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.
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 Houseis 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.
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.
House on Haunted Hillby 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’sHouse 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.
Return of the Living Dead 2 gets a bad rap. Granted, it’s pretty well deserved, but it gets a bad rap all the same.
Honestly though, in its defense, it had a full count walking to the plate: take one of the most beloved, successful and awesome zombie horror/comedies ever, which wraps itself up pretty fucking tightly and expand on it. Go!
Yeah it strikes out, but that was to be expected. At least it doesn’t get caught looking. It goes down swinging.
It’s never very dark or scary or serious (as the trailer led people to believe) nor is it ever terribly funny. Comedy is tricky and when it face-plants, it does so hard and loudly. It’s not quite as cringe inducing as its equally I’ll-advised contemporary, C.H.U.D. 2, but unlike its counter part you at least feel like your watching an honest to god sequel, despite how shitty that sequel may be.
One thing ROTLD 2 gets sort of right is the music. While nowhere near the iconic status of its predecessor’s, there’s some good tunes to be had on this soundtrack. Whether it’s Anthrax or Leatherwolf or this turn from Joe Lamont.
Being that this really the only thing the Shindig ultimately concerns itself with, Return of The Living Dead 2 gets its day.
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’.
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.
If you’ve been following The Shindig for any reasonable amount of time then you may have noticed I hardly ever mention A Nightmare Before Christmas. In fact, aside from that post-Halloween gif I reblogged last year, I’ve never mentioned it before. There’s a couple of good reason for this.
One of them is that there is certainly no shortage of love shown to Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s 1993 stop motion classic around the web, especially within the Halloween circles this blog runs. I’ll wager you could recreate the film pretty handedly from just the gifs on Tumblr alone. Everyone knows it, everyone loves it. No sense in beating a dead horse, the way I see it.
More directly though, it has never been a movie I typically associate with Halloween. Sure, Jack The Pumpkin King, Halloweentown and all of that but for me the film has always had a decidedly Christmas air to it. Fuck, the word Christmas appears in its title. That’s an automatic disqualification from any Halloween movie list as far as The Shindig is concerned.
However, as everyone is well aware, the first 10 minutes or so before Jack happens into Christmastown are about as Halloweeny as as it gets, aided in no small part by this fantastic song from Halloween Hero and Shindig All-Star Danny Elfman.
It’s one of the most Halloweeny songs ever committed to film or record period and any Halloween playlist would be remiss not to include it. And whenever that claim comes down the pipe, The Shindig abides.
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.
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.
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.