Friday, October 28, 2011

Horror Records for Halloween!


Just in time for Halloween!

 Here are 150 covers of  spooky/horrifying/terrifying/monster-related/science fiction related/ghost related/gothic-related and Halloween-related LP record covers. Some are rare and obscure, some are great and some are awful. You decide.

Arch Obler's DROP DEAD from Capitol was the gold standard of horror records. My brothers and I wore out several copies, always listening to it in... the dark:

Check out Leonard Maltin's essential new article "When Dracula Reigned on Halloween", which includes a link to the very blog you're looking at:

And click this link for more on a series of Horror LP records, not included here:

"Tales of the Frightened" volume one (cover art by renowned pinup artist Freeman Elliot)...
...and volume two. "Are YOU one of the frightened?" asks the soothing, sinister voice of the great Boris Karloff at the beginning of each tale. Great cover art and spooky readings of short, short horror stories. This was also used on a paperback cover with the same title.
Maybe not so spooky, but four Boris Karloff heads is pretty hard to top.
This album consisted of audio clips from several Universal horror films, and a Don Post Frankenstein monster mask featured on the cover.

a later reissue

Karloff narrates for the kiddies

the back cover

"A George Garabedian Production".
Slightly misleading cover, as Dracula was no where to be found on this
old Suspense radio drama featuring Bela Lugosi.

I would have preferred this if Rathbone had been on the cover. Still, nice bird.

Ah, the actual Basil Rathbone!

5 Rathbones!

"Halloween", composed & narrated by Lionel Barrymore! From the late forties

Peter Lorre radio shows

John Carradine and organ pipes. An unbeatable combination.

OK, not so scary, but how could I leave out Vincent Price?

Spooky Vincent

More Vincent, this one maybe a little scarier.

Vincent Price, art collector

The great Christopher lee sings!

Aurora Monster model art (by James Bama) on a record cover! Wow! This was a must-have, although it's basically former Dead End/Eastside kid, actor Gabriel Dell (excellently) imitating  Bela Lugosi as Dracula and the "voice" of the Frankenstein Monster. Another example of the cover art being far better than the actual record (written by Cherney Berg!).

FM ad for the album

Speaking of Famous Monsters, the editor himself, presenting the sounds of the future!

The one & only COOL GHOUL, still going strong at 94!
Monster Mash! Zacherle (spelled differently to keep the kiddies on their toes) Fever sweeps the USA!
More Zacherley! (but not on the cover?)
And another, Zach leading the pack, featuring a great Jack Davis cover!
Funny monster stuff featuring Han's Conried and Alice Pearce. One of Jack Davis's best LP record covers ever.

Dr. Shock.
Not the real Zacherley but an incredible simulation
The exciting sound of Milton Delugg, and the wonderful cover art of Jack Davis.
More Jack Davis. Front Cover...

Back Cover...

enclosed Monster Fan Cards
Spike Jones contribution to Horror LP fever, featuring Paul Frees and a duet with Vampira!

Jackie Gleason presented music to make love by, Alfred Hitchcock presented
music to be murdered by.
Alfred Hitchcock "hosted" this LP record,  featuring spooky stories aimed at kids performed by actor John Allen.  Great sound effects on this one.

"Shock", Another example of the cover far exceeding the record. I stared at this cover for years in the back of FM, but was ultimately disappointed when it turned out to simply be edgy, piercing jazz music.
"Panic", the sequel to "Shock". A truly disturbing cover.

Spooky Sound effect albums! I always wondered where this great old house was actually located.

another lovely home

and another

Love this cover. I'm pretty sure the photo is from an animated skeleton musical movie clip.
Disney even got in the horror act.

various Halloween covers...

Essential listening for fans of "Nelson Olmsted"... is this.

"The ideal dance party". Who could argue?

Some of "Frankie Stein's" best albums...

a brilliant cover

Hanna Barbara monster party

Crude, but I always liked this cover.

All this, plus words & music by Rod McKuen!

and more McFadden!

Such a nice thought!

Art by Ron Cobb, created for the cover of Famous Monsters magazine #41, based on Jack Davis poster art for "Horror Hotel". Possibly used on this LP record cover without permission. Got all that?

British actress Martha Wentworth created "The Old Sea Hag' especially for this LP record!

I was so excited to own this, actual soundtracks from Horror and Sci fi films!

Another Cherney Berg production!

From "The Man from Uncle" to "Dracula"

Orson Welles complete "War of the Worlds" broadcast.

OK, not a spooky cover, but Roddy has a field day reading these Lovecraft stories.

Frankenstein Rock, featuring Brita Borg. The monster finds his mate

art by Neil Adams

my entry into the Halloween Horror album covers

Thanks to Gary Meyer, Stephen Kroninger, John Wendler &


  1. Wow, what a great collection! Is that Kelly Freas art of the Karloff Tales of the Frightened?

  2. Replies
    1. And the stories were by my dad, Michael Avallone. It was going to be a radio show and a pulp magazine, but neither took off... so it became LPs and a paperback...

  3. What a pleasant stroll down the dark, thorn-filled Monster Memory Lane! Once again Drew has nimbly expressed the thoughts and impressions of those of us who experienced the wonders of a wondrous slice of time. We are reminded of what a tremendous market the monster craze created. This Halloween treat has left a sweeter taste than any candy I swipe from the give-away bowl ever could.

  4. Terrific stuff! And, yes, I owned a few of these myself. Only major item missed is STEREO DYNAMICS! TO SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOUR NEIGHBORS... a classic jacket.

  5. This is a fantastic collection. I may have a few to add when I get home and dig through my LPs. I would save my money to buy these either from the local record store or through Famous Monsters or Castle of Frankenstein.

    LIGHTS OUT was truly great. I would insist friends come over and since we lived in the country, turning out the lights meant....really dark. I would show horror films in our barn at midnight and always started the evening with Lights Out or Nelson Olmstead record in total darkness. We had a house bat who flew through the projector beam during the film.

    Looking at my old LPS reminds me how much we have lost with CDs and now downloads. We don't have that large piece of art to enjoy while the record is playing. The linear notes are tiny now too.

  6. Also get a kick out of the KING KONG album claiming it to be "The Original 20th Century Fox Motion Picture Classic."

    It was actually RKO Radio Pictures and the remakes and hybrids were from Paramount, Universal, etc but never from Fox.

  7. I'm probably imagining this, but does Jack Davis' cover art on Conried's "Monster Rally" look like it might have a Wally Wood touch here and there?

  8. I have always loved that Arch Obler LP DROP DEAD, and I prize the copy I still have. I transferred it to a CD, and when I used to substitute teach, I would bring it in on Halloween and play "The Dark" with the lights out in the room and scare the bejesus out of 5th grade kids-loved it!

  9. TDavis,

    I'm sure JD was influenced by WW occasionally, and visa versa.

  10. Jeez, a "friend" "borrowed" all my cherished Jack Davis monster records 20 years ago, and I never saw them again. (At least I still have my Homer & Jethro and Spike Jones LPs.)

    Whatever you do, don't loan them out!!

  11. Great selection. I'm surprised at how many I have. We also loved "Drop Dead" as kids.

  12. Loved looking through this survey here. Surprised that I remember more that I would have guessed. Nice job here, Drew.

  13. where can i get some of these records, besides Ebay of course?

    1. Try Discogs. Much more reasonable than eBay, for the most part.

  14. "Bob and Ray Throw a Stereo Spectacular" (RCA 1958). A Various Artists sampler with a linking horror tale by the comedians. Bob does impressions of Karloff and Lorre. As a bonus, there's great (non-horror) cover art by Jack Davis.

  15. DREW , I'VE ENJOYED YOUR RECENT BOOKS A GREAT DEAL. THIS IS A REALLY COOL PAGE.....I've met Josh , twice. Once in Dallas , and once, here in Chicago.

  16. I'm guessing that spooky sound effects house is in the neighborhood of Angelino Heights in Los Angeles

  17. It's worth noting that on the Frankie Stein 'Monster Melodies' record, most of the selections are the backing tracks from Beatle rip-off lps, but with the vocals mixed out and swapped with haunted house sound effects. Genius!!

  18. I love that Transylvania cover. One of my favourite cartoons is by the late Michael Ffolkes; two vampires, in full evening dress of course, walking through a village just like that one, and passing a door with garlic on it one says to the other 'Actually, I rather like garlic, it's wine gums I hate'.

  19. This was my childhood favourite, Sounds to Make You Shiver from 1974. Eventually I learned how to take speakers apart, and I wired up a jack o'lantern to play this for trick or treaters coming up the front walk.