It’s time once again Weeners for the King of Halloween himself, Mr. King Diamond.
Sure, this song isn’t really about Halloween or even Trick or Treating for that matter, but the King is playing a game called Trick or Treat and damn it if that’s not good enough for the Ole Shindig.
The ever theatrical Diamond’s catalog consists mostly of concept albums, as the majority tell very detailed and horrific stories. Why no one has turned one of these into a movie yet is beyond me. There’s a couple of real good ones.
In particular, the gem from which our next tracks hails, 1996’s The Graveyard.
The Graveyard tells the story of an unnamed King Diamond character who is wrongfully committed to a sanitarium by Mayor McKenzie. Seems King used to work for the him and one night happened upon the The Mayor molesting his own daughter. Yikes.
So the Mayor cooked up a story and tossed King Diamond into the meat grinder.
After years in Blackhill Sanitarium losing his mind, King kills S nurse, escapes and takes refuge in The Graveyard, where he begins to plots his revenge. He also murders some other people and becomes obsessed with the idea of a person’s soul living inside its decapitated head forever, but mostly it’s the revenge he’s interested in.
And that’s where we join our story…
King has kidnapped the Mayor’s daughter Lucy and buried her alive in one of seven graves. Mayor McKenzie has 3 tries to discover which grave is holding Lucy or he will murder them both…
::my best John Kassir impression::
…in a little game the King is calling…Treat Or Treat…yeeehahahahaaaaa.
It may not be Harry Manfredini’s classic score but the Theme From Friday The 13th Part 3 by Hot Ice is as bad news as any horror theme you can throw at me.
Spooky, synthy and down right Halloweeny, it’s one of my favorite horror themes ever. Even those partiers unfamiliar with its origins won’t question this instrumental’s inclusion on your Halloween playlist, so perfectly suited is it.
With a creepy theremin like chorus and a thumping baseline, Hot Ice delivered the goods, even if it was for an installment I’m less excited about.
Yeah, I’m not crazy about Part 3. I like it, don’t get me wrong and it has a lot going for it but if I’m ranking the first 5, it looks like 1, 2, 4, 5, 3. On the 10 film spectrum, it centers up pretty a bit, (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 3, 8, 10, 9) but its still in the bottom 5. Why you ask?
Welp, it’s the kills. They’re a little lazy I think and the 3D (a gimmick I appreciated in the bad old days) actually hinders rather than enhances.
It almost appears as though the filmmakers were hoping the 3rd dimension would make any old bullshit look cool. It doesn’t.
Jason’s first hockey mask adorned kill is a great example of this. It should be intense, up close and gory. Instead he fires a harpoon across a dock, right at the audience’s face and into the eye of his young prey. It’s suppose to be cool, I guess. It’s not. Not even in 3D. It’s just weak. And lazy. Literally lazy. He fires a harpoon 20 yards. It’s whack as fuck. At least he looks like a badass tossin’ the gun down. There’s that I guess.
However, part 3 does have some stuff that makes it worthwhile. The hockey mask’s debut, some great shots of Jason unmasked (including a horrifying final sequence), some fun assholes you really wanna see die, particularly Shelley (one of my least favorite Friday characters of all time) and definitely this theme by Hot Ice.
The last time I checked this was a fucking shindig.
But what is a shindig, exactly?
Well, Merriam-Webster defines shindig as follows:
a social gathering with dancing
a usually large or lavish party
Google definitions had this to add:
a large, lively party, especially one celebrating something.
Now, if you listen to any of the turkeys over at Urban Dictionary, they’d all have you believe a shindig is a small affair, consisting of anywhere from 5 to 20 people. One bozo even suggests it can contain no more than 12!
That’s why Webster’s is Webster’s and these idiot kids are logged into Urban Dictionary from their mom’s laptop.
No one better try curtailing our shindig, particularly not because some dildo in the cafeteria uses it improperly. No, we’re going definitive with our socially lavish and lively gathering that’s celebrating something.
And around here, that something is Halloween, which encompasses jack-o-Lanterns, trick or tricking and and all sorts of spooky shit of a generalized nature. That definitely includes Monsters.
From Hanna-Barbera’s 1965 record of the same name, Monster Shindig looks to muscle in on Boris Pickett’s racket by throwing their characters Super-Snooper and Blabber Mouse into the mix, stumbling upon just this type of haunted jamboree.
The cat and mouse team doesn’t show up in the song however, leaving this bizarro tune free to roam around the streets on Halloween night.
So, lets have a party…big big big and kick-off the second half of our playlist right, with another kind of shindig, performed here by Danny Hutton, who some of you may know as one third of Three Dog Night.
Elvira’s albums are chock full of the Vinyl Vixen bullshitting between songs and giving everybody audio hard-ons.
For many years I have used this spoken word outro from Vinyl Macabre as a way to split the playlist in two.
As of last count The Shindig clocked in at 240 tracks, making This Is Halloween the last track on “side one.”
Should the playlist grown in length (as it always seems to) I’ve decided to let this bumper be its own track so it can float to wherever that halfway point should fall in the future.
So we’re officially halfway through the playlist, gang!
If that sounds daunting and just makes you feel tired then go shit in a hat, bub. All you have to do is wait and listen. I’m doing all the heavy lifting over here, so if anyone should fell tired, it’s me. And I do, as I’ve fallen asleep during a total of 10 movies this October. My horror stats for this month are at an all time low.
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.
That’s it. That’s pretty much all there is to say.
I’m gonna say more, naturally, but I thought it was worth noting that that’s all anyone really needs to say.
“Thriller. That’s what’s next.”
“Oh, ok. Sure. Of course it is.”
If anyone at your party has a reaction any less than the one I’ve described above, they don’t deserve to be celebrating Halloween. Take their mask, steal their candy and egg them back to the Stone Age.
The last time I checked (which was yesterday) Thriller was still the biggest selling album of all time. What? That’s crazy. It’s 33 years old, how is that still true? It’s cause it’s Thriller, that’s why.
For no mere mortal can resist…and so on and so forth. Probably some horrible music industry warlock bullshit, you ask me. Stick that into your Google and search it.
But I digress.
Thriller’s reach far extends that of the horror genre, Halloween or even this playlist. It literally extends to just about anyone who’s ever lived on this planet during the last 33 years and has functioning ear drums. That’s how huge it is. It’s the biggest thing on this playlist. It’s the biggest referential track ever recorded. How? How was such a niche song this fucking huge?
Well, I’d say it’s more the album than the song itself. Both Billie Jean and Beat It trump it in the singles department, no question. Thriller itself never hit number 1, staying in the Billboard 100 for 14 weeks but topping out at number 4.
You could make an argument for Ghostbusters being a bigger hit, as it was legitimately a number 1 record. But I’d say that’s about it. Nothing else comes close. Though as much as I love Ray Parker Jr.’s Title Track (definitely the biggest Title Track ever recorded) it’s not quite Thriller. Though both were contemporaries that changed the way music was conceived, created and sold, Thriller still has a little something extra. That extra is no doubt Michael Jackson.
Though that’s to say nothing of the video, revolutionizing the young media form and setting a standard I still think has yet to be matched. From Rick Baker’s werewolf transformation to his zombies, to the choreography, to the eerie quality with which John Landis imbues the whole proceedings. It’s unmatched and a Horror fans dream video.
And it scared the living shit out of me as a kid. Having greater access to the Thriller video than most horror movies, it absolutely haunted me. The werewolf transformation was an initial jolt. Then Michael suddenly becoming a zombie just fucked me up. What!? He was just singing to her, now he’s a zombie?
Though even more terrifying was once the music stopped and the horror movie started. The girl taking refuge in the abandoned house and Michael and his zombie horde busting through ever inch of it to get at her. He was just Michael Jackson! They were friends! Now he’s trying to kill her! That level of broken trust rocked my young mind.
Ah, but it was all a dream! There’s Michael. “What’s the problem?” He asks. A sigh of relief washes over me. It’s all ok.
But then, the absolute kick in the nuts. Finally, once I feel at ease again, there he is, turning around and looking dead at me with those fucking werewolf eyes. Holy shit….it’s not ok. Freeze frame. And a child’s nightmares were born. It still sends a little shiver up my spine every time I see it, all these years later.
The 3D Viewmaster I had as a kid didn’t help either. Remember Viewmasters? They looked like this.You held it up to the light and clicked through a wheel of stereoscopic photos.
We had a giant, Talking Viewmaster that looked like this.
It was cool pretty cool. The wheels were larger, like scan-tron cards and had audio accompaniment. For this Talking Viewmaster, we had this.
A few Christmas’ back, my mother had pulled the old boy out for my nephews to play with. I hadn’t seen it in years. I immediately recalled my youthful terror and scrounged for the Thriller cartridge. I needed to see it; the image that haunted me all my life.
Sure as shit it was there. And sure as shit, it still gave me the creeps. Holding it up to the light, I perched my phone as close to the eyepiece as possible. I needed to capture this.
As an adult, It’s obvious to me that Ola Ray and Michael are clearly having fun and chuckling to themselves while taking these photos. Fright is at a minimum, but damn it if that wasn’t the scariest shit I ever saw when I was 7. I had to flick passed. Nope. Couldn’t handle it. Still trips me out.
But anyway, back to the actual song. Of course you have Vincent Price, adding his singular voice and an air of authentic late night 50’s horror double-feature flair to the entire affair.
That mixed with the lyrical references and allusions all wrapped up it a supremely dance-able 80’s rhythm that no mere mortal can resist.
Each one of these facets gives Thriller its collective undefinable quality. And it’s a quality that all understand, as everyone at your party is about to dance. Seriously. I don’t care who they are or what they’re doing; drunk, high, tired, newly arrived, mid-conversation, about to leave, taking a piss – don’t matter. Just watch your guests, this song comes on and people flip the fuck out. It might take a second for everyone to register what’s happening, but once it does, that’s the ballgame, jack. Maybe it’s all that warlocking.
Leaving this one off your Halloween playlist is absolutely unconscionable. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that If you asked 10 random people on the street for just 1 song they associate with Halloween, I guarantee every one of them will name Thriller.
The Time Warpby Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell and Charles Gray
You all know the moves, most assuredly, because you all know the song and the musical it originates from, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, all too well.
It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right. Pretty simple shit honestly, but here’s a diagram anyway. Act like you know.
Halloween is inexplicably associated with Rocky Horror. I may never understand exactly why, within the larger culture, these 2 things are so entwined but VH1’s Halloween showings of it in my youth have forever bonded them together in my own consciousness. Perhaps that’s the case for a lot of people.
According to the production however, the laboratory sequence and Rocky’s creation were filmed on the 30th of October in 1974. So there’s that and that’s pretty Halloweenish, not that Rocky Horror really needed any justification.
The most well known, oft played and Shindigable track is the bizarre inter-dimensional dance craze that was all the rage on Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania.
Is it about sex? Probably, everything else in Rocky Horror appears to be. Or perhaps it’s more literal, as they use a time warp to transport themselves back to Transexual. Maybe it’s both.
I’ve heard it interpreted that Riff Raff’s initial verse is about feeling horny and then orgasming. Magenta’s solo describes the viewing of pornography or perhaps a more direct for of voyuerism, while Colombia’s solo is a depiction of a rape scenario. Dunno if I cotton to all of that exactly (particularly since Colombia doesn’t seem to mind all that much) but it’s as solid a read of the songs intentions as anyone could ask for. And of course, there’s all that pelvic thrusting.
Whatever the hell the Translyvanian’s are on about, it’s certainly getting them riled up and causing them to dance like buffoons all over the place, just as you should be doing at your Halloween party right…about…now.
Just remember to hit the floor when it’s all said and done.
The Monster Mashby Bobby “Boris” Pickett and The Crypt Kickers
Around Halloween, dozens of internet outlets will cough up a dozen or so songs they think you ought to play at your Halloween party. The more enterprising sort might even toss you a couple you didn’t think of or haven’t heard before. The too-cool-for-ghoul-school nitwits’ll even attempt to buck convention with some underground hits which barely qualify and have little to no business playing at your party.
Invariably though, most Halloween playlist fakers (particularly the the oh-so-hip clique) tell ya the one thing you should never even consider playing at your party is The Monster Mash; so horrifically lame, so dreadfully passé.
I read one list that even had the audacity to claim it didn’t conjure up any feelings of fright. Are you serious? It’s a novelty song…about a bunch of monsters…having a party. Of course it doesn’t conjure up any feelings of fright you fuckin’ nimrod, it’s a joke.
They also went on to suggest I play Disturbiaby Rhianna.
They shouldn’t be allowed to make Halloween party playlists and they certainly shouldn’t come up on the first page of a Google search.
Moreover, they included The Freaks Come Out At Night by Whodini. Who-fuckin-Dini! They have a song called The Haunted House of Rock, which is played at a Halloween Dance in a movie titled Trick Or Treat. F minus to your bullshit suggestions.
These people are idiots. Don’t listen to them.
Is The Monster Mash played out? Of course it is. It’s 50 fucking years old and the only time anyone ever plays it is at Halloween.
Can you’re Oct. 31st spare 3 and half measly minutes for The Monster Mash? Yes it can and you should take off your fucking mask and hang your head in reverence for the Halloween National Anthem. The fucking heathens…..skip The Monster Mash….skip your passing interest in a holiday that didn’t need your bogus suggestions. Can’t even find The Shindig in a Google search on the matter and I get these bozos telling me to pass on The Monster Mash.
Ok, if you’re offering up 10 suggestions, I can seeing glazing over it in lieu of a few songs that people are less familiar with. Should have made it 13 songs and showed a little class. Even still, what’s 13 songs? You throwing a party for an hour?
Saw a list of 25 once. Could have just made it 31 and been a bit more festive. Still ain’t handling the job of party DJ.
That’s why Halloween Shindig exists, to rebuke these johnny-come-latelies and offer up a list of serious suggestions; to encompass all and handle the task at hand. Does anyone need a 12 hour Halloween playlist? Probably not but it’s here and growing longer each year. I hope to one day have 24 hours worth so your Halloween couldn’t possibly fit anymore music.
You only need to fill 4 hours? We’ll hook you up 3 times over again. Only want a party filled with Monster Raps? No problem. Here’s 2 hours worth.
Is Love Is A Lie very Halloweeny? Not at all but it’s in Friday 4 when Crispin Glover dances like an idiot and that’s the kinda Halloween party some people are throwing. Not your Shindig? There’s 230 other songs to pick from but it should be represented, just like The fucking Monster Mash should be represented.
To hell with your non-festive, non-referential garbage pop. Play that shit at your wedding. Tonight is Halloween and you should be playing the goddamn Monster Mash.
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:
Is it about a horror movie?
Check, it’s about the goddamn Monster Squad.
Ah, yes, but is it in the movie?
In it? Motherfucker, it’s the Title Track. Triple check that shit.
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.
Is there a more well known or loved Title Track than Ray Parker Jr.’sGhostbusters? 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.
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.”
It’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.