When Hurricane Sandy wiped out Halloween last year, I couldn’t really complain about it, as we got off pretty lucky compared to much of Central and South Jersey. No trees or anything fell on our home, and our only injuries consisted of minor burns suffered by my wife on Halloween night, when she was attempting to make me hot chocolate in a pitch-dark kitchen.
That said, for someone who views Halloween the way most people do Christmas, there was no escaping that there was a pretty big void for me last year. By the time our lights flickered back on, it was a few days into November. I hadn’t nearly gotten my fill of my favorite holiday, but time waits for no ghoul.
One tradition that fell by the wayside was my annual Halloween mixtape, which I was in the process of making, but didn’t have time or electricity to complete it. But it’s a new year, with crisp and clear weather in New Jersey, so I’m thrilled to present this year’s version for download.
I’ve loved Halloween since I was a kid, when my mom dressed me up as The Incredible Hulk and took me around to a few of my neighbors’ houses to trick or treat. The only thing I remember getting was a box of raisins, and it took days to fully wash out the green paint she used on my hair. (Never mind that Hulk doesn’t actually have green hair.) Regardless, I was hooked for life.
Thirty years later, I don’t necessarily do a whole lot on Halloween. The typical New York City nonsense where everyone dresses up as “sexy” whatever and drinks everything in sight seems utterly pointless. To me, it defeats the purpose of the holiday, which for me is to simply enjoy the macabre on your own terms. Usually I’ll hand out candy to whoever dares to approach our place, then finish the night off with a pumpkin beer and a good horror movie.
As I explained here two years ago, I love music that helps set the spooky mood, but I’ve never quite been satisfied with the options on the market. The party mixes are the same old nonsense over and over, way too much Monster Mash and Purple People Eaters. The soundtrack collections are similarly uninspired; nothing against the Nightmare on Elm Street theme or Tubular Bells, but they’re kind of played out at this point. So a few years back, I decided to create my own personal soundtrack to October to drive around with and listen to late at night.
The mix is usually hodgepodge of movie/television soundtracks — I’m probably most excited this year about finally getting the theme to The Usual Suspects — and some old radio ads. I sprinkle in a few “real” songs that just kind of fit the mood; call me cliched, but Portishead and Rob Zombie always find a home. The Internet has added quite a bit of fodder in recent years, as there are plenty of blogs and such specifically devoted to this sort of thing. (Special thanks to Perfect Midnight, Aquarium Drunkard and Unholy Rhythms.)
My wife gets a kick out of how I start this thing in July and proceed to devote the next 3 1/2 months to it, but you really have to make sure to find the right balance between whimsical and evil, and figure out a sequence that makes it flow nicely. We tried it out on some friends while driving to a haunted house last weekend and nobody hated it. It’s probably best for that purpose, though I think you can probably play it at a party and do okay. (Warning: There is some profanity, so if you’re going to play it for your kids, keep that in mind.)
Note: I had trouble getting this to translate in the order of the tracks I put them in. You might have to take two minutes after downloading it to reorder it in iTunes, but I made it easy: The correctly ordered track numbers are right in the title of each song.
Feedback is welcome. Thanks as always for checking out the site. The track listing and download link are below, and I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween.
1. “This is Insane” (The Devil’s Rejects)
2. American Horror Story — Main Theme
3. Phantasm — Radio ad
4. “Pop the Trunk” — Yelawolf
5. The Usual Suspects — Main Theme
6. “Die Life” — The Soft Moon
7. “My Baby Boy” (House of 1000 Corpses)
8. “What?” — Rob Zombie
9. The Dark Knight — Always a Catch
10. Dangerous Worry Dolls — Main Theme
11. Zombie — Radio ad
12. “Zombie Hop” — Zombina & the Skeletons
13. “Dare” — Dead Virgin
14. “Spooky Mulder” — Field Mouse
15. “Whatever-However” (Death Proof)
16. One Step Beyond — Main Title
17. “Silence” — Portishead
18. L.A. Confidential — Bloody Christmas
19. “Do you ever fantasize?” (Return of the Living Dead)
20. “The Good News Is, Your Dates Are Here” — Cynthia’s Scream
21. “Pac Blood” — Danny Brown
22. “Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a” — Hermitage Museum Orchestra
23. The Devil’s Rejects — Shootout
24. The Return of Count Yorga — Radio ad
25. “Blood Sucker Blues” — Spider Mountain
26. True Blood — First Taste
27. “Angel’s Punishment” — Lacuna Coil
28. Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Main theme
29. Dawn of the Dead — Radio ad
30. “Uneasy Greeting” — Goretorium/DJ Ashba
31. “Bela Lugosis Dead” — Nouvelle Vague
32. The Oblong Box — Radio ad
33. The Lost Boys — “Cry Little Sister” (Main theme)
34. “We’ve Always Been Devil Slayers” (The Devil’s Rejects)
35. “Passive” — A Perfect Circle/Constantine soundtrack