Audio

Ghost Fever

ghostfever

TRACK #149:

Ghost Fever by Sherman Hemsley

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.

gf_mummydance3Now, 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.

Cause I got Ghost Fever!

 

Audio

The Haunted House of Rock

TRACK #148:

The Haunted House Of Rock by Whodini

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’s Amityville 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.

If you Iike your Monster Raps a bit more specific, Are You Ready For Freddy might be your speed. If you like them a bit more ridiculous, then maybe The Maniac Cop Rap is the winner. Or if you like your Monster Rappin a bit more whack, then The Monster Squad is just what the doctor ordered.

But for my money, when it comes to legitimacy, Whodini is holding it down with this old-school hip-hop horror hit and its inclusion in Trick Or Treat just ups the ante.

I saw everybody there, except you. Let’s change that this year.

 

Audio

Haunted Cathouse

TRACK #147

Haunted Cathouse by The Nekromantix
What Haunted House tour would be complete without a stop at a haunted whorehouse?

Here’s a psychobilly banger from The Nekromantix which has the guys reminiscing about the good old days, ya know when they got free blowjobs from weird creatures at this spooky brothel.

I lead in the song with a clip from Blood Sisters, Roberta Findlay’s late-era slasher where some sorority sisters are challenged to spend the night in…a haunted whorehouse!

With Roberta’s name and the plot outlined above, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were getting into some top-notch 80’s slash-sleazery. Unfortunately, you’d be mistaken, and probably fairly disappointed by this scavenger hunt, genre mash-up which delivers little in either haunted house chills or hack-n-slash thrills.

It’s not even terribly sleazy, which is a pretty hefy sin for a movie about a haunted whorehouse where a bunch of sorority girls are having a sleep-over.

Oh, well. At any rate, here’s The Nekromantix describing a house which would have been much cooler than the one we get to see in Blood Sisters.

 

Audio

Terror (in the Haunted House)

TRACK #146:

Terror (in the Haunted House) by Blitzkid

Though they share titles, I’m not entirely convinced Blitzkid was inspired by the film Terror in the Haunted House to write this upbeat spookster.

See, Terror in the Haunted House doesn’t really take place in a Haunted House. I suppose House of Haunted Hill doesn’t really either, but it at least it pretends to. Terror in the Haunted House doesn’t even do that.

What it does do however, is attempt to bug you out with a bunch of subliminal messages and images cut into the movie. They called this gimmick “Psycho-Rama!” which sounds way cooler than it actually is.

The look of these messages is pretty goofy. They’re actually kind of distracting and not at all effective. Take a look. I’ve slowed them down for optimum perception!

Not so spooky. Hell, the later ones seem pretty aftermarket. Particularly this red snake one, instructing you to “Rent Rhino Videos Everyday.”

Yeah, pretty sure prints didn’t ship with that message in 1958.

No, Terror in the Haunted House is much more a psychological thriller than horror, and not an entirely ineffective one at that. A bit silly sure and no doubt more than just a little Castle-esque, but it is occasionally somewhat sinister and intriguing.

Mostly though, it’s just a snoozer. And with the absence of any fun ghosts or phantasmic goings-ons, 100% missable.

So, let’s just enjoy this spooky spin from Shindig All-Stars Blitzkid. It’s shorter and a lot more fun.

 

Audio

Haunted House

TRACK #145:

Haunted House by Chris Kevin and The Comics

Well, here’s another Haunted House song inspiredly titled Haunted House. I suppose you can’t fault anyone for directness, or at least maybe you shouldn’t, especially not Chris Kevin or his Comics.

So, who are Chris Kevin and The Comics, you ask? Oh, you didn’t ask that just now, reading the above lead-in? Hmm, well indulge me for a moment as I pretend as though you give a shit.

Turns out I have no idea. None. And I couldn’t find much in the way of information regarding these guys on the old Internet either. Maybe one day some other goofball will be searching for information on Chris Kevin and The Comcis and stumble across this hole and shriek out in hope. Not bloody likely, and then not exactly helpful to him, as I have no damn information for that guy either. Sorry guy.

Curiously though, despite the frivolity suggested by Chris’ band’s name, their Haunted House is perhaps the least silly novelty song the Shindig’s ever run across. I mean, they’re not even trying to make this shit funny.

Quite the contrary in fact, as this song actually leans more toward religious cautionary tale about the dangers of a Haunted House. Well, the dangers of not living “right,” anyway (read: probably heterosexually.)

Your soul will be all caught up and burning and so on and so forth, you know the drill. What this has to do with a Haunted House, I haven’t the slightest idea, but if you enter this one, I guess you’ll be damning yourself for whatever reason.

Seems a little arbitrary though, no? Suppose you’re planning on battling the evil forces on behalf of Christ while you’re in there? Suppose you were selling Bibles door-to-door? Suppose you just happened to breakdown in front of this particular house and needed some assistance? That doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that should damn your eternal soul. But you’re ok, cause you got that whole “living right” caveat working for you.

So, don’t blow any dudes inside the Haunted House, have some premarital sex, light a joint or read any communist propaganda, or shit I don’t know, touch yourself or something – whatever the hell passed for not living right in 1959. I’ll bet it didn’t include gender reassignment surgery or locking up a 12 year old in a basement for 9 years, I can tell you that much.

But hey, let’s keep this light, huh? This is a novelty song from a band claiming to be The Comics,  whoever the hell they may be.

 

Audio

Haunted House

TRACK #144: 

Haunted House by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons

Here’s a dusty old ditty that proves folks have been fascinated with Haunted Houses for well over 50 years.

From Jumpin’ Gene Simmons comes this light hearted tale of terror with an upbeat tempo from 1964. However, this song was originally recorded by Johnny Fuller in 1959. If we’re being honest, we prefer Johnny’s version quite a bit more than Gene’s. It’s faster, more bluesy and Johnny sings the thing with a lot more character. It’s just more fun in Johnny’s hands. Have a listen – you be the judge.

 

However, we’ve officially opted to include Gene’s version on the Shindig for 3 reason:

  1. It appears on Elvira’s Haunted Hits (and Vinyl Macabre for that matter)
  2. It’s a little more polished and user friendly.
  3. KISS’s very own Gene Simmons took his stage name in tribute to Jumpin’ Gene, and that’s pretty great.

Despite starting his career with legendary Sun Records and opening for Elvis Presley, this was Jumpin’ Gene’s only Top 40 hit, and it made it all the way to #11! Not bad for a silly novelty song about a haunted house. I guess people were into that sort of thing back in 1964.

What a world. I can’t picture anything even mildly resembling this song performing as well in 2017.

In fact, check it out at your next Shindig. See how a modern audience reacts to this little rockabilly spookster. My guess? It won’t make it to #11 with any of your guest.
But it definitely makes it to at least #144 here on Halloween Shindig.

 

Audio

Amityville

TRACK #143:

Amityville by Lovebug Starski

In 1985, this guy named Lovebug Starski (best known for, well this song) decided it’d be a good idea if he just recorded some random track about Amityville. Not for any Amityville movie mind you, but rather during a 5 year lull in the franchise (3D having been released in ‘83, and Curse not for another 4 years.)

Hell, he didn’t even make it in reference to the movies really, but just cause he thought it’d be fun I guess and maybe even a hit.

And he was right!  This sucker broke the Billboard Top 20 in ‘86, which means that, for a period of time in America, people were legitimately rocking out to this song. Which is totally understandable. This song is awesome and weird as shit.

Starski uses the real Amityville legend (I guess?) as a sort of jumping off point for some crazy ass song about a vaguely Haunted House where nothing much happens, but everyone goes.

A Karloff-esque butler greats Starski upon his arrival, then later Dracula shows up for no good reason and raps. Now, that alone is enough to have Amityville make the cut for every Halloween party playlist ever created.

As if that wasn’t bizarre enough though, just for the hell of it, Captain Kirk, Scotty and Spock arrive at one point to talk about Starski over the spooky beat. I’m sorry, what? Why? This song is fucking nuts.

Apparently, looking at the 45 sleeve above, you’ll note the record came complete with a “Free Black Hole,” ya know, for all the “time-shift special appearances.” I guess at least they tried to justify this nonsense with some kind of acknowledgement. Not sure if that makes it more or less weird, though.

So take a drive out to Amityville. You know, the house on the hill. You just make a left, then you make a right and……Amityville!

 

Audio

House On Haunted Hill

The song is actually featured on the compilation Gothabilly: Rockin’ Necropolis, but that album cover sucks, so lets just look at this one, cause it’s awesome.

TRACK #142:

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?

 

Audio

Haunted House

064_elvira_revenge-of-the-monster-hitsTRACK #64:

Haunted House by Elvira

Well, we couldn’t do a block of Horror Host hits without including perhaps the most successful, recognizable and desirable Horror Host of them all, Elvira.

Casandra Peterson was initially picked to become the new Vampira, when KHJ-TV in LA approached Maila Nurmi to reboot The Vampira Show in the early 80’s.

Maila wanted Lola Falana. KHJ did not, and essentially hired Peterson on their own. This irked Maila so thoroughly that she completely walked away from the entire project.

No matter to KHJ, they went ahead and did it anyway, without Maila, renaming their host Elvira, and proceeding with “Elvira’s Movie Macabre.

This also irked Ms. Nurmi. So much so that she sued Casandra Peterson for likeness infringement.

She lost the suit however, as the court found a striking similarity was not infringement enough, and ruled in favor of Peterson, who went on to great success as The Mistress of the Dark, becoming a brand unto herself, with national syndication, spokesperson deals, 2 pinball machines, 2 feature films and scores other Elvira themed products.

A whole new generation of horror nerds had their own wet nightmares at the…hands…of the almost impossibly beautiful Casandra Peterson, who remains so iconic to horror culture, it’s difficult to think of a time without her.

Wrapping up our Horror Host block is the Mistress herself (who else) singing about the dangers of a Haunted House.