Halloween records are about as common as kernels of Kandy Korn around this time of year, so when Monster Party 2000
begins with the sound of a coffin lid creaking open and a Transylvanian voice saying, "Good evening, boys and ghouls," it might be hard to suppress a yawn. But just keep listening. Sure, there are plenty of cartoonish "Monster Mash"-style rockers here and new versions of the themes from The Munsters
and Young Frankenstein
, but there's more: Los Straitjackets, Satan's Pilgrims and the Space Cossacks offer instrumentals; the Woggles contribute "Dracula's Daughter," a ferocious go-go romp about dating a girl whose parents you really don't want to meet; and Freddy Fortune fires up "Dracula's Deuce," a jaunty hot-rod tune with truly hilarious lyrics ("His engine runs smooth and it's always in tune/His mechanic is the Creature from the Black Lagoon"). And on a much darker note are hardcore punk numbers from the Cobrajets and Electric Frankenstein, as well as Deadbolt's genuinely unsettling "Billy's Dead" which -- with its explicit reference to necrophilia -- is not for laughs.
But what really sets this disc apart from other Halloween compilations is its insightful acknowledgement of another famous date in October - Oct. 26, 1881 -- when legendary lawman Wyatt Earp faced off against the Clantons in Tombstone, Ariz. Appropriately, the standout track amid Monster Party's generous 65 minutes is the Hellbenders' eerie, twangy "Ghosts From Boot Hill." Linking the legends of Oct. 26 and 31, it depicts undead Earps and Clantons locked in an eternal, ghostly battle through the afterlife. Drenched in equal parts blood and reverb, "Ghosts From Boot Hill" will continue to haunt you, long after this year's costumes are stowed away and the last morsel of candy is consumed.
The Woggles perform at the Earl, Fri., Oct. 27.