Audio

The Black Widow

082_alice-cooper_welcome_to_my_nightmareTRACK# 82:

The Black Widow by Alice Cooper

Vincent Price is awesome. I’m not really sure how else to put it. I could use words like “extraordinary,” or “singular,” or even “eminent,” but they all just sound like “awesome” to me.

Another, even more appropriate word, might be “iconic.” Having starred in over 40 genre pictures, Mr. Price, though not exclusive to horror (having appeared in almost 200 film and television productions) has left his indelible mark on the world of the macabre.

Simply anchoring some of my all-time favorite horror films, including The House on Haunted Hill, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Vincent Price already equals horror. And that’s not even mentioning The Tingler, The Raven, A Comedy of TerrorsLast Man on Earth, House of Wax, The Pit and the Pendulum, Witchfinder General or The Fly. You get the idea.

Even outside the sphere of horror, Price still owns my loyalty, adding his distinctive flare to Egghead, one of my favorite villains from one of my favorite shows ever, the old Batman series from 1965.

Again, that’s not even to speak of his radio work, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, his Sears-Roebuck sponsored Fine Art Collection, The Great Mouse Detective, Dead Heat, Edward Scissorhands, and this absolutely insane album of him talking about witchcraft and the demons.

I’ll type that again just in case you breezed passed it: Vincent Price recorded a 90 minute spoken word album all about witchcraft and it’s fucking incredible.

His credits even include a stint on Hollywood Squares. Seriously?

Seriously.

So iconic is Vincent that he appears on the Shindig at least 3 times without any intervention from my sampling hand. Bands who wanted to sound spooky tapped Vincent for that little extra something sinister. Never a bad decision.

The first example of this is from none other than Alice Cooper, no stranger to the sinister himself. Price leads in Track 82, The Black Widow from Cooper’s 1975 album Welcome to My Nightmare.

As if that wasn’t enough, Price also starred in the corresponding television special which followed the album entitled Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, where he reprises this monologue, in perfect Price fashion, almost identically.

Vincent Price may have passed, but among horror fans he will live on forever, ritualistically resurrected with each push of the play button. And as for the Shindig, his extraordinarily singular and eminent voice can be heard all over it.

 

Audio

Soul Dracula

075_hot-blood_disco-draculaTRACK #75:

Soul Dracula by Hot Blood

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) there was more than one disco Dracula tune.

In fact, there was a whole album. It was even called Disco Dracula. It was the only effort from weird German band called Hot Blood and there’s a couple of vampire themed tracks on this sucker. Hell, there’s even a Frankenstein song called “Baby Frankie Stein.”

Mostly a funky instrumental, this lyrically sparse number does repeatedly feature the the titular phrase “Soul Dracula,” which is honestly enough for the Shindig. However, Hot Blood puts a little pepper on the porridge by using a goofy Dracula voice. Bonus.

Leading this track in is a clip from Blacula, cause lets face it, Blacula is the soulest motherfuckin Dracula around. To quote James Brown “Eddie Murphy, eat your heart out.”

And because it is mostly an instrumental, we went ahead and saddled the whole track with some Blacula clips, cause Blacula is awesome, and he deserves it.

Enjoy!

 

Audio

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

054_attack-of-the-killer-tomatoesTRACK #54:

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes by Lee Lewis

The 1978 B-Movie horror-musical-comedy-spoof turned B-movie itself, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, was probably the first movie I was able to truly appreciate for its camp value.

I saw the light, so to speak, and it began the long love affair I still have today with horribly bad films. A love affair which was nurtured to its maturity by Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Here’s the silly title track for the film, which if you’ve never seen, I highly recommend…if you’re into that sort of thing.

Here’s a link to the full film on youtube.

Enjoy!

 

Audio

Halloween

040_halloween-kaye-landeTRACK #40:

Halloween by Kay Lande and Wade Denning

Divisible by 20? That must mean it’s time for another Halloween song.

When it comes to straight up Halloween music, few songs pack as much adolescent cheer and halloweeniness than this track from spookster Wade Denning and children’s performer Kay Lande.

It’s catchier than all get out and set to the tune of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre, which itself used to be on the Shindig, until I came across this little ditty some years back.

Go ahead, try not humming this song to yourself for the next 72 hours.

H-A-DOUBLE L – O -DOUBLE U- DOUBLE E – N spells Halloween!

 

Audio

Highway To Hell

037_acdc_highway-to-hellTRACK #37:

Highway To Hell by AC/DC

It’s time for another Devilish Track, however this particular tune tows a fine line.

It’s featured in the trailer of, so is sort of a de facto title track for 1991’s Highway To Hell. However, simply naming your movie after a song and blasting it exclusively in your trailer doesn’t make that song a title track. I may love My Boyfriend’s Back, but you won’t find the song by The Angel’s here on the Shindig.

No, Highway To Hell is shindigging for a few reasons; namely – I like AC/DC, it’s a good party tune, and there was a horror film named after it. Plus, this bogus Devilish category I concocted to justify Number of The Beast (and Raining Blood, and See You In Hell) And well, that’s good enough for me.

If you’re tuning into this strange, Steve Johnson FX’d horror-comedy, look for a young Ben Stiller in a small role as the cook at Pluto’s, Lita Ford as a hitchhiker, and Gilbert Gottfried as Hitler! Yeah, it’s a weird movie.

 

Audio

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper

001_halloween-ostTRACK #26:

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult.

Long before Christopher Walken needed more cowbell, Annie Brackett and Laurie Strode we’re cruisin’ around Haddonfield, smokin’ a J and rockin’ out to some Blue Öyster Cult.

Almost inaudibly and without much ceremony at all, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper is the only piece of music appearing in the film not scored by John Carpenter.

If that wasn’t enough (and it is) the song also finds itself quoted in Stephen King’s original novel The Stand, as well as playing mood setter to it’s TV miniseries counterpart. Though not appearing on the Shindig, honorable mentions go out to the 2 covers featured in The Frighteners and Scream, performed by The Muttonbirds and Gus respectively.

“It’s Halloween,” Sheriff Brackett tells us “I guess everyone’s entitled to one good scare, huh?”

 

Audio

Tubular Bells

019_exorcist-1973TRACK #19:

Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield

If there’s a theme to rival John Carpenter’s undeniably iconic Halloween, it’s Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, used to terrifying effectiveness in William Friedkin’s 1973 masterpiece The Exorcist.

Oldfield’s track however is an epic 25 minute sonic barrage that no Halloween partier has time for.

Friedkin uses only about the first 3 and 1/2 minutes for his eerie theme, ‘round about the time the flutes pick up, and just before the song begins veering well away from its haunting opening.

Who am I to challenge the man who made Sorcerer?

To spare weeners everywhere any horrendously synthesized or knocked-off Halloween CD versions, I’ve used Oldfield’s original track, and cut in the ending used in the closing credits of the movie. Enjoy.

 

Audio

Frankenstein

012_edgar-winters_the-only-come-out-at-nightTRACK #12:

Frankenstein by The Edgar Winter Group

Now that we’ve all had a chance to gawk at Elvira (some 1000+ times) lets keep the tunes going.

You mighta heard this tune on classic rock radio and not thought much of it. Hell, why would you? Damn thing don’t even got no lyrics.

Despite being largely unrelated to Frankenstein , or anything horrific for that matter, it finds itself on the Shindig, and just about every other Halloween collection or list, for the same reason – It’s called fuckin’ Frankenstein.

So naturally, it tends to get a bit more airplay around Halloween. At least that’s when I remember hearing for the first time anyway. In my Dad’s car, probably 17 years ago, driving around Massachusetts on a Sunday morning, getting coffee or donuts or newspapers or something morningy and its all red, and orange and brown all over everything and this song is playing in the cold air. So now, Its just guilty by association.

But why Frankenstein? Well, to quote Wikipedia:

“The song’s title, coined by the band’s drummer Chuck Ruff, derives from the fact that the original recording of the song was much longer than the final version, as the band would often deviate from the arrangement into less structured jams. The track required numerous edits to shorten it. The end result was pieced together from many different sections of recording tape using a razor blade and splicing tape.”

Sounds legit. And as a guy cutting sounds together, especially about monsters, I like that kinda thing. Sure, I do it digitally and it’s been years since I held (let alone cut) a piece of tape or film – but the image of a mangled, spliced together, frankenstein-ass looking piece of tape is awesome, halloweeny, and right up the Shindig’s alley.

So let the Monster Squad test you, and get down to this stitched-up instrumental.

 

Audio

Science Fiction/Double Feature

010_rocky-horrorTRACK #10:

Science Fiction/Double Feature by Richard O’Brien & Richard Harley

Back in the day, VH1 used to play Rocky Horror on Halloween Night. This is probably because they really didn’t have anything else, besides maybe Thriller, that would fit the bill.

Before I was old enough to actually comprehend what the hell was going on (if I’m even at that age yet) the strange sounds and imagery flickering wildly on the screen stuck with me. In later years I was able to catch more than just a passing glimpse and fully appreciate The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the many splendored experience it was.

To this day, anytime I watch Rocky Horror it feels exactly like Halloween, and it feels exactly like Halloween should.

Number 10 on the Shindig is that amalgamous, retro wonder Science Fiction/Double Feature, admittedly my favorite song from the film. Its 50’s sci-fi referencing is enough alone for it to make the cut, but with all that Halloween nostalgia on top, there ain’t even a second thought.

 

Audio

Scream and Scream Again

009_scream-and-scream-againTRACK #9:

Scream and Scream Again by Amen Corner

Chances are your party’s not gonna have a 22 day gap between songs 8 and 9, so since everyone will still be busy screaming to ward off The Tingler, let’s scream again with the help of Amen Corner.

If you’ve never heard of Amen Corner don’t feel bad, I don’t think anyone has. Hell, I wouldn’t have either had I not been watching Scream and Scream Again a few years ago. They’re performing this tune (a title track,…more on that later) in a weird British nightclub. I said, “Hey this song kinda grooves. It would go great right after Homer tells Bart to take out the garbage.”

So that’s where I put it and there it’s stayed. Plus, it’s also a Vincent price flick, so that’ll make a nice two-fer.

If you’ve never seen Scream and Scream Again, I wouldn’t sweat it. Mostly your missing a largely incomprehensible mishmash of ideas and images, dumb cops, weird murders and a bizarre subplot of puesdo-nazi that never really pays of like you imagine it should. It has some good moments though, plus it’s 1 of 2 films featuring both Vincent Price and Christopher Lee (Peter Cushing is in there too, but not for long.) However, there’s a lot of other stuff I’d put ahead of it on a gotta see list.

Despite all that, this song still makes a nice retro addition to any Halloween playlist. Enjoy.