Hollywood Gothique is proclaiming “Hell” the official song of Halloween 2022, just because we happened to have heard two renditions of it performed at two different Halloween events this year, Los Angeles Haunted Hayride and Winchester Mystery House’s Unhinged: Nightshade’s Curse.
Written by Tom Maxwell, the song was recorded by jass-swing band Squirrel Nut Zippers in 1996, charting at #13 on Billboards Modern Rock Tracks (now known as Alternative Airplay). “Hell” has been heard on the soundtracks of such films as Monkey Bone (2001) and Epic (2013) and episodes of Millennium (1997) and Dead Like Me (2003).
With its swing rhythm and energetic tempo, the song feels upbeat, but the lyrics provide a start warning about punishment in the afterlife:
In the afterlife
You could be headed for the serious strife
Now you make the scene all day
But tomorrow there’ll be Hell to pay
This is a place where eternally
Fire is applied to the body
Teeth are extruded and bones are ground
And baked into cakes which are passed around