Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Feeling Ghoul-d

For those of you who aren't so familiar with the holiday extravaganza that is Halloween, I'm attempting to help bridge the gap. Considering this crazy holiday is just days away (Saturday, October 31st), and I just so happen to work in the web department of one of NYC's most well-established stores that carry Halloween garb, it's kind of obvious that this sort of thing would be on my mind.

It would take too long to fully divulge just how much I adored this holiday growing up, dressing up in various costumes and begging for candy door-to-door. My personal favorite costume has to be from when I was about seven or so, and was going through my Nick at Night phase. I dressed up as Barbara Eden in "I Dream of Jeannie", complete with harem outfit, veil adorned cap and even my own jewel-encrused genie bottle (which was actually a bottle of finished dish soap covered in tin foil and some cleverly placed glue-on gemstones. My mother was and is so smart!). But, I grew up in Upstate New York, where we usually already had a layer of snow on the ground by October's end, so my gorgeous costume ideas were forced into shroud by a large and bulky winter coat and boots. ::hurmph:: I'm still bitter.

Now, of course, I'm a bit too old to go begging for sweets, but I don't think anyone is too old to enjoy the holiday overall. The main difference is now I can spend my Saturday handing out the candy to the kids while watching various horror/slasher films that I so ardently adore, before putting on a fun costume and heading out to the clubs to dance with girlfriends. However, the difference is I intend to be home at a reasonable hour. As my aunt recently told me, New York is full of monsters, and not all of them wear masks.

On a lighter note, it's a night of frights, candy, barely-there outfits and, most importantly, fun (and occasionally campy) music. I've seen plenty of good Halloween music playlists and countdowns to help get you in the creepy mood, but here are the few songs that define Halloween to yours truly. Happy Haunting, everybody!

08. Sweeney Todd (The Broadway Musical) - Prelude/The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
Okay, so it's not exactly Halloween. But I'm a sucker for all things Sondheim, and of all of his incredible works, 'Sweeney' was intended to be played out as a live horror film on stage. The film was alright, but didn't quite do it for me the way the Broadway version did. The deadened eyes, the creepy bass voices, and that shrill's scary Broadway at its best.

07. Hocus Pocus - I Put A Spell On You
Halloween movies don't come more classic than Hocus Pocus, a little Disney gem from back in 1993 (when I was the ripe old age of 6!) starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker among others. It features three witches who are brought back from the dead, and attempt to concoct everlasting life by sucking the souls out of little children. Despite that dark description, the film is ridiculously good fun for the whole family, and is an absolute Halloween must in terms of traditions. The following video is one of the many highlights from this film, and while the original (by Screamin' Jay Hawkin's) is frightfully awesome, too, this one just takes the cake.

06. Halloween - Halloween (Theme Song)
Horror movies for this holiday begin with the iconic "Halloween", first released back in the early '70's, and starring Jamie Lee Curtis in one of her first roles. The film has become a tradition for me since around age 13, when I first watched it with my mother after buying the DVD release. My mother was in college when the film first opened in theatres, and told me how she didn't want to drive back home alone in her car after watching the movie, afraid Michael Myers was going to snatch her from the shadows of the backseat.

05. Boris Pickett - The Monster Mash
This song absolute exemplifies Halloween, simply because it's fun whether you're 9 years old, or 90. It's also great background music for a haunted house. I vividly remember fearfully walking through the local haunted house situated in my hometown's firehouse as this song blared at 11 in my ears.

04. Sheb Wooley - Purple People Eater
This one has to be on everyone's Halloween playlists. I first heared it when I was a wee little thing, as it was my favorite part of a 'Halloween For Kids' cassette tape (yes, cassette tape) my mother bought for me.

03. Ray Parker JR - Ghostbusters (Theme Song)
Considering my favorite television show on television is "Supernatural" and I'm an ardent nerd considering all things 'Saturday Night Live', is should come as no surprise to you that I have a very soft spot in my heart for the Ghostbuster boys. If you haven't seen the films, for shameeeee!

02. (While Marilyn Manson's cover isn't shabby, I gotta give it to) Danny Elfman/The Nightmare Before Christmas - This Is Halloween
The stop-motion animated film brought to us from the creepy mind of Tim Burton also premiered in 1993. I vividly remember being completely creeped out by so much of it, but at the same time, totally fixated. It's basically a scary musical with a heart, as Jack Skellington, a popular fixture in HalloweenTown, stumbles upon ChristmasTown and is bemused and intrigued. It works well as both a Halloween and a Christmas tradition. And with a soundtrack by Danny Elfman, you really can't go wrong.

01. (You knew this was coming, right?) Michael Jackson - Thriller
His sad passing this past year aside, MJ's "Thriller" is the ultimate of scary music videos, and set the tone and raised the bar for all 'Halloween' videos since then. Watch and learn from the master. May you rest in peace, sir.


Anonymous said...

Haha great post. Really got me in the mood for Halloween! There is really no contest about Thriller, is there? Timeless. Must say I love Screamin Jay Hawkins' version of I Put A Spell On You though. I bet Gaga is a tiny bit influenced by him.

Myfizzypop said...

the top two are brilliant choices :) I'd add (after the 8) All*Stars - Things That Go Bump In The Night :) And maybe Aqua - Halloween. And probably BSB, Backstreet's Back - but only for the video :P

Follow Me on Instagram via @melismaticdiva