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.
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.
And when Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Marky set their sights on Stephen King, the result was a horror hit for the ages. Haters be damned!
Stephen King likes to name drop songs in his novels, particularly Ramones songs and Pet Sematary is no different, as Blitzkreg Bop plays heavily into the story.
I believe the story goes that the boys were approached by the producers for the inclusion of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker in the movie. Such fans of the novel were they that The Ramones simply offered to cut an original track just for the film. And not only that, but a Title Track to boot. Don’t know where I heard that, can’t confirm it but it’s in my head and why would I just make that up? Gotta be at least a partly true, right?
It’s one of the greatest Horror Title Tracks of all time performed by one of the greatest Rock ‘N Roll bands ever. The simplicity and raw power of The Ramones lends itself to perhaps the most cartoonishly straight forward songs to ever accompany a horror film, or maybe any film for that matter. Though, there is Hard Ticket To Hawaii and The Stabilizer and thems some ridiculous ass Title Tracks.
So blow a raspberry at those Golden Raspberry farts and follow Victor to the sacred place.
So what do hot rods, racing, surfing and zombies all have in common? Beats the hell outta me but they all come together in one helluva hammer droppin’, high-rev haulin’, outta sight asphalt eater from Ohio creepsters and Shindig All-Stars The Cramps
Perhaps their most gracious addition to horror-rockdom, The Surfin’ Dead is prominently featured in Dan O’Bannon’s awesome 80’s zombie send up The Return of The Living Dead.
While no slouch in the soundtrack department, I have to admit this is easily my favorite track off the album, no question. But I love me some Cramps so maybe I’m just a tad bit biased. Or maybe it’s just a great song.
Either way, it belongs on a Halloween playlist. Even a short one.
And just for good measure, Lux tosses in 2 shout outs to Cleveland’s pride and Cramps hoedad, Ghoulardi.
Cause you’re A-bone’s busted and you’re through the door, so do the dead!
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.
What can be said of this classic and perfectly executed Title Track?
If you’ve ever seen Killer Klowns From Outer Space then you know first hand how nicely this clown-car 80’s tune from The Dickies bookends this wonderful creature feature of camp from monster mavens The Chiodo Brothers.
Cheesy, gory, funny and at times even downright creepy (using a dead sheriff as a ventriloquist’s dummy or the sight of a Klown summoning a small girl from a burger joint come to mind) Killer Klowns was a movie I couldn’t get enough of in my youth. It frightened me, amazed me, made me laugh and held my full, undivided attention every time HBO decided to play it.
The Klowns are a marvel of animatronic suit work, the story is bonkers, and the music has got the tone to match. No Halloween playlist should be lacking Killer Klowns from Outer Space by The Dickies.
Good evening, horror fans. Did you know that all Title Tracks were not created equal? The J. Geils Band did.
Let’s face it, while all Title Tracks are great, some (Fall Break, Don’t Go Into The Woods…Alone) are less awesome than others (The Devil’s Men,Leatherface.)
Hell, there’s even a hierarchy of applicability. The Maniac Cop Rap is less a Title Track than say Scream and Scream Again. Shocker is a truer Title Track than a by-liner like Dream Warriors. And then some Title Tracks simply define the category. Fright Night is just that type of Title Track.
A popular band at the time of release, almost inexplicably tapped by the producers to cut a song so unlike the rest of their catalog you wonder just how the hell it even works. But work it does. Fuck, it works a 70 hour week under the table with no overtime.
It works on Labor Day.
Or more appropriately, and perhaps more criminally,…
It works on Halloween.
And thank God for that, cause your Halloween playlist needs it. You’re Halloween needs in. Hell, you’re life needs It. Listen to it now, and then go watch Fright Night. I just did. It was a great decision.
From that 80’s realm of self aware horror (somewhere between The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys) where characters versed in fictionalized horror find themselves face to face with that horror in the real world, Fright Night follows horror nerd Charlie Brewster as he attempts to prove the new next door neighbor is a terrifying creature of the night.
You got Chris (Prince Humperdink) Sarandon creeping up the joint as 80’s vampire benchmark Jerry Dandrige, Steven Geoffreys being his typical spazzy self as (you’re so cool) Brewster’s pal Evil, and Roddy McDowell just knocking it outta the park as the Cushing-modeled celluloid vampire hunter/ TV horror host, Peter Vincent.
Add to that a fantastic script which balances tone so effortlessly, plus some truly memorable visuals from The Entertainment Effects Group. Fresh off their stint on Ghostbusters, these guys provide another barrage of makeup and creature FX wizardry, not the least of which is one hell of a harrowing reverse werewolf transformation.
It all adds up to a genuine high point in 80’s horror that no fan should miss. A loving nod to the horror of yesteryear and that old Hammer feeling right in the midst of the 80’s slasher onslaught. Whats more? It resonated, made a shit ton of money and endured immensely to this very day.
And the kicker? This awesome Title Track. So perfectly 80’s, so perfectly referential and so perfectly fitting. You can’t fuck with this song.