October 30, 2017
HALLOWEEN TAPE REVIEW #30: Alfred Hitchcock Ghost Stories
Title: Alfred Hitchcock Ghost Stories
(AKA Alfred Hitchcock Presents Ghost Stories for Young People)
Manufacturer: Wonderland Golden Records
Year: Cassette 1988, original recording 1962
Total Runtime: 44 Min
Repeats on both sides: No
Stories: Six different ones
Music: "The Funeral March of a Marionette" written by Charles Gounod (The Theme to "Alfred Hitchcock Presents") also some incidental music
Narration: All narration by John Allen
Distinct Audio: N/A
Review: This less-than-official-looking version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents Ghost Stories for Young People seems to be a legitimate reissue of the 1962 album which was also produced by Wonderland Golden Records. The decision to revisit the title in 1988 may have been due to the newfound popularity of cheap Halloween tapes, or it may have been an attempt to profit from the mid-80s version of the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" TV series.
Alfred himself provides a 'wrap around' for the six stories. They are expertly narrated by John Allen, and enhanced with an effective soundtrack. The tales come from all different sources, and some may be familiar to those already interested in the genre. "The Haunted and the Haunters" seems to be a loose interpretation of Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1859 short story of the same name. It's tone is a bit more dire than the rest, which are rarely frightening. "Johnny Takes A Dare (The More The Merrier)" is very similar to "Wait 'Til Martin Comes Home" as it appears on Scary Spooky Stories (1973).
"The Helpful Hitchhiker" is the same urban legend that inspired Red Sovine's "Phantom 309," and the Large Marge scene in "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)." "The Open Window" by Saki was first published in 1914, and a different recording of it appears on Troll Records' Thrillers and Chillers (1973). "Jimmy Takes Vanishing Lessons" was first published as a Childrens book in 1950.
Though the source material isn't always the strongest, it's fun to light up a room with the spooky sounds of yesteryear. It's also three hundred times better if you listen to it with a kid.
Rating: 4 of 5