This past year or so has featured many amazing blu-ray releases that will make great gifts for that genre fan in your life. This was not an easy list to compile since there are so many great releases to choose from! I also wanted to limit myself to 13 titles, or else this list would’ve just gone on and on. I am a huge fan of the blu-ray format but have noticed that just because something is on blu-ray and says it is in high-definition, does not mean it is actually going to look good! It all depends on the source used for the transfer. When I watch a blu-ray, I want to feel like I am seeing the film for the first time, even if I have seen it multiple times before. This list is of blu-ray releases that did just that! ENJOY!
When I was in Junior High School, I had an amazing art teacher named Mr. Ray. He was known for his quick wit, hilarious commentary, and a penchant for dropping unruly kids into an industrial-sized waste basket (Ah…the good ole days!). Mr. Ray also was a fan of horror films and, aside from boasting a 1979 ALIEN figure on his classroom shelf, would also host a “Horror Video Club” after school. If there was ever a good reason to be kept after class, this would be it! Our parents had to all sign a consent form as he’d be playing scenes from Rated R horror films, and it was he who introduced me to the prom night vengeance of CARRIE, the genius directing of Hitchcock, and other great examples of horror/sci-fi/suspense treasures.
Welcome to part 2 of my overview of Halloween-themed novelty songs. If you missed part 1 you can see it HERE. Before I get down to my recommendations let me warn you about buying cd’s like this. When you see Halloween cd’s in stores ALWAYS look to make sure that the songs are by “original artists”. Many times these cd’s available in major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target feature popular Halloween songs but done by people you have never heard of. If they don’t list the MONSTER MASH as being sung by Bobby “Boris” Pickett then guess what, it’s not! Even if it says by “various artists” it is probably done by artists you have never heard of. That’s the reason so many of these cd’s cost so little. All of the cd’s I present here feature songs by the original artists, unless noted otherwise.
First up is an interesting little cd called HALLOWEEN’S GRAVEST HITS, released in 2009 on Capital Records. This cd not only features a really cool looking cover but it also features a nice selection of Halloween party tunes AND sound effects! There are a total of 30 tracks, 12 of which are songs. One complaint about this disc is that MONSTER MASH is by Don Hinson and the Rigarmorticians and not Bobby Pickett. One nice rarity on this collection though is THE LURCH, featuring Ted Cassidy who actually played Lurch in THE ADDAMS FAMILY television show. Now before you purchase this cd, please keep this in mind! On Amazon they have this disc for sale as an MP3 expanded version, which features 46 tracks and only a few of them are sound effects! Some songs of note are SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS) by David Bowie and D.O.A. by Bloodrock. I wish I had known about this MP3 release before buying the standard cd!
This cd is not a Halloween cd but it does feature one song of interest, “MONSTER RAP” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. This song is an updated version of the MONSTER MASH and is a must have in any collection! Thankfully this cd is relatively cheap because it is the only good song on this compilation!
Another must-have in any Halloween music collection is this EP by the Dickies to their song “KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE”, from the 1988 cult classic film of the same name! New copies of this disc are insanely priced but used copies are very reasonable!
Next up is NEW WAVE HALLOWEEN (1998) on Rhino Records. This fun cd features 15 tracks, including 6 titled HALLOWEEN! Some great songs on this disc include “THE TIME WARP” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, “PET SEMATARY” by The Ramones, “THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON” by Dave Edmunds and “CREATURE WITH THE ATOM BRAIN” by Roky Erickson & The Aliens. Rhino always seems to put out the best compilations discs…they are always cheap, offer a nice variety and they always feature original artists!
HALLOWEEN HOOTENANNY is an interesting collection put out by Zombie A Go-Go Records (Geffen Records). This 1998 release features 19 tracks, 3 of which are by legendary horror host Zacherley. It’s not often you see his songs on compilation discs! The songs are “HALLOWEEN HOOTENANNY”, “SINISTER PURPOSE” (with Southern Culture On The Skids) and “HAPPY HALLOWEEN”. If you are a fan of Rob Zombie, he also has a song on this disc called “HALLOWEEN (SHE GET SO MEAN)”. The overall appearance of the disc and the artwork are very similar to Rob Zombie’s own releases, making this a very fun package to go through (in fact all of the artwork is by Rob Zombie!). The remaining tracks are songs not found on any other compilations (that I have found anyway) so I highly recommend this disc.
This 2007 Wanda Records compilation, entitled HALLOWEEN FRIGHT NITE, is another disc that I highly recommend. The cover features a picture of The Munsters, with Lily, Herman and Marilyn having other faces then the original cast (only Grampa and Eddie feature Al Lewis and Butch Patrick). This disc features 27 tracks and as far as I can tell they are all by original artists. The only track I question is “THE MUNSTER’S THEME” as the artist is listed as “unknown” though it does sound like the actual theme, and not a re-record by someone else. This collection also features songs not found on any other compilations (an added bonus). Some of my favorite tracks include “THE NIGHT BEFORE HALLOWEEN” (a Halloween parody of “THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS”) by Bill Buchanan. Little Anthony and the Imperials sing a fun song called “TRICK OR TREAT” and Jessie Lee Turner has a song called “THE LITTLE SPACE GIRL”. One song that was always a favorite of mine from the Dr. Demento Show is “HALLOWEEN” by Heywood Banks (and it is included here). Another fun song is “TEENAGE BRAIN SURGEON” by The Mad Doctor Cappy’O and the last track is “SPOOKTACULAR FINALE” by Spike Jones And Friends. Buy this disc today!!!
A nice companion collection to HALLOWEEN FRIGHT NITE, also on Wanda Records, is the 2006 release called BOMP IN THE NIGHT. This disc features 30 tracks, again many not found anywhere else. The title track, “BOMP IN THE NIGHT” by Bruce And The Heartbreaks, is a catchy little tune and the Beatles parody “I WANT TO BITE YOUR HAND” by Gene Moss is a must have for any Halloween novelty song collection! Other great songs include “MONSTER SHINDIG” by Danny Hutton, “MONSTER HOP” by Bert Convy, “DRACULA DRAG” by Jekyll & Hyde, “MIDNIGHT MONSTERS HOP” by Jack And Jim, “IGOR’S PARTY” by Tony And The Monstrosities, “HOUSE OF HORRORS” by Merv Griffin and an interesting rendition of The Munsters theme called “MOCKINGBIRD HEIGHTS” (with an introduction by Grampa Munster himself, Al Lewis) by Henry J. Fregosi And The Transylvanians.
If you are just starting out with your Halloween music collection then this set is a great way to start! 100 HITS: HALLOWEEN (2009) is put out by Demon Music Group Ltd. It features 4 cd’s of music and a DVD that is a “scary sing-a-long karaoke party”. Though the DVD is poorly put together and doesn’t use original tracks, the other 4 cd’s more than make up for it! You cannot go wrong with this collection, hands down! Disc 1, 2 and 3 all feature classic tunes, most by the original artists, and some not appearing on any other compilations. Disc 4 features themes from many of your favorite horror movies…though these are not original recordings they are still nicely done and recommended. Here is the complete track listing for this amazing set:
DISC 1: 1. Ray Parker Jr. Ghostbusters 2. Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers Monster Mash 3. Lovebug Starski Amityville (The House On The Hill) 4. Steve Miller Band Abracadabra 5. Blue Oyster Cult (Don’t Fear) The Reaper 6. Edgar Winter Group Frankenstein 7. Electric Light Orchestra Evil Woman 8. Alice Cooper Feed My Frankenstein 9. Beatfreakz Somebody’s Watching Me 10. Bloc Party Hunting For Witches 11. Japan Halloween 12. A Flock Of Seagulls Nightmares 13. Santana Black Magic Woman 14. Andy Williams Spooky 15. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins I Put A Spell On You 16. Johnny Cash Ghost Riders In The Sky 17. Marty Robbins Devil Woman 18. Kris Kristofferson To Beat The Devil 19. The Guess Who Clap For The Wolfman 20. Patti Smith Group Ghost Dance
DISC 2: 1. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince A Nightmare On My Street 2. Run DMC Raising Hell 3. Bow Wow Wow I Want Candy 4. Damian The Time Warp 5. The Grid Swamp Thing 6. Steps Better The Devil You Know 7. Super Furry Animals Demons 8. Alice Cooper Poison 9. Judas Priest Deal With The Devil 10. Sweet Hellraiser 11. The Cult Lil’ Devil 12. Gun Race With The Devil 13. Redbone The Witch Queen Of New Orleans 14. Kula Shaker Grateful When You’re Dead 15. Landscape Norman Bates 16. Crash Test Dummies The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead 17. The Charlie Daniels Band The Devil Went Down To Georgia 18. Jumpin’ Gene Simmons Haunted House 19. Beth Orton Devil Song 20. Robert Johnson Me And The Devil Blues
DISC 3: 1. Halloween 2. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3. The Exorcist – Tubular Bells 4. The Shining 5. The Thing 6. The Omen – Ave Satani 7. The Fog 8. Poltergeist 9. Psycho 10. Nosferatu Overture – Omens Of Nosferatu 11. Bram Stoker’s Dracula 12. Village Of The Damned – March Of The Children 13. Sleepy Hollow 14. The Addams Family 15. The Munsters 16. The Outer Limits 17. The Twilight Zone 18. The X Files 19. Twin Peaks 20. Tales Of The Unexpected
DISC 4: 1. David Seville Witch Doctor 2. Sheb Wooley The Purple People Eater 3. Gene Vincent Race With The Devil 4. Frank Sinatra Witchcraft 5. Chet Baker Quartet Old Devil Moon 6. The Clovers Devil Or Angel 7. Howlin’ Wolf Evil (Is Going On) 8. Roy Orbison Devil Doll 9. Thelonious Monk Quartet Misteriosa 10. LaVerne Baker Voodoo, Voodoo 11. Dinah Washington Mean And Evil Blues 12. Carmen Cavallaro (Enlloro) Voodoo Moon 13. Sarah Vaughan With Hal Mooney And His Orchestra Bewitched 14. Tony Martin With George Siravo And His Orchestra It’s Magic 15. Sister Rosetta Tharpe The Devil Has Thrown Him Down 16. Pete Johnson Death Ray Boogie 17. Otis Spann I’d Rather Be The Devil 18. Louis Jordan And His Tympani Five Up Jumped The Devil In A White Nightgown 19. Frankie Laine With Carl Fischer And His Orchestra Satan Wears A Satin Gown 20. Glenn Miller And His Orchestra Featuring Marion Hutton Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead
Another must have complilation is a neat import cd called MOSTLY GHSOTLY: MORE HORROR FOR HALLOWEEN. This collection came out in 2010 on the Ace Records label. There are 24 tracks in all and if you can find it, the $18 retail price is well worth it! Though some of the tracks can be found on other compilations, there are enough songs here not found elsewhere to make it worthwhile! Here is the complete track listing: (1) “DRACULA’S THEME” – The Ghouls (2) “TIL’ THE FOLLOWING NIGHT” – Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages (3) “DO THE ZOMBIE” – The Symbols (4) “HAUNTED HOUSE” – Jumpin’ Gene Simmons (5) “DINNER WITH DRAC” – Zacherley (6) “THE GOO GOO MUCK” – Ronnie Cook And The Gaylads (7) “THE MAD SCIENTIST” – Zanies (8) “THE CAVE” – Chuck Holden (9) “SPOOKY MOVIES” – Roy Clark (10) “THEY’RE HERE” – Boots Walker (11) “BLACK AND HAIRY” – Screaming Lord Sutch (12) “THE HEARSE” - Terry Teen (13) “TERRIBLE IVAN” – Art Roberts (14) “NIGHT OF THE VAMPIRE” – The Moon Trekkers (15) “THE MUMMY” – The Naturals (16) I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE” – Lord Luther (17) “THE CAVE” – Gary “Spider” Webb (18) “THE CAT” – Rod Willis (19) “ZOMBI” – The Monotones (20) “ALLIGATOR WINE” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (21) “MORGUS THE MAGNIFICENT” – Morgus & The Three Ghouls (22) “SLEEPY HOLLOW” – The Last Word (23) “ROCKIN’ ZOMBIE” – The Crewnecks (24) “I WANT TO BITE YOUR HAND” – Gene Moss & The Monsters.
A great collection to seek out is THE ZOMBIE HORROR CD COLLECTION. At first glance you may think that this cd is made up of themes from various zombie movies but it is actually a great collection of songs with a zombie theme. There are 30 tracks in all and the $13 retail price makes this quite the deal! This cd came out in October of 2010 on the Chrome Dreams label. The track listing is as follows: 1. “Zombie” – Harlem Wildcats 2.”Abercrombie Had A Zombie” – Fats Waller 3. “Zombie Lou” – Johnson Brothers 4. “Casting A Spell” – Johnson Brothers 5. “Zombi” – The Monotones 6. “Voodoo Women” – Smiley Smith 7. “Rockin’ The Graveyard” – Jackie Morningstar 8. “Midnight Monsters Hop” – Jack & Jim 9. “Wombie Zombie” – Billy Taylor 10. “Zombie Jamboree” – King Flash & The Calypso Carnival 11. “Vampira” – Bobby Bare 12. “Frankenstein’s Den” – The Hollywood Flames 13. “Rockin’ Zombie” – The Crew Necks 14. “Rock N Bones” – Elroy Dietzel 15. “Little Demon” – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins 16. “I Dig You Baby” – Bob McFadden & Dor 17. “Screamin’ Ball (At Dracula Hall)” – The Duponts 18.”Voodoo Man” – The Del-Vikings 19. “Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor” – The Big Bopper 20. “Monster Party” – Bill Doggett 21. “Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” – The Monotones 22. “Hoodoo Women” – Johnnie Temple 23. “Hoodoo Lady Blues” – Arthur Crudup 24. “Hoo-Doo-Say” – Sly Fox 25. “Voodoo” – Chaino 26. “Frankenstein’s Party” – The Swingin’ Phillies 27. “The Night Prowler” – Billy Gayle 28. “Monster Hop” – Bert Convy 29. “The Monster” – Bobby Please & The Pleasers 30. “The Graveyard” – Leroy Bowman
COMING UP NEXT: PART 3 FEATURING THE COOL GHOUL ZACHERLEY AND SOME MORE GREAT IMPORTS!!!