Halloween: sound tracks and lost highs


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It started with a wolf, howlin’. Evil (Is Going On) was on the digitalwireless in all its electric-version glory as part of a ‘ween spesh, and it was soon followed by I Put a Spell On You. Classy sassy stuff (thanks Cerys). Got me thinking: instead of a bleak-o heavioso metallic horror soundtrack for halloween this year, why not go for some killer (yes!) atmos? The creep not the scream, the shadows not the gallows. Tension over bludgeon.

Henry Mancini.

Now, your man Cini might not be in thrall to demons and satan and Marshall stacks, but what is Shot in the Dark if not a tip-toed creepabout? Ditto The Pink Panther Theme and double ditto the perfectly titled Experiment in Terror, its sticky harpsichord adding enough gothic suspense for Fantomas to wind it through their avant mangle on The Director’s Cut (mentioned this album a couple o’ halloweens ago, insane and essential is what it is).

But if we’re on the prowl for a killer soundtrack that’s literal, we need a killer so let’s call on the guy who always gets the shit end of the stick – the big fella, the head-clean-off guy, the in-all-this-excitement guy Harry Callahan. Lalo Schifrin’s Dirty Harry seedy funkjazz score dwells in permashadow and night-time neon, and in No More Lies, Girl we even get a mention of halloween. It’s too jaunty a track for tonight though so for max creep you gotta go to Prologue/The Swimming Pool, Scorpio’s View, The Cross, Floodlights and School Bus (and you’ll not hear a filthier bass this side of November than Scorpio’s View and School Bus, promise).

From Dirty Harry we take a cinematic sidestep to Harry’s namesake …. Dirty Barry. Sounds dodgy already (makes me think of Pulp’s Seductive Barry, and Mark and Lard’s Fat Barry White), but it’s by the guy who’s almost got the Addams Family name, one Barry Adamson. Check Oedipus Schmoedipus and there it is, track six, but skip back a few and you land on Something Wicked This Way Comes.

See where we’re going now? Down the unfound road to a Lynch-ing with the nails of nine inches for bad company, aka Lost Highway, David Lynch’s unfathomable 1997 trip that’s tracked by as good a collection of goth-tinged electronic rock as you’re gonna get. Pulled together by Trent Reznor, it’s heavy on Angelo Badalamenti and B-Adamson scores ‘n haunts, but there’s axe as well as strings. The Perfect Drug is perfect NIN (menace plus hook plus total destruction plus ambience), Smashing Pumpkins get their pre-Adore electronic spook on with Eye, and David Bowie … well, he claims I’m Deranged from the never-bettered Outside.

Finally, for an axe-heavy non-Highway finale of monstrous bloody heft, dig up the bones of Another Body Murdered by Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E from Judgment Night soundtrack. Not a bunch of guys you’d want on your doorstep demanding sweeties. 

Happy helloweeeeeen ….

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