Since their multi-volume Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s series proved to be successful, Rhino decided to use the name for a succession of spin-offs. At first they were specialty items, like New Wave Dance Hits and New Wave Women. Eventually, they became novelty items like New Wave Halloween. If we're being technical, there aren't many new wave songs on New Wave Halloween -- there are more post-punk cuts than new wave numbers here, and that actually presents something of a problem. Almost all Halloween songs are novelties, and new wavers loved to celebrate novelties, especially if it grew out of '50s kitsch. Post-punkers, on the other hand, took everything seriously, as demonstrated here. Furthermore, in order to fill the disc, the compilers chose cuts like Dave Edmunds' "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" and Roky Erickson's "Creature with the Atomic Brain," which aren't about Halloween, they're about horror movies. But enough nitpicking -- the main problem with the disc is that the album doesn't hold together particularly well, since it contains so many different styles and moods. There are some fun songs and some interesting songs here -- including a stretch of six songs titled "Halloween" from Siouxsie & the Banshees, the Dream Syndicate, Sonic Youth, Dead Kennedys, the Misfits and Mudhoney -- but the fact is only the B-52's' "Devil in My Car," Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party" and (especially) The Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Time Warp" create the loose and silly party atmosphere the disc was supposed to capture.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine