Here at Shangrila Towers, October means Halloween, and Halloween means horror...all month, I'll be putting up special horror-themed features. Today, let's get in the mood for All Hallows' Eve with a mega-playlist of spooky songs and terrifying tunes curated by yours truly:
Growing old means you can't go trick-or-treating yourself, so I do the next best thing every Halloween: I set up the coolest possible mood for the kids in my neighborhood. At the doorstep, there are speakers connected to my computer, streaming a variety of creepy, interesting, or even funny horror-themed songs to greet the night's trick-or-treaters.
Most of these are very common Halloween songs ("Monster Mash," "Ghostbusters," "Thriller," etc.), but there are some lesser-known gems on the playlist, too:
"Anna of Covington House" -
This is a cut from electronic composer Richard Bone's album, "The Ghosts of Hanton Village." The first half of the track is all eerie piano and willowy synth - perfect for scaring little kids. Several of Bone's pieces are on the list, but if it was available on Spotify, I'd basically just drop in "The Spectral Ships,"
Bone's dark ambient masterpiece based on ghost ships from folklore:
"Country Death Song"
- The Violent Femmes' Christian-tinged sophomore album, "Hallowed Ground," featured this cheerful little ditty about a father who loses his mind, pushes his daughter down a well, and then hangs himself, giving him a "short trip to Hell." Just the thing for greeting neighborhood children!
"Dance of Pales"
- There are plenty of horror-themed video games, but perhaps none are as enduring as the "Castlevania" series, which started in 1986 and is still going strong today. For men of a certain age, Michiru Yamane's elegant piece from the all-time classic "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night" automatically evokes images of annoying waltzing ghosts
"The Ghost of Smokey Joe"
- The legendary Cab Calloway's greatest creation was "Minnie the Moocher," but he also often sang about Minnie's boyfriend, Smokey Joe. This fun track brings Joe back from the dead at his scat-singing best ("I've got a date on my estate down in Hades/Call my chariot so I can go/And should the Moocher walk in/Just tell her you've been talkin'/To the ghost of Smokey Joe!").
"Midnight Monster Hop"
and "Midnight Monsters Hop"
- Two not-very-similar songs with confusingly similar names. "Midnight Monster
Hop" is a psychobilly song by the Young Werewolves, a band from Philadelphia that was formed in 2002. "Midnight Monsters
Hop" is a 1959 novelty rockabilly song recorded by Jack Huddle and Jim Robinson. I like them both, though.
"Murder in the Red Barn"
- Let's be honest...you could put a lot of Tom Waits's discography on the playlist, and it would work as creepy ambiance. This one's extra super-duper creepy, though, since it's based on a real-life murder in England