6’+ Episode 219 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“It’s time to say ‘Rest In Peace’ to 2017, but not before celebrating some of the best music that came out in the back half of the year. With tracks from THE LONG LOSTS, MUMMULA, HIGH HEELS, TOTAL DEATH MECHANICS, and more. Plus, Monstermatt Patterson makes and breaks his New Year’s resolution all within THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Wreck The Halls

Remember my article about custom promos for Godzilla marathons from last year? It turns out that I missed one created by the El Rey Network from 2014! You can watch said promo online thanks to Evan Saathoff:

I would have ranked it higher than TNT’s classic “Godzillabash ’94” promo if this had a higher budget and used a costume that wasn’t intentionally ridiculous. El Rey is running its fourth annual “Kaiju Christmas” marathon today, so you can tune in for some Toho goodness if that promo made you want to see more Godzilla action.

Merry Christmas!

6’+ Episode 218 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Happy Holidays! After the Naughty, it’s the Nice’s turn to celebrate this wonderful time of the year. Get into the spirit with songs from LOS STRAITJACKETS, PAUL MAULED AND THE FURIOUS ELVES, TOMB DRAGOMIR, DARKMOOD and more. Monstermatt Patterson replaces the Elf on the Shelf and hilarity follows on THE MONSTERMATT MINUTE, plus a special gift reveals the TRUE meaning of Christmas.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

6’+ Episode 217 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Bah Humbug! During this time of year, it’s so tempting to be naughty…so here’s an episode with naughty music from THE ANGRY SNOWMANS, CIRCUS PIG!, MISGIFTS, CANDY CORN FOR BREAKFAST and more. Monstermatt Patterson’s 30+ year-streak of being on the Naughty List is unbroken, thanks to another installment of the MONSTERMATT MINUTE.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The GdL16 Chanukkah Flashback

Finding Chanukkah-related horror stuff is hard. Thankfully we managed to come up with enough material on the subject to match up with each day of the Festival of Lights! So think of this article as the 9th candle (also known as the shamash candle) on the menorah formed by these eight crazy frights:

Cybernetic Ghost of Chanukkah Past from the Future
Stone Golem
Bubbe’s Hannah Cat (Hanukkat)
Happy Chanukkill!
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
Hanukkah Horror

But this doesn’t mean we won’t ever do any more updates on the subject. If we ever find more material, you had better believe we’ll post more installments. But you can still enjoy the Chanukkah music in each year’s holiday episode(s) of our podcast until that time comes!

Happy Chanukkah!

6’+ Episode 216 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Lights…give me some Christmas lights! Here’s a whole eyeful of colorful glittering sparklers, as we have some hued tunes from THEE TSUNAMIS, THE SPASTIKS, ANGRY SNOWMANS, WOLFMEN OF MARS, and so much more. Monstermatt Patterson isn’t color blind, but he’s tone deaf on a MONSTERMATT MINUTE, and Kraig Khaos works blue on another KILLER CUT.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Christma(dnes)s VIII

The photograph illustrating this article is the work of Jessie Tarbox Beals, who also created the image used in last year’s installment of “Christma(dnes)s.” It was fascinating to read up on her career in photography. I had no idea she was the very first woman to be hired as a staff photographer by an American newspaper! You can learn more at her Wikipedia entry. I personally feel that visiting Wikipedia is a good first step to get an outline before you seek out more reliable sources of information to verify how much of what you learned is correct. I used this method to make sure the Christmas carol “In dulci jubilo” was really written by a mystic and to confirm that the reference to telling ghost stories in “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is a reference to the old British tradition (and not my ears playing tricks on me).

Fans of Gravedigger’s Local 16 should recall my looking at said tradition in 2010, 2011 and 2012. More specifically, how it stemmed from the success of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol all the way back in 1843. But what I didn’t know until recently was how it wasn’t the first time Dickens had wrote a Christmas story about an encounter with the supernatural! That honor goes to his 1836 short story “The Story of the Goblins who stole a Sexton.” Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his own tale of Christmas redemption through spirits in 1885 called “Markheim.” But don’t expect something as cheery as A Christmas Carol. This is the work of the man who created Mr. Hyde, after all.

The lack of a similar mainstream “ghost stories at Christmas” tradition in the USA owes much to Dickens’ iconic tale having been published long after American independence. But why did it take so long for the Krampus and company to reach their current level of popularity in America? The answer involves a surprising amount of alcohol and orgies! Speaking of weird historical facts, “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” was once used as the soundtrack of an ancestor of the modern haunted attraction as we know it! Its being played on the glass armonica (and being heard by an intoxicated audience) probably helped up the scare factor. You can hear Tchaikovsky’s classic being played on that particular instrument if you want to get a better idea of what the experience was like.

Speaking of spooky Christmas music, it’s time for my annual collection of free downloads! This year brings us Brett W McCoy’s “Black Noel,” DANCE WITH THE DEAD’s “Carol of Bells,” Dave of the Dead Productions’ “Haunted Xmas 2014,” DEATH CAT’s “Suicide Snow Beast,” Rachel F. Williams’ “It’s Not Christmas,” Valentine Wolfe’s “Krampusnacht,” Halloween Spooky Deluxe’s “Halloween In Christmas,” Horror Business’ “All I want for Christmas​.​.​. is your death,” Annoying Customer’s “Silent Night, Deadly Night” and X-Ray Mary’s album The Worst Christmas Ever. Those seeking material that’s more festive than fearful should try Hank West & The Smokin’ Hots’ “Christmas in Space,” Debra Mann’s “Set a Place at your Table for a Zombie” and Darkmood’s surprisingly traditional take on “Silent Night.” Last year’s holiday episode of Six Foot Plus has a mix of music that’s both naughty and nice.

“Meredith and CFOX Present Yule-O-Ween” is a fake ad rather than a song, so hopefully its only being able to be streamed shouldn’t be too much of a disappointment. Thankfully the short audio drama The Scarifyers: Mr Crowley’s Christmas can be downloaded for free.

Although Stubbys House of Christmas usually focuses on Christmas music, they also have a Halloween section! Zombie Christmas! is another website which mixes the two holidays. Those who appreciate its selection of projects might enjoy the following tutorial on making a talking ghost prop using a Douglas Fir singing tree.

Geek Crafts has an amazing assortment of horrorday crafts like a Cthulhu tree topper, homemade Plants vs. Zombies stockings, Cthulhu mittens, a Krampus sweater and two papercraft Krampus toys!

I also found templates for a zombie snowflake and a Jack Skellington door decoration. But I doubt you’ll need the template since that last craft is so easy to make. The Everyday Is Halloween Facebook page found some homemade Jack Skellington ornaments, monster and zombie ornaments and zombie silhouette ornaments.

Amazon also has some Halloween-inspired Christmas ornaments, along with a gingerdead cookie cutter, Ghostbusters II Christmas action figures, Lego Santa Darth Maul, an alien Santa sweatshirt, an ugly sweater-style Santa and aliens shirt and a vintage VHS release of Santa Claus Defeats the Aliens. Yes, it is just Santa Claus Conquers The Martians with a new title. I suspect that particular film inspired the creation of the following books (no matter what title it was seen as): Santa Claus vs The Aliens, Aliens Love Panta Claus and Santa Claus vs. The Aliens: A Christmas Wish. Those seeking creepier Christmas books should appreciate The Twelve Frights of Christmas, Slay Bells, Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, Christmas Ghost Stories: A Collection of Winter Tales, Grandpa’s Witched Up Christmas and The Littlest Shoggoth: A Holiday Tale of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Speaking of Lovecraft, the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society released a new, two disc installment of their Dark Adventure Radio Theatre audio drama series! It’s called A Solstice Carol and uses a Christmas framing story to link audio adaptations of “The Festival,” “Pickman’s Model” and “The Outsider” together. As always, there’s plenty of props thrown in for good measure! They’re also offering their famous tentacle stockings for individual sale as well! But the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society isn’t the only one out there with horror holiday offerings on independent web stores. Remember the cover art for the Krampusnacht single by Valentine Wolfe from earlier in this article? It was created for that release by Egregore Design and you can order it as a stationary card, print and many other options! Last but not least, Tweeterhead has a line of official Elvira ornaments!

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on the above sites, downloading from them or constructing a project that’s detailed on them. This also applies to any suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

6’+ Episode 215 is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“Save your fork…there’s pie! Unwrap the foil and take a bite, because this episode is full of some delicious leftovers. BLACK WIDOWS, CULT OF THE PSYCHIC FETUS, HORROR SECTION, SATAN’S PILGRIMS and more will fill your belly. Monstermatt Patterson will talk turkey on the MONSTERMATT MINUTE while Kraig Khaos serves up pie with a KILLER CUT.”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Vintage Thanksgiving Insanity

As I noted last year, several Halloween traditions were once associated with Thanksgiving in America. I first noticed this when I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn back in high school and was completely mystified by the part where children were clearly trick or treating in November. When I noticed how several old magazine articles about Halloween were published in November while working on “More Vintage Halloween Insanity” in 2009, I was even inspired to write about my old high school memory for Thanksgiving that same year.

As the years passed, my research on various Halloween subjects would frequently lead back to Thanksgiving. The Dennison Manufacturing Company (which later merged with Avery International to become the Avery Dennison Corporation) once published “Bogie Books” filled with ideas for activities for Halloween…and Thanksgiving. Sometimes this was noted on the cover but often it would only become obvious after reading the contents. Judging from the various preview images, most of the Thanksgiving material seemed to be the normal sort of thing people today would associate with the holiday. So was this just a case of bundling Thanksgiving stuff into a Halloween guide since they’re both autumn holidays? Perhaps. But seeing turkey decorations and what appears to be a turkey costume shown in the Halloween suggestions hinted that something else could be going on.

Slowly but surely, more information about the matter trickled in while I was looking up other things. A 1912 issue of The Frances Shimer Record noted a “Junior Hop” Halloween party being held in November. This wasn’t conclusive, seeing as it could have originally been planned for October and then delayed, but was still interesting. The costuming guide for a children’s play about holidays suggested reusing an artificial Halloween pumpkin as part of a costume for the character representing Thanksgiving (although Halloween is strangely missing from the play) briefly made me think there was no real connection between the two holidays and that those Halloween articles were probably just the victims of poor scheduling. But it was what I found next which made me realize there might have been another reason. It was a note in a British book about poetry from 1875 which said Robert Burns’ “Halloween” “is always about the first days of November.” Attempting to learn more about this strange revelation led me to an entry from the journal of Queen Victoria! In an entry labeled “Halloween, October 31, 1866-1867” she noted how Protestants “generally keep Halloween on the old day, November 12.” Those who wish to learn more about the once traditional celebration of Halloween in November should pick up Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History by Lesley Bannatyne. Things only got more surprising when I came across an issue of Country Life In America from 1904. In addition to the pumpkin game and carved pumpkin chandelier, that’s also where I found the image illustrating this post! Considering how it came from an article about decorating suggestions for Thanksgiving, this makes the previously discussed costuming guide’s advice about keeping the face of the Halloween pumpkin concealed seem rather unnecessary. But since said guide was published in 1921, more investigation was needed.

Continue reading

Reincarnation Is Theme

Do you believe in the theory of re-incarnation? Do you think that a man dead one hundred years can come back to life and take up his place in the world where he left off? Houdini, in his initial photo-drama for his own company, “The Man From Beyond,” which begins a seven days’ engagement at the Leathbridge Theatre, commencing Monday, has treated this theory in a picturization that is most novel and unique. It is a master production in the fullest sense, with a story of heart interest, mystery and thrills.

Houdini, in the title role, will be seen in a part unlike anything he has heretofore attempted. Aside from an unusual display of histronic talent, he indulges in a series of spectacular feats which outrival any of the mysteries for which he has been long famous.

“The Man From Beyond” opens in the Arctic regions, and tells the story of a man brought back to life after being entombed for one hundred years in a mass of solid ice. How he again takes his place in the advanced state of civilization, meeting what he believes to be a reincarnation of his sweetheart of a century ago, his fight to bring back the love so long denied him, and culminating with his rescuing the girl after being whirled through the surging waters of Niagara rapids to the very brink of the falls itself, provide unusual entertainment.

Houdini is supported by a strong cast, including Nita Naldi, who is soon to be seen as Dona Sol with Rudolfo Valentino in “Blood and Sand.”

[This post is based around one of many prepared articles included in the pressbook for The Man From Beyond. With the exception of adding dating information and theater name in order to mimic how this would have looked in an old newspaper, the article has been unchanged. To see more, head on over to From Zombos’ Closet.]

Daytona of the Dead

I finally found the video I mentioned all the way back in 2011! I also rediscovered the bit in which Pontius and Steve-O originally debuted the characterizations they use in “Daytona of the Dead.” You can enjoy both videos thanks to WildboyzVidz:

I don’t know if I’ll have any material for Day of the Dead article next year, but I’ll see what I can do.

Feliz el Dia de los Muertos!

Happy Day of the Dead!

Music to Haunt By: Halloween

Virgil Franklin
Official Site
Halloween, Lame Duck Digital 2015

How on Earth did I miss out on reviewing Virgil Franklin’s Halloween when it came out in 2015? It’s gets even more bizarre when you factor in how I actually plugged it in my review of his big comeback album! But I can either spend my time reviewing it or trying to figure out how it happened. I think you know which choice I’ll be making.

Otherworldly tones weave in and out of “So It Begins” to create a feeling of mystery and uncertainty. It’s not unlike something you would hear being played on a glass armonica. Of course this would have to be a glass armonica which somehow blends creepy chirping and beeping tones into the musical background at times. The slow snippets of piano work in “By The Fullness Of The Moon” steadily increase in both speed and volume. Eerie backing tones and wordless female vocals soon join them, only for the piano to take over. Soft chimes briefly show up near middle of track (and return for the ending), but it’s the vocal effects that really shine here. There are vocal tones and the alternating female vocals and male vocals. Said vocals seem very distant and also alternate with the piano work. “Worms” offers heavy synth tones with some occasional light touches. But even heavier tones worm their way in (har har), only for light and unearthly tones to assert themselves later. In fact, they often sound like screams. Heavy pounding drums kick off “Midnight Has Come.” The ethereal notes and backing tones are joined by crackling static and other startling effects. It use of tambourines is surprisingly effective! There’s even a point where only the soft, low musical backing is heard, although the drums do eventually return. The use of drums in “Behind You” should remind you of numerous classic movies with a gothic horror feel. The tolling bells and menacing tones are perfectly combined with piano work and gongs. In contrast, “It Hungers” has a comparatively more modern approach. Feedback and other distorted tones create the feeling of something slinking about in the darkness. The distortion effects even get turned all the way up halfway through the track. The addition of sci-fi synths give this potential for use in a laboratory or alien spaceship scene. But even if those synths weren’t present, it would still be a perfect fit for a dark maze. Grasping about in the dark to find your way is so much more thrilling when you can’t shake the feeling that something is after you.

Like many tracks I’ve reviewed for the 2017 countdown, “Insane In The Membrane” has a low, slow opening build. This time said build consists of spacey synths and a soft throbbing tone in back. Sometimes all you can hear is backing! Wailing tones and other synth touches pop in occasionally. When the spacey synths do make their return, they’re kind enough to bring new touches with them. This would work well when played back-to-back with the album’s final track. The pounding drums, ominous string work and horns in “A Bump In The Night” have a surprisingly epic feel. There’s also a music box feel to the background music and a violin solo. The drums come back after a brief pause of silence and the horns take things back to normal. A track with such a grandly dark tone deserves to be used as the soundtrack for an encounter with Dracula or a visit to a room with a spooky throne. “Flies,” as the name might lead you to suspect, uses vaguely insect-like synths to conjure up a swarm of buzzing and flying pests. Although many of the album’s tracks make great use of stereo effects, this one particularly stands out. not only does it make you feel like you’re surrounded, but it could also make people swear a dark room is moving! So take that a step further by directing guests into a room with low lighting conditions and Gianni Sarcone-style optical illusions painted on the walls! Alternately, this could be used as the soundtrack for a stationary vortex tunnel or creepy kitchen. “Carol Ann” is indeed a reference to the Poltergeist franchise, as evidenced by tuning effects and touches of static. Otherworldly and sci-fi synths put in appearances while the backing tones add feel of menace. Speaking of guessing the contents of a track using its name, “Skeleton Dance” is not a haunting ballroom waltz! The music box opening and circus-like percussion music used to represent skeleton bones make it clear this is cute rather than scary. You could use it in a haunted circus or nursery right before the scary stuff happens or just make some dancing skeletons. In “Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble,” blowing winds lead to noises indicating that something slimy is being stirred. Dripping and the occasional moment of bubbling can also be heard, along some evil synth work in back. But the bubbling picks up once the ghostly tones enter the scene. Sewers, swamps and laboratories could get as much use out of this as a cauldron could. Tolling bells start start the appropriately named final track, “Fine’.” Chirping crickets and dark synth work soon take over, with interesting percussion effects and return appearance by the bells at times. Unease is created through its only using synths for awhile, only to layer in bells for the rest of its duration. This practically cries out to be used in a graveyard or haunted forest.

Virgil Franklin’s Halloween proves that good things come to those who wait. All tracks can be looped individually to suit your haunt’s needs and the album could be played on a loop on the holiday it’s named after. But you might want to include some decorations to play off the mechanical and science fiction nature of certain tracks if you go that route. Having Frankenstein’s monster peer out through a window would easily do the trick if you don’t feel like constructing crashed flying saucers and the like. Although his most recent releases after this aren’t ambient, I can confirm he’s hard at work on a new album full of the spooky atmosphere you crave. As a special Halloween treat, Virgil has temporarily made the album available on a “Name Your Price” basis!

Special thanks to Virgil Franklin for use of the image!

Happy Halloween!

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on the above sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). This also applies to the suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

6’+ Episode 214 (The 2017 Halloween Special) is Up!

2013 Logo IconTo quote the description given at the new listing:

“HAPPY HALLOWEEN! This year, KRAIG KHAOS takes STRANGE JASON, THE GDL16 INTERN, MONSTERMATT PATTERSON and IGOR to a cabin in the woods to avoid the monsters lurking around this time of year, but a chance meeting with a store clerk leaves everyone wishing they stayed home. SO MANY GUEST STARS and SO MANY GREAT HALLOWEEN SONGS!”

Remember to email 6′+ (contact at 6ftplus.com) or leave a comment below about the show, whether you liked it or not. Tell your friends, leave a review on iTunes, but above all – enjoy.

You can find all episodes of 6′+ over at the official site as well as on iTunes and Stitcher. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Music to Haunt By: Pumpkin On Your Stereo

Sam Haynes
Official Site
Pumpkin On Your Stereo, Haunt Music 2017

Sam Haynes has been as busy as ever. Something Wicked and Something Wicked II both came out in 2016, with the Bandcamp release of the former having some exclusive bonus tracks. But those who already bought their copy elsewhere can get the same tracks from his side project Scaretrax. Reviewing either of them was tempting, but the delightfully retro cover art of Sam’s 2017 release Pumpkin On Your Stereo was just too cool to resist!

“October Moon” starts things off with a bang. Its extremely catchy opening beat has a dark, moody backing. Pounding tones takes over for a spell and the final result is perfect for general listening throughout the year! But those focusing on October usage should try it at a Halloween party or as a way to entertain people waiting in line at their haunted attraction. “Ghost House (Haunt Mix)” opts for a softer, slower opening. It’s much lower key and creepier than the last track. There’s even some unearthly touches thrown in with the sinister synths for good measure. A whispering sample brings in a louder dance beat similar to the original version. There’s lots of interesting electro variations which overwhelms the pianos in the background. The dueling pianos manage to crawl their way to the front for the last leg of the track, along with some wordless female vocals. Bursts of creepy organ work and eerie synths open “Demons of the undead (original mix)” and the repeating sample about “demons of the undead” gives the track its name. It has a very loud and lively beat. Although creepy variations come in later, this is more of a dance track than a haunted ambience track. “Pumpkin Jack” starts with soft sounds and even softer music. But a plinking music box builds things up. The spooky strings and synth combo which follows does slow down a bit towards the end, but it’s still energetic enough to dance to. There’s soft music box break at times, but it always goes back to normal. Well, except for the ending. “DeathNotes” takes us back to the world of haunted ambience. Its incredibly soft dark opening sounds almost like footsteps at times. It grows in both volume and intensity thanks to a very different music box melody and some pounding tones occasionally appear. Factor in some slow piano work and you have one very unnerving and scary package. This is a perfect choice for rooms involving spooky dolls.

You can barely hear “Shockwaves” at first. But it’s dance time once the electro beats start up! The soft string work in background is a bit moody and there’s some interesting synth noodling, along with the numerous drum machine beats and circus-like music in the back. However, the sound of chirping crickets replaces music for the ending. You can easily get away with using this for a clown room. “Midnight creeping” has dark maze potential thanks to its overall sneaking feel. It’s got soft freaky noises, steady distorted drums, creeptastic beats and even the obligatory music box segment. Let’s not forget the moaning backing tones! “House of the dead” has plenty of dark synth variations and its eerie nature grows along with the volume. Some drum strikes and strings lead to a music box and electro beat. The rest of this dance track is backed by steady drum beats. Piano work opens “The Hypnotist,” but drums and electro touches soon follow. There’s also some interesting lighter touches thanks to his use of a xylophone. This is another track best suited for a haunted playroom or circus scene. The eerie and unearthly beats of “Spirit of Samhain” twist and turn. Other synth tones and music box chimes join in with the drums for a track best suited for parties and entertaining. The low and heavy “Blackest eyes” is filled with hint of menace and unease. I love how well the string work goes with the piano parts. The pounding distorted buildup and woman screaming near end add to the effect. The creepy “Crawlspace” is the most haunt worthy of the dance tracks. This is thanks to its sneaky synth opening, eerie electro touches, distorted vocal snippets and pounding drums. Sam’s trademark electro feel is taken to new heights in “ElectroShock.” This catchy little number also includes scary synths, devious drums and a music box cameo. Its mix of whimsy and spooky make it a perfect match for a people-eating pumpkin! “Samhain” has a soft ‘n slow steady beat. Synthesizers come in later with some soft piano work. It’s mostly synth work for bulk of track, though. It has a low key creepy feel but the drums do admittedly kick things up. “The Coven” is brimming with haunt potential thanks to its creepy piano work and backing tones. The music box, drum bursts and string work help as well. I love the name “Demons of the undead (rave digger mix).” This time around the track has a creepier opening beat and doesn’t use the full sample. The organ work is wonderfully varied and even gets a bit spooky once it slows down. “Deathnotes (remix)” begins with a soft music box tune which gradually builds in volume and synth strikes join in for good measure. Here’s a fun way to use it in the last part of your attraction if you want a more family friendly approach to haunting: Have visitors walk into a monster party! Performers can all wear duplicates of the costumes and makeup used for the previous parts of the haunt to give the impression all the monsters have secretly made their way to a going away party for the guests. You can even use standard Halloween party decorations and have a snack table where free candy is given out!

Pumpkin On Your Stereo is best suited for parties and entertaining those waiting in line for a haunt, although there are a few tracks which can work inside of a haunt. In those cases, looping the tracks individually won’t be an issue but looping the entire album (if at all) is better for the first two options I suggested. It’s also a fun way to make handing out candy on Halloween extra special. I also imagine it would be more fun to sit around listening to this during lulls than listening to scary sound effects while waiting for more trick-or-treaters to arrive. I would have preferred some bonus tracks without samples, especially since it was difficult to make out what the samples actually said this time around. But that is an admittedly minor complaint.

Special thanks to Sam Haynes for the review copy!

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on the above sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). This also applies to the suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

Music to Haunt By: The Haunting

Official Site
The Haunting, Notic Reign Records 2016

The album description for The Haunting bills itself as “one of the scariest albums of all time.” This is a very bold claim and there’s no shortage of things making promises as being “the scariest” and failing to deliver. Which category does it belong in? Let’s find out!

The opening of “House of Horrors” uses tuning sounds and plenty of synth work to create an eerie, off-putting experience. A creaking door is heard, along with electrical equipment and wordless female vocals. Echoes and screams soon follow as the track takes on the feel of music from a horror movie. You’ll know what I mean once you hear it. A pounding buildup leads to breathing and scattered whispers, along with distorted screams and moans. There’s also some vaguely sci-fi touches, string work, monster noises and too many other things for me to even attempt to catalog. An electro beat takes over for a spell and is later joined by whispers, only for the scares to resume control in the end. This would be great for a mad scientist’s laboratory, especially if it is located near rooms featuring captured victims and caged monsters. “Scared” uses strings and LOUD pounding drums to create another track with a cinematic horror feel. This is followed by wind chimes, buzzing and other creepy touches I can’t place. I suspect this inability only makes things more unsettling. The track takes on a mournful feel before a monster is heard breathing, along with menacing whispers and other strange touches. Aside from the pounding and breathing, the track takes on a vaguely science fiction feel with its use of static, distortions and echoing vaguely spacey notes. Metallic distortions and a (brief) sci-fi undercurrent also turn up in “Within the Night.” Most of the track’s synth work has a has a John Carpenter feel, with the sounds of breathing and a faint heartbeat which come later adding to the effect. The buzzing noise is the background is soft at first, but picks up after some impressive string work is heard. Various electrical noises are heard, only for the disturbing sounds and Carpenter feel to eventually return. Closing the track with the distorted sound of a woman screaming was a perfect touch. This could work in an alien room or laboratory, in addition to both dark and chain mazes. You could even use it as the soundtrack for an entire garage haunt. The medium paced “Evil Comes” maintains a constant ominous feel. Don’t be surprised if you start to feel like something is after you while you listen. The sinister synths are aided by piano work, wordless female vocals, frenzied violins and heavily distorted talking. The music here really cranks up the feelings of evil and something not being of this world. So why not use it as the soundtrack for your haunt’s vortex tunnel? “All Hallows Eve” is fairly fast paced and comparatively light compared to the rest of the album. But keep in mind how “light” for this album is still darker than the music you’ll find on other artists’ albums. I don’t know what I love more, the piano work or its overall ambience of evil. Some sci-fi stuff appears about a minute into it but you can get away with using this in non sci-fi haunt setting. The way the swarming synths seem to surround you is an impressive effect. The fact its piano work sounds like something from a John Carpenter movie lets you use this in a slasher room, while the heavy static also allows for use in a room with a haunted television. Come to think of it, you can either use a television playing static as a prop in your slasher room or you can use the haunted TV effect I noted earlier with a mannequin dressed up as a slasher acting as misdirection.

I doubt I have to explain the significance of the title for “Redrum.” Synth work makes its way into the opening ambience and altered horns, along with some chime work similar to what plays when a movie character falls asleep and has a nightmare. The pounding notes and various effects eventually give way to a When Time Ends-style dance break and heavy static. The distorted screams and low, heavy synths make for a killer close. “Book of Blood” has a low opening fade up. Whispers and menacing music box synth notes give way to pounding music about midway through. The half heard and distorted whispers to “Get out” lead to speedy tribal drums and a violin outro. Given the name, I suggest using it in a room with a prop spellbook. Despite what the name implies, “Demon Doll” sounds nothing like the music one would expect to hear in a haunted nursery. The electrical zapping, synths, disturbing background noise and tuning see to that not being an option at all. It has a surprisingly catchy beat while its heavy use of distortions and scary strings live up to the first part of its name. The ending slam and evil voice should provide a nice extra scare no matter where you play it. Otherworldly ambience opens “Cabin Terror.” Is the wailing supposed to be the wind or spirits? You be the judge! The screech which comes later seems to indicate spirits (but it could be bird). Wind can definitely be heard next, along with music that might be somewhat peaceful in a different context. Well, at least before the distorted violin work comes in. The synth tones and vocal (you know which kind) mesh well with said violin. Monstrous sounds take over, complete with howls and echoing screeches. The heavy but trippy ending synths make for a most unique closing. This could easily work in a room set up to look like a haunted cabin scene. This also has potential use as the soundtrack to a theatrical séance also long as the room has a “window” implying there’s a forest outside. The introduction of “Into the Woods” is a mix of creepy sounds and synths which comes complete with unearthly screeches and ominous distortion effects. I’m very fond of how it uses string work to build up tension. A slam and distorted static take the listener to a segment with touches like the music from modern horror films. It overwhelms you with evil for the rest of its running time. Aside from a distant howl, most of the effects are disturbing because you can’t place any of them. The pounding beats dueling with tribal drums works wonders for the overall mood. Be sure to use this in a haunted forest, especially one with wailing trees. “Lost in Darkness” brings us more tribal drums, along with pounding synths and moaning tones. There’s even wordless female vocals at times! It picks up with a scarier feel once the disturbing chirps and other sounds join in. The drums get solos at times but work best when they’re paired with piano work. This is a must for your next dark maze and “The Howling” would work in either a werewolf scene or haunted forest. Its loud, pounding heavy synths and distant high pitched howls see to that. It has more focus on dark synths than the howls and it’s interesting how the howling gets so loud it sounds almost like a siren at one point. The tribal drums and synths create a sense of being chased, so you might want to time a scare at that point. Otherwise you can just let the intense synths reign supreme and fade out. The album’s final track is appropriately named “13.” The deceptively soft opening contrasts with its later focus on loud creepy synths and effects, complete with scattered metal clanks. Distortion abounds and women’s screams all have an echo effect. There’s also some callbacks to the previous tracks mixed in with all the new stuff! The tribal drums and breathing get supplanted by extremely heavy breathing that seems to close the album. Only for the surprise appearance of a woman loudly screaming acting as a jump scare.

Darkmood really outdid himself with this wonderfully unsettling album. It wasn’t just hype; The Haunting really does deserve to be in the running for recognition as the scariest album of all time. It’s easily the scariest album I’ve heard so far. Given how many of the tracks are over five minutes in length, looping individual tracks is no problem. There’s enough of a loose continuity of certain song elements to allow for looping the entire album as well. The only possible negative aspect of this release is how it might have too many sci-fi touches for those searching for pure horror. Playing other artists’ ambient music on Halloween can create an atmosphere of creepy fun for trick-or-treaters, but you should play Darkmood’s The Haunting if you want to make them too scared to even come near your house. That way you can keep all of the goodies for yourself!

Special thanks to Notic Reign Records for the review copy!

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on the above sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). This also applies to the suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

Music to Haunt By: Zombies!!! Official Board Game Soundtrack

Midnight Syndicate
Official Site
Zombies!!! Official Board Game Soundtrack, Linfaldia Records 2016

To say Twilight Creations had a hit on its hands when it released the board game Zombies!!! would be a gross understatement. It’s spawned numerous editions, expansions and sequels (along with numerous bags of plastic figures). So their tapping Midnight Syndicate to come up with a soundtrack makes perfect sense. Who else would makers of a zombie board game with RPG-like elements turn to than the artists responsible for both numerous horror ambience and the official Dungeons & Dragons soundtrack?

Mild reverb guitars and slow creepy buildup open “It Begins.” I love the piano work and percussion, along with how the overall feel track gets your skin crawling. So you could play this in a bug or spider room if you don’t want to stick with the album’s zombie theme. It can also work with other themes thanks to its use of different eerie touches I can’t quite place. One part sounds like jangling chains, so there’s definitely some dungeon potential. “Where Did Everybody Go?” uses soft and moody string work to create a feeling of desolation and loneliness. The thudding drums add to the feel. It also builds up as it goes along, complete with moaning tones, for a very loud finish. The pounding drums of “They’re Coming for You…” sound like a heart beat. Snippets of percussion and the sounds of shuffling and junk being knocked over soon appear. It creates the sense of following or being followed. A distant motorcycle and soft zombie sounds are heard before the music takes back the focus. The complete effect is something dangerous getting closer, so you could use this with other monsters besides the living dead. Why not try using it as the soundtrack for a room set up to look like a basement or storage room? The stored boxes could form a maze of sorts for the monsters to lurk in. You could also get away with passing off the sound of the motorcycle as the sound of a chainsaw. I’ll leave it up to you if you actually want to have a character menace visitors with a prop chainsaw. A gong strike brings us into “Slight Miscalculation.” You’ve never heard drums and strings used like this before! Although it starts at about medium volume, it gets louder as the track speeds along. There’s plenty of tension as creepy woodwinds and zombie sounds are heard. It creates the feeling of running…until the track switches gears by musically implying safety is found. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to scare people while their guards are down. “Last Day to Live” blends pianos and synth tones (along with some distant gongs and wordless female vocals at times). This is another track where the volume builds up, but it has lots of details which sets it apart from the others. I like how the vocals and piano play off each other later in the track. Percussion and synths with John Carpenter-esque feel join in. Then something weird happens. Although the music stops at 3:28, there’s a period of near silence and a soft eerie tone until the track ends at 3:49! The loud and rumbling opening of “No Escape” makes great use of string work. It’s all quite unnerving, especially the soft bursts of piano work. The pounding and horns make it feel like you’re being chased by a giant, so why not have a giant monster chase people in your haunt? Midnight Syndicate fans will recognize this as a shortened selection from the Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan soundtrack. The sounds of breathing and whispering have been added as well. “Town Square” is a soundscape of sorts that opens with storm sound effects, soft synth tones and wordless male vocals. Empty swings can be heard blowing in the wind and zombies are rattling metal fences. The music is appropriately sad and mournful given how track implies civilization is in ruins due to a zombie apocalypse. We also get to hear breaking glass, bursts of gunfire, wordless female vocals, wordless unisex vocals and a woman screaming in the distance. It’s perfect for use with an area made up to look like a deserted city street. Well, as deserted as a street can be when zombies are on the prowl. People will assume all the sound effects they hear which don’t match up with anything they actually see is supposed to be happening elsewhere in the city. I highly recommend including zombies restrained by a fence.

The incredibly soft opening synthesizer buildup of “Zombie Master” gets very loud very fast once the strings and gongs appear. The drums and horns help give it a classic horror movie feel. Soft wordless unisex vocals layered in background are only one of the track’s spooky touches. Although it briefly loses its grand feeling for a creepy segment, it goes back to the epic feel for its big close. The heavy use of sound effects in “Raiding Todd’s Tool Shop” makes it feel like an audio drama without any actual dialogue. A gun is loaded and a little bell lets us know someone had entered the titular store. Suspenseful strings and drums play while our unseen protagonist walks around. The sound of another door opening leads to sounds of ransacking and a radio being turned on. It’s hard to make out due the static, but it appears to be a broadcast about shelters. The music stops and fades up once the radio is turned off. There’s pounding at the door and zombies are heard. They must have heard the noise! The sound of breaking glass lets the listener know the zombies have gotten inside. The person runs away, only for the track to suddenly end…only for a loud zombie snarl to act as a jump scare. The slightly shorter version of “Veiled Hunter” from The 13th Hour is still piano horror at its finest and its synth touches still remind me of Friday the 13th. It creates the sense of frantic running so it practically begs to be used in a slasher room or for when a haunt performer follows guests down a dark hallway. The tense, sweeping tones of “Into the Abyss” aid its epic orchestral feel. It feels like a taking a journey and you have to love the drum work. The string work and drum strikes go well with the wordless vocals. It develops a chase-like feel at first, only to quickly go back to the original feeling of grand menace. The moody opening “Alternate Food Source” leads to the sound of a creaking metal door being opened and a person walking around. As they check stuff, the sound of a shotgun reloading and a shell popping out can be heard. Slavering zombies and shaking metal can also be heard as the frightening strings and drums build their way up to the track’s climax. Similarly, there’s a soft, gradual build at the start of “Fear.” Light echoing notes and soft string work are aided by some violins in the back. Thunderous drumming and an intense beat take over, only yo lead to the crackling static of barely audible radio broadcast. But when the man broadcasting is eaten by zombies, the radio stuff goes away and the music grows into a frenzy. “Adrenaline Rush” has an appropriately intense feel thanks to its pounding percussion, pianos and strings. There’s lots of different percussion instruments on display and its gives something of a machinery or factory feel to the track. A motorcycle is heard (but could pass for a chainsaw) as well. The music fades as an out of breath man is heard trying to escape zombies on a motorcycle. You had better believe the music returns with a vengeance for the end. If you try using a chainsaw scare in a haunted factory scene or industrial maze in your haunt, you can get away with using this track. The super soft opening of “Dusk” ushers in light, steady piano work and backing vocal of the wordless female variety. Some zombies are heard at times, but the track eventually becomes a mix strings and (at 1:16) strange soft noise until the ending. “We’re Screwed” is another track with haunted factory or industrial maze potential. Machinery and steam are both heard among the pounding tones and percussion, along with some brief touches of piano. There’s also lots of breaking glass effects, clanking chains and ominous string work. In “Race to the Helipad,” tense tones and suspenseful strings play as a helicopter is heard. I love how the percussion is used to indicate urgency. Drums and strings make the listener feel like they have to run as fast as possible. This is aided by the sounds of a man breathing, zombies, guns and a hovering helicopter. As Naturally, everything goes silent once said helicopter leaves. This is the sort of track which works better in a haunted trail rather than a haunted house. With all the effects going on, people might assume they’re hearing something from another part of the trail that they can’t see. The chance of hearing a helicopter at night without actually seeing it is also more likely outdoors and the trail’s patrons just might write it off as noise pollution from local air traffic!

Zombies!!! Official Board Game Soundtrack offers plenty of material for haunted attractions of all kinds. But having zombies in your haunt admittedly makes things easier and I personally recommend selecting individual tracks to play. Its use of sound effects in certain tracks to tell a story might make it more difficult to use the album in full at a haunt than other Midnight Syndicate albums. But that’s to be expected since this was intended for use with a board game. It’s supposed to be like having a movie playing in the background for atmosphere, but without any visuals or plot to distract you from the game. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the periods of silence I noted earlier were meant to give players a little extra time to concentrate or talk among themselves. Said periods could also be used as an opportunity to a scare when people least expect it. Other reviewers have noted the presence of tracks from previous Midnight Syndicate albums on this release. I haven’t heard all of the albums cited in that link, so I couldn’t comment on them all. What I can say is how many of these tracks now have sound effects and seem to have been altered or newly recorded for this particular release. I suspect this was due to timing issues brought on by a combination of their having released another album the same year and the preparations for their 2017 live show at Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends. But this isn’t the first ambient album about zombies with some tracks from the artist’s earlier albums and I only brought this particular up as a matter of trivia. People looking for an album with a zombie theme should definitely consider checking this out; it’s a no-brainer (and not because a zombie got hungry)!

UPDATE: Midnight Syndicate got in touch with me to share some details about the album’s origins. It turns out many people who play Zombies!!! have been using Midnight Syndicate albums as background music for many years. This led to plans for a compilation album made up of tracks selected by fans and the game’s designers (along with a few new tracks). But as the project started to take form, it was soon realized more original material was needed to create the proper mood demanded by the game’s setting. The final product consists of 9 new tracks, 4 favorites from past albums and 5 newly recorded takes on old favorites (with new effects added in for good measure).

Special thanks to Entity Productions for the review copy!

Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on the above sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). This also applies to the suggestions made here. Attempt at your own discretion.

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