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 FX 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…for this take on the timeless graveyard smash.

 

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 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 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.

 

Audio

The Monster’s Hop

TRACK #56:

The Monster’s Hop by Bert Convy

Several years before he became the host of Super Password, Tattletales and Win, Lose or Draw, and 4 years before Boris Pickett would soar to #1 on the wings of The Monster Mash, Bert Convy recorded this tune about a bunch of monsters dancing around inside a spooky house.

Though lacking the character and humor that ultimately made The Monster Mash such a smash, I rather enjoy The Monster’s Hop, maybe even a bit more than Pickett’s seminal Halloween hit. I think it’s catchier, certainly more up-tempo, and nowhere near as played out as The Monster Mash. Those are some pretty big checks in the plus column, you ask me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a better song, not by any stretch of the imagination, but when listening to the Shindig leisurely (as is my wont) I will usually skip The Monster Mash, yet I always have 2 minutes to spare for The Monster’s Hop.

 

Audio

Bad Moon Rising

TRACK #41:

Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival

This annual addition to most Halloween playlists and radio stations is made all the more relevant to The Shindig for its inclusion in John Landis’ lunar based soundtrack for An American Werewolf In London.

One of my first experiences with the wonders of special makeup FX, Rick Baker and his team won the category’s first Academy Award for the groundbreaking and amazing work on display here. If anyone tells you the effects in this film appear “dated” or “cheesy,” discontinue conversing with that person post-haste.

Cinematic werewolf transformations, until this point, had mostly been the stuff of cutaways and time-lapse photography. Baker (along with Rob Botin over on The Howling) reinvented the wheel with a combination of animatronics, change-o-heads, reverse photography and skillful editing, to show a man literally transforming into a creature of the night right before your eyes. And that’s to say nothing of the intense murder and slow decay of Jack Goodman, played to perfection by Griffin Dunne.

Speaking on the film itself, I feel American Werewolf is hanging out near the top of the horror/comedy heap for its ability to separate the 2 so effectively. When it’s joking, it’s hilarious; when it’s deathly serious, it’s fucking horrifying. Nazi werewolves.

Oh, the music, yeah. I love Creedence, and this is a great song, used to great effect here with all the other moon tracks in the film.

Keep off the moors…stick to the roads…