If you’re throwing a Halloween party you need more than a creaking door soundtrack to set the tone. You need a steady rotation of thematic music so things keep rolling. If you’re not throwing a party then maybe you’re handing out candy. So you’ll definitely need a rocking soundtrack to keep you primed for any tricks that might preempt your treats. Are you working on Halloween? Then get your boss to play ‘appropriate’ music. Look, either way it’s Halloween and music is key. I’ve got you covered! This is your Halloween soundtrack, my friends:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Honestly, the whole album. Who doesn’t love Rocky Horror? But if you’re looking to narrow down the Transylvanian tune choices, make sure your playlist includes ‘Time Warp’ and ‘Sweet Transvestite’. And if you’ve never done the time warp (you’ve never done the time warp?) don’t worry - the dance instructions are right in the lyrics of the song. We’ll all be waiting in antici.......... pation for you to figure it out.
‘Thriller’ - Michael Jackson
Vincent Price guest stars in this song. You guys, Vincent Price. Michael Jackson. Zombies. This is a Halloween staple. This is the whole meal deal. ‘Thriller’ is everything.
‘Tubular Bells’ - Mike Oldfield
On its own this is a creepy little instrumental piece. Evocative, moody, atmospheric. But ‘Tubular Bells’ is not just any piece of music. It’s the theme to The Exorcist. It will immediately remind you of levitating beds, a possessed girl spider-walking backwards down stairs, and an old priest and a young priest. It’s chilling and therefore perfect.
‘Monster Mash’ - Bobby “Boris” Pickett
Another staple. But this one is all about an epic bash the monsters are throwing rather than about monsters crashing your epic bash. Everybody loves this song, don’t lie.
‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’ - Backstreet Boys
I hear you questioning this song’s inclusion on the list. But it’s the video that seals its place. This is the video where the boys’ tour bus breaks down and they have to spend the night in a big old haunted mansion where Nick, Howie, Kevin, Brian, and AJ turn into a mummy, Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, a werewolf, and the Phantom (of the Opera) respectively. This is so Halloween, you guys. And also: there’s a dance.
The Addams Family Soundtrack - Marc Shaiman
Every day is Halloween for our favorite family! The Addamses don’t do normal like regular folk. The movie starred Anjelica Huston (my favorite) and Raul Julia as Morticia and Gomez and the soundtrack has highlights like the opening number where Christmas carolers are tarred by the family and the unforgettable Mamushka. This is for Halloween and every day around Halloween that isn’t Halloween but should be.
‘Dragula’ - Rob Zombie
First of all, it sounds like Dracula. Secondly, his name is Zombie. Sample lyrics: “Dead I am the dog / hound of hell you cry / Devil on your back / I can never die / Dig through the ditches / And burn through the witches / I slam in the back of my / Dragula” Trust me, it’s thematic.
‘Ghostbusters’ - Ray Parker Jr.
Who you gonna call? Exactly. Back off, man, I’m a scientist.
‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ - Rockwell
I think I’m just amused by songs where paranoia is the driving force. I also enjoy ‘Who Can It Be Now’ by Men At Work. Anyway, Rockwell is convinced that people are watching him: the mailman, neighbors, the IRS. The song also references The Twilight Zone and Psycho which are name-drop wins. Admittedly that feeling of being watched is definitely a creepy sensation.
‘Bad Things’ - Jace Everett
True Blood was many things and some of those things were camp and softcore porn but it was also about vampires and shifters and werewolves. The theme song is damn sexy, too, so put it on your playlist so you can grind with the costumed reveler of your choice as the witching hour nears.
‘More Human Than Human’ - White Zombie
As we learned in Nathan’s Laserium post last week, the title and certain lyrical references in this song are taken from the film Blade Runner. Which, admittedly, is not about Halloween but is about genetic engineering and a general neo-noir dystopian view of the future. Horror comes in many forms. Also, it features these lyrics - “I am the crawling dead / A phantom in a box / Shadow in your head” - and is head-thumping metal at its finest.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula Soundtrack - Wojciech Kilar
Say what you will about Keanu’s performance as Harker (stilted, unintentionally comedic, bad), the movie as a whole was lush and dark and full of venomous elegance. The soundtrack is the same. It throbs with threat and a sort of menacing dignity. It sets a very definite mood and that mood is inky black and oddly beautiful.
‘Twisted Nerve’ - Bernard Herrmann
Cap the playlist with that whistling song. Oh you know the one. The one that starts like a jaunty little whistle and ends in the sort of discordant clashing orchestration that jars your very bones. It’s no wonder this little ditty was used by Quentin Tarantino to underscore the arrival of Elle Driver at the hospital where the Bride lay comatose in Kill Bill. Yes, it’s that song.
- Corinne Simpson