October 15, 2017
HALLOWEEN TAPE REVIEW #15: Disney's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House (1979 version)
Title: Disney's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House
Manufacturer: Walt Disney Productions
Total Runtime: 30 Min (roughly)
Repeats on both sides: No
Music: A few bits of incidental music
Distinct Audio: Everyone seems to have their own favorite part
Review: Disney's impact on the Halloween album industry is immeasurable. By the 1960s Disney had amassed three decades' worth of state-of-the-art sound effects from short subjects, feature films, educational programming, and theme park attractions. Disneyland Records had been adapting Disney fixtures into audio programs since 1956. It was inevitable that the two would meet. That happened in 1964 when Disney released the first edition LP of Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. (The second, updated release is the subject of this review.)
Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House, 1964
However, it seems that this was not the first Halloween sound effects record to exist. If the dates are correct, that honor would go to Hallowe'en Spooky Sounds from Sounds Records which was released two years earlier in 1962. (Note that I'm not counting spooky music albums. Those date further back.)
Hallowe'en Spooky Sounds, Sounds Records,1962
There's another release by Sounds Records that also claims a 1962 copyright called Spooky Sound Effects. But that doesn't seem possible considering one of the tracks, "Storm, Wind, Cats, Dogs, Squeaking Door," is actually a recording called "The Haunted House" that was lifted from the 1964 Disney record and played at half speed. The '62 date may reference the inclusion of content from a third Sounds Records release called Music For Monsters.
Spooky Sound Effects, Sounds Records, year unknown (though the internet says 1961 and '62)
The 1979 version of Chilling Thrilling Sounds contains almost all new content. Side one is a series of vignettes called "Frightening Situations" and side two is full of "Eerie sound effects" that let you "create your own tales of terror." The biggest break from it's predecessor is the lack of narration. This gives each recording different functionality. Also different are fans' opinions as to which is superior.
Both albums set the standard for Halloween records and are recommended to anyone who wants to hear Hollywood quality production values, and professional audio artistry that wasn't hindered by any lack of resources. This isn't for everyone because the truth is, much of the appeal of Halloween records lies in their improvised nature. Chilling Thrilling Sounds will also disappoint anyone seeking a direct connection to the Haunted Mansion ride. Those listeners should look for the 1969 album called The Story and Song of the Haunted Mansion.
Well, this is what happens when I get all caught up in facts and historic details— I forgot to make a single joke.
Rating: 5 of 5