Today we’re looking at a certified classic Halloween album from Disneyland Records called Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House.
As I mentioned back in the Halloween Horrors episode, sound effect albums were a fad during the 1960s and 70s. Some sound effect albums were nothing but a collection of sounds, usually following a common theme like outer space or the Old West. For example, I have a Doctor Who album that is nothing but the weird sound effects created by the BBC for the show back in its early days.
Other sound effects albums were more like Halloween Horrors, where the producers told a story that used sound effects on Side A and then Side B is nothing but the effects by themselves. Sounds of the Haunted House works in a similar way. However, rather than a continuous story like Halloween Horrors, this time a narrator suggests little scenarios that you should try to picture yourself in before the sound effects play.
Sounds of The Haunted House was released in 1964. Here’s the original cover…
However, the one most Gen X kids know was released in 1973. It features the same haunted house and tree, but the background is orange with black and white text. Depending upon the release date, some albums had a big yellow graphic on the front that announced there were Spooky Party Hints inside.
These party hints were printed on the inner sleeve and gave you ideas for Halloween invitations, decorations, lighting, and games to play at your spooky party. Unfortunately, the copy of this record that I found at a thrift store did not include the original sleeve, but I really wish it did, because the artwork is fantastic.
The UK got a release of Sounds of the Haunted House in 1974 and features an entirely different cover. The content of the album is the same as the American release, though.
In 1979, a sequel album was released with, confusingly, the exact same name, but featuring different scary situations and sound effects. The cover is quite a bit different, too. I don’t own this one, but I want to get my hands on it someday.
The original Sounds of the Haunted House was re-released on vinyl in 2015 with its original white cover. Personally, I would have preferred the orange, but what can you do?
If you’d like to listen to Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House, it’s available on this episode of my podcast, When You Hear This Sound! However, one note about the episode: there’s one scary scenario – Chinese Water Torture – that is, shall we say, a product of 1964 America. It ends with a rather embarrassing caricature of the Chinese language that is obviously insensitive. However, I don’t believe in censoring the past, but rather learning from the mistakes of the past, so I’ve left it in this episode as it was released. 1964 was a very different time and I hope we’ve grown beyond these types of caricatures. Thankfully it doesn’t go on for very long, so I hope it won’t ruin the fun for you.