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Best albums for soundtracking your Halloween festivities

Updated October 31, 2017 - 1:47 pm

At roughly 10:10 p.m., the ghost pirates decamped at the Hard Rock Hotel.

There they were on screen at The Joint, getting all frisky with an imperiled Adrienne Barbeau over stabbing keys — plink! plink! plink! — that punctured the calm like knife meeting flesh.

The song in question was the theme to “The Fog,” which John Carpenter, the film’s director and score composer, performed with a five-piece band Sunday.

The show was a dream of nightmares: the menacing synth burbles of “The Thing,” the dark choral sweep of “The Prince of Darkness,” the iconic, pulse-raising repetition of “Halloween.”

“I believe in love,” an I-wear-my-sunglasses-at-night Carpenter said with a wink as he introduced the latter number. “And I believe love lasts forever.”

It wasn’t all Beelzebub and blood splatters on this night, though: Carpenter and company performed a broad array of tunes, including selections from cult classics like “Big Trouble in Little in China,” “Assault on Precinct 13” and “Escape From New York.”

Carpenter recently released an excellent collection of some of his best works, “Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998.”

If you’re looking for an equally ominous and rousing soundtrack for your Halloween festivities, it’s a great to place to start.

But you’ll need more than that. Here are five must-have albums to make your All Hallows’ Eve gathering as killer as a certain Jamie Lee Curtis tormentor that Carpenter knows all too well:

Misfits, “Collection 1”

If you’re going to throw a Halloween bash and not soundtrack it with a couple dozen horror punk singalongs featuring brain-lusting space zombies and such, don’t invite us. And if we’re not invited, it’s not really a party, is it?

The Cramps, “Songs the Lord Taught Us”

The Cramps are Halloween personified, albeit with Spanish fly in their trick-or-treat bags as opposed to bite-sized Snickers: a campy, vampy, tawdry, devilishly debauched good time. If “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” doesn’t get you howling at the moon, in fishnets no less, you’re doing it wrong.

Gravediggaz, “6 Feet Deep”

Shovel some dirt on polite sensibilities with this horrorcore classic, where the mating of hardcore hip-hop with B-movie slasher flick tropes births a rap Rosemary’s Baby. Here, rhymes and skulls get busted alike.

Nick Cave, “Murder Ballads”

Nick Cave has always bore the dark-yet-dapper look of a well-heeled undertaker. And one could imagine an abnormally rakish mortician humming these blood-freezing ballads as he’s injecting your corpse with embalming fluid. As the evening progresses and the party slows, this one will ensure that pulses follow suit.

Diamanda Galas, “The Litanies of Satan”

It’s the end of the night, you want everyone out of the house and yet, considering the occasion, you want to send them all home with sleep-crippling nightmares — you know, like a good host. With Galas giving nerve-jabbing voice to the titular Charles Baudelaire poem while sounding as if she’s shrieking in tongues instead of speaking French, your guests will be gone in seconds. Only rub: They probably won’t ever, ever want to come back.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

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