October 06, 2017

HALLOWEEN TAPE REVIEW #6: Spooky Noises of Halloween

Title: Spooky Noises of Halloween
Manufacturer: Downtime Broadcasting 
Year: 1988
Total Runtime: 30 min
Repeats on both sides: No
Stories: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Music: Bach’s "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" and various organ music. Spacey synths come in during the second half.
Narration: No
Distinct Audio: Not really
Review:  It seems that Downtime Broadcasting (an outfit that released a few Christmas albums) used Haunted Horror:Terror on Tape as a basis for Spooky Noises of Halloween. Then, in order to give it their personal touch (or perhaps mask stolen audio) they piled on more noises and music. It sounds like they were limited to a stock effects library, grabbing anything loosely considered frightful. So it’s heavy on animals and weather as opposed to monsters and ghosts. The album is muddy, and randomly placed effects get overcrowded. The organ music that underscores everything seems out of place, but it's fun to imagine a church sanctuary with all kinds of crazy stuff going down. Near the end there are some flowery melodies that may have been left there by accident.

The real story here is the assortment of corporate logos on the cover. What sort of board meetings, paper trails, and conference calls are behind this thing? Adding to the complexity is the fact that there are two variations of this tape. One gives top billing to Hook’s Dependable Drug Stores, and the other features a logo for Pay ‘N Save, a Northwestern retailer. (Both businesses closed down in the early ‘90s.) Hallmark had several Halloween cassette promotions that likely paved the way for American Greetings sponsorship, but the Pepsi connection is mysterious. This was orchestrated by either the greatest, or worst marketing firm of the 1980s. The awesome Frankenstein cassette on the cover is the perfect metaphor for this whole conglomeration.
Rating: 2 of 5

No comments: