Tehee: Leave 'Monster Mash' off Halloween playlist

The Fresno BeeOctober 23, 2013 

Note to anyone who plans to include "Monster Mash" on his or her Halloween party playlist this year: Don't.

I realize it's an unofficial holiday theme, that it's been played in heavy rotation every Halloween since Bobby "Boris" Pickett released the thing in 1962. It has its own website.

It's campy fun, yes, and harkens back to a time before Halloween had so much gore and sexy kitten costumes.

But I'd like to get through one year without having to hear "It was a graveyard smash" in that terrible Dracula drawl.

While we're at it, you can pass on Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters" theme, too.

I'll allow Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Here are 7 other alternative songs for your Halloween playlists:

"Halloween," Misfits

This '80s underground punk classic perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Halloween without being overtly schlocky. Its opening line says it all: "Bonfires burning bright, pumpkin faces in the night, I remember Halloween."

The Misfits pioneered a genre of horror-themed punk and you could create an entire playlist from their catalog alone (See: "Braineaters," "Vampira," "Ghouls Night Out").

"Pet Sematary," The Ramones

Horror icon Stephen King was a huge fan of these punk-rock pioneers. He tapped the band to record the title track for the 1989 film adaptation of "Pet Sematary." It plays over the closing credits.

 

 

"Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare All)," Type O Negative

This song takes its title from the hair dye of choice for goth girls everywhere, and references both Nosferatu and Lily Munster (and clove cigarettes). Peter Steele's baritone vocals and enunciation on lines like "On her milk white neck, the Devil's mark," are spine chilling.

The album version runs close to 12 minutes long, so you may want to look for the radio edit.

"I Put a Spell on You," Screamin' Jay Hawkins

This song has been covered by everyone from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Bette Midler (in the film "Hocus Pocus"), but Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 1956 version evokes a playful voodoo vibe that's perfect for Halloween.

"My Mind Playing Tricks On Me," Geto Boys

In all fairness, the Houston rap band's 1991 track "Chuckie" is the better choice here. Based on the horror film "Child's Play," the song has better rhymes, if you care about that kind of thing.

It's also completely NSFW (not safe for work). Or anyplace else, probably.

"My Mind Playing Tricks On Me" isn't a bad second choice, with its story of a bad guy haunted by his own demons. It also has a guitar riff that will stick in your head for days.

"Stalking After Midnight," Stellar Corpses

Santa Cruz band Stellar Corpses plays up the horror themes with its mix of punk rock and rockabilly. Here, they give Patsy Cline's classic "Walking After Midnight," a sinister twist.

"Dead Babies," Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is a fright-night classic and any number of his songs could be included on this list. Except "Feed My Frankenstein." That song is awful.

"Dead Babies" got some serious backlash when it was released in 1971, well before Cooper started beheading himself on stage.

The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6479, jtehee@fresnobee.com or @joshuatehee on Twitter and Instagram. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com

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