Classics Album Review Satanic Panic 3: Hell House
by: Vacation Bible School
Written By: DemoDawg
Published On: October 30th, 2021
As the days get cool and the nights get longer, the spooky season is upon us. What better way to enjoy the season than with a Halloween vaporwave tape. The third offering in the Satanic Panic series by Vacation Bible School is just the tape to scratch that Autumnal itch. The story continues where Revenge of the Satanic Panic! left off. Things are not what they seem at the haunted house your church is putting on. Evil lurks among the decorations and haunted displays. I feel this album creates a wonderful atmosphere to convey its tale. The album plays out like an 80’s horror movie. The first track is a mix of calming tunes with sinister undertones that come in and out and intensify as the story unfolds. The use of stereo effects really puts the listener in the story. I listened to this album start to finish in a dark room with headphones, and felt like this amplified the listening experience.
The masterful use of real samples from christian Anti-Halloween/satanist televangelists from the Satanic Panic period of US history sends the creep factor through the roof. The first track “welcome_to_hell_house ” sets the tone, expressing that evil is afoot. This leads into the same campy 80’s horror movie intro that was featured on the first album in the song “p a g a n _ i n v a s i o n”. This song sets the stage of a happy-go-lucky town that has no clue of what evil is around the corner. Track two, “satan_is_real ” reminds us that if good exists, so too does evil. As the season changes the vale becomes thinner, the witching hour upon us. The mounting tension of the album kicks off with the battle cry “steal_halloween_for_the_church ”. Those pesky pagans can’t hoard all the holidays, we are taking back Halloween for the church. This hubris is the turning point for the album.
The album places you as the main character in this story. You are working with your local church, an unwitting soldier in the war on Halloween, with the task of creating a haunted house to educate the masses on how souls are tormented in hell. A Devilish spectacle for the season and great propaganda if some care about their immortal soul. Time to prepare for the big night. “ Shopping_for_decorations ” is the shopping montage of the movie, zooming isle to isle in the store, picking up plastic skeletons, foam pitchforks, and all manner of spooky accoutrements. This song was the one that most benefited from headphones. The panning of the track makes one feel like they are along for the ride, weaving between isles as the lofi background music plays over the cheap speakers in the ceiling. Throughout the song a sinister tune plays over top of the track adding a creepy flavor to a normally innocent task. The sample from the Doctor Dreadful food lab killed me. It lends itself to the lighthearted feeling we have towards the Halloween season. Its goofy ghosts and goblins galore, taken none too seriously. This is the error the characters of the story make to invite evil into their town.
The very next track proposes the question: Is Halloween just a silly candy day or is it the holiday of “the_prince_of_darkness ”? The spiral begins as the tale takes a dark plunge. It is time for “redecorating_the_church ”. The costumed mannequins and Halloween props are arranged with great care. As the day progresses, the church takes on an evil facade, it truly is the “hell_house ”. You did a good job — maybe too good of a job. This place really is starting to look like the hell warned about in sermons. Is it getting hot in here or are you just working too hard? The room spins and the candles burn brighter; “the_portal_to_hell_opens ”. This track’s use of Satanic Panic news broadcasts explains why the war on Halloween was a growing fear: Satanists are real. They are here now. And they want your children!
With the portal open, the plastic “skeletons_come_to_life ”. Dear god! Why did you buy so many?! This song is full on spook-tacular, the kind of music one would picture from Fantasia. It uses the same panning effect to create movement through the horrific scene that is unfolding. In trying to create a realistic looking hellscape you have opened the gates to hell. Demons possessing the Halloween displays carrying out “the_tortures_of_hell ”. This was a hard track to listen to on first pass. Very troubling screams of agony and for help. Very appropriate to the title of the track but took me to a spooky place in the dark. You can distinctly make out a heartbeat, a sample played backwards, and an eerie music box tune playing, before erupting into a full demonic monologue. It is hard to make out exactly what is being said but I assure you it is not something you would want to be said to you. It sounds like a demon making a deal with the typical “all I need you to do” phrase. I really want to know the context of the end of the track — it sounds like running water and someone saying “it’s all good now”. You have had enough, your mind flips to survival mode as you need to escape. Braving the demons around each turn you try to make your way out, “running_from_hell ”. Oh man, ! No time to think about that now. You’re running from this nightmare. The final track of the album builds to a crescendo. You make your escape through flames as the church is consumed in the negation of hallowed ground meeting its polar opposite: the portal to hell. You dive to freedom, sprawled in the church courtyard — back where the world is blissfully unaware of the evil reality of Halloween, and the night is just about candy and costumes. SunKist fruit snacks
A wild ride from start to finish, this album was an absolute treat to immerse myself in for the Halloween season. If you are new to the series I suggest starting from the first tape, , and then Fall Festivals and the Satanic Panic . And, on Oct 6 2021 Revenge of the Satanic Panic! was released as the 4th chapter of the series. No word about a physical release as of printing, unfortunately. Also, check out the quick look we did on this album Satanic Panic 4: Possession . If you are in the mood for something seasonally appropriate, or a tape that you can listen to like a horror movie, look no further than this series. here
Vacation Bible School
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