Saturday, October 20, 2012


BOO!  I hope you don't expect me to shut the fuck up any time soon because this happens to be my favorite time of the year and I'm feeling rather...spirited.  Over the course of the next week or so I'll be rantin' and ravin' about some of my favorite spooky soundtracks with a post every day right around midnight.  You'll be begging for Christmas carols by the time I'm finished.  Let's face it, most soundtracks offer one or two awe-inspiring diamonds and a whole lotta rust- consider Luciano Michelini's Screamers or Pino Donaggio's Carrie for example- but some scores terrorize your ears from beginning to end.  Those are the records I'll be praising.  I'm purposely leaving out a few obvious choices because I figure you numbnuts already hum Suspiria and The Shining in your sleep and I'd rather spend time with a few lesser celebrated classics but most of these will be pretty easy to acquire with a little digging in the usual places.  Dim the lights and let's get started...

The Dunwich Horror 
Les Baxter 

Our jaunt down the twisted path of horror soundtracks begins, appropriately enough, with the swingin' sounds of eternal cool cat Les Baxter. If we were to trace the lineage of horror flicks and 'eavy metal back to the roots of their maligned romance we would find ourselves in the unlikely exotic jungles of this wildly prolific happy-go-lucky American composer. Why? Because it was Baxter who scored the moody orchestral movements for the 1964 American International Pictures release of Mario Bava's classy horror anthology Black Sabbath that famously intrigued a certain band of Birmingham rat-salad smokers and the rest, as they say, is history. From that fateful day forward these distinct but equally loathed genres have been joined at the crotch like bastard Siamese Twins locked in perpetual coitus, spawning an endless brood and screaming, "...BONDED BY BLOOD!!!!" Occasionally the lusty connection is startling, such as when Dario Argento employed popular NWOBHM acts for Phenomenon or (and now the lineage is getting deep) when Mario Bava's son Lamberto Bava licensed Motley Crue, Saxon and Accept songs for his 1985 film Demons. Other times it is slightly subtler, such as when Iron Maiden immortalized The Phantom of the Opera or Negative Plane opened Et In Saecula Saeculorum with Fabio Frizzi's stirring overture (or when Sweden’s Head of the Demon paid homage to this very film on their debut LP!). But the connection between horror and heavy music is always present and its allure is palpable on this beautiful Lovecraftian score originally released in 1970, coincidentally the same year as Black Sabbath's titular debut, under the excellent title Music of the Devil God Cult: Strange Sounds From Dunwich. Imagine if you will the artist at work, sipping some tropical drink from a coconut shell carved into the shape of Cthulhu and twiddling a lei made of monkey skulls whilst whistling the diabolical melodies that would comprise one of the finest soundtracks ever recorded. Now revel in the gentle vibrating sounds of Sensual Hallucinations as they lull you into a Strange Sleep, sway to the beckoning bongos at the Cult Party, swagger and boom to the sultry strut of Necronomicon, cower before the Devil Cult and finally succumb to the snazzy thrall of the Devil's Witchcraft...all while doing the dishes in the comfort of your own home. Next time you're out on the town bangin' your head, raise a tiki goblet to Les Baxter for whipping up soundtracks so provocative and otherworldly that, without even knowing, he somehow helped shape the obsession that has kept you a virgin well into your adult years. Snap your fingers and tap your toes. The sacrifice is about to begin...