is there a more well known or loved Title Track than Ray Parker Jr.’sGhostbusters? Probably not. Which explains why you’re guaranteed to hear it multiple times around Halloween and The Shindig is obviously no exception.
A certified hit, Ghostbusters spent 3 weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts in August of 1984 and it’s no wonder. This catchy number is spooky, danceable and unrelentingly 80’s.
And the video, one of the first cross-media promotional blitzes of its kind, is something to behold. With Ray Parker Jr. creeping it up in a weird, minimalistic neon house, the Ghostbusters themselves dancing down Broadway with him and a collection of the most bizarre cameos ever assembled, it’s pure Reagen-Era cheese.
Seriously, what the fuck is Peter Falk doing in the Ghostbusters video? Chevy Chase, John Candy, Al Franken, hell even Danny Devito all make some sort of sense. But then up pops Columbo and what the fuck? Yeah, it’s pretty 80’s.
The song itself wasn’t something Ray Parker’s people were at all interested in having Ray sing. Keep in mind, the movie wasn’t even released yet, much less a success.
“So wait, you want our smooth, panty droppin’ Ray Parker Jr. to sing about fuckin’ ghosts for,…what is this fuckin’ thing called again? ‘Ghostbusters?’ Yeah, that ain’t happening, pal. You can take a hike with that business.”
It’s an understandable reaction. But Ivan Reitman managed to convinced old Ray it’d be a hit and damn it if the guy wasn’t right on the money. The popularity of the movie and this song are completely unmatched.
Now, indelibly woven into the fabric of American pop culture, I’m not sure anyone can ever utter a phrase even close to “who you gonna call?” without some dickhead shouting “Ghostbusters!”
Yeah, that same phrase everyone probably thought sounded pretty stupid before the film blew up like 2 tons of marshmallow all over 1984.
But when something’s this big, people start to pay attention. Maybe a little too closely.
First and foremost you have Huey Lewis suing Ray Parker because he reckoned Ghostbusters sounded a bit too much like I Want a New Drug for his liking. A settlement was reached that Ray still isn’t at liberty discuss on record.
Then you have The Screen Actors Guild getting all bent outta shape due to these cameos and the non-unionized status of the fledgling music video industry.
There’s also a copyright issue regarding the video which has kept it off every subsequent home release of the film, nearly causing the video to be lost forever. Chalk another one up in the win column of the Internet for that.
And still further, there’s even more nonsense over the title with subsequent animated versions of the Ghosbusters, but we’ll delve into that one a little further down the playlist.
For now, let us and your guests revel in what is perhaps the most popular and crowd pleasing song The Shindig has to offer.