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 Houseis 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.
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.
House on Haunted Hillby 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’sHouse 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.
If you’ve been following The Shindig for any reasonable amount of time then you may have noticed I hardly ever mention A Nightmare Before Christmas. In fact, aside from that post-Halloween gif I reblogged last year, I’ve never mentioned it before. There’s a couple of good reason for this.
One of them is that there is certainly no shortage of love shown to Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s 1993 stop motion classic around the web, especially within the Halloween circles this blog runs. I’ll wager you could recreate the film pretty handedly from just the gifs on Tumblr alone. Everyone knows it, everyone loves it. No sense in beating a dead horse, the way I see it.
More directly though, it has never been a movie I typically associate with Halloween. Sure, Jack The Pumpkin King, Halloweentown and all of that but for me the film has always had a decidedly Christmas air to it. Fuck, the word Christmas appears in its title. That’s an automatic disqualification from any Halloween movie list as far as The Shindig is concerned.
However, as everyone is well aware, the first 10 minutes or so before Jack happens into Christmastown are about as Halloweeny as as it gets, aided in no small part by this fantastic song from Halloween Hero and Shindig All-Star Danny Elfman.
It’s one of the most Halloweeny songs ever committed to film or record period and any Halloween playlist would be remiss not to include it. And whenever that claim comes down the pipe, The Shindig abides.