Halloween Horrors


by Tony Maygarden

Shock Music in Hi-fi LP cover

Shock Music in Hi-Fi - Creed Taylor Orchestra, compositions by Kenyon Hopkins

Released in 1958, this LP features lots of spooky sound effects over tone poems with a jazz beat. Hopkins, a well known composer of film soundtracks such as Baby Doll and 12 Angry Men, "visualized" the pieces (with titles like "Haunted House" and "In Bedlam") while writing them. The Creed Taylor Orchestra included Phil Woods, Mundell Lowe and other jazz cats from the period. A "Jazz Horror" classic?


Panic The Son of Shock LP cover

Panic-The Son of Shock - Creed Taylor Orchestra, compositions by Kenyon Hopkins

"If you were expecting a little dinner music, perhaps you've come to the wrong place," start the liner notes. Much the same as Shock, with more spoken word bits. Song titles include "The Prison Break," "Out of This World" and "A Shot in the Dark." The liner notes feature a "game" you can play while listening to the record.


Sound Effects Death and Horror LP cover

BBC Sound Effects Vol. 13 - Death and Horror

This album is intended for theatrical or film production. It's not something one would want to listen to nonstop. I don't think. Side one starts off with "Execution and Torture: 1) The Guillotine 2) Arm Chopped Off 3) Head Chopped Off, 4) Sawing Head Off;" and on and on it goes. The rest of the LP features "Monsters and Animals," "Creaking Doors and Grave Diggings," "Musical Effects and Footsteps," "Vocal Effects and Heartbeats," and "Weather, Atmospheres and Bells." Not all of the effects are great, but most get across the idea. For the advanced horror fanatic.


Sound Effects More Death and Horror LP cover

BBC Sound Effects No. 21 - More Death and Horror

More of the same, with an emphasis on atmospheres and longer effects. Both of these BBC albums have totally gruesome covers, with No. 21 featuring a man being broken on the rack. Cut 4, side two: "The Rack-The hag laughs as you grow taller." It's pretty realistic.

The effects on these albums were recorded in 1977 and 1978 and were "devised and produced" for the BBC by Mike Harding. They are licensed for amateur use only.


Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House LP cover

Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House

Released in 1964 by Disneyland Records, this ubiquitous horror LP features ten short story bits on side one, and ten sound effects on side two. The "Things in Space" at the end of side two is kind of neat. An OK set, especially if you can find it super cheap.


Sounds to Make You Shiver LP cover

Sounds to Make You Shiver

Side one is a never-ending "Night in a Haunted House," which consists mostly of howling winds and screams. Side two features sound effects. It opens with a good witch laugh and female screams, and then goes straight down hill. A totally fake angry cat, more howling wind and a "Phantom Piano" that sounds like it's being played by a monkey.


Out of This World LP cover

Out Of This World - Atmospheric Sounds and Effects from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

58 atmospheres and effects roughly spaced equally into four categories: "Outer Space," "Magic and Fantasy," "Suspense and the Supernatural," and "The Elements." While there are many useful sounds here, they seem to be all created electronically; i.e. these are not manipulations or processings of "real" sounds. Some are pretty abstract. On cuts like "Evil Rises Up" and "Psychic Fears" you have to use your imagination a little. Sound quality is so-so. The album was produced by Glynis Johns, and was recorded at BBC Music Studios, Maida Vale, London.


Halloween Horrors LP cover

The Sounds of Halloween Horror

Side two of the album, entitled "The Sounds of Halloween," features 50 or so horror sound effects. The usual screams, witch laughter, creaking doors, bats, cats, wolf howls, baying dogs, etc., are supplemented with some sounds you don't hear too often such as groans, bubbling cauldron, swords clashing, a panther howl and a pipe organ playing "Pray For the Dead." Plus there are some more general weather and transportation effects (the creaking wooden ship is quite good, if too short), and a few electronic sci-fi sounds. Well recorded. Side one is a haunted house story entitled "Halloween Horror." The sound effects seem to drive the story, and while it's very well recorded it's pretty tedious, despite a great effort by the "Young Man" played by Michael Bell. The album was written and produced by J. Robert Elliott.


Horror -- Sounds of Terror,

This is a strange, two LP package. One LP has a whole bunch, maybe 50, very short horror and terror sound effects. Unfortunately, the label and cover have no track listing, and there is no cue sheet (at least not in this copy). To top it off, the effects seem randomly arranged -- very user unfriendly. However, some of the effects are pretty good , including: creaking sounds, ghostly wails, dogs growling, wind noise, electronic atmospheres, a man being broken on the rack (!), crows, monster groans, maniacal laughter, etc. Some have little spoken vignettes mixed with the effects, and some effects are not so good (flying bats, in particular), and many may be too short to be useful.

The other LP is Goofy Songs, features 16 novelty songs from the late '50s/early '60s, including the original versions of "Monster Mash" and "The Purple People Eater." Both LPs are "An HRB Music production."


Space Invaders -- Sound Effects From a Fantasy Space Mission, performers uncredited

Moog synth and drums (a live kit, not electronic) on 31 short tracks, with titles including: "Caverns of the Moon," "Close Encounters of the Third Grade," "Intergalactic Battle," "Antigravitational Creatures," "Battle of the Gliches and the Mikrons," etc. The Gliches and Mikrons (the protagonists of the Space Mission) have their own themes, or sounds. There seems to be little or no attempt at creating "songs." Tracks with drums never break out into any sort of rhythmic groove. Still, lots of Moog knob twiddling, evoking laser gun battles, galactic winds, moody atmospheres, etc. Some of the bass lines are pretty deep and tasty.

There is a short synopsis of the imagined Fantasy Space Mission on the back cover, which seems rather pointless.