Do yourself a favor this Halloween. Once you've returned from your party, parade, bar or hookah lounge, or after you've shoved that last handful of candy into some sticky kid's hand, sit back and watch "Hangover Square," a must-see thriller about a composer played by Laird Cregor who goes mad - bonkers, I tell you, bonkers - and also (possibly) murderous. Plus, it co-stars the inimitable George Sanders who's in full George Sanders bitch-mode:
Directed by John Brahm (who also directed the excellent "The Locket"), it has a fantastic score by our old friend Bernard Herrmann, and for the first time ever, the complete score is now available. Hooray!
This soundtrack is special for Herrmann-heads, because Herrmann essentially penned music for a composer who's losing his mind - minute-by-minute-by-minute, until he unleashes his final, explosive composition. To call it brooding would be an understatement; to call it blissful insanity is headed in the right direction. The CD also includes tracks from "5 Fingers" (which I've never much cared for), and keep in mind, they're all pulled from the original film, which means sometimes - particularly with the opening track - things can tend toward the tinny (I merely adjusted the bass on my iTunes; your mileage may vary). Otherwise, it's one for the ages.
In this rare color photo of Dakota Staton below, Dakota's looking like your mom all gussied up for a summer cocktail party in the backyard. In other words, fabulous.
Dakota, as you may know, first caught the eye of record executives at a Harlem Club called "The Baby Grand," a bar name I love almost as much as "The Flame Bar," a Detroit haunt where she'd previously enjoyed a lengthy and wildly popular residency.
If you've had your fill of Halloween already, or you're gagging from one-too-many gross pumpkin spice something-or-other, Dakota's 1959 LP "More Than Most" is the perfect palette cleanser - and a Delightful Dakota Cheerful Exclusive! too. This is a restored version with two bonus tracks, including "How High The Moon," a barely two-minute track in which Dakota throws her entire body and soul into a giddy scat that's so joyously transporting my head almost popped off (and it doesn't do that often).
Halloween is just around the corner, which means you have to look out for all sorts of witches, goblins and ghouls. But not Mother Munster. She's okay.
If you're looking for a little seasonal tuneage, why not go for Bobby Pickett, the originator of "The Monster Mash?" It's still as fun as you remember, unlike other Halloween staples, such as that damn theme to "Ghostbusters" and M.J.'s "Thriller," which both sound like the bland commercial jingles they always were (come 'n' get me Ray Parker Jr. and M.J. fans, I ain't scared). Pickett's 1991 compilation has lots of giggly-fun songs - "Skully Gully" and "Transylvania Twist" to name just two others - making it perfect for Halloween night, or playing for those pesky trick-or-treaters who happen to wander by (give them what they deserve).
I like old-school scary tunes, myself, and in this special compilation below, there's everything - from the expected "I Put A Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins to the unexpected, like "Devil Dance Blues" by Sippie Wallace, and so many more. It's perfect for an adult Halloween Party, or even better, for a hungover brunch party the next morning. Just make sure everyone's changed out of their "slutty-scary" costumes. When did Halloween become slutty? "Slutty's" over, I think. Make your guests come up with better ideas.
Halloween can be so-o-o-o scary. But, for reals, there's nothing scary about the Secret Song File below - just purest eeee-veal for the season. And there's nothing better than this rully-rully new electro CD, the second by a certain Brit duo, who not only divulge their talent (*cough*cough*), they expose it, too (*cough*cough*cough*). Oh, and there's lots of hot guest stars, like a certain singer who plays, um, on the weekends (I'm not even going to bother to cough) and another who makes me think of Madonna's daughter's name (now I'm just rolling my eyes).
Scare me in the comments should the spirit move you!