OH, HELL. (Massive Halloween Playlist)


Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, if only because it gives me an excuse to sit down with a bowl of candy and watch Horror movies all month. I like to spend Halloween night proper taking in as many flicks as possible, but since I have the displeasure of having to work Halloween night, I'm going to try and pass along some of the fun to you, with a massive 26 song Halloween pile-up.

They aren't in any particular order -- that's for you to decide -- but I think you'll find some new stuff amidst the old stand-byes.

BUT FIRST... I've got one bit of business to get out of the way:


"Suicide" by THIN LIZZY: Somewhat sticking to the Halloween theme (death, hell, etc), I have uploaded a live version of Lizzy's rocker "Suicide," taken from the recently released (on eMusic, at least) UK Tour '75 album. I was going to throw up the studio version of this track, but the live version just blows it out of the water in my opinion.

... okay, let's get to the blood and guts:

Halloween 2008: Pimps of Gore, Gore, Gore

"Black Sabbath"
"N.I.B." by BLACK SABBATH: Do I even need to explain the absolute necessity of having Ozzy and Co. on your Halloween playlist? Especially the dark gloom of "Black Sabbath" and the kick ass "N.I.B." (as far as song titles go, it doesn't get much better than "Nativity in Black").

"Death Valley" by BORIS: This ought to freak those Trick Or Treaters right the fuck out. I guess I should just warn you going forward that this playlist goes heavy on the Heavy. Halloween is no place for Sufjan Stevens; he can have Christmas if he wants it. Halloween is for screaming feedback, like the crazy high pitched bug noises that punctuate the Sabbath-y riffs presented here.

"Please Mr. Gravedigger" by DAVID BOWIE: Okay, this one isn't heavy, but it sure is creepy. From a compilation of some of Bowie's earliest works, "Please Mr. Gravedigger" is a warbly-voiced "tune" about an old man who digs graves for "the dead and the maimed" and steals jewelry from the corpses. Bowie sings from the point of view of a man who killed a woman whom Mr. Graves is helping bury. Bizarre, yet perfect for the holiday.

"I am Stretched on Your Grave" by DEAD CAN DANCE: Sometimes you can't beat a traditional public domain tune to show you that groups like the PMRC were way off in going after Heavy Metal for their dark, death-obsessed lyrics. Sinead O'Connor made a semi-hit out of this number, but Dead Can Dance's live, mournful take would sound perfect over one of George Romero's zombie uprising gore flicks.

"Ghost Dance" by DEATH CULT: Not sure if I've posted this one before, but the combination of Ghosts, Death Cults and dead Native Americans was just too good to pass up.

"Born in a Haunted Barn" by THE DIRTBOMBS vs KING KAHN: The garage rock of Detroit's The Dirtbombs mixes nicely with King Kahn's psychedelic folk rock, and the ghostly chorus is the cherry on top.

"Chase the Devil" by EAGLES OF DEATH METAL: Dubbed "the pigeons of shit metal" by Axl Rose after the band pissed him off and got thrown off of a recent GnR tour. This fact makes me love them that much more. If you're going to make all of these songs into a free-flowing mix, I highly rec' keeping this Cramps-esque romp as the follow-up to the Dirtbombs/King Kahn track. They're perfect together.

"Profondo Rosso (Main Titles)"
"Suspiria (Narration)" by GOBLIN: I'll avoid going ape about Goblin once again, but you can't make a Halloween mix without grabbing a few songs from Dario Argento's go-to band for the soundtracks to his twisted visions. Three of these tracks come from Suspiria, while the other is the theme to his fantastic Profondo Rosso (Deep Red). Not to tell you how to do things, but if I were making a mix, I'd start it with the full length "Suspiria" and end the CD with "Suspiria (Narration)." Pepper the other tracks somewhere in the middle and you're guaranteed to have your listener ask at least two to three times, "Who the hell is this?!"

"Devil's Den" by JAMES BROWN: Okay, after all that Goblin, you're going to have the whole neighborhood crapping their costumes. Give 'em a little break with this scorching (mostly) instrumental from the Godfather of Soul. Even the Devil needs a coctail break every once in a while.

"Ripper" by JUDAS PRIEST: Spinal Tap's "Saucy Jack" wasn't the first hard rock song about England's notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Unintentionally hilarious, and yet still totally badass.

"Last Caress / Green Hell" by METALLICA: Okay, time to remind your neighborhood that it's Hell Night, with a little medley from Metallica as they cover The Misfits' "Last Caress" and "Green Hell." Nothing screams Halloween like, "I've got something to say! / I killed your baby today!"

"Horror Hotel" by THE MISFITS: Really, just go ahead and pick any Misfits, Samhain, or Danzig tracks you want. They're all custom made for this shit.

"The Devil's Work Day" by MODEST MOUSE: A Pimps staple, Isaac Brock brings the scary with this grunting, growling piece of swampy goodness. People floating in the river, blood pouring out of kneecaps, hangings and demented laughter... yeah.

"Ghost" by NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL: If only because it's the best indie rock ghost song pretty much ever. Put some step into that skeleton.

"Ghostwriter" by RJD2: You're going to need some atmosphere to back up that smoke machine, dad, and here are a couple of loopable tracks for just that purpose. The former is for that graveyard scene you've got going outside, while the latter is for the party indoors.

"Death Rides a Horse" by RUSSIAN CIRCLES: Sorry, we lost the plot - and the rock - there for a minute.

"Feast of the Mau Mau" by SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS: Much like The Misfits, you could pretty much just take any Hawkins track and be set. This is one of those recipe tracks, like "Alligator Wine," where Jay howls out disgusting ingredients, like "Brush your teeth / with a piece / of a goose toenail!" Dude was just insane.

"Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell" by THE STOOGES: Just the sound of the guitar on Raw Power alone is enough to wake the dead.

"To Take the Black" by THE SWORD: I've been meaning to give these guys some love here for a long time, but in case you hadn't noticed, I'm never around anymore. For now, this massive slab of classic cock rock will have to be my treat to you. These guys are opening for Metallica on their current American tour, and I'm sure lameass metalheads all over will be booing them off the stage.

"The Black Angel's Death Song" by THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: The only band so off their rockers that they could make that Bowie song I posted earlier sound like Simon & Garfunkel, The Velvet Underground check in tonight with a song that sounds like beat poetry over the soundtrack to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Unsettling!

"Do the Ghost" by X-MEN: Closing things out, we've got the X-Men with their own "Ghost" dance, sounding like Screamin' Jay Hawkins meets the Dead Kennedys.