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

Fright Night

106_fright-nightTRACK #106:

Fright Night by The J. Geils Band

Good evening, horror fans. Did you know that all Title Tracks were not created equal? The J. Geils Band did.

Let’s face it, while all Title Tracks are great, some (Fall Break, Don’t Go Into The Woods…Alone) are less awesome than others (The Devil’s Men, Leatherface.)

Hell, there’s even a hierarchy of applicability. The Maniac Cop Rap is less a Title Track than say Scream and Scream Again. Shocker is  a truer Title Track than a by-liner like Dream Warriors. And then some Title Tracks simply define the category. Fright Night is just that type of Title Track.

A popular band at the time of release, almost inexplicably tapped by the producers to cut a song so unlike the rest of their catalog you wonder just how the hell it even works. But work it does. Fuck, it works a 70 hour week under the table with no overtime.

It works on Labor Day.

Or more appropriately, and perhaps more criminally,…

It works on Halloween.

And thank God for that, cause your Halloween playlist needs it. You’re Halloween needs in. Hell, you’re life needs It. Listen to it now, and then go watch Fright Night. I just did. It was a great decision.

From that 80’s realm of self aware horror (somewhere between The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys) where characters versed in fictionalized horror find themselves face to face with that horror in the real world, Fright Night follows horror nerd Charlie Brewster as he attempts to prove the new next door neighbor is a terrifying creature of the night.

You got Chris (Prince Humperdink) Sarandon creeping up the joint as 80’s vampire benchmark Jerry Dandrige, Steven Geoffreys being his typical spazzy self as (you’re so cool) Brewster’s pal Evil, and Roddy McDowell just knocking it outta the park as the Cushing-modeled celluloid vampire hunter/ TV horror host, Peter Vincent.

Add to that a fantastic script which balances tone so effortlessly, plus some truly memorable visuals from The Entertainment Effects Group. Fresh off their stint on Ghostbusters, these guys provide another barrage of makeup and creature FX wizardry, not the least of which is one hell of a harrowing reverse werewolf transformation.

It all adds up to a genuine high point in 80’s horror that no fan should miss. A loving nod to the horror of yesteryear and that old Hammer feeling right in the midst of the 80’s slasher onslaught. Whats more? It resonated, made a shit ton of money and endured immensely to this very day.

And the kicker? This awesome Title Track. So perfectly 80’s, so perfectly referential and so perfectly fitting. You can’t fuck with this song.

Welcome to Fright Night.

 

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.

 

 

Audio

Leatherface

101_leatherfaceTRACK #101:

Leatherface by Lääz Rockit

There’s no shortage of music for 80’s horror icons, no matter how popular or obscure. From Matt Cordell to Horace Pinker, no psycho is too small for a Title Track. Hell, even Bud the C.H.U.D. has his own song, and he ain’t even a real C.H.U.D.

However, when it comes to The Big 5, there’s a lot of representation from some pretty heavy hitters.

And though Freddy may have Dokken (and The Fat Boys), and Jason may hang out with Alice Cooper, and Pinhead might be backed up by Motörhead and Michael Myers may just have greatest theme in horror history, Leatherface gets the baddest song of the bunch, in my opinion. It may be from virtual nobodies Lääz Rockit, but this song is tough as shit.

The whole Leatherface soundtrack is pretty rock solid, but this Title Track is everything you want for everyone’s favorite chainsaw-wielding, cross-dressing, skin-wearing, Texas-fried lunatic; some kick-ass shredding, some disgruntled vocals and some highly referential lyrical content. Handled.

I’ve lead the track in with Tobe Hopper’s iconic introduction (as read by Night Court’s John Larroquette’s) because let’s face it, that intro from part 3 sucks balls.

From just another of the forgettable retreads in the under-capitalized Texas Chainsaw franchise, it’s Lääz Rockit, headin’ for the crossroad with Leatherface.

Here’s your invitation.

 

 

Audio

Scream Dream

098_scream-dreamTRACK #98:

Scream Dream by Rikk-O-Shay

The first 2 minutes of this 1989 Rock ‘N Roll Horror opus is literally a girl screaming. Now I know 2 minutes might not sound like a long time, but when it’s one chick screaming over and over, almost identically each time, it feels like some godforsaken pit of eternity. It’s one of the most excruciating openings to any film I’ve ever seen.

Yeah, she’s half naked, and a chainsaw eventually rips through her crotch, but that doesn’t change the fundamental essence of what this scene asks of its audience: can you ignore every instinct you have to cancel this shit and endure?

At first it just seems like a really long scream, and you imagine it can’t possibly keep going. Then you can’t believe it’s still happening. About 20 seconds in, it becomes humorous. This quickly fades. Seriously? She’s still screaming?

You still have another minute and a half.

Each second is another dare: how long will you just sit there and watch this? It becomes almost suspenseful in its annoyance. How long will this persist? Then, self reflection sets in: Why am I doing this? What’s wrong me? Are these the choices of my life?

Then the questions: How ever did someone endeavor to shoot this? To edit this?! Watch this repeatedly to tighten it up? Holy shit, this might have been longer…

What mad sadist would subject himself, his crew and his audience to this?

Then the screaming stops.

As the memory of that horror throbs in your eardrum like a stubbed toe, the words “written and directed by Donald Farmer” appear. The architect of your pain has a name. If you know this name, you’re fully aware of what’s to come. If you don’t, by the time it’s over, you will.

It’s a ballsy move, and for those with the fortitude, the subsequent 60 minutes are pure gold.

When i watch garbage, I want something akin Scream Dream; shoestring relentlessness that’s unapologetic, mind boggling and approaching unwatchable while remaining entertaining. It’s not best in show, but it delivers enough to satisfy, and certainly more than most of the scrubs on this list.

When I watch a Rock ‘N Roll Horror flick, I also want something akin to Scream Dream; bad rock and lots of it. Whether it’s just the music, tons of footage of the bands playing it, or generalized Rock ‘N Roll goings-ons. Scream Dream’s got that in spades. Much more than most of these wanna-be’s.

It’s ain’t good, but it ain’t hard to watch (mostly) and at 68 minutes, it doesn’t stick around long enough to lose you, or make any sense of itself. It’s a winner of a loser.

More importantly, we’re getting this Title Track (incessantly) throughout. This puts Scream Dream up at the top of the Rock ‘N Roll Horror heap in our book.

 

Audio

Blood Tracks

097_blood-tracksTRACK #97:

Blood Tracks by Easy Action

If you listen to IMDb users, you’d think Blood Tracks was the worse movie ever made. But if you listen to IMDb users, you’d think every movie was the worst movie ever made. Those goofballs hand out that award like they got an overstocked warehouse they have to unload cheap.

My guess? They just haven’t seen enough movies, or at least not the right ones,  cause Blood Tracks (while certainly not approaching good) is definitely not approaching the “worst movie ever.” Hell, I wouldn’t even put it near a top 20. You need a little something special to make it into that crew, and frankly Blood Tracks just doesn’t have it.

Too mildly bad and too mostly forgettable for any such distinction, Blood Tracks sort of just exists, like a myriad of other Rock ‘N Roll Horrors begging to be better one way or the other.

What Blood Tracks does have (aside from its awesome double entendre title) is some sweet snow rocking compliments of (the fantastically named) Easy Action, posing as (the unfortunately named) Solid Gold.

See, Solid Gold’s looking to cut a video up in the mountains. Ya know, cause that’s the sleaziest, most rocking locale around. Not the seedy titty-bar in Panorama City, or the beach, or the pool at Caesar’s Palace, but the mountains – the freezing, shitty mountains.

It is worth noting that their rocking does cause an avalanche, putting their rock into a most ridiculous category, somewhere between DC Lacroix’s  shrunken head inducing laser metal and Dokken’s Freddy shredding guitar solos.

Now snowed in, the band, the management, the techs and the video hoes are all beset by a Hills Have Eyes-esque family. Mayhem ensues. Thankfully for us, not before Solid Gold gets a chance to rock out a bit and indulge in a little rock star behavior; drinking, drugs, snowbound sex.

Frankly though, not enough for my tastes. Could have used more, cause once the horror hits, the rocking ceases and these groupies and band members could be any old generic group of horror assholes.

The acting is pretty awesome however, and there are some great lines delivered poorly. Some of the kills are pretty interesting, and the whole thing moves rather quickly. But I’m just not getting enough of its terrible (or enough of its good) to make Blood Tracks much more than “Oh yeah, that Swedish one with the band in the snow.” Certainly not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It’s not even the worst Rock ‘N Roll Horror movie I’ve seen. Not by a long-shot.

Particularly considering it has the wherewithal to serves up a Title Track, something no movie watcher should ever discredit.

Unfortunately, the movie seems to be the only place this track exists, as it can’t be found on any of Easy Action’s albums. Which is shameful, especially since In The Middle of Nowhere and We Go Rocking (both also featured in the film) are readily available. C’Mon gang, make with the goods! The Shindig needs more than just a snippet of you Title Track to represent.

But we beggars can’t be choosers, so at #97, here’s what exists of Easy Action’s Title Track triple threat Blood Tracks.

 

Audio

New Year’s Evil

096_new-years-evil2TRACK #96:

New Year’s Evil by Shadow

One of the earliest and perhaps least applicable Rock ‘N Roll Horror entries, I toss New Year’s Evil into the mix for a couple different reasons.

While a band or singer is not at the forefront on New Year’s Evil (admittedly the most overriding prerequisite for a RNRH) you’ll get to see a lot of band action, notably for our #96 ‘diggers Shadow. This is more than you’ll even get from such “certified” Rock ‘N Roll Horror entries as Dead Girls or the wildly mislabeled Slaughterhouse Rock, so fuck it!

Our protagonist and final “girl” is a Disc Jockey named Blaze, and the whole plot revolves around her New Year’s Rock ‘N Roll countdown aptly titled New Year’s Evil. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Plus, I like New Year’s Evil, which is more than can say for a lot of the other duds this category has to offer.

And what’s more, it doesn’t disappoint in the soundtrack department. It even goes so far as throw down an awesome Title Track. Now you’re talking language of this playlist.

However, as a rule, The Shindig avoids Christmas-themed horror music. Christmas already encroaches enough on Halloween without it invading the fucking Shindig to boot. So, if it seems a bit strange to include such a non-Halloween holiday song, consider this: Samhain was New Years Eve to the Celts. So there’s that. It’s clearly not the same New Year Blaze and “Evil” are ringing in, but what the hell huh?

I’d be remiss to leave if off the list. I’d be even more remiss to cut it from The Shindig.

Here’s Shadow with another glorious Title Track, 1980’s New Year’s Evil.

 

Audio

Wild Life

092_edge-of-hellTRACK #92:

Wild Life by Thor and The Tritonz

The Edge of Hell; a movie so badass it finds its main character (legendary rocker Jon-Mikl Thor) tricking the Devil himself.

Essentially, Jon and his band of cliched rock ‘n roll cut-outs named The Trintonz, take up lodging in a old barn to cut a new record. Only problem is Beelzebub and his minions have already taken up residence, and slowly begin possessing the band.

The real problem is, all these cliched characters are just that, characters Jon pulled from horror movies to entertain the Devil’s minions. “Shadows” he tells the Devil, fresh souls to lure the Devil out of hiding.

And it worked.

See, Jon is the Intercessor, the Archangel Triton, set to do battle with the Devil whenever he crosses over into the world of the living. And boy does he ever battle.

After dodging some star fish and grappling with the beast for about 10 minutes, Jon trips the Devil, forcing the old scratch to concede. The day is won.

But we’re the real winners, when Thor and The Tritonz rock out, as they are wont to do throughout the film.

Though the soundtrack is composed entirely of Thor songs, we’ve taken 2 of the best tracks and featured them back-to-back for your enjoyment.

First up is the first cut from the film. A track which, under any normal circumstance would be the title track. However, it’s not. It’s just called Wild Life, which is weird, because if it were not for Thor simply shouting “Wild Life” repeatedly during the last 30 seconds, the phrase “The Edge of Hell” would appear more times the the title of the damn song.

So, what’s the deal then? Is it a Title Track?

Naw, not officially. Which is kinda lame, ‘cause we really want it to be, and it kinda almost is.

So, we’ll file it under the category anyway for fun, with the hashtag addendum that it’s not really a title track.

 

Audio

Prologue (Little Shop of Horrors)

081_little-shopTRACK #81:

Prologue (Little Shop of Horrors)

by Michelle Weeks, Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell-Martin with Bill Mitchell

It’s a bit crazy to think we’ve made it 80 tracks into a horror themed playlist without including anything from one of the most beloved horror musicals of all time, Little Shop of Horrors.

I’ll be honest, I don’t care for musicals, generally speaking. They’re unnatural, disorienting and show tunes really aren’t up my alley. Why is everyone singing all of a sudden? Am I on drugs? What’s going on up there? What world is this where random strangers are suddenly singing, and well?

It’s never happened to me.

Granted, I’ve never been attacked by a mummy, either. Nor have I ever seen a Ghoulie in my toilet. But it could happen. I can imagine that world.

I can not, for one moment, imagine a world where all of my friends and I are having a conversation, then suddenly and for no apparent reason, we all burst out into song to detail plot points, describe feelings or externalize inner monologues through music.

So infectious is our glee that all the waiters and line cooks join in on the number, until our mirth can no longer be contained by the diner itself! We spill out into the streets and stop traffic. A crossing guard and truck driver add a verse. The whole of the town gather behind us in harmony, until finally a car careens into a fire hydrant and an urban geyser punctuates our final note! Then we just start talking again like normal people, without even acknowledging whatever the fuck that nonsense was that just happened.

Can’t picture that ever happening.

I could more easily imagine a cult of satanists rushing the door with an ancient amulet demanding the hostess be sacrificed over a plate of Moons Over My Hammy. I’m prepared for that. I think I could handle that mentally. I think an impromptu and unacknowledged musical number would fuck me up. I don’t know if I could move passed that. Maybe that makes it more horrific.

That being said, there are a few musicals I can enjoy, mostly because of their genre leanings or parodical nature. Rocky Horror, Cannibal: The Musical, Phantom of The Paradise and Little Shop of Horrors all have just the right amount of je ne sais quoi that allows me to get passed that unnatural sensation, and enjoy the musical as I believe it should be, without all my logical, earth-bound hang-ups.

So, in that spirit, we return to the Shindig after a long hiatus with the title track from Little Shop of Horrors. Enjoy!