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.
The transformation itself is a miracle of animatronics, change-o-heads, reverse photography and skillful editing. 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.
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?”
Before Full Moon became synonymous with “shitty movie”, Charlie Band had Empire Pictures, which produced a fair amount of good genre offerings like Re-Animator, Ghoulies, From Beyond and Prison, just to name a few.
Among them was TerrorVision, a 1986 film you can easily catch on Netflix these days and won’t be disappointed with,…supposin’ you like that sort of thing.
And that sort of thing is ridiculous (not ridiculously bad, however) horror. With Charlie Band’s name attached, we could be walking into that territory, but TerrorVision manages to be 80’s enough and fun enough to avoid such trappings and deliver a flick that doesn’t take itself at all seriously and has a good time with some silly creature and gore effects.
Plus its got Jon Gries as the punked out boyfriend named O.D., and that’s gotta be worth a viewing.
From TerrorVision comes TerrorVision, the title track performed by the Fibonaccis.
“Blasphemy!” Yeah, I might just say that too, cause I know what you’re thinkin’, “Newfits? For real? You haven’t even posted any actual Misfits songs yet, and you’re coming with some Newfits bullshit?”
All I can say to that is, I like the actual Misfits more, so they’re buried deeper in the playlist, for when everyone’s good and sauced up and the stragglers have had time to settle in. And don’t worry, there’s no shortage of classic Misfits tracks on Halloween Shindig.
Say what you want about this secondary incarnation of the Misfits, they had some good tunes. Tunes that are kind of hard for a Halloween playlist to straight up ignore. Tunes like today’s track for instance, entitled Scream!
Despite the misleading name, the song is actually an ode to William Castle’s wonderful 1959 classic The Tingler, about a terrible creature living inside all of you, which feeds on fear, and grows up your spine and into your brain! A creature that can only be stopped by the sound of screaming!
It’s a great premise, and it makes for one hell of a bizarre and imaginative film. Castle, master of the in-theater gimmick, made it even more fun by rigging some of the seats with vibrators to give certain audience members a special jolt at the right moment. 3D? Fuck all that shit, this is Percepto!
The lead-in for this is none other than Williams Castle’s own introduction to the film. Oh, and that’s Bart screaming at the end from Treehouse of Horror IV’s “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace” segment. Enjoy!
At #7 comes a band with plenty of representation on the Shindig; perennial monster-rockers Blitzkid. When every album’s track listing reads like a “Gory Horror Movies from the 80’s” category on Netflix, your band is kind of hard to ignore if making a Halloween playlist.
First cut from these guys? Motel Hell, which details the goings-ons of Farmer Vincent (the wonderful Rory Calhoun) as he minces up out-of-town lodgers at his Motel Hello (its neon sign, of course, has a blown out O.) He stores and cultivates these lodgers in a garden out back, like some kind of nightmarish cabbage patch, then uses their bodies to make assorted meat products for the locals, whom all love Farmer Vincent’s treats.
Motel Hell is a great piece of early 80’s horror that’s funny, sometimes startling and always a blast to watch. Any movie where a dude wearing a pig’s head gets into a chainsaw fight with another dude that also has a chainsaw is some must-see shit. In fact, if you haven’t seen Motel Hell, you should,…right now. Seriously, shut off the internet and treat yourself to Motel Hell.
Now it’s party time, literally. We’ve established it’s Halloween, now commence the rocking.
Fourth in line is the first of many selections from possibly the finest horror movie soundtrack ever – Return of the Living Dead.
Apparently the original version of this song was actually about a 5 year old whom is raped and abused by her family. Now, I don’t know if that’s more halloweeny, but it’s definitely more horrific, that’s for sure.
Needless to say, the producers asked Dinah Cancer if she could rewrite the lyrics to make it a bit more relevant to the film, and a bit less, well, rapey.
The result? Our first official crossover song, and one of the most ass-kicking tracks from a kick-ass soundtrack.
So, do you wanna party? It’s not a bad question, Burt.