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
Music: An all too short musical introduction and outro
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