Halloween is my favorite holiday and it’s the only other one besides Christmas that takes up the whole month. From October 1st to the 31st, it’s Halloween. And a month long holiday needs a soundtrack, it needs holiday music.
And I’ve been around the internet, I’ve seen the “best” lists for Halloween tunes. Some are good, some are bad and all include “Thriller”. But, I have my own list. My own Halloween playlist. And, yes, their true form is that of mix cds. I’m going to share this playlist, focusing on each cd, each volume, per post.
Two things to note before I start. There’s a good amount of instrumental music in each volume. Many of those tracks are video game remixes, mostly found from Overclocked Remix. There’s movie soundtracks too, but I just wanted you to know that music from Castlevania, Doom and Resident Evil shows up quite a bit.
Second, everything is personal and subjective. If you love these, great! If you don’t, make your own. Send me your list! Maybe you’ll inspire me to create another volume in this playlist of mine. Now, I’m done with disclaimers.
Volume three was made the year after the first two and I had thought I had burned through the best songs. Little did I know! As it turned out, this third volume would see me discovering great songs I had never heard about. It also helped me find the spookiness in old favorites.
Thus, we continue with Hallows’ Eve: Volume Three.
1. “Bumps Gonna Goose Ya!” by Jack Black
The Goosebumps movie was better than it should have been and even had a non-fan like me in it’s nostalgic grip. It helps that it had this 90s-styled recap of the movie geared up before the film. Bad raps that recite the plot of a film are of a bygone era, and this shows why. But it has a killer chorus and Jack Black goes for broke.
2. “True (It’s Gone Now Mix)” by Steve Pordon
Again, Silent Hill is too scary of a game for me, but this mix is my kind of spooky. That guitar is a phantom gripping your back and pulling you away from your friends. It’s more of that girl-from-a-well type tune that we saw previously, and it feels like your in an abandoned city and can’t remember why.
3. “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry Feat. Juicy J
I don’t like Katy Perry. At all. But I can’t deny how creepy and seductive this song is. It’s like witchcraft. The lyrics tempt you even as they warn you. That beat is pure evil, but, during Halloween, it tricks you into a false sense of security. It’s a lie. You’re trading your soul for a sick hook. Juicy J’s rap isn’t enough of a warning sign. It should be. I mean, if she tricked Juicy J, what hope do the rest of us have!
4. “Redemption” by Brandon Strader
The main theme from Telltale’s Walking Dead games is a great, somber piece. Strader takes that source and adds some life to it. It doesn’t take away the from the desperation, but there’s a bit more hope in the mix. I can’t help but think of mid-western wheat field, of Night of the Living Dead, of the dark closing in.
5. “The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash
Brought to the Halloween party by 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. Not a bad movie, either, though not one I rewatch like Romero’s classic. But, those opening credits show the world going to hell in such a splendid fashion, you’d be right in thinking that Zack Snyder should end all movies after the title sequence. “The Man Comes Around” is a fantastically evocative song on it’s own. Cash’s raspy voice in his last days has so much belief you feel like that pale rider is going to show up mid-song.
6. “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield
I will never watch The Exorcist and you can’t make me. But, boy howdy, if those tubular bells don’t press all the right buttons. It’s such a haunting theme that it could go with any possessed house. As soon as the leaves change colors, this song is in fashion. And that last minute has such a nasty guitar that any beauty those bells had is forgotten.
7. “Of Whips and Strings” by Super Guitar Bros.
The Castlevania soundtrack is all killer, no filler, and this mix brings a whole lot of it together. Out of the three Castlevania tracks we’ve had now, this is the most woodsy of them all. It sets the mood for a nameless European village being visited by the man who promises to kill their local vampire. It’s sad, but it’s exciting, all while being a bit doomed.
8. “Ghost Town” by Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert is a big fan of Adam Lambert but he brought us “Ghost Town” so maybe he has something right. Club music for those haunted by spirits they can’t escape. That whistling is so lonely and so very empty. Try driving with this playing on the radio, when the night has fallen and the leaves blow carelessly across the road.
9. “The End of Hell” by Mazedude, Alisean
More Halloween, more Doom! But, this time, it’s not a remix of “Into Sandy’s City”! It’s just as disturbing, though. It has a Danny Elfman-vibe at times, sounding like it could have come out of the Beetlejuice soundtrack. It has that unrelenting bass that you’d expect from Doom, but there’s that wicked melody that throws everything off kilter.
10. “The Monster” by Eminem feat. Rihanna
The rest of the song is suspect in it’s spookiness but Rihanna is my favorite ghost gal. Her chorus wins this song a spot on the playlist. The music itself actually works well for the season, but come on, “I’m friends with the monster under my bed, get along with the voices inside of my head”? That’s wonderful. It’s nice that she’s escaped Disturbia but now she has to drive us crazy too? What a spooky treasure, she is.
11. “Dream Eater Mix” by Solkrieg
Is there Halloween dubstep? Is this all there is? Because this is something else. You have some of the coolest, loudest sounds to come out of October here and that creepy little girl singing who-knows-what? Maybe it’s not a girl, is it just instrumental? That’s CREEPIER! This isn’t the first time we’ve had Lavender Town’s theme show up but it will be the last because nothing is topping this. It’s scary but it rocks so hard. And that music box! GAH!
12. “Ghost” by Ella Henderson
Volume Three of this playlist has pushed hard against what should and shouldn’t be considered a Halloween song. I’ll admit it! And “Ghost” might be too pop to make it’s own case. But, if you force yourself to not think about this song as about a breakup, than, guess what? Ghosts!
13. “The Haunted Train Disco” by The Orichalcon
Good thing that voice clip tells us we’ve reached our doom or this would be too much fun. It’s another song that screams carnival. I’ve never been to a carnival during Halloween. You know, with rides and clowns. I’d imagine it’s great. Is that something that happens? Where would I have to go to find it? Not some harvest fest, for kids and crap. I want to think those people selling giant bears are out to get me.
14. “Pet Sematary” by the Ramones
This song is an absolute classic. That chorus is full of sorrow and fear. Pet Sematary is a disturbing book and the result of being buried there seems like a fate worse than death. After reading that story, it’s not hard to tell why you wouldn’t want to live that life again. Lot’s of great holiday imagery makes into the song; warlocks, wolf cries, goblins(!) but that chorus and fade out are the star.
15. “Halloween Theme – Main Title” by John Carpenter
Like “Tubular Bells”, the theme from Halloween is a scary piece of standalone art. It’s simple, but perfectly consistent. And that perfection is too much for my anxiety. Piano’s can be horrible to us when we let them. You can hear the grit of the 70s in this track and see the grain on the screen as that knives cuts through a door.
16. “Up Jumped the Devil” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
What makes this song so nasty is how Nick Cave throws himself into the role. As the character in this tale gives into his evil nature, he spirals more and more out of control. Yeah, we’re to believe he was born this way but he seems to be having too much fun to pity. And the music is chaotic and only gets more so as the song goes on. The images of “My daddy did a jig, With the drunk midwife” are nutty and insane. Nasty, yes, but cool enough to be a bad influence.
17. “Ada’s Groove” by ABG
I just realized how heavy this volume is with zombies! And then this track comes in to chase you down the hall, out to the streets and into the sewers. Why did you run into sewers? Those are never safe! There’s that flute-like call in the song but it feels disconnected from the ticking clock of a beat. It’s frantic, it’s lonely.
18. “Jack the Ripper (Live)” by Morrissey
“Pet Sematary”, “Up Jumped the Devil” and, now, “Jack the Ripper” by Morrissey make for a trilogy of nasty songs. Halloween suddenly got less fun and more dangerous. We’ve been playing with fire for three albums and daring spirits. This song is told from the point-of-view of the Ripper, taunting the women he’s leading to their last moments. But line’s like “Crash into my arms , I want you, You don’t agree, but you don’t refuse, I know you” matched with a teasing and wretched guitar could seduce any of us down an alley we’d never return from.
I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
My biggest regret with this book is that I read it in July, when the sun was out and it was eighty degrees in the evening. This is the kind of book I would want to read in October, when the air is crisp and the leaves are dead and I go walking in the evening with my dog, passing the cemetery with some bizarre anticipation. It’s a Halloween book, set at Halloween and it’s great for Halloween.
Luke’s like goes from normal to haunted quickly. He finds out his dad is dead, he’s inherited a host of spirits and they’re not happy. It might be cool if you found out that you have a bunch of ghosts who will follow your orders, it would be less cool if they were out to add you to their ranks.
This book is aimed at young adults, and you can tell in the way the story flows, but it surprised me by how dark it went. Maybe I haven’t read enough teen literature yet, but I can’t imagine a lot of them have the literal devil, blood sacrifices and necromancer wars. There’s some interested world building, which is mainly near the end, but it feels slightly out of place with the rest of the book.
Luke’s a likable character, starting as a popular jock at school with a decent understanding of how and why cliques work. Once he inherits the ghosts, he finds that there’s more help to be had with the weirder kids. Elza, a girl at school who can see those in the world beyond, is a great partner who just doesn’t give a crap about social cues. She would be right at home in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics.
The ghost themselves are alright, but we never really get to know them. There’s the big bad, the monster and the one who’s getting to old for this, but they’re not really fleshed out as characters. There’s eight of them, but it might have been better to have a few less and make them more memorable.
I liked the book and Leo Hunt has a way with words when it comes to the netherworld and Hell and he does a few run-off paragraphs that hit hard. I’ve already ordered the book for my library and would get the sequel, if it happens. It’s dark, unique in it’s British-setting and a fast-paced page turner. It’s not perfect, but it’s doing a lot and building some interesting ideas for it’s world. Recommended.