Play That Spooky Music, White Boy

We’re about halfway through the month of October now and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of controlling my childish urges to talk about nothing but Halloween. But, that little bit of self-discipline breaks down today.

I love Halloween and all of its accompanying activities. The candy, the pumpkins, the costumes, the cider, the hayrides, the haunted houses, the parties, the scary movies If society would permit it, I’d still be trick or treating door to door. But, at 21 I was told by several candy-withholding neighbors that I had to stop. Adult life can be so cruel sometimes.
My insides make good pie!

Living here in the UK now, I’m happy to celebrate this awesome holiday in any way that I can find. Because weirdly, they don’t do it up as much as us Yanks do. It’s a shame because loads of British cities feel like they’re just built for the occasion. Edinburgh, I’m talking to you with all of your castles, fog, and witches! Plus, wasn’t Halloween born over here (well, in nearby Ireland anyway)?

Last year, my girlfriend and I decided to chance it and hit the village in costume on the big night–see what parties were at the bars on Canal Street. Canal Street is the main drag of the Gay Village here in Manchester. So, if there was a Halloween party to be found, it would have undoubtedly been found there. What we found was horribly disappointing. Sure, a few stragglers had made the effort to dress up but it was minimal both in numbers and the level of effort. There were basically three lesbians halfway dressed as pirates (if you can call a bandanna and a chain wallet a costume) and one gay dude wearing a cowboy hat. We were Wolverine and Zorro–proper costumes. We stood out so much that, literally, Japanese tourists were taking pictures with us. So, there you go.

This year, we’ve planned things a little better. I’m really looking forward to our Halloween event actually. We’ve splashed out a little bit and booked tickets to go and see a special Halloween concert at the philharmonic. It’s a night programmed to celebrate great Halloween music. They’re going to play both classical pieces like “Night on Bald Mountain” and pop culture classics like the theme to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. This, finally, brings us to today’s great thing.

49. John Murphy’s Score for 28 Days Later

This score, I think (especially and specifically its already iconic track “In the House-In a Heartbeat”, is a fantastic addition to anyone’s ultimate Halloween play-list. Liverpudlian John Murphy has scored an atmospheric and eerie piece of music that is also very listenable. You’ll probably recognize it as soon as you hear it. It’s the type of music that gets swiped all the time for commercial use. For instance, the track has already been used in the trailers for both Beowulf and I Know Who Killed Me.

Thanks to Gamefreak 198 for posting it on youtube. I have embedded it for you now to enjoy.


Partial credit for this track certainly lies with Canadian post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This is cut from an interview with the director of 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle. I’ve taken it from RES Magazine.

RES: What other elements contribute to the film’s relentless feel?

BOYLE: Music. We have this Godspeed You Black Emperor track at the beginning. They are amazing. We went to meet them and they were very reluctant as normally they don’t license their work for features. They were a lovely bunch of people. This slow, very elegiac start which their music builds from virtually nothing to an apocalyptic crescendo; it was a fantastic template for the film. And what we did was use that track at the beginning and then the composer, John Murphy, took it as inspiration for the end, which has a rhythmic looping track that builds and builds and builds. You are trapped in the headlights, it’s too late, you can’t get out, it’s getting louder and louder….

The nine piece band is know for its long, ornate and orchestral compositions. East Hastings is the track in question and it’s about eighteen minutes in length. I’m not embedding it precisely because it is so monstrously long, but it is pretty ace. So, here’s a link if you want to listen to it on youtube. East Hastings

Other songs that could do some serious ass-kicking on a Halloween mix include these selections (you have to go a bit dark and a bit light as you’ll see): The theme to Signs, “The Time Warp”, “That Old Black Magic”, “I Put A Spell On You”, “The Monster Mash”, Theme to Flash Gordon, “Flight” from Psycho, Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, Theme to The Addams Family, “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter and for something really scary throw in Britney Spear’s cover of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll”. Terrifying and godless.

Now, I don’t know that the orchestra is going to put “In a House-In a Heartbeat” on their set list for the evening but if they do, I will mess myself in a combination of glee and terror.

By the way, we’re going through the effort of putting costumes together again this year. The flyer for the show promises fabulous prizes to the most scary costumes. I have a feeling that we might win by default.

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