Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sounds To Make You Shiver! (1974, Pickwick Intl.)

You should know that in my house, haunted house sound effect records were not something that got dusted off once a year for Halloween. They got played year round, thrown right into the mix alongside "regular" records like the Star Wars or Grease soundtrack albums.

This particular record got so much play, that I eventually memorized every dip and climb in pitch the wind made on Track 11: Wind, and could instantly recognize this stock sound effect when it appeared in the background of television commercials or shows. (For example, whenever George Reeves took flight in the 1950's show "Adventures of Superman", it was my old friend, Track 11 Wind, backing him up).

Side 1 is just one long track, a megamix called "A Night In A Haunted House." This was for general ambient scaring, perfect background noise for studying or doing chores. It starts with a scary/corny narrator:

"So, you want to visit a haunted house, hmmmm? I think I have one that should suit you, that is, if you dare follow me. You will? Fine. Shall we go then?

Ah, here we are a the door. Happy haunting."
Side 2 contains the isolated sound effects from the mix on Side 1, which I would open-air record with my Radio Shack tape recorder to supplement whatever taped dramatic production my friends and I were cooking up that day.

Often I would just sit and examine the album artwork while the record played, looking for hidden images or messages, just as I suppose other kids might have done with their KISS albums. Just look at all the activity going on...this is not your typical quiet old haunted house on the hill. There's practically a riot breaking out.

Frankenstein's monster is front and center, having broken out of chains, and is bolting away from the lab, which he's left in ruins.

Up on the rooftop is none other than Dracula, possibly preparing to turn into a bat or just hang-glide to the ground on his spread cape ala Batman.

The Wolf-Man scurries behind a rock, looking very much the rock star with his shirt unbuttoned.

A witch is stirring her cauldron. If you look closely, she's just tossed a spider, a frog and an eyeball into the brew.

A monster of some kind, possibly a yeti, is reaching out menacingly.

A graveyard to the side of the house features a hangman's noose, a cadaverous arm reaching out from the ground, a figure toting a bloody hatchet, and a new gravestone custom built for YOU. But how did they know I was coming?

A pair of skeletal hands pushes aside the lid of a coffin!

On the second floor of the house, we see a trio of caged creatures threatening to break free. A green, tentacled monster with a glaring red eye has snatched a piece of wreckage from the lab below.

I don't know what this is...monkey man?

And a vaguely Pokemon-ish, mustard-colored thing. A ghost appears to be flying from his barred window... the escaping spirit of a recent victim?

The clock tower shows that its exactly midnight...the scariest of times! A hunchback stands guard below. Dark shadows occlude the full moon like giant withered fingers.



5 comments:

Steve said...

We had this when I was a kid, too. Someday, I want to make a huge poster of that cover. I always thought the Frankenstein's Monster was a little off-looking, though. Overall, still a groovy piece of art.

Toon said...

I had this record and listened to it with headphones on in the middle of Summer while waiting for swim practice. It helped calm me down for some reason. I always thought the haunted house was being destroyed from the way it sounded. When it was over I just pictured a pile of rubble.

Brother Bill said...

Toon:
Yea, I know what you mean about the house coming apart. There's practically a hurricane blowing inside that thing!

Jason said...

What a completely fantastic post.

Thank you, sir!

Brother Bill said...

I'm a big Scar-Stuff fan..! Thanks for visiting, Jason.