October 19, 2020

THE HUNT FOR 'SIDE A'










The photo above is the result of a three-year-long hunt that began when I was reviewing a series of vintage Halloween cassette tapes in 2017. The Chamber of Horrors by TONY (USA) has carved its spooky face into the Jack-O'-lantern of Halloween history thanks to its unique, 'decent into madness' approach to sound effects. (See my original review.) But the common release of the recording is literally only half the story. 

Chamber of Horrors was originally the B-side to a more elaborate production called The Haunting: A Horror Story. The rarity of this edition, and the obscured "Side A" and "Side B" markings (see photo below) suggest that it was discontinued and reissued with the Chamber of Horrors sound effects repeated on both sides. Was it it simply too terrifying for young Halloween consumers, as some have suggested?

The second edition containing the same effects loops on both sides

The elusive variant with its perfect ghost and haunted house artwork became the object of my obsession. My hunt didn't involve trips into the wilderness, or even the act of leaving the chair where I currently sit. However, it was an ebay adventure in perseverance and timing. I laid 'email search alert' traps, but the delay from inbox to web site amounted in two painfully lost auctions. I resorted to compulsively live searching whenever I found time. This went on for two years. It was ultimately a late night ebay visit where I, armed with a litany of generic search terms, found it in a nondescript lot, and finally "buy-it-now'd" my way to the grail. The joyous victory was intensely magnified by this year's harrowing months of uncertainty.

Now I share my delight with you. After years of being conspicuously absent from Youtube, I have uploaded the precious Side A. Please enjoy it and use it to help make yours the happiest possible Halloween!

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