The back cover artwork for the 1974 spooky effects LP "Sounds To Make You Shiver!"
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"And--you shall NEVER return!!" From where, it was not made clear.
When I was a kid, a monster kid that is, there wasn't much you could have access to when it came to enjoying a scary atmosphere whenever you wanted. Before videotape, one was limited to when the movies were playing on TV, and they weren't repeatable, until they re-ran it that is. But, there was one awesome item that every monster kid remembers and cherishes... the spooky sound effects LPs.
With the lights out, with maybe a candle flickering (or a flashlight low on battery power), these long-playing records terrified us and brought the horror home. Our overactive imaginations were ignited by the situations heard on them, and often the scares remained to haunt us even after the record was turned off. And the covers to the LP were often what we set up and stared at the whole time the record played, burning their images into our impressionable minds forever.
In the flicker of the candle or flashlight, this yellow skull, surrounded by flames, grinned at me as the sounds filled the air of my room. Those hollow eyes seemed to bore into mine hypnotically, drawing me into the reality of the horrific situation unfolding. It was my own personal "crypt-keeper," hosting the journey through the Haunted House at midnight. And it didn't go away when I closed my eyes... but remained as a glowing after-image floating inside my eyelids. Good times, and good memories.
Just because we're on the subject, and because I'm very fond of these records, here are a few other favorites I owned (and still do, framed on my wall) that you will enjoy seeing.
This LP came out in 1977 and had great artwork. On Side A was a story that, for a change, wasn't narrated, but heard "as it happens." We hear a young man's visit to an old mansion he has inherited. On the drive there he talks to himself, recalling the history of the old house and the ghost stories passed down through the generations. Once there, all manner of frightening things happen, and he flees in terror. The legendary Peter Cullen supplies the voice of a character on this one to great effect.
The back of the above LP. Side B was composed of all the effects used on Side A, isolated for your own listening enjoyment and use. I used them to record my own Halloween adventure with some friends, onto cassette. This foreshadowed my involvement in radio, as today I'm doing the same things with fancier toys.
Here's the classic all-time great by Disney. This pre-dated the Haunted Mansion itself, and some of the effects on the record were used it in when it opened. For an in-depth look at this most wonderful of spooky LPs, go to this great blog devoted to it. They love it as much as I do!