1) HorrorHound – It’s Only A Movie
2) The Creepshow – People Are Strange
3) Argyle Goolsby – Save Me Tonight
4) For The Wolf – He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)
5) Stellar Corpses – Power Of The Night
6) The Big Bad – Red Right Hand
7) Dead Dick Hammer – Life At Last
8) Shadow Windhawk – Stigmata Martyr
9) The Heathens – Burn
10) Black Cat Attack – Partytime
11) Psycho Charger – Pet Sematary
12) Harley Poe – NewBorn
13) Mister Monster – Looking For The Magic
14) The Heathens – Hellraiser
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a contributing writer for HorrorHound Magazine. I have not allowed that to play a role in my review of this album.
Earlier this year, word began to spread throughout the horrorpunk community of a new compilation album being put together by Jessica at HorrorHound Records. As opposed to just a traditional compilation album, this album, entitled It’s Only A Movie, would feature some of the biggest acts currently active in the scene covering tracks that originally appeared on different horror movie soundtracks. The project got a boost when the first song officially released from the album, a cover of White Sister‘s Save Me Tonight from the Fright Night soundtrack by the one and only Argyle Goolsby was released to the masses (You can check out our coverage of that by clicking here). As time went on fans began wondering what was going on with the project, myself included. Well, the album is now set for a release at the upcoming HorrorHound Weekend, coming with two different styles of vinyl, with a digital release on iTunes following. I have been lucky enough to get my hands on the digital copy of the album, so let’s dive right in.
The album opens with a simple track featuring the ad campaign from Wes Craven‘s 1972 classic, The Last House On The Left. Using the tagline of “It’s only a movie” for both the name of the album and as the intro works perfectly, giving the listener a building of anticipation before the first “real” track comes. Covering People Are Strange originally by The Doors is a huge task given how well-regarded the sound. In a strange twist of fate, the band covering the first song are actually also from my hometown, so I was excited to hear what The Creepshow would do with it. While it is a perfectly serviceable cover, there is very little that makes it stand out, especially given how some of the songs to follow would really stand out.
In stark contrast to the previous track, the aforementioned Save Me Tonight by Argyle Goolsby takes a good song, and transforms it. As a song I have had in my rotation for several months, not once did I find myself wanting to skip the track to get to songs I am not as familiar with. Goolsby takes a song that was already gloriously 80’s style, and somehow makes it seem even more 80s. Think of it as the music cover version of the recent Netflix phenomenon Stranger Things. Following the Fright Night cover is a new version of He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask) performed by For The Wolf. I have been a fan of the original Alice Cooper song since the first time I viewed Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives so many years ago. Given I was also not familiar with For The Wolf, I had reservations going into this track. Fortunately, the band absolutely nails it, accomplishing what every good cover should, that being keeping in line with the original vision of the song while also putting their own personal stamp on it.
Santa Cruz based Stellar Corpses continue the run of good covers with their rendition of Power Of The Night, originally performed by Johnny Steele on the Critters soundtrack. Much like the earlier Goolsby track, it takes an 80s track and somehow makes it more 80s-sounding than the original song. Tackling the Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds classic Red Right Hand, The Big Bad don’t fare as well. The odds were stacked against them working with such a beloved and iconic song, and while the band gives it their best shot, it sadly doesn’t fare as well as many of the other tracks presented here.
The compilation gets hit with a big case of Beef as Dead Dick Hammer provides a wicked cover of Life At Last from the Brian DePalma masterpiece Phantom Of The Paradise. As with some of the other bands on the record, I was personally not familiar with Dead Dick Hammer beforehand, but his style meshes into the song wonderfully. Moving from the 70s into the 80s brings us Shadow Windhawk‘s take on Bauhaus‘s Stigmata Martyr, a track originally showcased on the second best party-horror movie of the decade, Night Of The Demons. I found this one interesting as I am not a fan of the original song, but surprisingly dug Windhawk‘s rendition of the song. There is a level of energy that Windhawk brings to the song that is absent from the original.
The Heathens follow up with their cover of Burn, originally performed by The Cure and appearing on the soundtrack of The Crow. The Heathens are another band I was not familiar with before this album, but I am definitely digging their take on Burn, giving it a little more speed and making the song a little more upbeat, which is made even more impressive given how melancholy any song by The Cure is. My fellow country mates (and all around great people) Black Cat Attack are tasked with a cover of Partytime by 45 Grave from the Return Of The Living Dead soundtrack. The band throws their own little twist on the most popular song from arguably the greatest movie soundtrack of all-time. Also separating this song from the rest of the Black Cat Attack discography is the fact that the lead vocals are performed by Bryan Dickface with Val Knox doing the backing vocals, a flip from their usual methods.
When you cover a song by arguably the most influential punk band of all time, you have to make sure you do it right. Sadly, the cover of The Ramones classic Pet Sematary presented by Psycho Charger just doesn’t hit the mark. While it’s not horrible by any means, it’s undoubtedly one of the weakest tracks on the album. The styles just don’t seem to mesh that well, and you can safely find any other number of Pet Sematary covers by horrorpunk bands that would have fit better (check out a live cover of the song by New Orleans based Tomb Of Nick Cage for a great example of this. Acoustic horrorpunk extraordinaires Harley Poe come next with their cover of Muse‘s NewBorn. As is always the case with the Indiana-based band, they make it their own with their unique blend of music.
If you are to pick up the vinyl copy (and who wouldn’t want to with those cool variants?) this is where the album ends. However, if you are to get the digital copy, which will likely be the more common scenario with the release, you are treated to two bonus songs. Up first is Mister Monster with their rendition of Looking For The Magic, originally recorded by Dwight Tilley with another cover of the song by MTG in the 2011 film You’re Next. It is a solid song and works well as a bonus for the digital copy listeners. The other bonus track is by the aforementioned Heathens covering Hellraiser by the legendary Motorhead. Just as with their previous track on the album, it’s a fun rock song that could easily be a background song for a party scene. Not as memorable as their earlier cover of Burn but a solid entry nonetheless.
As of right now, the current plan is for the album to be released in two different vinyl variants which will be released at the upcoming HorrorHound weekend in Indianapolis. The digital release should be following shortly thereafter. Keep an eye on the Official HorrorHound Records Facebook page for more updates, and check out the album preview video below!
Argyle Goolsby – Save Me Tonight | For The Wolf – He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)