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Aug 27, 2010
I am currently putting together a Halloween event, and I was thinking about the music and looking at examples and such of what the park does. In this thread I'm basically discussing "Haunt Theory", How to create atmosphere and moods through music, Asking how the park chooses their music and basically finding a way to diversify the offerings from your standard "Halloween music" offerings, and whether or not it's worth it to choose fun songs rather than stick with the theme of an area for whatever reason. I also want to go into what areas should get what and why, and how do you narrow it down and keep everything according to theme.

This is an open discussion, and I just want to encourage people to share their opinions and own theories on how to create a better atmosphere for the event through the music, and by all means please share some of your music, But since we are conceptualizing here please give a good thorough explanation with your post, that'll drive discussion. This isn't the thread to drop a song in with a one liner and leave. One more thing, If you aren't willing to listen to the music posted here by everyone, please don't post, as it defeats the purpose of this discussion.

Anyway, If anything I have had some opinions idea on music for areas of the park while I've been working on my project I thought would be good to share how I've decided some of the music I may include in my event.

First I'm gonna look at Oktoberfest, because they seem to always just throw some random music together that can be "slightly" haunting but usually more fun, kind of "summery" type music. The most "Haunting " track I heard last year was "Running up that Hill" by Placebo... And it's more of an inspirational song, it's just behind the vocals and lyrics it creates a nice dark haunting atmosphere... The likes of which was ruined by bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and such... "Otherside" has absolutely no correlation to Vampires or Halloween at all. Over the years I've heard thing such as Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell","Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz. It was fun to hear and all BUT the question i'm proposing is, Does it hurt the overall theme of the event? Does it detract from the areas? I mean, While Frankenrock was going on I guess it was okay, but could more be added to the area by examining the music and matching it to the theme? When I heard Otherside, and those other music in oktoberfest it just took me RIGHT out of the mood of the event... I can't imagine I'm the only one.

Let's look at Oktoberfest's theme last year. It's vampire themed. Very classic Halloween Styling. The show inside Festhaus was themed to a vampire club, complete with a vampire bar outside. The area leading up and around this area had graveyard props.

Let's look at the function of Oktoberfest/Festhaus During HOS. It Houses a PG show, on the side of the park with the least scary material along the pathways. It's clearly not meant to be an area to be scared in, But is it meant to be a "break" from the intensity of the event? Is it supposed to be a safe haven? Either way, is there a way to maintain an atmosphere that doesn't detract from the event while maintaining it's "safe haven" atmosphere.

So now that we've identified themes and function to the area, let's look at how we can break them down assembling the music to fit such a theme.

Now before I continue, My criteria for all the music is closest to the park's standards as possible. "Otherside" which was played Last year talks about getting drunk at a bar and having sex, and the word "Slut" is used once. So since that's the "worse" song I remember hearing, Lets keep the Language and imagery used in that song as our guideline to maximum acceptable "negative" lyrics.

Just how do you choose songs for an area that presumably not really meant to be scary, yet needs/should carry the theme of a vampire club/bar. What do vampires listen to? What do people associate with vampires nowadays, and what have they been associated with in the past?

Now,The park has already come up with a direction they've taken their vamps. Describing the parks take on vampires...They are very 80's Styled-Halloween, With a Victorian/Gothic/Renaissance inspired dress. Good thing for us, obviously we have a more classic take on vampires in a more modern setting.

The goal here is to come up with songs that maintain a vampire inspired atmosphere, and the best way I could find is to find words that the area inspire.

We got graves, and generally graves are Sad and Spooky, Scary, but the overall take on the area is Lighthearted and Funny. It's Dark, and should be less Frightening than other areas of the park... But all the songs should be able to identify with Vampires and their lore in one way or another. Don't forget the the area contains a bar and a club. Let's look for songs that can fit the area and maintain the vampire atmosphere.

*Side note, I'm trying to keep all the music unfamiliar, as people generally are afraid of what is unfamiliar to them. Also, I feel unfamiliarity can separate guest from reality outside the gates of the park.

This song builds a large grand atmosphere, that is very spooky, sad, and haunting in a way. Not to mention, she's got that very gothic "Elvira" vibe going on on her vocal. She sound's like a vampire! It's tinged with 80's sound and it builds such a great atmosphere In a stunning crescendo, I don't know how it can do anything but serve to add to the event, and particularly the Oktoberfest area. Also, the song is not particularly dark lyrically, Which is a great fit for what I feel the park is trying to accomplish with the Oktoberfest area.

So after discovering Rhapsody in my vast library of tunes, I decided to turn it into my benchmark. I went on and on and could really find nothing like it, until I remembered:

^This above song... I'm actually surprised it hasn't been used. Kind of sounds like a vampire party song. I mean, It's subtitled "The Vampire Song", but apparently it is a rare hidden gem... It's definitely a southern bar jam style song, and It's clean lyrically. Very fitting to the theme of the area's bar I'd guess and it sounds like it belongs on True Blood, so It could connect with that audience that's into the current bastardization of the vampire lore with crap out there like Twilight.

So after I remembered that song and I looked down at my notes that I put aside for "vampire" (for my event) and the ones starred that I thought would be great for the park when I came up with the idea of this thread, and the list was rather dark. Too dark I feel for the Oktoberfest area so I started thinking about different acts that had a tinge of spooky, yet maintained a pop-oriented sound.

So that was the best I could come up with... But It's a bit recognizable, Most would recognize Trent Reznor's voice, so it is a tinge of familiarity. Vampires are immortal, cursed to feed upon what they once were, So the lyrics of the song definitely can be related to vampire lore.

Also In my library of obscure tunes, I rediscovered this old treasure:

It's the most "vampire" song ever by the most vampire band ever. It certainly fits the area. The only doubt I'm having is Direction. Is this a little too dark?

Anyways, I'm not gonna continue on but I will post other songs I came up with that I thought would go well in the Oktoberfest area.

I Don't Wanna be me - Type o Negative
Clubbed to Death - Rob Dougan
Underground - Sneaker Pimps
How Long - Mesh
My Secret Friend - IAMX
The Space inbetween -How to Destroy Angels
This Corrosion - The Sisters of Mercy
Love Like Blood - Killing joke
Violet - The Birthday Massacre
Schism - Tool

I want to hear some feedback and hear more from you guys about the selection before I continue, and hear your ideas. This is a discussion of the how-to of a concept, as much as it is a concept!

Pt.2 Ireland Discussion coming soon.
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RE: Howl-O-Scream Music

I want to start by giving my thoughts on the songs you posted, then I'll fill in any other thought I have on the subject right now.

Rhapsody- Great overall feeling. The Beginning is very dark, and evokes images of war and hard times. While I understand the need for somber music, I think this would be border-line for the park, considering its too real. However I think it would fit great if the park could somehow make the lyrics of the intro more incoherent. I like it, but I think 6+ minutes is pushing it. The park usually likes to keep their songs brief.

"The Vampire Song"-That's perfect for the area near Das Festhaus. It sounds just like a honky-tonk bar setting. Even though Nightbeats isn't country themed, it sounds just like the "lively-undead" theme they are going for. This song is perfect.

"Nine Inch Nails"-This song sounds very catchy. I could see them playing this. I'm not sure how much people actually pay attention to lyrics, but I think they could let it slide.

Nosferatu- This one might be acceptable,but I don't think it's right for the current atmosphere around Das Festhaus. It would be fine in the rest of the area though.

So, that was a rather solid collection of music. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert on this genre of music. However, I was immediately intrigued by this music because of my interest in
Howl-O-Scream. I will definitely try my best to listen to the other songs that you listed, and maybe I'll give my review on those later.

I don't know if you were asking about how the park chooses the music they play, but I'll tell you how I understand it. First of all, the park analyzes the theme of the area, which I think you understand, and you were very good at covering the overall theme.

Youhow2 said:
Let's look at the function of Oktoberfest/Festhaus During HOS. It Houses a PG show, on the side of the park with the least scary material along the pathways. It's clearly not meant to be an area to be scared in, But is it meant to be a "break" from the intensity of the event? Is it supposed to be a safe haven? Either way, is there a way to maintain an atmosphere that doesn't detract from the event while maintaining it's "safe haven" atmosphere.

I guess you could say that the general area of, and around Das Festhaus is treated sort of like a "safe haven". The reason the park uses the "safe haven" concept is not meant to detract from the scares, or amount of fun to be had at the event. The park simply does this, because they like to do everything in moderation. If you had dark music throughout the entire park, it would get depressing after a while. So, while this is Howl-O-Scream, and thus, a dark theme, the ultimate purpose is to have fun just like any other day at the park.

One other thing that I like to take into account, when it comes to music, is that people have a natural "defense mechanism" to loud or disturbing noises.
In other words, loud and disturbing noises are very effective in creating a certain mood for people, but after a while, they "block it out" mentally.
For just about any scary area, you need to have loud noises from the start, but at some point it needs to get quiet… Too quiet. That way, the "defense mechanism" that the person has built up slowly goes away. That when it's the best time for actors to come in and scare them, because they think they're already past the scares.

Anyway, I hope the park music department reads this thread. I think it's very educational. They could learn a lot from it.
I look forward to discussing this matter again soon.;)
RE: Howl-O-Scream Music

Exactly the type of discussion I was hoping to inspire Castle!

Now, I was hoping a few more people would chime in, but oh well.

I do understand the concept of varying levels of "haunt". I do agree that you do need some quite, and some not-so spooky... But what I'm arguing here is the atmosphere. How best to maintain it... I don't agree with the notion you can "over-atmosphere" someone, The music I chose was not meant to be very haunting, but to maintain a general spooky atmosphere, without being scary. Besides, traditionally, the area between Festhaus and Italy has been "Low Scare", and more quiet.

Now the Music in the Festhaus area, some of it is obviously more vampire themed than some of the other songs, But let me break down how I chose those other songs in my small playlist and let me go over some of the ones I excluded in my first post.

I Don't Wanna be me - Type o Negative: He's got a "vampire" voice, and it can be interpretted as "I don't wanna be a ghoul anymore" when applied to the theme of the area.

Clubbed to Death - Rob Dougan: This song is mostly atmospheric, A bit of dark with a bit of a fun melody. It is slightly recognizable. It's been featured in "Dark" clubs in a few movies. I just believe it would compliment the area, giving it a bit of a more upbeat melody while maintaining the dark atmosphere.

Underground - Sneaker Pimps: This song, Is certainly recognizable... The Lyrics taken out of context can be applied to a vampire theme, and it's dark, but not TOO dark. Kind of fun and poppy in a way.

How Long - Mesh: This song is a darker song, that I thought would compliment the area well, but doesn't necessarily match the theme. More or less to be a change of pace, but not something if I didn't feel the need to "hold back" a little would be placed in the list.

My Secret Friend - IAMX - Dark, Dark song that can certainly be applied to the vampire/ghoul theme. There are actually 2 other songs by this band that I think can fit the area well, but I thought this one would be best. The other two songs are "The Great Shipwreck of Life" and "Spit it out".

The Space Inbetween - How to Destroy Angels: Recognizable by way of TV show Theme, But not overly recognizable to your average person, and certainly Dark. No real correlation to the theme other than the dark haunting atmosphere the song induces.

This Corrosion - The Sisters of Mercy: This song is certainly a change of pace, It's more upbeat and fun, but the Goth-Rock stylings of the song certainly fit the mood and theme of the area. There is a serious case of "vampire voice" going on. Fits the "Lively Undead" Theme.

Love Like Blood - Killing joke: To touch on the bit of 80's that the area seems to channel. This song is pretty dark, but it does touch on that kind of "dark love" that vampire lore channels.

Violet - The Birthday Massacre: This song, was Chosen out of two other songs by this band because I felt the list needed something more "twilight" added to it. It's the softest song, and that's why I went with it, though If the intensity of the music didnt matter, I'd choose "Pins and Needles" instead. Definite Vampire inspired tune, whereas "Violet" is just a dark typical "Twilight Romance". Pins and needles is actually pretty tame, but the Guitar intro and outro are pretty heavy... Give it a listen and tell me what you think. The other song was "In the Dark".

Schism - Tool: Super recognizable song, but This song is on the list as a "If you had to choose a well recognized song" song. It does well to maintain a dark atmosphere though, though I fear such a song would defeat the purpose of choosing the music how I did, In choosing unfamiliar songs to enhance the atmosphere more so than playing typical radio stuff.

Now, a couple of songs I left out of my list for various reasons:

London After Midnight - Kiss: I think this is an excellent "Vampire-inspired" track. I just thought the language used might be too strong for the park.

Queens of the stone Age - "Keep your eyes Peeled" & "I appear missing": The language and tone of and effects on the Bass in keep your Eyes peeled creates a beautiful dark grungy atmosphere. I can honestly imagine walking into a bar and some big creepy guy sitting next to me, I look over and he looks at me and he flashes his vampire teeth and who knows what happens after that. I think it's great. I only question how well recognized the song will be since it's new, and if It's too dark, I love the line "Don't look, just keep your eyes peeled", I think it fits HOS beautifully. "I appear missing" is more of a question of how well recognized the song is, but I think it could fit too.

Deftones - Change: Beh... Too recognizable, Great atmosphere. But, The only reason I thought of the song is the park's affinity for keeping the music too recognizable. Don't get me wrong I love the song, I think the atmosphere is great... But I would just hate to hear it inside of HOS.

Now, some of you post lurkers out there, I encourage you to join in on the discussion. How would you choose songs and what songs would you put in the park? I think my next post is gonna be of my concept of Ireland's music... and a few other changes that mainly revolve around music to the event.
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