Children of the Dark – Mono Inc.
Rain – Project Pitchfork
Sunday Queen – Astari Nite
Black August – Kirlian Camera
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (12″ version) – The Specimen
A Thoughtful Beast – Ritual Howls
Human Fly – The Cramps
Something Is Coming – 16volt
Born To Rule – Android Lust
Orient Xmal – Deutschland
Give Me a Reason – Selofan
Martial Love – The Agnes Circle
Small Prey – Bestial Mouths
Twilight – Corpus Delicti
Beautiful Lie (Let It Die) – Date At Midnight
Wait Now – In Letter Form
Shattered In Aspect – Faith And The Muse
Sebastiane – Sex Gang Children
Vitriol – Hapax
In Cold Water – Hante.
Back to Nature – NOIR
Long Lost Dead and Gone – Ashbury Heights
Such Such are the Joys – Shriekback
Forked Tongue – Wychdoktor
For some of you younger readers, this might be hard to believe, but songs about killers used to dominate the airwaves. Heart had “Magic Man”, which was about Charles Manson. Then there were the Boomtown Rats with “I Don’t Like Mondays”; their ode to mass shooter Brenda Ann Spencer. And, of course, David Soul had huge hit with “The Ted Bundy Twist”.
With that in mind, let us now turn to the Punk band that should’ve been bigger than Nirvana – Killdozer. Here’s their 1984 ballad about a hard-working Wisconsin farmer.
There was once a time when, if you wanted to see a horror movie, you had to settle for crap like Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
We’re lucky to live in a Golden Age of Horror that has given us Innkeepers, The Babadook, The VVitch and Hereditary. The variety of Dark Music have also expended greatly in the past few decades. When I was young, if you wanted to hear something scary, you had a choice between Alice Cooper, Kiss, or David Soul.
Somehow, this all leads us to The Bestial Mouths [I’m not sure how we got her, but we did, so let’s just enjoy it for what it is.] whom I’ve always considered the Unofficial Band of Halloween. There are some bands that have to work at being spooky, but –somehow- it just seems to come naturally to The Mouths.
Quickly; name a band which formed in the late 1960s, included a member named Ozzy Osbourne, were known for their occult imagery, and had a song titled “Black Sabbath”? If you guessed Black Sabbath, you are, of course, correct. If you guessed the Fabulous DeFranco Family, you’re tripping balls, my friend. But if you answered with “Coven”, you are also correct – Satanically correct!
Coven is one of those bands I wish more people knew about (They’ll be playing the Troc on10/25). They’re fronted by the amazing Jinx Dawson (who hasn’t aged a day since 1968. Seriously. It’s like she made some sort of bargain with…never mind). I bet you think the legendary and completely brilliant Ronnie James Dio was the first perform to salute an audience with the “Devil Horns”. Nope. It was jinx.
So, it is which much demonic happiness that I present to you, from their 1969 album Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, Coven performing “Wicked Woman”.
In my mind, all of Europe resembles the set of a 1930s werewolf movie. This is probably because The Dead Milkmen once toured what was formerly Yugoslavia: which was basically…well the set of a 1930s werewolf movie. My point is that Europe is spooky. Europeans really need to embrace that spookiness. Romanians gave us Dracula. The French – the Phantom of the Opera. The British – well, just look at their food. It’s something I like to call The Brotherhood of The Spooky.
I’ve been involved in the music industry (it’s called an “industry” because of the usually high number of job-related deaths) for over 30 years – the majority of which I’ve spent bitter and disappointed. In in perfect world (ie. MY world), Tex and The Horseheads would’ve been bigger than Madonna and “The Fab Four” would refer solely to Throbbing Gristle.
That said, every now and then a music trend bubbles up that gives me hope for the future and one of those trends is taking place at this very moment right under your earbuds. Finally, after over a decade hipster lumberjacks and what I’m just assuming are those big-eyed paintings come to life dominating every corner of the industry, darkness has returned to the world music! OK, maybe not all of music world, but it has firmly entrenched itself in Europe. And Europeans are really good at making dark music. Exhibit A: Ash Code.
Ash Code are from Italy and that’s really all I know about them despite have purchased many of their songs and played them pretty regularly on my radio show. Since I’m unfamiliar with their biography, I’m just going to make one up: Ash Code live in an abandoned villa high in the mountains of that part of Italy where most missing persons cases are not mob-related (that should narrow it a bit). Ash Code have never toured in America because they have to rest on their native soil.
Remember those Halloween sound effects cassettes and records from when you were a kid? I loved those things. Probably because my family would often blast them on random days thought the year just to keep our neighbors on their toes. To be fair, the only other form of audio entertainment we possessed was a CCR 8-track.
My desire to reconnect with noises that can lower the property values in a 15 mile radius brings us to entry number five on our list: Heilung’s live performance of “Alfadhirhaiti”. This song seems to exist for the sole purpose of convincing the Neighborhood Watch that a werewolf walks among them.
My favorite horror move has always been 1963’s “The Haunting” (although “Hereditary” is running a close second). To people who were raised on Freddy, Pinhead, or Chucky, The Haunting might seem to be very dull as the film is 100% free of jump scares. But this is why I love it. The makers of The Haunting understood that true horror is created by a tense, unnerving atmosphere. That’s why the “Give him the camera” scene in “Ordinary People” is much more frightening than anything in “Friday the 13th”. It’s something the people behind the people behind the 1999 remake of The Haunting (people totally undeserving of love) never understood. And that’s Liam Neeson and I have never spoken (that and the fact we’ve never met…and if we did, I’d most likely be VERY polite to him as he has a certain set of skill which include being able to beat the shit out me).
Much like a good horror movie, a song doesn’t need to be loaded with monsters and murder to be scary. It just needs the right atmosphere. Which brings us to our fourth entry – Echo and the Bunnymen with “The Killing Moon”. Nobody gets decapitated; no ghostly lovers haunt their former paramours, yet this song remains one of the creepiest tunes ever recorded. So much so that, years after its release, “The Killing Moon” would inspiration the creation of Donnie Darko.
“I’d mentioned somewhere that The Killing Moon was about pre-destiny, and he wrote the whole fuckin’ film about it. Cheeky bastard! He gave us this pittance one-off fee for the use of the song, saying it was just a little indie film, but forgot to mention that Drew Barrymore was behind it, who had more money than Howard Hughes. Great as it is, he should at least have given us a credit for the idea.”
– Ian McCulloch
There are only three holidays which involve candy and a possible encounter with someone in a bunny costume: Halloween, Easter, and Valentine’s Day. Of the three of these, only one stirs up images of flesh-eating, blood-drinking corpses rising from their graves.
Maybe it’s because Vienna & I were married in the middle of the month, but Halloween will always be the real Valentine’s Day for me. And it should be for you as well. Just take a minute to think off all the great love stories which revolve around Halloween. There’s The Bride of Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera. and hundreds of slasher flicks in which camp councilors total get it on before being impaled by a rototiller.
In the recognition of the amorous side of Halloween, I give you today’s song – “Corpses (A Zombie Love Song)” by those gleeful purveyors of romantic ballads God Module.
Oh, and here’s 40 goddamn minutes of Halloween commercials from the 70’s & 80’s because that’s the way Crazy Eddie would’ve wanted it.