Everybody loves The Munsters’ foot stompin’ surfy theme, but Jack Marshall’s tune actually had some lyrics to go with. Written by the show’s producer Bob Mosher, this version of the theme was never featured on the show.
However, thanks to the album At Home With the Munsters, fans are given a chance to hear this more typical sounding theme.
It may be a little slower, and definitely not better, but it does feature some clever lyrics and even a nod to our hallowed holiday. Shindig approved!
I led the track it with a clip from The Munsters’ Revenge, a TV movie produced in 1981 which actually takes place around Halloween, and features The Munsters at 2 different Halloween parities. Finally.
Because, every evening is Halloween, at The Munsters’!
Speaking of iconic, it’s high time we talked about the most iconic family in all of horror-dom,The Munsters.
Though only lasting 2 seasons, Herman, Lily, Grandpa, Eddie and Marylin Munster have lingered on, long past their short stint on the airwaves to become some of horrors most beloved characters.
With such talented actors as Yvonne DeCarlo, Al Lewis and Fred Gwynne hamming it up in such great costumes and make-up, it’s not hard to understand why the show has remained so wonderful to watch and still manages to capture new generations of viewers.
So loved are The Munsters, they’ve been revisited and recast more times than just about anything in the genre, with 5 separate actors playing Herman, Grandpa and Lily, and 7 stepping into the role of Eddie. Marilyn still has the most though, at 9, including 2 actresses (Beverly Owen and Pat Priest) during the show’s initial run. That’s pretty crazy.
However for fans, these revisits have run the gamut from quaint and acceptable (1981’s The Munster’s Revenge) to somewhat watchable (1995’s Here Come The Munsters) to the flat-out cringe inducing (the ill-advised, ill-conceived and ill-received The Munsters Today.) The latter (being a rebooted, sequel-series that aired from 1988 to 1991) somehow managed to stay on the air an entire season longer than the original show, though only producing roughly the same number of episodes.
While each installment has something of merit (The Munster’s Today does feature a rather good turn from Howard Morton as Grandpa) nothing quite matched or lived up to the series. Even 1966’s Munster, Go Home! (the closest to actually feeling like the show) is hampered by the decisions to film in color, recast Marilyn and lose the laugh track.
All that said, perhaps the most iconic aspect of the show is its oft played, oft covered and oft imitated theme song composed by Jack Marshall. If you’ve ever seen the un-aired (and colorized!) pilot for the show, you know just how instrumental Jack’s theme really was.
Instantly recognizable, it’s one of the great television themes of all-time, and just about every rehash (including Munster, Go Home!) has either failed to include it, or used some seriously bastardized version (TheMunsters Today) that feels egregious.
Though they were changed a bit between seasons 1 and 2, I’m not quite sure which I honestly prefer most. I’ve included the season 2 theme on the Shindig because I believe it’s the one most often referred to, covered and imitated. Also, The Los Straitjackets’ version appears later in playlist, and that definitely has a distinctly Season 1 sound.
So, let’s spend some time on the Shindig with America’s First Family of Fright, The Munster.
It seems as though I’ve been ignoring my Horror Themes category. Better sock one in here before the playlist ends up with a giant lyric-less cluster somewhere in the middle.
And if you need a go-to Horror Theme, then Francis Haines’ Return of the Living Dead Main Title Theme will do just fine.
Perfectly creepy, perfectly Halloweeny, The Trioxin Theme is just the break we need from the rock to bring a little ambiance back into the mix.
As soundtracks go (official, purchasable albums that is) The Return of the Living Dead is a great one. Not only is the music awesome, but it chock full of so many great samples from the movie I don’t even need to bust out my DVD to lead them in. Just grab 2 tracks, splice em a little and we’re good to go.
From one of the greatest zombie movies ever made, here’s the main title theme from The Return of the Living Dead.
Ernest Scared Stupid (theme)by Bruce Arntson & Kirby Shelstad
If there’s one thing I liked as much as Halloween growing up, it was Ernest. So naturally, Ernest Scared Stupid is by far my favorite of comedic genius an all-around swell guy Jim Varney’s extended career as Ernest P. Worrell.
Complete with kick-ass trolls courtesy of The Chiodo Brothers (see: Killer Klowns From Outer Space)Ernest Scared Stupid should be watched at least every Halloween by everyone who isn’t dreadfully repulsed by the character of Ernest.
And even then, you should watch it anyway, and be ashamed of yourself for hating Ernest.
No horror theme is quite a beautiful sounding as Phillip Glass’ recurring theme from Candyman. It’s haunting, particularly in the context of the film, but on its own, it’s a rather sweet and quiet piano melody.
Spliced over the rain effect here which closes out Raining Blood, it’s a nice interlude for your guests to enjoy as they grab more Re-Agent Punch, piss on your fence, or blast some lines in your bathroom without you.
Here’s to hoping Candyman busts through that goddamn mirror and guts them for their selfishness.
The first track on any Halloween playlist should probably be John Carpenter’s simplistic, iconic and downright horrific theme to his 1978 classic Halloween. Nothing quite sounds like Halloween the way this song does. Call it nostalgia, call it indoctrination, call it whatever you’d like, when I hear this song I immediately think of jack-o-lanterns. That’s followed closely by children trick or treating, rounded out by some rustling leaves and perhaps coming in at a close 4th would be a white-masked sociopath by the name of Michael Myers.
Now, those are probably 4 of the most Halloweeny things I can think of, and they’re all elicited from just the first 3 notes of this song. For my money, that’s musical genius.
This is taken straight from the DVD, so no whack ass midi version, no trumped up Halloween CD nonsense, no later, slightly altered version; this is the real deal, complete with the chanting trick or treaters at the end.
Black cats and goblins on Halloween night. Trick or Treat!