HAIRY HALLOWEEN III

What’s that creaking and groaning? Ghosts? Vamps? Haunted floorboards?

No. It’s a barrel being scraped … welcome to a Halloween playlist that doesn’t even have a proper theme. Last year we had a bunch of creep-o cover versions, now we’re just repeating a formula – metallic spook ’em up tunes, retro-naff rock vids, seasonal nostalgia, you know the score – and beating it into a shallow grave, just like any good slasher film franchise.

But what mood are we going for this Halloween? Let’s use album cover art as yardsticks. If we get it right, we have summat that feels as good as this artwork looks:

the right vibe

If we get it a bit wrong:

not right, is it?

And if it’s a disaster…

???????????????

Let the music begin.

SECRET CHIEFS 3 – UR – Pesonnae: Halloween Mix III
Holy disco volante! Mr Bungle have a new album out TODAY, twenty bloody years after the last one and it couldn’t be better timed, so let’s use that event to milk a Trey Spruance connection – let’s fill our sweetless buckets with this, a Season of the Glitch version of the mother of all chiller theme tunes.

CATHEDRAL – Funeral of Dreams
Halloween nights are damp. And draughty. And nothing captures damp draughts quite like Cathedral. Must be the flares. Obviously, they’ve got oodles of doom crawlers in their back catalogue but that’s not what we want today – we want some sort of pulse, not flatlines, and this little tinker has an unholy blend of right-on riffage, ghost choir, church bells and general tippy-toe creepabouts. Sorted.

ADAM AND THE ANTS – Ants Invasion
Nothing builds tension quite like a man running away from … ants. Does it? Erm … anyway, check the terror elements packed into this deeper Wild Frontier cut: scratchy-ominous guitar motif. Time running out. Wrong decisions. A lifeless man, a strange incision. Fear. ANTS. Fucking ants, man. Biting guitars, mind.

ELECTRIC WIZARD – Wizard in Black
Dopethrone is more celebrated, but Come My Fanatics is more B-movie, and right now we’re all about the low budgets. And tiny drums. And a Hammer House Satan opening his bowels in the background. A double-wizard bonus, does it get any more Halloween than this?

HELLOWEEN – Kids of the Century
Helloween aren’t remotely Halloween, except their track Halloween (which is totally Halloween but a bit long. Great intro though). Anyway, the metal pumpkins are here, as are fried egg eyes, forks, bloody hands, floating guitars and shite-knows-what. YES.

SLAYER – Gemini
You can’t beat a slow thrash for maximum intensity … hang on what is this, S&M Weekly? NO. It’s Slayer, crushing bones with their super slow serial killer intro thing. No kinks in this one.

CLIPPING – Nothing is Safe
You know when you watch a fire and get mesmerised by the flames, so much so that you don’t realise you’re getting closer and closer until you smell your own eyebrows burning? That’s a bit what this is like. All hail Clipping.

ALICE COOPER – (He’s Back) The Man Behind the Mask
It’s hard to believe that videos like this ever got made, such is their monumental shitness. But they did, and all Halloweens from then on are eternally grateful. Aren’t we? [Smashed pottery spoiler alert: HE’S OUT OF CONTROL].

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, see you in the Sinister Funkhouse. No?

Hairy Halloween II

A pumpkin-grin welcome to anyone who’s there, and this year’s handful of Halloweeny hitters is a straight follow-up to last year: another blast of old-school rock tracks, videos and vibes that fit the ‘ween thing, and like all slasher sequels, it’s probably not as good as the one before…

…OR IS IT??? Wait for the dark.

JOE SATRIANI: Big Bad Moon

What do you want from a Halloween vid? A dark, deserted street? Check. Full-moon menace? Yep. Amplifier being kicked down the stairs so a guitarist can solo the frig out of it? Errrrrrr no, but why the hell not??? Enter Big Bad Moon. Not only is the mood right, but you get an electro-shock Satch hair-ender that’s undead-worthy (low budget special effects version). Killer tune, killer solos.

TOOL: Stinkfist

Less blitzy than Satriani, but Stinkfist does anything but reek. Any number of Tool tunes could make a dark-side playlist, and this creepsome promo makes Tool a shoe-in. Check the Stinkfist sand people, watch ’em peel.

MR BUNGLE: Quote Unquote

Odd weird. Sinister weird. Which is what you expect from Mr Bungle, right? Soundtrack to a death circus. With masks.

JUDAS PRIEST: Turbo Lover

Sure, A Touch of Evil makes more sense on the surface, but we’re not going as deep as surface here – we’re going for the vibe, specifically the Terminator-as-argonaut retro stink flying off this hilariously shit video. Rocking tune, though.

DAVID BOWIE: Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)

A fair few Bowie tunes could land on a list like this, but if atmosphere and menace are on the menu instead of literal Scary Monsters, the predatory pre-Blackstar Sue (Or in a Season of Crime) jazz ensemble racks it up nice and noir.

VOIVOD: Astronomy Domine

Did anyone else find the Tribal Convictions video a bit creepy as a kid? No? OK, that’s embarrassing. Let’s have a disembodied Voivodian vocal in a flicker-flicker-flicker-bam Floyd cover with a video of a band on a rotating wheel instead. Better?

ALICE COOPER: Killers

The creep factor in this version of Is It My Body has nothing to do with Alice stage props and effects – it’s pre-Nightmare, but Cooper was a theatrical master even when his props were nothing more than a shiny onesie, a shoe and a pink leotard. Classic. But this video for Killer (live) is a wee bit more showtime, shall we say. If the noose fits…

SMASHING PUMPKINS: Ava Adore

Graced with gothic electronica, alt-rock’s very own Uncle Fester goes full Nosferatu in the video – check the Corgan choreography for some pretty slick Nosfer moves you’ll wanna steal.

CHRIS MORRIS: Jam (intro to episode 2)

Not music, but there is dancing. Morris dancing. Subversive, woozy and warped at every twist, Jam fits right in with any horror sesh, and Morris’s taunt-and-haunt free-dance flail in the face of a failed suicide is wrong enough to be oh-so-very right.

MELVINS/TOOL: Divorced

If ever there was a Halloween house band, Melvins would surely be it. Tool could do visuals, but there are no visuals here – get the headphones, kill the lights and sink deep into a 15-minute pit of top-grade Toolvins.

AC/DC: Night Prowler

A rat runs down the alley, and a chill runs down your spine…can there be a better lyric to end on? Pure slasher, a Bon ace over a deadly, bluesy groove.

But you can’t really have a halloween sequel without a farcical false ending, so … a heroic big-hair resurrection it is – check the big-budget cheapness in this Elm Street cornball. Who were those guys, Freddie? Eh? Lynch axe still cuts it, mind.

THE END! Off now, Salem’s Lot beckons.