October is finally upon us, and that means it's time to dig into our favorite Halloween mood music – whether it's horror movie soundtracks, spooky-themed bands or dark soundscapes – to add that extra something to your homemade haunt, costume party, game night, movie night, or whatever keeps your Jack O' Lantern lit. Depending on your taste, just about anything we've covered here in our music reviews would fit the bill – but as a confessed soundtrack junkie, nothing gets me in the spirit better than the vintage vibe of classic horror scores. That includes original soundtrack albums, of course, but there are also some electronic and prog-rock artists out there who harness that same vibe for their own works, offering a new spin on old school. I was recently introduced to an electronic musician who not only pays creative tribute to those classic movie grooves, but has found creative and fun ways to pull them out of the background and onto the dance floor.
UK-based artist Sam Haynes accomplishes this with Welcome to the Horror Show, a full-length album of eighteen entertaining and atmospheric Halloween tracks – all of which draw upon the unique and memorable synth horror movie scores of the '70s and '80s (and some reach back even further). Rather than simply rehashing the signature electronic tones of John Carpenter, Goblin and other beloved composers, Haynes goes back to the elements that made those classic tracks tick, using lo-fi analog textures, pulses and patterns as the foundation for new and original compositions. Where artists like Zombi, Umberto, Anima Morte, Giallos Flame and Bottin riff on the progressive rock elements of those works, Haynes places his emphasis on the more cinematic, atmospheric elements (calling to mind another FEARnet fave, Midnight Syndicate), then builds a beat-based repertoire on that foundation. The results will feel right at home in the foggy, cobwebbed corridors of a Halloween attraction, but also command your attention as groovy stand-alone works... some of which will get you out of the shadows and up on your feet. An ideal sample of this balance between old-school synth cinema and modern EDM is the darkly textured “Ghost House,”
After a deceptively mellow vintage organ intro, a dark and buzzing down-tempo synth bass line and heavy beat injects this track with ghoulish energy, breaking for a light motif reminiscent of the unforgettable Phantasm main theme. (The track later gets a wicked revamp in the “Fettdog Mix,” which strips that motif to the basics to make way for a tense, glitched-up electro dirge.) A familiar Night of the Living Dead sample kicks loose an up-tempo Euro club-style EBM groove in “Zombie,” and there's a goofy but infections funhouse feel to the shuffling beat of “Halloween Night.” '80s synth textures blend with my old friend the theremin (an electronic staple of '50s horror and sci-fi) for “Endless Nightmare,” built on a simple but irresistibly clicky beat. “Scarecrows,” which is low-key and moody in its original piano-based form, gets amped up a bit with a slow, creeping beat for the “Cheekyboy Dub” remix.
Roughly half the tracks on Welcome to the Horror Show employ this fusion of old and new styles, but when Haynes chooses to set the rhythmic elements aside and summon pure cinematic atmosphere, he brings forth quite effective mood pieces – some of which will warm you with nostalgia like a hot mug of cider, while others provide genuine chills (and maybe a jump or two). You can picture Dr. Phibes at his organ in cuts like "31-13", while the harpsichord line of "The Dark" has a slick giallo flavor, and the theremin returns for a more serious role in “Midnight at the Funhouse.” Tracks like the simple but effective “Doll House” and "Séance" build upon creepy lullaby themes or piano patterns by layering in dark strings, ghostly choirs and the occasional hard impact or shock-stinger; one of the coolest in this crop is "Ghost Train," which employs a low John Carpenter-style piano and growling synth strains to create a thick, ominous tension
Sam Haynes has created an 18 track CD that is remarkable. He has made a electronic landscape that recreates the wonderful horror soundtracks for the 1970s & 80s.
The music is created for Halloween and Sam also has a Facebook page dedicated to all things Halloween, and Welcome To The Horror Show is the perfect accompaniment for all things spooky.
Right now the pleasantries are out of the way can I just say this is a fantastic release that has been undersold by Sam himself. There is huge talent here and this is a beautiful electro horror release that stands alone as a full soundtrack and not just simply a CD to be played at Halloween parties.
From truly atmospheric soundscapes to fear inducing thumping beats Welcome To The Horror Show is a must for any horror film fan and soundtrack enthusiast . But don’t read about me waffling on about it , get your arse over to his website and check it out for yourself.
A unexpected masterpiece and I can’t wait for more of Sam’s work, check it out and buy it now!! - UKHorrorscene.com
Sam Haynes’ Welcome to the Horror Show: Haunt Music for Halloween 2013 can be compared to most closely with Midnight Syndicate music. While it doesn’t have the depth that a Syndicate piece does, it is haunting and well done with great sound and conveys a spooky mood really well. It’s probably fair to say that this is what we want all our Halloween CDs to sound like.
There are 18 tracks to shiver your spine and some of them include well placed vocal additions. You know, those creepy sayings or sound bites that help to enhance the musical and make it more layered and stalkery / killery like.
The songs include many instruments and sounds and it does have a nice layered feeling, so there’s a lot there but it’s not heavy handed at all. It’s kind of like a Master DJ was spinning these frightening beats in the cemetery get down on Halloween night.
The other bonus to this… it’s new. It’s not the same old hum drum songs that we play each year to get us in the mood. While those songs may be loved by all and have a special place, I’m all for FRESH additions to my petrifying playlist. New plus well done and sounds professional, yes I think I’ll take one and I hope you will to.
The list of music is great for haunts of all kinds, it’s also nice just listening to it or even some great background party music if you’re looking for a change up between the dance off and the Monster Mash. For $5 bucks you can’t really beat it. I mean for what you get, it’s a hell of a bargain! - Mr frights.com