[Mourning Jams] Day 31: “The Crypt Jam”

October 2019 is a celebration of horror and musicThis October, Daily Grindhouse is celebrating the collision between music and horror with a series of posts under the banner of Rocktoberfest 2019. There will be daily features, recurring bits, and some special posts around the subject.

Mourning Jams is your daily kick off every morning with a different music video that has some horror elements to it. Crossing genres, decades, and more, it’s a good way to get in the spooky mood this Halloween month.

It was hard to decide what the last video would be for Mourning Jams. Something by LL Ghoul J? Perhaps a track by Scare Supply? Maybe a creepy clip from the Wu Fang Clan? A music video by Michael Jackson? But in the end, the choice was clear—”The Crypt Jam.”

It was…inevitable. The video for “The Crypt Jam” contains weird dancing, fleeting fads, paltry puns, attempts at ghoulish make-up, familiar horror icons, bad choices, and the song itself is…confused at best. It’s unintentional nightmare fuel but silly and fun, and a total product of its time—which is basically all of Mourning Jams summed up into one low budget music video. During the merchandising rush around the corny cadaver, the Original Music From Tales From The Crypt soundtrack was released. It featured 12 instrumental tracks from episodes of the TV show (including Danny Elfman‘s theme song, and works by James Horner, Ry Cooder, and Jimmy Webb) and then, at lucky number 13, appeared “The Crypt Jam” as performed by John Kassir in character as The Crypt Keeper.

Crypt Keeper? Cryptkeeper? Crypt-Keeper? You can literally scour the internet and will see all versions on official merchandise and reference materials. Anyways, DJ Creepshow spat some bars on the song written by Chuckii Booker, a fairly prolific keyboardist and producer that worked with a bunch of big acts in the ’90s R&B scene but whose greatest achievement (after “The Crypt Jam”) was his cameo as a hotel lobby pianist in HOUSE PARTY 3. “The Crypt Jam” is weird. There’s no really other way to describe it. It has that early ’90s hip hop vibe found in Vanilla Ice, Heavy D, and other fairly pleasant rappers who would use a lot of orchestral stings, lame scratching, women singing a word or phrase in exultation, and then really putting the rhyming dictionary to the test in pursuit of jokes that would basically be seen as flippant yet still suitable for 4th graders.

It’s still better than the wretched end credits rapping from Warwick Davis in LEPRECHAUN IN THE HOOD (though not as good as Freddy’s verse with the Fat Boys).

There’s also a weird mixture of wardrobe in “The Crypt Jam”—with lycra/active wear dance clothes, era-appropriate Compton all-black outfits with wool caps, an assortment of sports jerseys, and basically whatever Brian Austin Green was wearing that week on Beverly Hills 90210. Oh also there are far too many shots of the reanimated yet rotting rapper positioned very close to butts. And thus…a fetish was born. Thanks, “Crypt Jam!”

She really puts the "Boo!" in "Bootylicious!" in the video for "The Crypt Jam"

“The Crypt Jam” is, unbelievably, incredibly, widely available digitally. You can find it on Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, and Apple Music, for those looking to add it to their various Slaylists tonight. You can also purchase it on iTunes (for those, like me, clinging to the old software) or find copies of the CD on eBay (which also appears to be the only place to find Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas and Tales From The Crypt Presents Monsters Of Metal).

This is the final Mourning Jams for 2019! Hope we started all of your days off on the fright foot. There will be a video tomorrow morning—not a real music video, but a compilation (like the one that kicked this all off). Happy Halloween!

Rob Dean
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