Thursday, October 8, 2009

Art Appreciation-Sounds to Make You Shiver

When I was a kid we had numerous novelty sound-effects albums, including this one released by Pickwick in 1974 featuring a cover artwork that almost perfectly exemplified my boundless enthusiasm for Halloween. A distorted scene of mayhem and mystery with every Halloween horror veritably spilling forth from a bizarre, seemingly impossible, Gothic fortification. There was the Count, a colossal shambling Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf Man, a witch throwing bugs and eyeballs into a bubbling cauldron, a strangely grinning ghost and a big hairy monster, among others.

Atop this monsterosity looms the characteristically un-menacing Count, obviously in a supervisory position, accompanied by his faithful henchman the Hunchback.

Beneath them are a trio of nameless horrors, obviously the failed experiments of a mad doctor. Even so, they have a nice open-air view of the bleak countryside peopled with doomed peasants. Seeing as the laboratory beneath them seems to be on the verge of a violent explosion, you can see why they are so eager to bust out of their cages.

A structurally-unsound-looking Frankenstein's Monster lopes dangerously off the canvas, one ungainly hand blocking out an apparent dimensional paradox as the back of the clearly benighted castle seems to hover above a dusk-tinged cemetery.

Well, no matter, it serves up all the Halloween Horror goods in a colorful way and for all it's flaws it will always be one of my favorite pieces of artwork. As for the contents of the album itself-the rattling chains and screams and groans and thunder, it's okay in small doses but give me the Monster Mash any day.

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