The Monster Mash is a work of genius. Christmas songs are a genre, but the “Monster Mash” stands alone. It’s the only Halloween song. Don’t come at me with your other vaguely spooky songs. Don’t say “Season Of The Witch” to me. Don’t be the “Ghostbusters” guy. Those are songs you can trot out at Halloween, but we all know they’re pretenders to the throne. If you ask someone to name a Halloween song, they’ll say “Monster Mash” first one hundred percent of the time.
Every year around Halloween, the Monster Mash discord begins. Is it a song about a dance, or is the song discussed within the song also called The Monster Mash? That’s a boring question, but I’ll answer it. The Monster Mash is a song and dance created by Boris, the mad scientist narrator of the song. How do I know this? Because I’ve Monster Mashed harder and longer than anyone.
I’ve listened to “The Monster Swim,” “The Monster Rap,” and the entire album The Original Monster Mash. They had to call the record The Original Monster Mash to distinguish it from a rival Monster Mash album released the same year. You see, nobody has a trademark on monsters mashing. That’s why there’s so much bigfoot erotica on amazon.
Bobby Pickett won the war of the Monster Mash’s not because his album was the most creative or the best produced. I think John Zacherle’s Monster Mash has much more to offer in terms of both musical composition and lyrical creativity as a whole, but he’s not the impressionist that Pickett is. Pickett also showed a commitment to the Monster Mash. He was still putting out Monster Mash content in 2004. That’s forty-two years of furiously Monster Mashing. In that amount of time most people would find a second, even a third passion.
The most interesting thing about “Monster Mash” is the lore Pickett created for his characters. He was the original slash fiction writer. Monster Mash has a large cast of musical monsters and discusses the effect entering into the music industry has on their lives. The most deeply affected monster is Dracula, who plays the role of Turtle in Entourage to Boris the mad scientist’s Adrian Grenier. We first hear in the original Monster Mash that Dracula is disappointed to have his hit song “The Transylvania Twist” replaced by the “Monster Mash.”
People have recently taken this line out of context and suggested that Boris stole “The Transylvania Twist” from Dracula to make the Monster Mash, but I’m familiar with both canonical versions of “The Transylvania Twist,” and neither sounds anything like “Monster Mash.” The Original Monster Mash has a version of “The Transylvania Twist” on it, and in 2004 a trio of musical melons sang a modernized take on the song in the film Spookley The Square Pumpkin. It’s…not great. It rhymes the word stomp with jomp. Jomp is not a word. If it was, it would be a Finnish Van Halen cover band or a sexually transmitted foot disease.
Coming in at the length of an average urinary catheter commercial, Dracula’s “Transylvania Twist” was never going to be the smash hit that “Monster Mash” was. Boris produced “Transylvania Twist” because he’s friends with Dracula and wanted to do him a favor. It might have been popular for a bit, and Dracula enjoyed his fame, but it was soon overshadowed by “Monster Mash.” The lyrics insinuate that people can’t resist doing the “Transylvania Twist,” but unfortunately for Dracula, it turns out they could! And did.
Boris then, out of the kindness of his heart, allows Dracula to join his now wildly successful band. I’m not sure what he’s bringing to the table there; I don’t think he plays any instruments. But by the end of “Monster Mash,” Boris and Dracula are on good terms again. Dracula is in a well paying job as a musician in a successful band. He should be thrilled. That should be the end of Boris and Dracula’s tension, but it’s only the beginning.
The first three songs on The Original Monster Mash are all about the deteriorating relationship between Boris and Dracula. After The Monster Mash opens the album, we go straight into “Rabian – The Fiendage Idol.”
In this song, Dracula has come to Boris as the manager of Van Helsing, who has been transformed into a werewolf that wants to be a teenage idol. Sexy Teen Pop Star Van Helsing Werewolf is definitely something a fan-fiction writer came up with. I’m surprised I could type out that entire sentence without getting an offer to write it into season seventeen of Riverdale.
Rabian is a terrible singer, that’s the song’s punchline, but Boris blows Dracula off gently with the classic “don’t call us, we’ll call you” and “bring him around next week, will you?” We never hear about Rabian again.
It’s Monster Mash canon that Dracula has a son. He attended the original Monster Mash when his father was the successful singer of “Transylvania Twist.” He never appears again, and it seems like it’s because Dracula lost custody. Otherwise, you would expect him to put forward his son as a potential teen idol before Van Helsing. The next time Dracula is mentioned in “Blood Bank Blues,” we see he’s in dire straits. His relationship with Boris has completely deteriorated, along with all of his money.
He couldn’t pay his bills, so he doesn’t have access to his usual blood bank. Toward the end of the song, which is mostly about how much fun drinking blood is, he completely switches gears and is like, “You know whose fault this is, BORIS!” Dracula accuses Boris of putting a stake in his girl’s heart. You might think this refers to Dracula’s wife, Vampyra Alucard, who is named in a later song because the Monster Mash lore is so endless.
I think Dracula was cheating and had both a wife and girlfriend at this time because my wife and my girl are the same amount of syllables. If Boris had staked his wife, that would be a much more upsetting statement for listeners here, but “girl’s” was an intentional lyrical choice to let us know how bad off Dracula is doing at this point. He’s broke, he’s cheating, he’s not making great music, and he’s blaming Boris for all of this. I feel bad for Dracula.
We then hear three songs with very little to no Dracula lore until we come to “Monster Minuet,” track seven of The Original Monster Mash, which is the craziest song in existence. It’s not even a song. It’s a spoken word poem where Dracula and Boris have a knockdown, drag-out fight at a party Boris is throwing. We learn Dracula’s full name is Count Dracula Alucard, and his wife is Countess Vampyra Alucard. They enter the party together, and Dracula immediately starts complimenting all of the beautiful ladies in waiting at the party, which pisses Boris right off. Things devolve into full wrestling kayfabe from there.
Bobby Pickett got so into his story he went full soap opera and forgot to write a song. It doesn’t rhyme. There’s no beat. You can’t go around your house singing, “Don’t leave that snaggletooth bag of bones you call your wife behind.” It isn’t even an attempt at a jam. It is nonsense. It is something you’d say to your husband if he came back from the bathroom during Riverdale and asked what he missed.
Then Boris meets and falls in love with a Mummy in “Me and My Mummy.” He’s ready to leave the record industry behind and settle down together in her ancient tomb. The relationship doesn’t last long, though and the song after that, “Monster Motion,” features Dracula doing a mental health check on his toxic friend Boris.
Dracula uses Boris’ depression to try and get a new dance craze going called the Monster Motion. It’s a blatant rip off of The Monster Mash, utilizing all of the same monsters in Boris’s Monster Mash now doing an unspecified motion that certainly isn’t mashing for copyright reasons.
There are a few other interesting pieces of Monster Mash lore scattered throughout the album. Igor is fucking Frankenstein’s wife. There’s a whole song devoted to what a sad loser Wolfman is, but the story of Dracula and Boris’ on-again, off-again friendship is by far the most compelling thing on the record. Dracula and Boris end the album on fairly good terms, celebrating Christmas together with all of their other friends by plotting to kidnap Santa Claus.
In 1984, when Bobby Pickett released “The Monster Rap,” he again included Dracula as the same sad, needy, failed musician character. This time Dracula hopes Boris can make him relevant again by teaching him how to rap. And it worked! Everyone remembers “The Monster Rap!”
So, if anyone ever asks you, “what’s the deal with Monster Mash” now you can tell them. It’s the beginning of a fascinating VH1’s Behind the Music episode about a failed musician named Count Dracula Alucard, and his producer friend, Boris. Discussing “Monster Mash” in any other context divests it from the full value of the total work.
This article was brought to you in remembrance of our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme:Thomas Cavazos, who died of inverted feet. Fuck Jomp.
4 replies on “Nerding Day: The Deep Lore of the Monster Mash 🌭”
Well thanks, now I will spend all Halloween muttering, “You’ve got to shock the body, shock the body body,” after being reminded of Monster Rap.
Another key figure in the monster music movement was Leo Karpatze, who I have been led to understand recorded his song, “Monster Fuck,” before Bobby Pickett etched anything to vinyl (desperate Venn diagram reference check).
I hear there’s a reboot.
Jokes aside, this album is a great example-by-counterexample of what made “The Monster Mash” so great. That song is the dictionary definition of lightning in a bottle, and Pickett himself was kind enough to put in so much work to demonstrate exactly how unlikely its existence truly is. Every time astronomers find another distant planet that’s almost like Earth but isn’t quite capable of supporting human life, they should name it after a song on this album.
“This is Halloween” is knocking on my door demanding I let it speak to you. I don’t know Lydia, “This is Halloween”. I think you should go home and sleep it off.