Got The Fever

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Alternate Halloween

Time of the season for eating way too many bite-sized dark chocolate Milky Ways out of the bowl meant for trick-or-treaters, adolescents who are too old for Halloween but are in the last year of the candy siren having too strong of a hold on them, and seedy torture/gory snuff films convincing human sheep that they are actually “horror” films.

I remember a Halloween, not long in the past, when a few carloads of the gang went to Hammond Castle in Gloucester, Mass. to see a (midnight?) showing of the original – and silent – “Phantom Of The Opera”. A huge castle, dark as terror, massive showing room with all the tapestry and iron on the walls, and music provided by one of those old 19th century organs! Massive film, massive music.

Well, of course, being of the age group we were, we all made sure that we got our share of beers (and everything else) in us before we arrive there. However, an experience in the jitters I never forgot.

So, obviously, you can guess that to me Halloween is not the usual “Monster Mash” or goalie mask slice fest.

Evidence One: Black Sabbath
Here’s a song that gave me tight-skinned jitters and a few horrors back when I was a kid. My older brother had the Black Sabbath album and used to play it as he did his homework in his room. I was young enough to be in bed however. Listening to Ozzy scream “Oh no!, God, Please Help Me!” was enough to almost freeze the bowel tract of this kid back in the day.

The blanketing, chilling rain that starts the track, the lonely, echoing, tolling of a thick and cold church bell presiding over a vine encrusted graveyard juxtaposing with the battering of high-density power cords. Those alone led to a brew that intoxicated my little kid mind as powerfully as any that I would introduce later in life. The coup de grace however was masterful. Let’s add in that as I lie there in my forlorn “tent of doom”, the all-encompassing picture I had in my head was that of the woman on the cover of the album. A tall, black clinging-haired walking dead zombie with requisite flowing, rain-soaked black dress, walking through said tombstone alley with a face tainted green. My epitome of shuddering fear.

Some images from youth you can never let go of.

Is it the end, my friend?
Satans coming round the bend
People running cause they're scared
The people better go and beware!
No, no, please, no!

Evidence Two: RHPS - Sweet Transvestite
Evidence Three: RHPS - Time Warp

Halloween is just not complete with a yearly viewing of the classic Rocky Horror Picture Show. I remember seeing this for the first time at the Exeter Street Theater in Boston and was totally overwhelmed with the squirt guns, the twenty pound bags of rice being dumped over the edge from the balcony, the audience participants who knew every call-back line from queues in the movie, and the “actors” who walked and “acted” in perfect harmony the stage in front of the screen dressed exactly like those in the movie behind them - while the movie was in progress! Also, the ever-popular rendition of “Time Warp” that includes the whole audience on their feet with arms in the air! This was my first exposure to something that had achieved rabid, cult status.

I could show you my favourite obsession.
I've been making a man
With blond hair and a tan
And he's good for relieving my... ...tension
I'm just a sweet transvestite
From Transexual, Transylvania

Musically, this also gave me a fondness for Tim Curry that to this day I enjoy. Let’s not forget a first ever appearance for Meatlof, a first screen appearance for Susan Sarandon – in her underwear for crying out loud! – and for Barry Bosworth. I just can’t help but include a few worthy tracks.

It's so dreamy, oh fantasy free me.
So you can't see me, no, not at all.
In another dimension, with
voyeuristic intention,
Well secluded, I see all.

BTW – anyone have available Tim Curry’s album “Fearless”?

Evidence Four: Art of Dying – George Harrison
A bit of homage to leaving the material world behind. Phil Spector + George Harrison + crazy wah-wah’s + peak lead guitar = massive album. George is just so matter of fact, and subtle, about death in all of his albums – listen to “Within You And Without You”. Add this to the H’ween fest soundtrack.

“There’ll come a time when all your hopes are fading
When things that seemed so very plain
Become an awful pain
Searching for the truth among the lying
And answered when you’ve learned the art of dying”

Evidence Five: Lil’ Red Riding Hood – Sam The Sham And The Pharos
Basic heart-thumping garage rock (thanks Mark). Today, could you get a song like this on the popular radio and make it a smash? Nah. A joyous rocker veiled as a Grimm Brothers tale but is really about … well, it’s obvious. Gotta have this one.

What full lips you have.
They're sure to lure someone bad.
So until you get to grandma's place
I think you ought to walk with me and be safe.

Evidence Six: How You Gonna See Me Now? – Alice Cooper
Always the propensity for being in, escaping from or being let out of the loony bin! Good ol’ Alice was Shock Rock before Kiss was playing with mommy dearest’s make-up kit. This is one of his more introspective treat about being scared that he’s being leaving the asylum and if his woman is going to be able to accept him. Really, a timeless universal theme for all who are let go from any kind of prison.

Dear darlin' surprised to hear from me?
Bet you're sittin' drinkin' coffee, yawnin' sleepily
Just to let you know
I'm gonna be home soon
I'm kinda awkward and afraid
Time has changed your point of view

Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath
From: Black Sabbath [1999]

Sweet Transvestite
From: Rocky Horror Picture Show [1975]

Time Warp
From: Rocky Horror Picture Show [1975]

George Harrison: Art of Dying
From: All Things Must Pass [1970]

Sam The Sham And The Pharos: Lil’ Red Riding Hood
From: The Best of Sam The Sham And The Pharos [2001]

Alice Cooper: How You Gonna See Me Now?
From: From The Inside [1978]

I’ve mentioned this before, but Homercat has been running a great series on Halloween themed tracks. Get there and reap!

Addendum: 10:00PM

Alright, so I thought of a few more since this morning. I had reservations about putting more up, but damn – it’s the season!

Evidence Seven: Fire – Arthur Brown
Yea, he of “The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown”. One of the all-time great intro’s in rock and certainly one of the best garage tunes ever. A real piercing and distinct sound throughout and a must for the Halloween soundtrack.

Evidence Eight: I Married A Zombie – Randy & The Finks
Back in the mid-ninety’s the used to be a site Well, there still is, but not like it used to be. You used to be able to roam freely and download hundreds of songs covering all genres, and quite frequently while sampling the wares, you would stumble upon quality music. I don’t know anything about these guys, but I love the tune and it’s perfect for the mood.

Evidence Nine: Monster Surf Boogie – Donut Kings
Same story as above and Who couldn’t love a song that has zombies set to surf music? Classic Halloween right here at Got The Fever!

Evidence Ten: Slippin’ Into Darkness – Ramsey Lewis
Some bubble brewing music to leave on low with a black light for atmosphere. Ramsey does justice to his own making of the War classic and put honor into the soundtrack we’re making here. Take this not only for the seasonal leanings, but also to have something supreme by Ramsey himself!

This is off of the fantastic six-volume compilation “Pulp Fiction” which you must own! I’ll be spotlighting the entire collection at a later time.

Arthur Brown: Fire
From: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown [1997]

Randy & The Finks: I Married A Zombie
From: Unknown [199?]

Donut Kings: Monster Surf Boogie
From: Unknown [199?]

Ramsey Lewis: Slippin’ Into Darkness
From: Pulp Fiction, Vol. 2: Return To The Tough Side [1998]


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