VAN HELSING'S CURSE, the classical/rock music brainchild of TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider, is bringing its spectral horror-inspired ambience to the stage throughout the month of October.
The troupe's debut album, "Oculus Infernum", released last Halloween through KOCH Records, employs an 18-piece orchestra and a prophetic choir to stitch together chilling classical passages and menacing rock movements into a sinewy Frankenstein's monster of musical styles. VAN HELSING'S CURSE pairs heart-pounding, terrifying original compositions with clever re-workings of such memorable classic pieces as Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" (made famous by "The Exorcist" film), Grieg's "In The Hall Of The Mountain King", "Dies Irae", Jerry Goldsmith's "Ave Satani" (from "The Omen" films), Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" (from "Carmina Burana"), Mussorgsky's "Night On Bald Mountain", Chopin's perennial "Funeral March", Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" and Holst's "Mars, The Bringer Of War". "Oculus Infernum" reaches its ominous climax with a spine-chilling cover version of BLACK SABBATH's classic "Black Sabbath".
Snider will host each date of the tour, providing narration & setting the tone for the performances. He offers insight to what music fans can expect this fall: "Our staging is very old world versus new world with regards to the music. The new world rips out a guitar break, the old world counters with a searing violin solo. We worked throughout the record with that kind of tension, where both schools of music are working together but competing at the same time. And visually, on stage, we want to present that as well. This is a very visual entity. The string section is going to be old school Goths, made-up and dressed accordingly, with flowing dresses, velvet jackets and ruffled shirts — a very Anne Rice look. The electric section is very new-school, 'Hellraiser' meets MARILYN MANSON, from the hair to the makeup and attire. Our choir will be a group of druids with hooded robes and skewed faces."
He continues: "One of the other things we are developing right now is a DVD production of the show, which will be very involved. We are working with two very great directors, John Buechler (known for his directorial and special effects work on a plethora of horror-related films, including 'Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood', 'From Beyond', 'Re-Animator', 'A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master', 'Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers') who will be developing the storyline for the DVD and film in dramatic fashion and Mark Aldo Miceli (Grammy-award winning director of Madonna's 'Blond Ambition' home video and 'The Girlie Show' televised event), who will direct the concert footage. We are planning to feature the dramatic footage simultaneously on-screen during the concert, for a visceral multimedia presentation."
In addition to the live show, Snider will be coordinating a number of in-store appearances (music and Halloween) and haunts around the country to further expose the message of VAN HELSING'S CURSE. A special pay-per-view event is also in discussion for October, and Snider is in negotiations to become the primary voice and host for forthcoming Scream Network (a horror-based television channel).
Snider enthuses about the widespread possibilities for the VAN HELSING'S CURSE project: "As the creator for VAN HELSING'S CURSE, I think the original vision is far-reaching. I see us establishing VAN HELSING'S CURSE as a significant yearly Halloween experience and a musical part of that experience. Right now, for the most part, people's Halloween activities include visiting a haunt, going trick or treating, going to a Halloween party or watching horror movie marathons. But the musical element is sorely lacking, and VAN HELSING'S CURSE provides that soundtrack for people's Halloween. It's definitely a far-reaching concept that can translate into TV, videogames, theater, movies, etc., but it all starts here with the music and our upcoming tour."
A lifelong fan of horror, Snider first made a foray into the genre writing, producing and starring in the successful cult film "StrangeLand" and its accompanying soundtrack. A sequel to the film is currently in production. In 2000, Dee entrenched himself further in the world of horror by narrating a documentary/retrospect home video regarding the making of the movie "Halloween". He will make his next foray onto the silver screen with an appearance in the forthcoming thriller "Deepwater".