Write Now: Halloween Never Gets Old
By Michael Zabrodsky
“I was working in the lab
late one night
When my eyes beheld
an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise
He did the monster mash”
Whenever I hear those beginning lyrics to “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Picket, I smile.
Since I was a kid, those lyrics meant one thing — Halloween. The song is a novelty from 1962 and mentions several well-known monsters in the lyrics including Dracula, Wolfman, and some zombies. What attracts me to the song after all of these years is the drum beat. It’s a simple kind of surf beat in which it and variations of it have been applied to countless other songs. In my opinion the reason why the beat has been used so many times is because it just fits and many chord progressions can be used with it.
If I hear it at other times of the year, it may sound out of season, but never out of place.
Another song that gets my attention, is “This Is Halloween” from the 1993 movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Written by Danny Elfman, the song lyrics are both scary and funny, and the movie scene totally complements the lyrics. This is a song where I think about the scene because that’s where I heard it, so I didn’t make up visions in my head like some other songs I have heard.
“This is Halloween, this is
And Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” also conjures up thoughts for a scary Halloween — complete with a rap from Vincent Price, who adorned the silver screen in scary movies such as “House of Usher,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Raven.” Price had cameo roles in many TV shows and movies.
But who can forget the video for “Thriller”? I remember seeing it when it premiered on Dec. 23, 1983 on MTV. The video was revolutionary. It had many references to horror films. The dance routine is one of the best.
Halloween is not complete without Charlie Brown. I try to watch “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” when I can. I have seen it again and again, but like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” it brings me back to fond memories of my younger days.
I have dressed up as many characters over the years for Halloween. I’ve been Evel Knieval, a football player, Peter Parker, Clark Kent, Austin Powers, and Casper The Friendly Ghost. As I got older, my two favorite characters to dress up as for Halloween were Dracula and Batman. I would alternate between the two. Growing up, I was intrigued by Dracula, and the lore behind the character. Aside from “The Great Gatsby,” “Dracula” is one of my favorite books. Batman always was my favorite comic book hero, and he still is.
There are two 1970s TV shows that remind me of Halloween: “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” and “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.”
Kolchak, a wire service reporter in Chicago, investigated weird crimes which involved the supernatural. In the hour-long show, Kolchak used his wit and skill to thwart evil. Usually at the end of the show, he would be dictating into his tape recorder a recap of the story the viewer had just seen. Ironically, those stories never made it on to the wire.
The Canadian children’s comedy sketch series “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein” showed a lighter side of evil. It was produced by CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario. My favorite character was The Librarian because he tried to scare viewers by reading non-scary literature. A very old man sits in a chair reading poems, and stories, and asks questions like “Are you ready now for your daily session with fear?” If you look on Youtube, you can find old episodes of the show.
The show’s beginning, incidentally, shows Vincent Price reciting a poem about The Castle Frightenstein. It’s seems scary, but once the first sketch airs, the mood becomes fun.
When read or hear the words like ghoul, ghost, vampire, Franskenstein, zombie, monster, and Transylvania, I think of Halloween because growing, those words were used during the month of October when discussing what to wear on the holiday.
Halloween never gets old.