“The carnival grounds are empty now…and the shrill piping voice of the calliope… still! The performers, in their trailers, are speaking in hushed tones, because something happened here tonight. Something that was so bizarre… that even the normally superstitious carny folks, found it almost impossible to believe!”
These narrative words are spoken at the start of the opening tune, Carnival of the Devil, on Sam Haynes’ latest album The Incredible Dark Carnival. This time we’re taken on a ride through the eerie world of the carnival, and I say eerie, because there’s nothing cheerful about this one… at least, not at night! You see… this carnival hides a sinister secret!
Sam Haynes is a musician and composer who “specializes” in making “horror music” which is used in haunts and theme parks across the world, to great effect. You can hear influences from horror movies of the 70’s and 80’s in his work, and especially the synthesizer scores of the latter decade.
Listening to his music in your headphones, while taking a late evening walk, like I usually do, is also a great way to experience it. It’s like listening to a good horror movie soundtrack, and what I like to do, is to make my mind a blank canvas and just let the music paint images on it… wonderful, dark images. And for The Incredible Dark Carnival you get images of creepy clowns and scary freaks appearing out of the darkness; slowly closing in on you… waiting… longing to drag you before whatever horrible fate awaits you on the dark carnival grounds.
Each tune, Electric Freakshow, Here Come The Clowns, Switchblade Sideshow, Behind the Mask and Screamtime for instance, will slowly send you spiraling downwards into madness, until your mind finally snaps with the Curtain Call.
I’ve had the privilege of reviewing two of Sam Haynes’ earlier releases (Welcome to the Horror Show and Ghost Stories), and since I’ve always been fascinated with the world of the carnival, this latest album intrigued me, and I could not wait to give it a listen.
If you’re expecting more like what’s on his previous releases you’re definitely in for a treat, because that’s exactly what you’re getting… and yet, not! Sam Haynes introduces new elements and new horrors which makes this latest album absolutely brilliant! You still have the electronic music á la 80’s Carpenter movies, but it’s now mixed with orchestral themes and the slightly off-key music of the circus-scene, and is actually even scarier than before. To be completely honest… The Incredible Dark Carnival freaks me the hell out… and I LOVE it!
So, until next time, my friends… You wanna go to the carnival with me? C’mon… we’ll sneak in! Don’t worry, it’s after dark, so no one will see us… no one will hear us… ever again!
Here’s a little taste for you all to enjoy: