Terror Tracks: Take A Trip To TRANSYLVANIA 6-5000

Transylvania 6-5000 isn’t an amazing film, despite starring the indelible Ed Begly Jr. and Jeff Goldblum. A Yugoslavian production that was financed by the Dow Chemical Company as a means to release frozen funds that had accumulated as the Dinar, as per Yugoslavian law, it’s an extremely light comedy populated with familiar faces that were unknown to me at the time. But none of that really mattered to 7 year old Jacob: it had The Wolfman! The Mummy! Frankensteins Monster! Everything a young budding monster kid needed in a film! Critics weren’t so kind though, and in a holiday season still reeling from the release of Back To The Future, it quickly fell into obscurity. But what the movie may lack in substance, they make up for 100% in the title song by Paul Chiten, Transylvania 6-5000.

 

This can't be happening
So much I can't explain
There's a logical explanation for everything

 

It’s hard to tell if musician and composer Paul Chiten is a time traveler or not, but it’s impossible to deny that those words? Most of the country hasn’t stopped repeating them since November 2016.

 

Down darkened alleyways
Somebody calls my name

But if you need to
Need to reach me
You can call me
This is where I'll be

Transylvania six, five-thousand
Transylvania six
Transylvania six, five-thousand
 

If you can’t already tell, lyrically Chiten is no Sondheim, but what we have here is deliciously descriptive. What really works for this song is the, of course, the music. And this song is ready made straight FIRE Halloween track. We’re greeted at the top of the track with the low buzz of a synthesized church organs, igniting images of spooky houses and creaking stairs, until the guitars propel us into the song proper. Distantly in the background a woman descending wails echo like the howls of wolves on the moors leading into the quickened bridge that is immediately hummable. Then we get the chorus, a discordant harmony dips on the word “five-thousand” into a low octave that instantly shows the songs age. Not in any negative way mind you, just...what were musicians fascinations with randomly pitching a vocal line so deep, most notably used in the song “Oh Yeah” by Swiss band Yello from Ferris Buellers Day Off and The Secret of My Success. Who knows, but it makes me smile!

 

A shadowed silhouette
A shape I can't forget
Creeps into my room at night and disappears

A piercing bloody scream
It's a bad cliché from a bad dream

 

Seriously, Paul Chiten, who I am sure is a fan of Terror Tracks, write more horror songs. His use of descriptive lyrics in this first passage are absolutely aces, scratching that spooky itch that only things like EC Comics can. And like those comics, Chiten lets us know how self aware he is of this silly song. But, damnit, he crushed it.

If you are looking for your next Halloween jam, or if you’re like me and bop to Halloween songs year round, Transylvania 6-5000 may be your new favorite track.