Friday, December 13, 2013

Son of Celluloid’s Top Ten Ghoultide Tunes (A Special Shitmas Post from Nathan Hamilton)

Ah, it’s Christmas time again.  The season of gifts, pretty twinkling lights, goodwill towards men, and godawful music!  Don’t look at me like that.  You know we’re all thinking it.  There’s only so much Time Life Classics and Mannheim Steamroller a fright fan can take.  If I hear All I Want For Christmas Is You or anything about Grandma and reindeer one more damn time we’re gonna have a Christmassacre on our hands.  So, I’m here to save the musical holiday spirit for all of us demented horror freaks.  What follows is a bloody alternative to Bing and Burl.  The Son of Celluloid has collected 10 Noel nightmares that will both celebrate the spirit of the season and scratch your itch for the macabre (no pun intended).  So, waddaya say we trade our chestnuts for chainsaws and sing some slaying songs tonight!

1. Christopher Lee – Little Drummer Boy

Sample Lyrics – 
It’s Little Drummer Boy.  You already know the words.

Let’s start this off with a tune that sounds like an idea you’d concoct in a state of eggnog-induced delirium.  Christopher Lee - yes, THAT Christopher Lee - teams up with a symphonic metal band to bring us a bizarre version of Little Drummer Boy.  Sir Christopher hooked up with some of his metalhead minions to put out a two song EP of holiday tunes last year.  Silent Night is pretty good, but this one is the real winner.  Dracula's regal voice booming over a galloping beat and chugging guitars?  It may sound like an odd pairing, but dammit, somehow it works.

2. The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society – Harley Got Devoured By The Undead

Sample Lyrics – 
He’d been reading lots of weird books
And I begged him not to go
But he’d brook no procrastination
To learn the truths that mankind mustn’t know

The HPLHS was founded in 1984.  Since then, in addition to radio drama and film projects (including the excellent The Whisperer In Darkness), they’ve released two collections of Lovecraft themed Christmas parodies.  A Very Scary Solstice and An Even Scarier Solstice are both well worth purchasing.  It was truly difficult to choose one song from among gems like I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth, Carol of The Old Ones, Away In a Madhouse, and Go Summon Up The Dead Ones, but this one will really wrap its tentacles around ‘ya.  Harley Got Devoured By The Undead (a parody of the accursedmGrandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer) is based on The Statement of Randolph Carter, and it’s one of the few tracks that the uninitiated can appreciate because it tells the whole story.  I mean, it’s basically a musical audiobook.  Cthulhu is coming to town, and you just might be spared if you’re listening to this… might.

3. Western Caravan feat. Thirsty Dave – Psycho

(Watch the VIDEO on Youtube)
Sample Lyrics – 
I been dressing up like you, Santa
At a big department store
I met some little boys and girls, Santa
I brought them home, and they’re buried underneath my kitchen floor

This song is based on Eddie Noack’s quintessential country murder ballad and ode to insanity, also called Psycho.  You can find a great video of Neil Gaiman singing the original on youtube.  In this outstanding version, our narrator gets a visit from the Jolly One himself and begins confessing all of his psychotic acts.  It’s the calm, earnest way the song is performed that makes it so chilling.  This is one that gets played on repeat at my house around the holidays.

4. Harley Poe – It’s Christmas Time Again

Sample Lyrics – 
Leave him cookies, leave him beer, stay in bed ‘til morning’s near
Run down the stairs unto the tree, cautious of what you may see
Your parents may be hanging there, thought they made a lovely pair.
It’s Christmas time again.

Fear-folk artist Harley Poe is one of the horror music scene’s best-kept secrets.  He’s kinda like Voltaire, but less pretentious and actually funny.  This is probably the best “Santa as a serial killer” song ever.  Sleigh bells and jangly guitars back a stern warning about making Santa’s acquaintance on Christmas.  You don’t want to find out what’s in his sack!  If you see Santa tonight, you’d better run, boy!  

5. Lon Chaney Jr. – Monster’s Holiday

Sample Lyrics – 
They were making a list and checking it twice
Frankenstein wanted a shiny new trike
A new chain for Janus, a brace for Igor's back
A speed shaver for Wolfman, a new cape for Drac

Monster’s Holiday was originally recorded by Bobby “Boris” Pickett in 1962 as a follow up to his immortal classic Monster Mash.  It failed to attract the attention its predecessor did, but that didn’t stop Lon Chaney Jr. from releasing a cover version two years later.    To the best of my knowledge, this and the theme song to Jack Hill’s under-appreciated film Spider Baby were the only two songs good ‘ol Creighton ever recorded.  I love me some Boris Pickett, but if you ask me, Chaney has the perfect voice to recount this tale of the classic monsters and their thwarted attempt to rob Santa’s sleigh.  Not to be confused with a horrible Buck Owens song of the same name.

6. Matthew McPeck – F**k Christmas (I Wish It Was Halloween)

Sample Lyrics – 
You Hallmark fascists expect me sober
When you start playing your f**king songs in October!
Hark the herald devils sing Halloween.
So to you holiday-loving sons of bitches,
Screw you all and hey, F**K CHRISTMAS!
All I need is my baby, my baby and Halloween.

I’d be willing to bet that there’s not a one of us who hasn’t expressed that sentiment at some point.  Are you looking at the lights and tinsel and wishing that they were jack-o-lanterns and spider webs instead?  Then congratulations, you’ve found your anthem.  This synth-pop/proto-goth style song expresses exactly how many of us feel every December and only gets more and more timely as the season drags on.

7. Screaming Lord Sutch – Creepy Christmas

Sample Lyrics – 
The Creature from the Black Lagoon howling carols out of tune
A demon and a vampire roasting chestnuts on a fire
And the one that they call Lestat groovin’ in a party hat
Dr. Jeckyll playing Hyde & seek, they were dancing cheek to cheek

If you just said “who?” then turn in your horror music lover’s card NOW!  In the 60’s, Screaming Lord Sutch was innovating the theatrical horror shock rock show well before Alice Cooper or Arthur Brown.  He also ran for parliament 40 times as part of the Official Monster Raving Looney Party.  He was an interesting dude to say the least.  In 1989, he and his band (dubbed “The X-Mas Creeps” for this release) unleashed this groovy number about a party I would have killed Santa himself to attend.  Oh, and by the way, if that sax solo doesn’t get you in the rockin’ holiday spirit then you don’t have a soul.

8. Macabre – Holidays of Horror

Sample Lyrics – 
Merry Christmas, he gunned his family down
His bullets were their presents, dead relatives all around
Happy New Year, one they won't be here to see
It's the holiday of horror because of Ronald Gene

I think this list needs some more headbanging.  Enter Macabre, Chicago’s foremost purveyors of “murder metal.”  Almost all of their songs are about real life killers, and this one is no exception.  In a 1987 slaying spree that lasted from December 22 to 28, Ronald Gene Simmons killed 16 people (including 14 family members).  He got a lethal injection, and we got this kick ass tune.  It’s a wonderful reminder of just how crazy some of us go on the holidays.  God, I love this band.

9. John Kassir – We Wish You’d Bury The Missus

Sample Lyrics – 
The last thing on Christmas that folks want to see
Are remains of your wife on your lawn Christmas tree
We wish you’d bury the missus, we beg you bury the missus
For gods sake bury the missus, we can smell her down here.

During the holiday season of 1994, Tales From the Crypt was in its sixth season.  When any franchise is popular for that long, you know a Christmas tie-in is inevitable.  So they released an album called Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas.  I’ve never understood why they didn’t go with “Cryptmas.”  Anyway, it featured John Kassir, the voice of the Cryptkeeper, doing holiday songs and skits with his usual gallows humor and ghoulish puns.  Nearly every track is a classic (we’ll just pretend Christmas Rap never happened), but this one is far and away the standout.  For the record, (see what I did there?), the album usually sells for $25-35 on ebay.

10. Screamerclauz – 12 Days of Axemess

Sample Lyrics – 
Nope.  Trust me, this one is better when you don’t know what’s coming.

This just might be my favorite X-mas song of all time.  Before he blew our minds and shredded our souls with his demented animated film Where The Dead Go To Die, Jimmy Screamerclauz was horrifying people with his music.  What do you get when a sicko like Screamerclauz mixes a traditional version of a Christmas classic with clips from flicks like Zombie Flesh Eaters, I Drink Your Blood, and Night of the Demons?  Pure hilarity.  The first time I heard this I may or may not have laughed until I peed a little.  Extra horror geek cred if you can name all of the movies and shows he samples.

- Nathan Hamilton 

1 comment:

  1. Yay for the HP Lovecraft Historical Society! I've been obsessed with them since I was turned onto them