We’re coming close to Halloween, meaning we’re getting close to Halloween parties. My favorite part of any party is almost always the soundtrack– but Halloween doesn’t have quite the same selection as Christmas. Whether it’s a for a few friends or a whole house full of people, here’s some tracks for your playlist that will help everyone get into the spirit.
10. “Monster Mash” by Bobbie “Boris” Pickett
The classic Halloween song. Not only is it done in a pitch perfect Boris Karloff impression, it name checks just about every classic monster you can think of. The only reason this is so low on the list is becasue you either have this on your playlist already, or forgot about it and are doing so right now. Not much to say but whatever happened to the Transylvanian twist?
9. Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor by J.S. Bach
Baroque music isn’t quite everyone’s cup of tea. Organ music isn’t quite everyone’s cup of tea. I chose the original arrangement over the orchestral version heard in Disney’s Fantasia because if you want that authentic Haunted House/Phantom of the Opera-type sound, you need the organ. The song itself is literally the work of a genius– what Bach did with harmony and musical texture is still unmatched, everyone else just copies him. It’s a great song year-round, but due to its use as a musical sting to evoke old castles and Gothic horrors, it’s been inextricably tied with the Halloween season.
8. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult
While this song has been forever tied to Christopher Walken (in more ways than one), if you actually listen to it the lyrics are quite dark. Because, you know, it’s about death. As Spoony says “You can understand my fear of the reaper, I can die.” I do have to commend the song for probably the most appropriate reference to Romeo and Juliet in any song ever. Seriously. The music is pretty creeepy too– the rock instruments and breathy vocals with the echo on the guitar gives an unsettling vibe that meshes well with the lyrical content.
Plus, everything needs more cowbell.
7. “Enter Sandman” by Metallica
(Seisure warning for the video, maybe? Strobe-like lighting effects)
This song is sure to get everyone jumping. (Heh, Hokie humor.) Heavy metal is great for Halloween, powerful guitar and bass with a driving rhythm and dark lyrics. And speaking of copying Bach, the genre has deep roots in classical music, especially in chord structure and concepts of virtuosity, except instead of a violin, now it’s a guitar. Metallica is one of the greats of the genre, and “Enter Sandman” is one of their most famous songs. The sinister chorus is just creepy enough to make you forget that literally the song is about a dad putting his son to bed, and the son having nightmares as he sleeps.
6. “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby
It’s really hard to get your hands on a music video. MP3 killed the video star, I guess. This one’s for the mad scientists in the room– I talked last week about the intersection of Sci-Fi and Horror, but this song isn’t quite that. It’s less spooky and more silly, kind of a 1980’s version of “Monster Mash”. It’s good for dancing, and just kitsch enough to be enjoyable.
5. “Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy
This has several layers of Halloween. First, the guitar sample that Fall Out Boy used here is the theme to the classic TV show The Munsters, which centered around a family of classic Universal monsters and their neice, a normal human girl. It was kind of the Pepsi to The Adams Family‘s Coca-Cola. Second, the inspiration for the song was actually taken from Quentin Tarantino movies, specifically Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. For those who like their Halloween movies to be a mess of violence and action, Tarantino’s not a bad pick. The third doesn’t actually have to do with what the song contains, but what Tumblr did to it, and is actually the scariest thing of all.
They set it to aerobics. Horrifying.
4. “Puttin’ On the Ritz” by Gene Wilder
The ultimate mix of horror and comedy, Young Frankenstein is a classic parody film directed by Mel Brooks and starring the late, great Gene Wilder. And yes, that is a Frankenstien monster and Willy Wonka tap dancing to a Fred Astaire song. And it is glorious.
3. “Dance, Magic, Dance” by David Bowie
Labyrinth is a classic, and you all should watch it. “Dance, Magic, Dance” is, as the title suggests, a dance song. I talked about the soundtrack for this movie a while back, it’s not a bad album. This is, by no means, the only Bowie song you should have on your playlist, or all of your playlists. All of your playlists should have Bowie.
2. “The Phantom of the Opera” from The Phantom of the Opera
I’ve talked about my love for Phantom in a few posts, and that hasn’t changed yet. Phantom is great for Halloween, whether you love the Weber musical, the Lon Cheny film, or the original book. The woman who plays Christine in that video is actually playing Christine in the 30th aniversery production in Paris. It was supposed to open on the 13th, but there have been delays due to a fire that broke out in Late September. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but many sets and costumes were completely destroyed. The Opera Ghost could not be reached for comment.
1. “This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas
This is in the same category as “Monster Mash”, I’m not sure why it’s so high on the list–
Isn’t this from a Christmas movie?
Well, sort of? But it’s got Halloween in the title.
The movie’s got Christmas in the title.
It’s not really much of either–
It’s a Christmas movie.
It’s a Halloween movie.
Oh, that crowd’s here too, wonderful.
Come back in a week, this might take a while…
Next week– Breaking Genre: The Nightmare Before Christmas