I haven’t joined in the interweb ritual of counting down the days to Halloween in a couple-three years now, and it occurred to me earlier this week (okay, it was last night) that maybe it was time to do it again. Halloween’s my favorite holiday, after all, filled as it is with creepy weirdness and the like. But I don’t have quite the time I once did to post full entries every day, so I decided to do music this year. A month-long mixtape of all my favorite Halloween tunes.
Though my tastes in such things range pretty wide, I thought the best place to start might be with the very first Halloween song I remember hearing: “Dinner With Drac,” by the great John Zacherle, aka Zacherley the Cool Ghoul.
Let’s give it a spin…
You might notice that one’s titled “Dinner With Drac, Part One.” Well, that’s because there are two different versions of this song. Part One is the original, recorded by Zacherley in the jokingly macabre spirit of his horror hosting segments. And it’s pretty killer, featuring one of the hottest opening guitar licks ever. But there was a problem with with this version: Dick Clark (a friend of Zach’s) heard it, liked it, and wanted to play it on his show. But he thought the lyrics were a bit too gross for a mainstream American audience. So he suggested that Zacherley re-do the song in a less grotesque manner.
The result was… not as good. Not nearly as good. But, because it’s the version that Clark popularized, it was the version that most people knew for decades. I, however, was lucky enough as a wee tyke to be the proud owner of a novelty song album whose producers had the good taste to include the original version instead. Or maybe they were just too cheap to pay for the more famous recording. Either way, “Dinner With Drac” was music to my little ears, and played a big part in birthing my life-long love for horror.
But, in the interest of posterity (and because provided me with an easy link to it), I suppose I should include the second, vastly inferior, version as well:
Heh. Actually, I knock Part Two more than I should. A couple of the gags are pretty good, and that pool full of acid might actually be more gruesome than the original’s pool filled with blood. Still. If you can only listen to one… Part One is the way to go.
A Postscript: If you don’t know who the hell Zacherley is…
First of all… GIT OFFEN MY PROPITTY!!
But secondly… HOLY CRAP YOU HAVE TO LEARN ABOUT ZACHERLEY! Though not the first local TV horror movie host (that honor goes, I believe, to Vampira), Zach wasn’t far behind, and was by far the best-known of the era. He recorded albums, hosted a teen dance show (!) in addition to the horror flicks, and… Oh, hell. Here. Just watch this: