Halloween Cds With A Wicked Beat

Posted: October 30, 1998

Igor! Boris! Sabrina!

Time to sharpen your dancing claws and gather round the casket, er, boom box. 'Cause some of the best tricks 'n' treats this Halloween are new music CDs designed to give you dear little ghouls and ghosts a wicked thrill.

Every day is a deliciously creepy costume bash for rocker Rob Zombie. So no wonder the first release to rise out of the grave of his own Zombie A Go-Go label honors this bewitchin' holiday: ``Halloween Hootenanny,'' our vote for baddest of the bunch.

Tremblin' tremolo guitar jams like The Bomboras' ``A Fist Full of Terror,'' Dead Elvis with ``The Creature Stole My Surfboard'' and Los Straitjackets' ``The Munsters Theme'' set the eerie tone, colliding with cacklin' Delta twang howlers like Southern Culture on the Skids' ``Werewolf,'' Reverend Horton Heat's ``Halloween Dance'' and the totally whack ``Psychic Voodoo Doll,'' performed by Dead Bolt.

Zombie's variety pack includes his own ``Halloween (She Get So Mean),'' plus a very cool and koo-koo lounge lament by the group Frenchy called ``Ribcage Mambo,'' and a warning call that might be blasting at my front door tomorrow night - Swingin' Neckbreakers' ``No Costume, No Candy.''

As if that ain't enough, Zombie also has invited in one of his early influences (and maybe yours?) - the cadaverously creepy and comic Shock Theater host of yore, Zacherle (a/k/a Roland) to lead us in a cackling recitation of the title track: ``For this is the night when little babies cry, and orange mist pours from their eyes, when monster girls and monster men patiently wait for the fun to begin.''

One-time South Philly chicken plucker turned singing star Chubby Checker is wiggin' out with a new dance sensation he hopes will be sweeping the nation - ``Doin' the Zombie.'' Think ``Monster Mash'' with a hip-hop beat and guest appearances by the Wolfman and rapper Double X. Another local musician, bandleader Eddie Davis, co-wrote and produced this surprisingly hip date, perfect for dancing on tombstones and actually yours to have on two new K-Tel CDs.

Checker's own four-track ``Do the Zombie'' EP also boasts two scary sound effect tracks (``House of Horror'' and ``Screams from Beyond'') that you can program your CD player to keep playing all night. Plus, there's a not-so-scary remake of Checker's biggest blast, ``The Twist,'' that even Count Floyd wouldn't toss to the wolves on ``3-D Monster Chiller Horror Theater.''

The Chubbster's demented dance ditty also pops up on ``Cool Ghoul's Halloween Party Mix,'' a pretty cool charity disc benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This assortment blends new danceable suckers like Boys II Ghoul's ``Club Ghoul'' with nuggets from the novelty tune past like Sheb Wooley's ``Purple People Eater,'' Bobby ``Boris'' Pickett's ``Monster Mash'' and the Clovers' ``Love Potion No. 9.'' Small print on the cover indicates these oldies are not the original monaural recordings.

While this set also offers sound effect segues between the music, the scant nine seconds of ``Witches Cackle'' or ``Bats in the Belfry'' barely rustle the leaves.

Taking their name from a campy magazine of the '50s and '60s are the girl ghoul trio Famous Monsters on the album ``In the Night!!!'' Dressed in Halloween masks, guitarist Devil Doll, drummer She-Zilla and rhythm guitarist Vampire Girl crank old-school surf guitar jams that could pass for the Ventures or Dick Dale, were it not for the song titles and the wenches' screams of demented delight. ``I haven't had this much fun in 100 years, or maybe a thousand!'' yells one in ``Murder Beach USA.'' ``What's your poison, Vampire Girl?'' she's asked in another, responding (natch) with the song's title - ``Bloody Mary.''

Send e-mail to takiffj@phillynews.com.

Halloween Hootenanny

Grade: A-

Various Artists - Zombie A Go-Go

Doin' the Zombie

Grade: B

Chubby Checker - Bare Bones/K-Tel

Cool Ghoul's Halloween Party Mix

Grade: B Various Artists - Bare Bones/K-Tel

In the Night!!!

Grade: C

Famous Monsters - Bong Load

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