Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vinyl Memories

"So, you want to visit a haunted house, hmmmm? I think I have one that should suit you, that is, if you dare follow me. You will? Fine. Shall we go then? Ah, here we are a the door. Happy haunting."

There are many things in my youth that had a cumulative effect on my lifelong love for Halloween and all things spooky. The 'Halloween' Holiday Book you can find on my website, our life-size 'Witchy-Poo' who flew on our front porch in the month of October, and seeing old Universal monster movies at our small town movie theater's Saturday matinees are but a few I can think of off the top of my flattened head. But one of the biggest influences of my young, macabre life was one particular 1974 vinyl record produced by Pickwick, appropriately titled: SOUNDS TO MAKE YOU SHIVER!

If you were a child of the '70's (or have ever read a haunted blog in your life) you probably remember this one. Frankenstein smashing out of a haunted castle, Dracula spreading his cape wide at the top, the Wolf Man looking hungry down below, and a multitude of other ghosts, goblins, and creatures running wild on the album's cover. Now, you must understand, that this is not a record that I simply played on our front porch on Halloween night. I played this record EVERY SINGLE DAY. Until it became so scratched that I had memorized where the skips would occur and would help the needle along so I could continue listening. This went on for years until eventually the album simply would no longer play at all - particularly Side 1, which was a long, continuous track of your journey through the haunted house (Side 2 was isolated tracks of all the sounds effects heard on Side 1).

My older brother and I used to play this late at night when we were supposed to be getting ready for bed, completely terrifying ourselves before the lights went out - especially at the part where the narrator, long an old friend of ours, would implore us: "Don't...look...behind you!" So many great memories from years of listening horror, back before cable TV, video games, cell phones, VCR's, home computers and the internet. It was just a cheap turntable with crummy speakers and a boy's imagination at work.

I'm sure I could track down a CD of this album now - or even the actual vinyl - but for some inexplicable reason I have chosen not to. Maybe I just want to hold on to the memories of those sounds and the narrator's chilling voice...I don't know. I suppose some day I'll break down and eventually purchase a copy - if nothing else it may be worth owning a vinyl copy simply to put its amazing artwork in a frame and hang it on my wall. I often wonder if my folks still have this record (or ANY of their old records aside from Christmas) in a box somewhere in their attic. I haven't seen it in decades, and back then when an album no longer played it was simply thrown away. Now THAT'S scary!

Track Listing:

1. A Night In A Haunted House
2. Witch Laugh
3. Count Dracula And His Victim
4. Screams & Groans
5. Moans & Groans
6. Cats
7. Dogs
8. Banging Shutter
9. Phantom Piano
10. Creaky Door
11. Breaking Windows
12. Thunder
13. Wind
14. Frankenstein's Monster Breaks Loose
15. Hooting Owl

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