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Beyond ‘Monster Mash’: 20 Novelty Songs from the Mid-Century Horror Craze

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vintage horror novelty record


We all know “Monster Mash” by Bobby Boris Pickett from 1962, but there were a ton of other horror themed novelty songs released around this time that didn’t have quite the same success.  They capitalized on the monster craze that swept a young Baby Boom generation – millions of Boomer boys, obsessed with Frankenstein and the Universal monsters, inspired by the endless supply of horror comics and magazines on the shelves.


vintage horror novelty record

And so, from the late 1950s until The Beatles Era, came a motherload of monster and horror themed tunes – mostly of the doo-wop and rockabilly variety; which, more often than not, featured a poor Bela Lugosi or Peter Lorre imitation.  Since they were aimed at kids, there’s a refreshing playfulness to them – a far cry from the heavy-handed horror themed metal and goth a few decades later.

So, feel free to play this at your next Halloween Party and enjoy!


1. “Drac’s Back” by Billy DeMarco & Count Dracula (1960)

2. “Screamin’ Ball (At Dracula Hall)” by The Duponts (1958)

You might say 1958 was the high water mark of this mid-century horror craze.  It was the year I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Hammer’s Horror of Dracula infiltrated drive-ins and local theaters across the country.  It more or less marked the end of the sci-fi bonanza that swept drive-ins in the 50s, and ushered in a new age of horror cinema which hadn’t received this level of popularity since the Universal monster movie days.

3. “Midnight Stroll” by The Revels (1959)

4. “The Mummy’s Ball” by The Verdicts (1961)

You’ll note that a lot of the horror novelty songs were by African American doo-wop groups.  What better way for black musicians to reach suburban white kids than through their horror obsession?

5. “Frankenstein’s Den” by The Hollywood Flames (1958)

6. “I’m the Wolfman” by Round Robin (1965)

Written by Baker Knight, the same guy who wrote “Lonely Town” – a hit for Ricky Nelson.

7. “Spookville” by The Nu-Trends (1963)

8.”Coolest Little Monster” by John Zacherley

You can’t talk about the resurgence of horror around this time without mentioning the rise of the horror host. Zacherley was perhaps the most well known of the troupe, but seemingly every town, big and small, had its local horror host (to be reignited in 1981 by Elvira).

9. “Monster Party” by Bill Doggett (1959)

10. “Haunted House” by Johnny Fuller (1958)

11. “Mr. Werewolf” by The Kac-Ties (1963)

12. “My Son the Vampire” by Allan Sherman (1964)

13. “The Monster” by Bobby Please and the Pleasers (1959)

14. “Nightmare Mash” by Billy Lee Riley (1963)

One of the more blatant “Monster Mash” ripoffs

15. “The Voodoo Walk” by Sonny Richards with Cindy & Misty (1962)

16. “Frankenstein’s Party” by The Swingin’ Phillies (1958)

17. “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by The Monotones (1958)

By same doo wop group that gave us The Book of Love!

18. “Rockin’ in the Graveyard” by Jackie Morningstar (1959)

19. “Morgus the Magnificent” by Morgus and the Ghouls (1958)

20. “Vampira” by Bobby Bare (1958)


More here.

  • mournblade1066

    “Midnight Stroll” was originally called “Dead Man’s Stroll,” but the record label thought the name was too ghoulish.

    Oh, and “Rockin’ in the Graveyard” by Johnny Morningstar is a classic. I’m sure it was a big influence on The Cramps.