Thursday, September 3, 2015

Unearthing Creature Feature's GREATEST SHOW


Ever since I moved into My Own House, it has been a Halloween tradition to have a “home haunt." We decorate the porch or the garage — one year even the kitchen — and do our best to give all the local kids great memories of Halloween (and hopefully a few nightmares).

And ever since we started our home haunt, I have devoted LOTS of time every year to the music, be it multiple CDs on rotation, or custom mix CDs, or iTunes playlists. Back in Ought-Seven, however, a CD arrived in my mail  — ON HALLOWEEN, no less — that totally changed my playlist for the year. In fact, I cancelled the playlist and just played the one CD, because it was perfect for the festivities.

The CD was by the band Creature Feature, and sported the jaunty title THE GREATEST SHOW UNEARTHED.  It sounded like many things I’d heard before combined into an album that sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before. Unlike the majority of “horror rock,” this isn’t morbid, sad, depressive ruminations on death. Rather, herein swirled those perfect Halloween memories: chilly nights spent in cheap plastic costumes running from house to house and hoping, PRAYING that the stuffed mannequin on that porch in the skeleton mask was just a mannequin.

Curtis Rx and Erik X of Creature Feature.
The album kicked off with the title track: a ska-tinged manifesto for all to follow promising “madness murder [and] dismay.”  “Buried Alive” — billed in the liner notes as “a day in the life of...Mr Edgar Allen Poe” — follows, with the protagonist proclaiming “inside of this sublime box I lie with the hopes of being buried alive."  Other standout tracks include the zombie-fest of “Aim for the Head” and “A Gorey Demise,” which riffs on Edward Gorey as townsfolk recite their annual obituaries, Gashlycrumb Tinies-stylee.  There’s also an homage to the THE TWILIGHT ZONE episode "To Serve Man," as well as songs about alien body snatchers, necrophilia and kidnapping.  It’s all so damn bouncy and catchy and infectious that ya can’t HELP but sing along.

The band consisted of the duo of Curtis Rx on vocals, guitar and various other instruments, and Eric X on keyboards. If there is precedent for Creature Features’ sound, it would be Oingo Boingo (imagine the whole band entrusted with scoring Tim Burton’s films, instead of just Danny Elfman hisself).  But truly, the sound is like artist Gris Grimly’s delicious cover art brought to life ... gruesome whimsy incarnate. If Mr. Dark’s travelling carnival from Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes” had a house band, Creature Feature would be it.

Since GREATEST SHOW, Creature Feature has issued the equally lovely IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT in 2011 and several singles. Curtis RX also issued a more guitar-based solo project under the band name Rufus Rex in 2011. As of this writing, Creature Feature have JUST released the title track to their new album AMERICAN GOTHIC, which has a planned Halloween ‘15 release.

Looks like I will have a new soundtrack for THIS year’s haunt ...


REID BRITT lives in Scenic Western North Carolina with his wife Alison and his daughter Lily.  He has been a Monster Kid from a young age ("There ARE Sasquatches down in the woods, Mom!") and still believes in the Power of Rock n' Roll.  When he's not watching horror movies, he likes to paint, and you can check out his paint slinging at, Instagram as Reiddrorings,  Facebook as Spookywolffe. and Twitter as @spookywolffe.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...