Christmas comes a bit early to Highbury Cemetery this year! Presenting a very special Freebie Friday from a newly rediscovered gem from the depths of the garage...
While I was cleaning and organizing my garage after another wet, yet successful Halloween, I stumbled upon an old, single speaker radio/cassette player. After blowing years' worth of sawdust and cobwebs off, I inspected the old radio, remembering how I used to use it in the early, early days of my home haunt. While reminiscing, my eye caught something on the front of the radio. More specifically, something in the tape deck. I did a double-take as I quickly realized what it was. It was a cassette!
But not just any cassette...
It was my old "Chamber of Horrors" Halloween cassette! Voices. Sound. Music! I couldn't believe that I had found it. And I couldn't believe that I had forgotten it. It must have been hidden away in my garage, enduring at least 7 years' worth of cold winters and hot summers. And it appeared to still be in good condition.
We used this cassette as our haunt soundtrack in the early days, some 10 years ago or more. And we used to play it through that old, dusty one-speaker cassette player. That thought alone made me chuckle. It really showed how far we have come.
After getting nostalgic, I brought the tape into the house and quickly connected an old cassette deck to my current stereo setup. And nothing. No sound. No movement. The deck was dead.
Two weeks later, I procured another cassette deck from my mother-in-law and quickly hooked it up to the stereo. Same thing. Totally dead. I was completely striking out. Two cassette decks and nothing. Perhaps the tape was cursed?
Amazingly, I did a search on Amazon and found an incredibly cheap (cost and construction!) Cassette-to-USB tape player and two days later, had it hooked up to the computer, ready to try its luck with the tape. I put it in the player and hit play...
The speakers sprung to life, playing the sweet sounds of the old cassette, filing my mind with the classic haunt sounds from this masterpiece. Hearing those old haunt sounds again brought a big smile to my face.
As I listened to the tape, I started researching it, as I knew nothing about the age or the origin of it. And that is where things get kind of interesting.
Do a Google or YouTube search for "Chamber of Horrors" and you will undoubtedly find many entries on the 1988 version of this cassette. And I quickly found out that this version (with a different sticker label on the cassette itself) is actually awful. Generic voices and quick audio clips from popular songs (Thriller) and standard scary sound tracks. How many times is that guy going to say, "Haaaappy Halloweeeen!"??
Take a listen for yourself to see what I mean:
So after some extensive searching, I found NOTHING on this particular version of the cassette. The audio on my version is completely different, with more scary ambient Halloween sound effects. The audio actually repeats on both sides, but far outshines the more common version. My version doesn't have the 1988 copyright date, but does have the same "Made in China for ©Tony (U.S.A.) Encinitas, CA. 92024" disclaimer at the bottom.
I did a quick search for Tony (U.S.A.), and found that they are in the "Doll, Toy and Game Industry" and employ a total of 7 people. Not much to go on. My guess is that they simply licensed things like these cassettes in bulk. I vaguely remember getting mine at some point at some local discount store. With the "NEW" burst on my cassette, I'd be willing to bet that this version was released a bit later. I used it in the late 90s early 2000s for my haunt.
Either way, I find this version a far superior version to the 1988 original. And that is why I ripped it and am sharing it with all of you. This tape holds a special place in my cold, dead heart and it puts a smile on my face every time I hear it. If anyone knows anything about this version, feel free to drop the info in the comments below. I'd love to find out more about this particular version of the Halloween classic. When I have a free minute, I'll also post the audio to YouTube to see if anyone there knows anything about it. But until then, enjoy this version...
DOWNLOAD "CHAMBER OF HORRORS" HERE.
Merry Christmas from Highbury Cemetery and...