House on Haunted Hill by 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’s House 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.
Are you ready, dear?