No Goblin block (or indeed even any brief conversation about Goblin) exists without a mention of perhaps their most famous of all arrangements, that from Argento’s Ballerina-Witch-epic, Suspiria.
This spooky, ethereal and very Italian supernatural shocker is classic horror business.
It has captivated and inspired fans and other filmmakers since its release in 1977. Not the least of whom being John Carpenter, who’s own classic horror offering, Halloween, has hallmarks of Argento’s masterpiece all over it.
And not the least of that being John’s score, which takes much inspiration from Goblin’s kinetic and prominent sounds.
Presented here at number 176 and rounding out our Goblin-Fest is the title theme from Suspiria.
Next up from Goblin is a track that technically isn’t a even a Goblin song at all, but a song performed by the 3 Godfathers Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante and Fabio Pignatelli specifically (and individually): the theme from Tenebre.
Goblin had long since called it quits by the time Dario Argento got around to tapping them again to score another horror picture.
And though they buried their hatchets (at least enough to work on this score) they choose to be credited here individually, rather than as a group. Bad blood runs deep.
But you can’t fool us. This sound is unmistakable, and we all recognize it for what it is – the sound of Goblin!
This is Stevie Wayne here, your night light, on fabulous 1340 Shindig Radio, spinning the tunes for you all October long.
Halloween is just around the corner now, and I’ve got a solid block of spooky synth songs to shake your Samhain soiree. No singin’, just the smooth buzz of oscillating vibrations to give you and your guests the shivers.
This first one goes out to the men on the Seagrass. Watch out for that fog bank you’ll say isn’t there until all of a sudden it is. It’s filled with ghost pirates, and Garfield won’t be there to bail you out.
Unil then, keep it here on Shindig Radio, and we’ll take you right into the witching hour.
In 1987, after struggling to work within the studio system and the unfortunate box-office performance of Big Trouble in Little China, John Carpenter decided to go rogue once again.
And rogue indeed, producing a straight-faced and strange (maybe even ahead of it’s time) film that I can’t imagine any major studio green-lighting. What emerged was an atmospheric, dread-drenched affair of Science converging with Religion to prove the existence of God.
Or perhaps more appropriately, the existence of Satan.
Sub-atomic. Moving within the atoms of things, where logic need not apply. Liquid evil. A green, putrid substance filled with all the abominations of the earth.
It was captured and sealed up long ago. A race of Humanoid Aliens, of which Jesus was a member, kept watch. But the truth was hidden. Wrapped in metaphor and buried under ritual.
Now, in light of our faithlessness, it has awoken, and it wants control.
I like Prince of Darkness. It’s a little talkie, sure, and maybe a tad slow, but I don’t mind. I could listen to Egg Shen spout off about theoretical physics all night. Donald Pleasence is solid, even if he feels like he’s just plugged in from The Devil’s Men, and A.J. Simon is only distracting if you actually used to watch Simon and Simon, which you probably didn’t. The supporting players do a fine in their respective roles, including Carpenter regulars like Victor Wong, Peter Jason and Dennis Dun.
And, once the scientists start being slowly absorbed by the evil and the hobos begin to gather, John turns on the gas a bit.
Speaking of the street people, Alice Cooper jumps in to play the pale-faced, beanie-rockin, head-hobo. He even kills a dude with a rusty, old bike. A dude who happens to be listening to this very song on his Walkman….meta.
Seems this bike was Alice’s own personal prop too, as he used to do this gag live during his stage show. Now thats pretty bitchin’.
Here’s reigning All-Star Alice Cooper rockin’ again with the patented Title Track Prince of Darkness.
That shit is awesome. That’s one of the coolest album covers I’ve seen in a long time. I know they say you shouldn’t judge stuff by it’s cover and what have you, but c’mon! Look at that fucking thing. There’s no way the band hiding behind that cover doesn’t rule.
And they do.
Sludgy, doomy and packed front to back with Halloween imagery, Acid Witch delivers the goods. Hailing from Detroit, it seems they’ve taken up the mantle from Motorcity’s own Halloween and dubbed their music “Halloween Metal.” Goddamn right.As such, they’ve got plenty of Halloween fodder for the Shindig, and like their local brethren, are first ballot Shindig All-Stars.
They even cut an EP last year called “Midnight Movie” featuring covers of songs already included on the playlist, with samples and everything. It’s like they covered the Shindig! It’s insane. I love these dudes.
First up from Acid Witch: Trick or Treat. Chuggier than shit and more unsettling than that, it’s written from the perspective of a true predator on Halloween, lurking in the guise of a mild mannered neighbor.
With his thicked-rimmed glasses, trimmed mustache and white cargo van, he relishes in the opportunity Halloween provides to snatch up children to feed his cannibalistic desires. His is the house you stay away from on Halloween, and every neighborhood has someone like him.
Sampled up with clips from the Tales From the Darkside pilot Trick or Treats, featuring a different kind of Halloween predator, Mr. Hackle.
Banker and land baron to a small farming community, he has the whole of the town indebted to him through IOUs. Every Halloween he allows the children a chance to enter his haunted abode and search for the IOUs to clear their parent’s debt.
There, they find he has a few tricks up his sleeve for them. But this year, the spirits of Halloween have a few tricks in store for him.
Featured within is one of the scariest witches to ever grace the screen, who’s cackle and entreaties for treats are the stuff of nightmares. What better combo for Acid Witch and their All Hallo’s horror?
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 on 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 more like a psychological thriller than a 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.
I love House on Haunted Hill. It’s my favorite William Castle outing, with maybe The Tinglertaking 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, submitted 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 been a decidedly Christmas affair. 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.
Vincent Price is awesome. I’m not really sure how else to put it. I could use words like “extraordinary,” or “singular,” or even “eminent,” but they all just sound like “awesome” to me.
Another, even more appropriate word, might be “iconic.” Having starred in over 40 genre pictures, Mr. Price, though not exclusive to horror (having appeared in almost 200 film and television productions) has left his indelible mark on the world of the macabre.
Simply anchoring some of my all-time favorite horror films, including The House on Haunted Hill, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Vincent Price already equals horror. And that’s not even mentioning The Tingler, The Raven, Last Man on Earth, House of Wax, A Comedy of Terrors, The Pit and the Pendulum, Twice Told Tales, Witchfinder General orThe Fly.
You get the idea.
Even outside the sphere of horror, Price still owns my loyalty, adding his distinctive flare to Egghead, one of my favorite villains from one of my favorite TV shows ever, the old Batmanseries.
Again, that’s not even to speak of his radio work, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, his Sears-Roebuck sponsored Fine Art Collection, The Great Mouse Detective, Laura, Dead Heat, Edward Scissorhands, and this absolutely insane album of him talking about witchcraft and the demons. I’ll type that again just in case your breezed passed it: Vincent Price recorded a 90 minute spoken word album all about witchcraft and it’s fucking incredible.
His credits even include a stint on Hollywood Squares. Seriously?
So iconic is Vincent that he appears on the Shindig at least 3 times without any intervention from my sampling hand. You wanna spook up a track, you tapped Vincent for that little extra something sinister. Never a bad decision.
The first example of this is from none other than Alice Cooper, no stranger to the sinister himself. Price leads in Track 82, The Black Widow from Cooper’s 1975 album Welcome to My Nightmare.
As if that wasn’t enough, Price also starred in the corresponding television special which followed the album entitled Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, where he reprises this monologue, in perfect Price fashion, almost identically.
Vincent Price may have passed, but among horror fans he will live on forever, ritualistically resurrected with each push of the play button. And as for the Shindig, his extraordinarily singular and eminent voice can be heard all over it.
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.