Another British band singing about Halloween? What gives, Ed? You said the Brits don’t give a toss for All Hallo’s.
Well, I don’t get the impression that they do. I’ve never claimed to be the authority on any matter, not even Halloween Horror Music, and I’ve written far too many words concerning that subject.
Whether that impression is true or not is neither here nor there when it comes to this ‘digger, because it’s a clear case of a band disguising a song as a Halloween song.
Witchfynde’sTrick or Treat details the dealings of a two-faced sort of character that has much but always wants more. Eventually, not being able to satiate his desires, he takes to B&E, a bit of murder, and gets himself tossed in the clink. Not exactly a love song, but definitely not specifically about Halloween.
Still, it’s a pretty groovin’ tune from a weird, occulty band called Witchfynde where the lyrics “Trick or Treat” get repeated a number of times, so we’re lightin’ it up.
Throw in a little festive atmosphere from the Tales From the Darkside episode entitled Halloween Candy, and you’ve got yourself a perfect number for an Oct. 20th’s evenings.
The British don’t really give a shit about Halloween. At least not according to me and this blog on the occasions where we’ve previously claimed as such.
We’ve based this idea almost exclusively on To The Devil a Daughter and The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. Additionally, my wife has corroborated this somewhat, having spent some time in England and found their enthusiasm lacking.
Strange then that innovative British Post-Punkers and Goth pioneers Siouxsie and the Banshees have a song titled Halloween. Or maybe not, given their whole gothy aesthetic.
To be fair, their song isn’t a parade of Milky Ways, Don Post masks and burning orange gourds, though.
No, Siouxsie Sioux’s track is a more atmospheric affair that seems to deal with a loss of childhood innocence.
Doubling fitting then that we bookend it with samples from the aforementioned Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, where American creeper Martin Sheen sleazes all over British Jodi Foster on the Eve of All Saints in a decidedly less-than-innocent fashion.
He also provides us with a pretty solid and concise description of what Halloween represents stateside:
“Oh, it’s a big day here when all the kids get dressed up in scary costumes and masks and go around to all the houses. When you answer the door the shout ‘trick or treat’ and you’re suppose to act scared, and if you don’t give them a treat, they’ll pull some dirty trick on you.”
Yep, that’s pretty much what we got going on over here.
From 1985’s made-for-TV Halloween bonanza The Midnight Hour comes this creepy curio with so much mid-80’s budget-pop pizazz it even features a Soundwave-styled vocorder performance. Radical!
Harry Belafonte’s daughter Shari (pops wasn’t big on creativity, I guess) stars in the film and sings this tune, perhaps fashioned after the recent mega-hit Thriller.
In fact, the whole project seems to be an attempt to cash-in on Michael’s occult success; semi-spooky, family friendly, monster-mash madness with a throwback, 50’s drive-in flare. And this tune, an ensemble dance number staged at a Halloween party, appears to be the piece de resistance.
Though clearly made for TV and a little toothless, The Midnight Hour is a pretty enjoyable and festive addition to anyone’s October line-up. It’s even a fair bit more creepy than something you’d imagine was just made for TV.
You’ll get some fun guest appearances too, from the likes of Spaceball’s King Roland, Clarence Boddicker, that one guy from 21 Jumpstreet, UHF’s R.J. Fletcher, Yori from Tron and The Reading Rainbow Dude who wore that bitchin’ visor on Star Trek. Studded.
Plus there’s tons of Halloween ambiance, creepy Thriller-Lite graveyard scenes, a lot of cool make-ups and FX, a bunch of fun Halloween costumes, more monsters than you can shake a stick at and this kickin’ ‘digger. What more could you want from an October evening’s Televison adventure?
A lot of people dislike Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood. I’m not one of them, but they exist and I can’t say I don’t blame them.
Its heavily censored kills feel like highway robbery, it has one most disappointing endings in the series, the teenage fodder on display isn’t particularly interesting and the film just feels tired. Psychic girl unwittingly resurrects Jason? C’mon…
However, 7 has a lot going for it. I think of it as Jason’s last hoorah, for it’s the last time he’s in his element doing what he does best, before he takes off to Manhattan, other peoples bodies, Hell, Space, Elm Street, and ultimately Remakewood. Say what you want about 7, it never gets this good (or as true to itself) again.
But it is stretching its limits, as the whole thing finally succumbs to the Elm Street Effect and goes full-on supernatural.
The psychic angle, while a bit much, offers some interest though. Mainly, it puts a new spin on a formula that had already well worn out its welcome, having seen probably it’s best reworking in Jason Lives. It also finally gives Jason a formidable opponent, something really unseen up to this point in the series, silly as that opponent might be.
However, New Blood’s biggest plus come in the form of Jason himself, namely the addition of literal new blood, Kane Hodder, and the make-up work of John Bulcher.
Jason never looked this good before, or after. This is it. This is the most badass Jason around. With his spine-exposed and masked destroyed, he’s constantly dripping water and stalking around with a menace unmatched. And lets face it, that’s what we’re all here to see.
The soundtrack is coming up pretty short here too, in my opinion. Mostly just handed over to prog-wavers FM out of what feel like laziness, the songs never play much prominence, or hit any high notes. Even the score here feels wrong.
However, I’ve chosen one of those FM tracks for the Shindig, mostly so I can rant a little about 7 and post some gifs. Besides, that opening narration is too cool not too use somewhere.
And as if the psychic wasn’t Elm Street enough for you, this song’s all about dreaming. Sure, it’s a more figurative kind of dreaming, but I still I think it’s safe to say that by 1987, Freddy was winning the fight.
Freddy Krueger: What can be said about the quintessential 80’s man-specter that hasn’t been said a thousands different times by a thousand different nerds? Who am I to pretend like I’ve got some groundbreaking shit to drop on you? I’m no one, and I don’t, so I won’t. I’m simply another nerd with a foolishly myopic blog, so I’ll just stick to the script.
Freddy (whether I’ve said this before or not I can’t recall) is the reigning champ of horror tunes. He owns the 80’s pop-music-via-monster-icon scene. The guy even cut his own album. He’s all over it.
Jason comes close, but the Friday people didn’t fully climb aboard this particular train until part 6, and they never really bought a ticket. Freddy was shoveling coal in it’s boiler room.
And from jump too, as even his first outing got its own little referentially inclusive tune in the form of 213’sNightmare.
Well, who the fuck is 213? Apparently they’re no ones, as no one seems to have any information on these guys. Well, aside from the painfully obviously “they were some local LA band that provided this track” or the goofier and obviously nonsensical “they were Johnny Deep’s band” theory.
Whoever they were, they’ll go down in the Shindig’s book as they guys who churned out that thoroughly apropos end credit song from the original Nightmare On Elm Street, and baby, that’s enough.
So, up yours with a twirling lawnmower,…whatever the hell that even means.
Aerobicide/Woman On Fire by Mary Hylan/Jill Colucci
For a certain type of 80’s horror junkie, Aerobicide might be a wet dream come true.
There’s a formulaic and totally telegraphed whodunit plot. There’s an impractical and ridiculously oversized safety pin for a murder weapon. There’s an awesome hard-boiled detective. There’s even awesomer private investigator played by 80’s cheeseball-badass Ted Prior. There’s cheap karate, a rake fight, nudity and no shortage of 80’s babes in workout gear getting physical.
But above all, there’s absolutely relentless 80’s synth-pop soundtrack.
However, there’s a couple injustices besetting this soundtrack. Namely, it was never officially released. Why? This thing is great. And why hasn’t anyone resurrected it yet? Where’s Death Waltz Records on this forgotten gem of a soundtrack?
There are rumors of promotional copies floating around that were release in ’84. It’s also said that all of the songs were released separately on 7″ vinyls by their various artists. Good luck finding any of those.
Secondly, and most unfortunately, the greatest of all these tracks is featured so briefly in the film it beggars belief. Worst of all, it’s the film’s Title Track. What? This isn’t the song played over the credits? This is the song that gets barely a minute of screen time so as we can’t even steal it properly? What cruel rouse is this?
Perhaps it can be explained by the inexplicable decision to retitle the film Killer Workout. Why would someone do such a thing? Is Aerobicide too high-concept? Too confusing? Similar to Land of the Minotaur, it’s not a bad title on its own. But when you compare it to Aerobicide, it’s no contest.
And because of that, this song should be all over this movie, or at the very least played during the credits. As a people, we need this whole song.
But, beggars can’t be choosers, so well provide what’s available of that track and just lead it into the aptly titled Woman on Fire by Jill Colucci, cause what else can we do?
On a side note, if you happen to find the voice of Jill Colucci sounds a bit familiar to you, it may be because she’s responsible for the theme to America’s Funniest Home Videos. Ok, that’s pretty weird.
For now, take what you can get and try to grab a copy of Aerobicide for yourself, which was finally made a whole lot easier last year when Slasher//Video released both a DVD and Blu-Ray of a video transfer.
Oh, and keep and eye out for this spray paint, which predates the film Death Spa by about 3 years. Coincidence? I dunno, but these 2 would make for one heaving, sweaty double-feature.
There’s an 80’s horror fan reading this right now. Aerobicide is their favorite movie, they just don’t know it yet.
If there’s one thing The Shindig hates, it’s when foolish producers try to bench a perfectly good Title Track. The Shindig lives for Title Tracks and finds this practice to be an affront to both the movies and their visionary creators.
A great example is our next digger, a song we absolutely love, Fall Break.
Now this is a Title Track; tailor made, vaguely referential, tonally incongruous and totally bizarre. It sounds like an 80’s sitcom theme and it’s awesome.
But somebody with a suit and a wallet thought no one would watch a movie called Fall Break. He was probably right. It’s a strange title. Is Fall Break even a thing? I’ve never heard of it outside of this movie. We certainly never got one growing up. Fuck, the school year just started, they need a break already? It sounds like some lame version of Spring Break in New Hampshire with no bikinis. Who’s getting jazzed for Fall Break?
Nobody, that’s who, and the money guys know it. They want rentals at the local Video Stop, and that same nobody is renting Fall Fucking Break.
Enter: The Mutilator.
People wanna see The Mutilator. Hell, I wanna see The Mutilator, it sounds tough as shit. It’s direct, violet, unambiguous, and a hell of the lot more intriguing then whatever stupid shit is happening in, what did you say that title was again? Fall Break? Yeah, that’s gotta go.
”But the movies already been made, cut and released as Fall Break. We even have a song called Fall Break playing during the opening credits and everything!”
Yeah, whatever to that bullshit, it’s The Mutilator now.
And a Title Track died.
Except, technically the film was released as Fall Break, so here on The Shindig we’re keepin it real; resurrecting all Title Tracks and returning them to their rightful seats on the throne!
Fall Break, like its title, is a strange song. It’s a great fit for the playlist, inspiring autumnal images perfectly befitting our night of All Hallows. As a Title Track to the film however, it feels a little out of place.
As mentioned above, it seriously sounds like a sitcom theme, with a tone straight off the Silent Night, Deadly Nightsoundtrack. There’s nothing ominous here. In fact, it’s a rather nice love song of sorts, ringing with the hopeful promise of an Autumn getaway; beer, football, leaves, skinny dipping and fun at a beach house. In a way, I guess it’s like the beginning of a slasher movie. No fear, just fun. Maybe it’s not so out of place after all.
Speaking of the beach house, here’s a warning to all would-be college kids seeking a weekend getaway at a similar beach front condo…
If the man who owns the house has a framed picture of a guy he “accidentally” murdered with his ski boat – leave. That’s it. Just take off. Politely excuse yourself, and say “Nope. Not stayin’ here. I hope you understand, but that photo is just too much” and leave. I don’t care if dude’s there or not. Doesn’t matter. Just terminate your presence immediately.
Because this is not just any picture of the guy, mind you, it’s a photo of his actual corpse. Not the guy hanging out during better times, ya know, as a nice reminder of their friendship – it’s his dead fucking body, gore strewn, presumably only minutes after the incident.
This photo is crazy. Why does Big Ed have this picture, and framed no less!? Why aren’t any of Ed Jr.’s friends the least bit perturbed by this photo? It’s absolute madness.
As far as the movie is concerned, I’d say apart from a couple of pretty interesting murders staged by Anthony Show and Mark Shostrum (who would later go on to produce FX for Dream Warriors and Evil Dead 2 amongst other things) Fall Break is a rather throwaway mid-era slasher devoid of any laughs, intentional or otherwise.
There’s barely any skin and all the tension of an untied shoe, kind of like the prospect of a Fall Break. Essentially, this is a who-dun-it where you already know who-dun-it before they’ve even dun-it. What’s the point? I dunno, some cool gore scenes, I guess. Oh yeah, and an awesome title track.
Speaking of which, here it is, the best thing about Fall Break, its Peter Yellen and The Breakers with Fall Break!
Ok, so Ghost Fever‘s a pretty shitty movie, right? Oh, not sure you believe me? Go see for yourself. I’ll meet you back here in 92 minutes.
Alright, so now that we’re all on the same page, we can hash this thing out.
I’m not sure how much Ghost Fever you actually came down with but chances are it wasn’t enough that you’ll be requiring any antibiotics.
That being said, I love Ghost Fever. It has the distinction of being the only movie where Sherman Hemsley plays corner man to Luis Ávalos as he boxes Smoking Joe Fraizer with the assistance of Southern ghosts. Well, the only one that I’ve seen anyway.
It’s also the only movie I’ve ever seen with a break-dancing mummy.
Now, that’s pretty awesome.
All of this however does not make Ghost Fever a good movie, it just makes Ghost Fever a movie I enjoy watching. Admittedly, it is a little more than hard to sit through but if you can get behind a poor idea executed in the poorest possible fashion with the more eye-rolling bafoonery this side of Pandemonium, it’s a certain kind of treat.
James Ross at Badmovienite.com probably puts it best in his humorous review:
“At times it’s like a live action episode of Scooby-Doo meets the Harlem Globetrotters. Except it’s not really fun, or funny, and there are no talking dogs.”
Well, there’s definitely no talking dogs, I’ll give him that. But I’m laughing (kind of), particularly when it decides to get all batshit crazy toward the end. It’s not always the kind of laugh Alan Smithee is intending, but a laughs a laugh, right?
Oh yeah, did I mention Ghost Fever is an Alan Smithee film? That oughta give you an idea of what’s going on here.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Smithee, he’s a pseudonym the Director’s Guild of America allows a filmmaker to use if he feels too embarrassed with the final product and can demonstrate a lack of artistic control.
Yeah, so even the director Lee Madden disavowed this pile. I’m not quite sure it’s exactly so bad it’s good material but it’s definitely bad, that much I can say with confidence. But, dear Weeners, it’s not without its moments and with the right amount of intoxicants and the right amount of friends with the right sensibilities, it could be the right movie.
Of course, here on The Shindig, we don’t talk about this kind of nonsense without merit or a cause célèbre and Ghost Fever (as you might imagine) has a fucking doozy.
Submitted for your Halloween enjoyment, here’s George Jefferson himself spiriting his way through a disco title track of supernatural proportions.
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.