Haunted Hits and Terrifying Treats

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Halloween has rolled around once again and it's time for caramel apples, tiny Snickers bars, flickering jack-o-lanterns and all things spooky. But we promise the slasher book and new albums by bands with scary names we're about to tell you about are more fun than they are frightful. Happy Halloween!

"The Teenage Slasher Movie Book" (2nd Revised and Expanded Edition)
By J.A. Kerswell
Fox Chapel Publishing

As if the original book wasn't scary enough, Kerswell now presents an updated look at the teenage slasher film genre. The book will not disappoint those just seeking eye candy; it's tons of fun just flipping through and geeking out at all the graphics of movie posters and stills from films. Who can resist staring at the poster featuring close up head shots of the titular psychos of "Freddy vs. Jason" facing off, or the campy poster for "Blood and Black Lace," a 1964 film that promised "the 8 greatest shocks ever filmed." It is virtually impossible to open the book and not keep flipping through for the graphics, but there is so much more here. Kerswell is very much the scholar, and the included text takes the reader through the era of what he calls "proto slashers," films that were mostly made in the U.S., Italy and the U.K. prior to the "Golden Age of the Slasher," the late '70s through the early '80s. The entire midsection of the book is dedicated to the golden age, and these are the films that most readers will be familiar with; "Halloween," "Friday the 13th," "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and the like and their sequels and spin-offs. Slasher spoofs like "Student Bodies" are covered, and even the most serious of slasher buffs will likely find that Kerswell references a few films here that they'll now have to go seek out. Kerswell's narrative is very thorough and informative and he refrains from being critical. Good fun all the way through. Get it here

Neal Smith - KillSmith Halloween: Best of KillSmith 2008-2018
Famed for his work as drummer with the Alice Cooper Group, here Smith presents a compilation of cuts from past KillSmith albums along with one new cut. Included are favorites like "Evil Voodoo Moon," the blues rocking "Death by the Numbers," the deceptively mellow "Die for the Night" and the Frankenstein-on-the-loose sludgy groove of "Monsters in the Attic." The new track is called "Strychnine" and Smith, who sings with a gravelly growl, sounds just deranged enough to dish out a fatal dose of the stuff. Get it here

Bloodbath - The Arrow of Satan is Drawn
The Swedish super group featuring members of Paradise Lost, Opeth, Katatonia and Craft return just in time for Halloween after a hiatus of four years. Needless to say the death metal specialists have had plenty of time to gather the gore and serve it to listeners on a putrid platter. After pounding away with the hell rocking "Deader," bowing down to the "Morbid Antichrist" and lumbering along like a lurching zombie for "Only the Dead Survive," Bloodbath sing the ghouls to sleep with "Chainsaw Lullaby." Available Oct. 26. Get it here.

Vince Guaraldi - It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Music from the Soundtrack)
Oh good grief! Pianist Guaraldi is well known for his work with the PEANUTS cartoon franchise and "Linus and Lucy," perhaps his most recognizable work, is the lead track on this album. Fans don't have to sit in the pumpkin patch hoping anymore; this classic album is now available on CD and as a digital download for the very first time ever. Get it here.

Haunted Hits and Terrifying Treats

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