October 14, 2017

HALLOWEEN TAPE REVIEW #14: Thriller Chiller Sound Effects (Frankenstein label)

Title: Thriller Chiller Sound Effects (Frankenstein label) 
Not to be confused with Fun World's first release of Thriller/Chiller Sound Effects
The CD release is called 55 Minute Horror Sounds
Manufacturer: Fun World
Year: Unknown (circa late 80s)

Total Runtime: 45 Minutes 
Repeats on both sides: Yes. Also repeats within each side
Stories: No   
Music: An all too short musical introduction and outro
Narration: No
Distinct Audio: The music. Also an extra loud rooster.
Also the phrase, "You've entered the wrong door...and you're not coming out alive"
Review: You know the song that says "This is Halloween, this is Halloween?" Well, that's how I feel about this tape. The opening theme blew me away the first time I heard it. It has a somber, Dark Ages quality, but it's been filtered through the charm of a Casio. To me, those minor notes capture a sense of mischief and mystery like nothing else. After the forty-nine second melody ended I immediately skimmed through the whole recording wanting more, but it only repeats again at the tail end.  

As far as I can tell, the tune has no name, and there's no known writer or performer. It's as though the essence of the season was mystically forged onto magnetic tape. A couple years after I bought the album I heard the same music coming from a battery-operated jack-o-lantern in a Wal-Mart (back when it still had a dash in the name). It was another Fun World product, leading me to wonder if it originated with the company. As far as I'm concerned, this is the "Jingle Bells" of Halloween. If only I can convince my family to play it at my funeral.

No sound effects could live up to that musical intro in my mind, but there's a lot that I appreciate on Thriller Chiller. It opens with crickets, the universal night song that is surprisingly absent on the majority of Halloween tapes. Once a woodland setting is established, a series of terrors are ushered in. While the common practice is to thrust the listener into mayhem, Thriller Chiller rolls out the scares as though you're following a path and encountering each fright one by one. There's a loose "stormy, monster-infested forest" theme (Although that doesn't explain the recurring sound of high heels on a smooth floor.)

But that name— why would Fun World give a superior new recording the same name as their previous sound effects album— an album that used stolen audio from Horrible Sounds of Halloween which was stolen from Halloween Horrors. It's possible that they got into legal trouble. It's also possible that they just wanted to be able to use the packaging interchangeably...

My other theory is that Halloween sound effect tapes rank so low on the collective care-o-meter that nobody involved was willing to invest an extra shred of time or creativity. These albums are intended to be as ephemeral as the sticker on a rotten banana, or the cardboard you wrap around a disposable coffee cup to keep from burning your hand. Furthermore, understanding this fact of life is a healthy way of thinking that will prevent one from spending precious money on obsolete relics of yesteryear, or wasting hours listening to people who are now long retired, pretend to be monsters, or typing thousands of words that amount to a guessing game about what happened thirty years ago, with no real evidence to stand on. But that's just a theory.

Rating: 5 of 5


Nostalgiakidd125 said...

Oh boy! I love this tape...I had it on CD first, and got the tape later...however, I've got quite a shock for you...there...is...another...version...of Thriller/Chiller!
and...it's different than BOTH of these beautifully reviewed versions.
This version uses the orange label, but THIS TIME, it's a "brighter" orange, and comes in the new packaging (in fact, it's the same one you've got pictured here on the right side)
It's different...very different.I'll have to upload it here in a bit so you can hear it. It's a very strange tape.

Kirk D. said...

I saw your mention of the other version on the Halloween forum. Do you think it's a legit release? Is that the one with the thicker text? Either way, I'm eager to see what you've got!

Anonymous said...

Nope, the thicker text version, is just a badly edited version of tbe rip-off thriller/chiller. No THIS one is completely different with a different cassette casing, as well as different soundtrack! I'll upload tommorrow if I get the chance

Hauntedheadful said...

I,ve been waiting to see if you reviewed this cassette!It's been in my possession for about 20 years now, and I think my first opinion of it was that it kinda sucked.I think I was spoiled by the great spooky albums I used to have in the 70's.This cassette has moved twice with me, and has been sitting on a media shelf in the living room of my current house for 15 years.My brother recently gifted me with a bunch of well preserved albums,including Pickwick's Sounds to make you Shiver,Disney's Haunted Mansion, and Pickwick's Monster Mash/Sounds of Terror,to name a few.That prompted me to give this cassete another try.This time around, it has a sentimental value,sounds from a time where I was younger,stronger, and more financially challenged.My copy is the orange labeled cassette,and while it has no listings on the cassette, somehow I know that the music was about a haunted forest.How could I know that,short of reading your article?There must have been something written on the cardboard backing, which is long gone.

Kirk D. said...

NostalgiaKidd- Bring it on then!

Thanks for sharing! I'm with you, it took some time for me to fully appreciate it. Comparing it to other releases really shows off it's strengths. The nostalgia factor is always hard to let go of. I got this one as an adult and it still managed to win me over.

I'm pretty sure the haunted forest theme is telepathically implanted on the listeners.

Freddy Krueger said...

It's strange. I had a completely different version of this tape. It had the same Frankenstein/lightening bolt packaging, and the same black cassette tape with the same orange label that read "thriller/chiller". It was neither of the ones I heard on this site. The tape started with silence, then a LOUD, blood-curdling scream, followed by several more, then came one moan after another, and then a series of evil laughs. The tape was divided into sections that way, which was lame, but it was still one of the most terrifying Halloween albums I've heard. Some more details I remember are an evil, witchy sounding woman with an echo-ey voice saying "Coooome to meeee, little girl. Cooome tooo meeeeee.", Satanic-sounding chanting, someone being stabbed to death by an evil, laughing creature, Dracula saying something like "I'm going to drink your blood! Don't tremble! It will only hurt a bit." Followed by Igor saying "Oh master, I like this one!" Does anyone else remember this tape? Every time I see a picture of the packaging and the tape, I think I've found it, only to be disappointed.