Halloween Playlist

October 17, 2010

To complement my Halloween posts on Horror Novels and Horror Films, here’s the official RATDOTL Halloween Mixtape liner notes.

1) (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

There’s a reason BOC’s most famous song has been in too many horror movies to count–it’s really freaking creepy. It’s not aggressive, heavy, or sonically over-the-top. It’s that understated subtle musical spookiness that makes this the best Halloween song ever (well, see the next pick).

2) Main Theme from “Halloween” – John Carpenter

This is probably the most recognizable scary theme in history from arguably the best horror movie ever. Carpenter’s direction was great but the success of his film has as much to do with this composition since it’s what cemented the film and it’s lead into popular imagination.

3) Creepy Green Light – Type O Negative

Almost any TON song would work good on a Halloween mixtape, but this one is my choice. It depicts a man waiting by the grave of his former lover who has assured him of her return and that it would come in a wave of green light.

4) Lucretia – Megadeth

Oh, c’mon! Starting an overtly ’80s speed metal song featuring Mustaine’s somewhat bizarre vocals with a witches cackle? That’s Halloween buddy!

5) Candy – Magic Kids

Nowhere near horror on this one, but what’s the day without a little candy? Of course this is a knowing sappy yet beautifully simple rock song in the Cheap Trick style (and also one of the best pop songs of 2010) that’s about the dude’s lover being sweeter than candy, but it’ll suffice.

7) Mother – Danzig

The best metal song ever also works as a scary song since you’re apt to “find hell with” Danzig…just make sure “your children don’t walk [his] way.” This one’s a power chord monster, but equally frightening (perhaps more frightening, actually) is the acoustic, slowed-down cover by Christian rockers Anberlin who play Danzig’s tongue-in-cheek song completely straight.

8. Hallowed be Thy Name – Cradle of Filth

COF have enough scary songs on their own–Beneath the Howling Stars, Malice Through the Looking Glass, From the Cradle to Enslave–but this cover of Iron Maiden’s early ’80s classic is the best for our purposes here. Dig that first-person narration of a man counting down to his execution by gallows in medieval times.

9) October- U2

A short, melancholy ballad from U2 to put the holiday in it’s context month.

10) Sink Hole- Drive By Truckers

DBT is able to conjure up some of that “dirty south” Charlie Daniels-style scary when they feel like it. “Sink Hole,” about a man who kills the banker coming to repossess his house and “buries him in the old sinkhole” before “going to church on Sunday, [and] look[ing] the preacher in the eye” builds from a series of down-tuned southern garage-rock riffs that complement the lyrics.

11) God of Thunder – Kiss

Gene Simmons’ signature scare song was penned by Paul Stanley, but hey, it was meant for Simmons. This one sounds better on old copies that weren’t remastered–the more murk the more this sounds like a misplaced Sabbath song.

12)Welcome to My Nightmare – Alice Cooper

Alice, despite as nagging and contradictory as he seems now that he’s an aging fundamentalist, was a helluva showman. This ballad of introduction to his world is good schlock.

13) Caught a Lite Sneeze – Tori Amos

The medieval sounding strings in this song put it ahead of even the rest of “Boys for Pele” and make it one of the most fun somewhat gothic songs Tori has ever done.

14) I Put a Spell On You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

This 1956 blues song went from a lovelorn ballad to an eery, raging, “cannibalistic” (as some critics lamented of it in the ’50s) shriek of blues rock terror. CCR covered it as a straight-ahead rock classic but the 1990s version by Marilyn Manson sounds like an outtake from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and thus fits the original tone much better (though all 3 of these mentioned versions are terrific).

16) Reptile – Nine Inch Nails

This is the scariest song NIN ever recorded. I saw Reznor perform this one at a Halloween concert I attended and it cemented it as my favorite horror rock song ever.

16) Halloween – AFI

AFI is disparaged a lot for various reasons, usually for things that are unfairly heaped on them. At their best, as they were in this phase of their career, they were a perfect mixture of punk, goth, pop, rock, and horror-lite in the vein of the Misfits. This, a Misfits cover song, is pretty great and was produced with a much sonically clearer sound that makes it work better than the original in some ways. 

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2 Responses to “Halloween Playlist”

  1. dwhamby1 said

    It’s not like you have nothing else to do but I have a column suggestion— give us the WORST 10 Halloween Movies you have seen!

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