Audio

Are You Ready for Freddy?

TRACK #124:

Are You Ready for Freddy? by The Fat Boys

Fred Krueger the myth or Fred Krueger the man? It doesn’t matter cause they’re still rappin’ bout him, understand?

The lesser heralded of the 2 Freddy rap songs, I feel Are You Ready For Freddy is superior to Nightmare on My Street for several good reasons:

  1. It’s The Fat Boys and they’re cooler than Will Smith any day of the week.
  2. It’s offically from a Freddy movie (Part 4: The Dream Master)
  3. It actually features Robert England rapping as Freddy, as opposed to whoever the hell is rapping on the DJ Jazzy Jeff track.
  4. It’s less generic about it’s Freddydom, as multiple Elm Street films are referenced and sampled.

And if that wasn’t enough, lines like

“With a hat like a vagabond

Standin’ like a flasher

It’s Mr. Big Time, Fred Krueger

Dream crasher”

make all the difference in the world.

Freddymania is in full swing here in 1988 and the series has finally degraded into pure schillery. Freddy is a tradable commodity now, hitting the talk show circuit, making more music video appearences and hanging out in the windshield of cars.

I actually own this and it’s fucking awesome

A double-edged sword no doubt, as it’s exactly this kind of boardroom buffoonery that gives us such an awesome track as Are You Ready for Freddy (and my equally awesome sunshield.)

But in terms of the movie, well viewers paid the price. Freddy’s crackin’ wise, sportin’ sunglasses and eatin’ pizza like some damned Ninja Turtle. Ceasing to be at all frightening and with the cleanest sweater I think he’s ever worn, Freddy’s less your dirty old dream diddler and more your pal. Hell, he’s brought back from his “grave” by the fiery urine of Kincaid’s dog Jason. Yeah, it sets up its jackassery early and securely.

But I enjoy The Dream Master for much the same reason I enjoy Freddy’s Dead: I love Freddy as a character (either scary or silly) and it’s just a ridiculous piece of horror filmmaking.

Plus it has this song.

Which, interestingly enough, has an alternate version. There was a second, longer version of the track cut for the 12″ single. What? Now that’s the kinda shit The Shindig lives for.

So why isn’t that the featured track? Well, to be honest, I don’t like it as much. It’s a bit slower, the beats a little different and there’s a bunch of extra incidental sounds tossed all over it. It’s kinda weird. Plus, it cuts out Freddy’s original rap at the end! What?! You get an alternate, almost spoken-word outro from The Dream Crasher, which is fun but just isn’t quite the same.

However, it does feature some pretty fantastic extra verses in the middle where The Boys detail the plot from the original Elm Street and talk about Freddy more. And there’s more samples from the original Elm Street thrown in for good measure. Bonus.

And cause we’re not the kinda outfit to tease a treat like that 10 days before Halloween, just click here to listen to (or download) the extended 12″ version.

But as far as the playlist is concerned, we’re keeping it real, cause you can’t not have Freddy rapping, c’mon.

So here’s to Mr. Big Time, forever immortalized in our musical dreams.

 

Audio

The Monster Squad

TRACK #116:

The Monster Squad by The Monster Squad

Since we all know and have just addressed with whom you’ll contact over telephone wires should it become apparent that you in fact have harmful apparitions approaching, let’s task listeners with a similar question:

Yeah, but who do you call when you have Monsters?

That’s right and at last we come to The Monster Squad. From the very first CD in 2002, The Monster Squad has been a permanent fixture of Halloween Shindig and remains one of my favorite selections on the playlist.

Granted, I may be a bit biased but this song is representing hard. Let’s check the stats:

  1. Is it about a horror movie?
    Check, it’s about the goddamn Monster Squad.
  2. Ah, yes, but is it in the movie?  
    In it? Motherfucker, it’s the Title Track. Triple check that shit.
  3. We talkin’ bout Monsters? 
    Fuck yeah we are. It’s like a goddamn monster mash up in this motherfucker. Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. That’s the big five, son. Throw in some sexy vampire chicks, a grotesque bat transformation and a werewolf exploding out of the sky and you’ve got some real monster shit on lock. Check + to Monster Song.

What more could you ask for? Well, they even mention Halloween too. Sure, it’s to illustrate how this ain’t Halloween (or some phony deal) but we’ll just look that other way on that one. They say Halloween and damn it if that ain’t all that matters sometimes.

Now all of that sounds like a Referentially Inclusive Monster Halloween Title Track to me, gang. That’s Great Pumpkin status right there.

And it’s a Monster Rap to boot? Holy shit, is there anything this song can’t do?

One of the most ridiculous tracks you can imagine, The Monster Squad was suspiciously recorded by some anonymous collective of Hip-Hop Demigods that chose to remain nameless. What?!

Why the hell anyone would elect to do this is so far beyond the scope of my imagination it boarders on madness. If I was responsible for this song I’d put it on every job application I ever filled out.

  • 2 years as an Assistant Hanger Inspector for Sears and Roebuck.
  • 4 months as a Substitute Wigsmith at The Downtown Clownery.
  • Oh yeah and I wrote the motherfucking Monster Squad Rap. What’s up?

From a time when everyone thought something like this was a really great idea,  The Monster Squad (for anyone thinking otherwise) is a really great idea.

It’s is pretty whack? Yeah, I guess so. If you wanna be a jerk about it.

Is it poorly conceived and equally executed? Yeah, I suppose I’d have to concede that fact too, if you really want this to be a frank discussion about musical integrity.

But fuck that discussion and fuck you for wanting it pal, cause this song fucking rules. It’s a rap song about a group of kids fighting The Universal Monsters. Oh, did you not catch that? It’s a rap song about a group of kids fighting The Universal Monsters. Whomever is responsible for this song should be a cultural icon. They should have a fucking Grammy and an Academy Award.

Instead,  (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing took the honor that year. All right, fair enough. Maybe that’s a better song, but it lacks the lyric:

“We don’t wanna hang with the walking dead, so we gotta kick some monster butt instead.”

What’s up now, Academy of Arts and Sciences?

Looking into this travesty further, I discovered the competition that year was actually pretty stiff. Check this shit out:

Damn, that’s a solid 80’s line-up right there. Maybe I spoke too soon. Still, it should have been nominated at the absolute least. Who the hell is still talking about Cry Freedom 26 years later?

No one, that’s who.

But I digress.

An interesting side note to this song: the original version I had on the 2002 CD was pulled from my old VHS copy of Monster Squad. Incidentally, this was later signed by Tom Woodruff Jr.

Check it out.

This version contained the line:

“First came Dracula, now the Wolfman too, The Mummy and the Gillman swimming in the pool.”

What? Why did that roll call just fall the fuck apart?

Hear that sample below.


I always thought this was a pretty strange and horrendous line, particularly when they could have just as simply said “and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

But I guess they couldn’t say “and the Creature from the Black Lagoon,” for the home video release. Damn copyrights.

All things considered, that’s not a bad save. Syllabically sound, it even sort of rhymes, at least no more or less than the original false rhyme.  But damn is it silly. Why is he in the pool? Did I miss a scene where he climbs out of a pool? Why did he just say that?

Upon upgrading the tune for better quality many years later when The Monster Squad finally saw a DVD release, I noticed the line was suddenly changed to “and the Creature From The Black Lagoon” and I thought “Shit, that must have been the original lyric. How about that.” Now, I just feel sort of nostalgic for the old, butchered scab.

But I’ve spoken too verbosely about all of this as is, so let’s just make with the goods, huh?

One of my favorite songs on the playlist from one of my favorite movies of all time. Here it is….The Monster Squad.

 

 

 

Audio

Ghostbusters

115_ghostbustersTRACK #115:

Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

Is there a more well known or loved Title Track than Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters? Probably not. Which explains why you’re guaranteed to hear it multiple times around Halloween and The Shindig is obviously no exception.

A certified hit, Ghostbusters spent 3 weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts in August of 1984 and it’s no wonder. This catchy number is spooky, danceable and unrelentingly 80’s.

And the video, one of the first cross-media promotional blitzes of its kind, is something to behold. With Ray Parker Jr. creeping it up in a weird, minimalistic neon house, the Ghostbusters themselves dancing down Broadway with him and a collection of the most bizarre cameos ever assembled, it’s pure Reagen-Era cheese.gb_peter

Seriously, what the fuck is Peter Falk doing in the Ghostbusters video? Chevy Chase, John Candy, Al Franken, hell even Danny Devito all make some sort of sense. But then up pops Columbo and what the fuck? Yeah, it’s pretty 80’s.

The song itself wasn’t something Ray Parker’s people were at all interested in having Ray sing. Keep in mind, the movie wasn’t even released yet, much less a success.

“So wait, you want our smooth, panty droppin’ Ray Parker Jr. to sing about fuckin’ ghosts for,…what is this fuckin’ thing called again? ‘Ghostbusters?’ Yeah, that ain’t happening, pal. You can take a hike with that business.”

gb_bettercallIt’s an understandable reaction. But Ivan Reitman managed to convinced old Ray it’d be a hit and damn it if the guy wasn’t right on the money. The popularity of the movie and this song are completely unmatched.

Now, indelibly woven into the fabric of American pop culture, I’m not sure anyone can ever utter a phrase even close to “who you gonna call?” without some dickhead shouting “Ghostbusters!”

Yeah, that same phrase everyone probably thought sounded pretty stupid before the film blew up like 2 tons of marshmallow all over 1984.

But when something’s this big, people start to pay attention. Maybe a little too closely.

First and foremost you have Huey Lewis suing Ray Parker because he reckoned Ghostbusters sounded a bit too much like I Want a New Drug for his liking. A settlement was reached that Ray still isn’t at liberty discuss on record.

Then you have The Screen Actors Guild getting all bent outta shape due to these cameos and the non-unionized status of the fledgling music video industry.

There’s also a copyright issue regarding the video which has kept it off every subsequent home release of the film, nearly causing the video to be lost forever. Chalk another one up in the win column of the Internet for that.

And still further, there’s even more nonsense over the title with subsequent animated versions of the Ghosbusters, but we’ll delve into that one a little further down the playlist.

For now, let us and your guests revel in what is perhaps the most popular and crowd pleasing song The Shindig has to offer.

All I have left to say is…

gb_bustin

 

Audio

Pet Sematary

112_pet-sematary

TRACK #112: 

Pet Semetary by The Ramones

The Ramones (b) + Horror Title Track (htt) = Shinding gold (sg).

And I don’t care what hardcore Ramones fans thought or what The Golden Raspberry Committee had to say on the matter, my equation is airtight.

And just like any good equation you could substitute a lot of bands for that b variable and still get the same value or greater.

Dokken? Check. 45 Grave? Check Plus. J Geils Band? Double Plus Good.

It’s math. It just works. Numbers don’t lie.

And when Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny and Marky set their sights on Stephen King, the result was a horror hit for the ages. Haters be damned!

Stephen King likes to name drop songs in his novels, particularly Ramones songs and Pet Sematary is no different, as Blitzkreg Bop plays heavily into the story.

I believe the story goes that the boys were approached by the producers for the inclusion of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker in the movie. Such fans of the novel were they that The Ramones simply offered to cut an original track just for the film. And not only that, but a Title Track to boot. Don’t know where I heard that, can’t confirm it but it’s in my head and why would I just make that up? Gotta be at least a partly true, right?

It’s one of the greatest Horror Title Tracks of all time performed by one of the greatest Rock ‘N Roll bands ever. The simplicity and raw power of The Ramones lends itself to perhaps the most cartoonishly straight forward songs to ever accompany a horror film, or maybe any film for that matter. Though, there is Hard Ticket To Hawaii and The Stabilizer and thems some ridiculous ass Title Tracks.

So blow a raspberry at those Golden Raspberry farts and follow Victor to the sacred place.

 

Audio

The Surfin’ Dead

004_return-of-the-living-deadTRACK #111:

The Surfin Dead by The Cramps

So what do hot rods, racing, surfing and zombies all have in common? Beats the hell outta me but they all come together in one helluva hammer droppin’, high-rev haulin’, outta sight asphalt eater from Ohio creepsters and Shindig All-Stars The Cramps

Perhaps their most gracious addition to horror-rockdom, The Surfin’ Dead is prominently featured in Dan O’Bannon’s awesome 80’s zombie send up The Return of The Living Dead.

While no slouch in the soundtrack department, I have to admit this is easily my favorite track off the album, no question. But I love me some Cramps so maybe I’m just a tad bit biased. Or maybe it’s just a great song.

Either way, it belongs on a Halloween playlist. Even a short one.

And just for good measure, Lux tosses in 2 shout outs to Cleveland’s pride and Cramps hoedad, Ghoulardi.

Cause you’re A-bone’s busted and you’re through the door, so do the dead!

 

Audio

Night of The Demons

109_night-of-the-demons-2009TRACK #109:

Night of the Demons by 45 Grave

Great Pumpkins are few and far between, so to stick two so close together is indicative of the kind of block where in here toward the center of our hallowed playlist.

At last count there were four total; two tried and true Halloween Pumpkins, one Monster Song Pumpkin and another by way of Devilish Track. That’s the bases covered, doubly so in that The Monster Squad is also a Monster Rap.

This one though, this one is the gold standard. This is the one which inspired the category. This is the one by which all the others are measured, and even they fall short of the Shindiggery on display here. If the playlist had its own theme, it would probably be this song.

It’s not necessarily may favorite song on the Shindig (though it would definitely be up there), nor do I mean to suggest it is the best, but it’s so exemplary of what this playlist is all about that it beggars belief. Horror Movies, the music from them, the referential Rock ‘N Roll about them and of course Halloween, all succinctly served in a 4 minute sonic stew.

Is it any surprise that such a song should come from 45 Grave? Not to this guy it doesn’t, and when i first heard it back in 2010 my jaw dropped and I immediately shouted “Holy shit does this song need to be on the playlist.”

But because nothing could be that perfect, naturally, there’s a catch. In this case (and it’s perhaps a bit of my own prejudice rising to the surface) it is the caveat that the song is that comes from the the Night of the Demons remake. Which is a solid soundtrack, to be sure, but a terrible remake. Moreover, it was a terrible movie in its own right. However. as a remake to one of my favorite Halloween movies of all time, it’s even worse.

So, to balance out that factor, I’ve book-ended it with samples from the original, because, how could I not? This song could have been on the original soundtrack. It should have been. So let’s just pretend it was.

And with that, 45 Grave and I invite you to drink, get stoned and party all night, for the demons come alive on Halloween.

 

Audio

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

107_dickies_killer-klownsTRACK #107:

Killer Klowns From Outer Space by The Dickies

What can be said of this classic and perfectly executed Title Track?

If you’ve ever seen Killer Klowns From Outer Space then you know first hand how nicely this clown-car 80’s tune from The Dickies bookends this wonderful creature feature of camp from monster mavens The Chiodo Brothers.

Cheesy, gory, funny and at times even downright creepy (using a dead sheriff as a ventriloquist’s dummy or the sight of a Klown summoning a small girl from a burger joint come tokk_klowns2 mind) Killer Klowns was a movie I couldn’t get enough of in my youth. It frightened me, amazed me, made me laugh and held my full, undivided attention every time HBO decided to play it.

The Klowns are a marvel of animatronic suit work, the story is bonkers, and the music has got the tone to match. No Halloween playlist should be lacking Killer Klowns from Outer Space by The Dickies.

 

Audio

Vampire Hookers

105_vampire-hookersTRACK #105:

Vampire Hookers by Unknown!

Vampire Hookers; honestly I could have used a little more nudity.

Nathan “Unpainted” Arizona and I guy I thought was Michael Rooker for the about the first 20 minutes play a pair of bumbling greenhorn sailors on shore leave in the Philippines. At the local cemetery, they run afoul the pimp-hatted head vampire John Carradine and his titular hoes. Late 70’s porn music and goofball shenanigans ensue.

They’re trying, I’ll give ’em that.

It’s filled to the brim with silly slapstick and toilet humor that’ll probably set both of your eyes on a pivot, but it’s rarely boring, and at 78 minutes it feels pretty brisk and good natured.

Poor John Carradine though stumbles around waiting for a check, spouting Shakespeare and poetry, which could either be interesting or irritating depending on your temperament.

There’s also a fat Filipino familiar who farts a lot for comedic effect. Whether you laugh at his flatulence will also depend on your temperament.

Seen as well is a ladyboy pissing at a urinal, which apparently doesn’t tip off old Nathan Arizona, who proceeds to engage in a sexual transaction. Later Michael Rooker yells “Oh God! Balls!” which is always funny to hear someone shout after grabbing a lady’s crotch.

A few silly fistfights later and where onto the cemetery and our plot.

Though severely deficient in the generalized sleaziness and nudity you’d expect for a film called Vampire Hookers, you’re eventually treated to a 7 minute slow-mo vampire 4-way between Michael Rooker and the 3 sex-starved immortals. Thankfully, John Carradine bows out of that one, but the fat familiar watches and farts a bit. Probably jerks off too, couldn’t really tell and thank god for cinematic ambiguity. It’s pretty awesome though, complete with its numerous and repetitious cutaways to the lascivious murals painted around the room of beasts and Devils fornicating. Who’s turn is it?

And that’s not even the best part of the movie.

That would be our next Shindigger at #105, the Title Track Vampire Hookers, played to rousing appreciation during the picture credits at the end of the films. I love picture credits! And Title Tracks! And hookers! What an ending. If only we knew who the hell was performing this tune. It’s a Shindig first; an Unknown Artist! I searched endlessly to no avail as I could not track down the culprits. If anyone happens to know who performed this tune, we’ll gladly update the entry.

“Blood is not all they suck,” informs our unnamed composer. The Skinemax orgy sequence tells a different tale, I’m afraid. However, I think it’s safe to assume some sucking has taken place regardless, one way or the other.

While never terribly funny, it is somewhat fun, particularly in a group setting and there’s plenty of worse ways to spend 78 minutes. Plus, those’ll typically end up sucking an extra 20 minutes from your life and still not have the goddamn common decency to give you the reach around of an awesome Title Track.

So, as far as The Shindig is concerned, Vampire Hookers, you’re all right. As Lord Summerilse might say “you will sit with the Saints, among the elect,” here in our Title Track-heavy center block.

 

 

Audio

He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)

104_friday-6TRACK #104:

He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask) by Alice Cooper

In 1984, Paramount Pictutres made way too much money on Friday The 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter to let that truly be Jason’s final chapter.

So they set upon quickly churning out a part 5. Only Jason was dead now,…for good,…right? What’s a greedy production company to do?

So in 1985, Paramount quickly proceed to fuck right up. They essentially took the exact same model, delivered a by the numbers Friday installment, with Jason in a hockey mask and called it A New Beginning. Only they pulled the old Kansas City Shuffle. It wasn’t actually Jason. Fans were pissed.

Roy? Who the fuck is Roy? Seriously? This dude’s name is Roy?

Here’s Roy.

roy-burns

Fans didn’t cotton to old Roy here.

“But why?” You may ask.There’s a guy in a hockey mask brutally murdering teenagers at a summer camp. Isn’t that the point? Fuck, Roy kills 18 people for Christ’s sake! Jason ain’t puttin’ up those kinda numbers yet. Who cares who’s under the mask? It’s been a different actor, sometimes in the same damn movie, since part 2. Is it that important it be Jason Voorhees?

Apparently so.

I’d say it’s a least somewhat important, if only to keep Friday the 13th from turning into a running Scooby-Doo gag. “Why it’s old man Burns, the guy who run’s that haunted ambulance!”

Plus, we always get a peak at Jason, and it’s usually fucking horrifying. Observe…

friday3_jason

Maybe it’s a little important. No?

So, Paramount quickly swung in on a jungle vine for some damage control.hesback_junglejay In 1986 they unleashed Jason Lives and changed the entire franchise forever.

No more is Jason a mere mortal stalking the woods of Crystal Lake. He’s now a full fledged supernatural, unstoppable zombie killing machine.

No longer is the series a straight faced stalk-n-slash either. Tinges of satire, self parody and silliness have entered the Friday landscape.

Additionally this installment, while producing a sizable body count, is suspiciously lacking in the gore department. It’s also the only entry to feature no nudity. Fo reals?

But more importantly pop icons appear.

hesback_jalicecoopees

Despite the fact that this is Alice Cooper

Enter Alice Cooper and his single He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) blatantly reassuring all the Friday Freaks that yes, he’s back. Yes, the man behind the mask, Jason. Don’t worry, we even put his name first in the title to placate all the doubters and haters that may not come to suckle from our money cow’s teat.

Jason goes for a full blown team-up. Music videos, multiple songs, Fangoria spreads which give us such awesome images as this.

jason-and-aliceThankfully, Jason didn’t take too many cues from Freddy, and remained silent. I don’t know if I could have handled a wisecracking Voorhees.

Despite its lighter tone and generalized Skynet-like self-awareness, Jason is still pretty menacing, and there are some good kills, however neutered they may appear. It’s certainly not the poorest entry and it has a lot of style. It may just be one of the more entertaining of Jason’s outings, but that’s all up for debate, as that sort of assessment depends largely on your temperament and what kind of Friday you prefer.

It remains perhaps my favorite of the post zombie half of the series. It’s all downhill from 6, by degrees. I gotta a lotta love for aspects of 7 though, so there’s some wiggle room with that declaration.

Pulling Jason Voorhees clear in the the mid-80’s, here’s Alice Cooper’s He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)

 

Audio

Dream Warriors

103_nightmare-on-elm-street-3TRACK #103:

Dream Warriors by Dokken

With perhaps the exception of Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters, no Title Track has as much standing as a legitimate hit than Dokken’s Dream Warriors.

And why not? It was a great tune featured in a popular franchise hitting the height of its popularity, played by a popular band at the height of their popularity. Sounds like a formula for a hit to me.

It isn’t so overly explicit as to put-off non-Freddy fans or become regulated only to annual Halloween airplay. By that same token, it isn’t so vague as to be completely unrelated to the action onscreen. Perfect pop balance? Marketing genius? Lucky strike? Either way, whoever’s idea it was probably got a raise.dreamwar_george1

It’s also from arguably one of Freddy’s finest outting. While I’m inclined to side with original in almost every case (including the Nightmare series), many fans cite Part 3 as the best Elm Street installment, or at least their favorite. I’ll agree so far as to say this is Freddy’s best sequel, without question. I may love me some Freddy’s Revenge but I think Dream Warriors is legitimately his best numbered go-round.

Cooler than 4,  livelier than 5, more coherent than 2 and less stupid than 6, Dream Warriors hits the right wave of scary and goofy Freddy. He’s not quite the running joke he becomes from The Dream Master on. You see it brewing here, but he still has some shred of his former menacing self.

Also with more ambitious effects, wilder sets and more imaginative dreams sequences than the previous installments, Dream Warriors is where the Freddy becomes Freddy; not just the horror icon, but the cultural icon. And Dokken has its hand in that too, no doubt.

dreamwar_george2After Dream Warriors, all bets are off; Late Night appearances, hit songs, window clings, his own television series, his own album – Freddymania is on.

Initially, Craven (back on board after his complete absence from the completely absent Freddy’s Revenge) intended this film to wrap up the entire saga. However, New Line made way too much bank on this outing to let Freddy rest quietly in his junkyard grave and proceeded to milk every last drop out of blood from the dream demon.

Interestingly enough, for this installment Craven also pitched the idea of Freddy coming out of the screen to torment the Elm Street actors in real life. New Line rejected that nonsense altogether. At least for another 6 years or so, until Craven got the go ahead to realize this plot in his true return to the series in the form of New Nightmare.

dreamwar_freddyshredWhile it may have been interesting to see all of that played out earlier, Dream Warriors stands up just fine in its presented form.

So, come Weeners, we are bound together by our love of Halloween, Horror and Horrific Halloween Music. The Shindig is waiting for you. Listen now, cause maybe tonight you’ll be gone.

Here’s Dokken’s power ballad battle cry for the children on Elm Street.