Dee Snider, best known as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band TWISTED SISTER, is the creative force behind a new Halloween-themed musical project called VAN HELSING'S CURSE set to debut October 7, 2003 with the musical ghost story concept album "Oculus Infernum" on KOCH Records. Snider, a lifelong fan of horror, first made a foray into the genre with the successful cult film "StrangeLand" and its accompanying soundtrack, which also marked the singer's first foray into Billboard's Soundtrack chart.
"VAN HELSING'S CURSE is not a band, it's a rock orchestra. It includes a five-piece rock group, a six-piece string section and a six-piece choir. The choir only sings chants in Latin. There are no lead vocals on 'Oculus Infernum', just narration," Snider says.
The tracks on "Oculus Infernum" include "Patience", "Tubular Hell", "All Fall Down", "Let Me Prey", "The Child", "The Tortured Soul", "Revenge", "War", "Let the Pain Begin" and "The Curse".
Snider created the concept and storyline and provides the narration for "Oculus Infernum", which is Latin for "eye of hell." "Oculus Infernum" tells a complete story about an evil entity that descends upon a town and kills all the adults. A now-orphaned boy seeks retribution and teams up with an old man who is the direct descendant of vampire hunter Van Helsing (from Bram Stoker's original "Dracula" novel) in order to fight the entity. Snider's vision ultimately provides a disturbing look at the nature of evil, which is summed up in a soliloquy at the finale of "Oculus Infernum".
Musically speaking, "Oculus Infernum" is just as spine-chilling as the story. Original compositions are woven among classical music pieces and selected bits from familiar songs such as Mike Oldfield's haunting "Tubular Bells" and BLACK SABBATH's shocking "Black Sabbath". For example, the single "Tubular Hell" includes melodic bits of "Tubular Bells", original sections, and themes from classics, like "Hall of the Mountain King". The swirling blend of fierce and creepy music, Latin chants and Snider's dramatic narration on "Oculus Infernum" results in an overwhelming listening experience.
Snider has a list of goals for VAN HELSING'S CURSE. He envisions people making VAN HELSING'S CURSE and "Oculus Infernum" part of their Halloween experience. Annual October tours by VAN HELSING'S CURSE will encourage audience participation such as dressing up in costume when attending the concerts. "Ultimately, VAN HELSING'S CURSE will be a full-scale touring entity complete with spectacular special effects. It will be the sound and vision of Halloween. A thrilling horror experience," says Snider. "The rock musicians will be dressed in a goth style like Marilyn Manson-meets-Edward Scissorhands, the string section will be dressed as ('Interview With the Vampire' author) Anne Rice-style goths and the choir will be dressed in robes to look like Druids."
This just scratches the surface of Snider's overall vision for the future of VAN HELSING'S CURSE. Expect VAN HELSING'S CURSE and "Oculus Infernum" to become Halloween institutions.
Says Snider, "The idea is for VAN HELSING'S CURSE to be the soundtrack for Halloween."