Anyone who’s ever seen a spooky scary skeleton rattle its bones or turn a friend into a xylophone knows that they are a jazzy bunch. After 10 years I’m thrilled to get some Jazz into the mix, but it’s not all dooting horns and startling shrilly screams – you’ll find many genres in this bone-nanza.
Here are 13 spine-tingling tracks to get your guests shaking their hip bones.
The Skeleton in the Closet – Louis Armstrong
Who better to strike up the band than Satchmo?
Rattlin’ Bones – The Preservation Hall Jazz Band
I heard these guys play while packed like a crawdad in a po’boy between the sweltering ramshackle walls of Preservation Hall in New Orleans.
Spooky, Scary Skeletons – Andrew Gold
The foundation stone of the Triple S tradition.
Skeleton Fight – Mack Allen Smith
Things escalate quickly in this odd-ball 60’s jam.
Graveyard Boogie – King Flamingo
You take your chances when you bring a date to the cemetery.
Nobody Likes You (When You’re Dead) – Zombina & The Skeletones
Don’t cremate, appreciate.
I’ve Got A Bone – Dan Bull
Apparently this is a Minecraft thing, I’m probably the last one to hear it, but I’m glad I did. I love the manic energy, brilliant word play, hilarious performance, driving synth and pitch-perfect theremin.
Do the Skeleton Scat! – The Wiggles
Do the Wiggles always kick this much ass? I think I’m a Wiggles fan now.
Cumbia de los Muertos – Ozomotli
If I get a chance to show some love for LA’s hometown heroes ‘Ozomotli’ I’m taking it.
Dead Man’s Bones – Dead Man’s Bones
Did you know that Ryan Gosling had a band? Did you know they’re spooky as hell?
Graveyard’s Full – The Growlers
This band’s sound is called ‘Beach Goth’. I don’t know if that’s an oxymoron, but I like it.
‘Taint No Sin – Lee Morse
This song may seem corny, but it gives me ‘Hellraiser’ flashbacks.
Skeleton Sam – LVCRFT
And finally, a little more saxo-bone and scare-emin to close this year’s list.
Click here to get my book ‘We Bleed Orange & Black: 31 Fun-sized Tales for Halloween’, including my Top Ten Tips for Becoming a Spooky Scary Skeleton.
My annual Halloween playlists have featured a lot of Hip Hop, so this year I dug six feet deeper to find 13 new tracks. The Horrorcore genre is filled with amazing songs from artists like Insane Poetry and Immortal Technique, but those are too scary to dance to. This mix will set the Halloween mood and keep people moving.
Amityville (The House on the Hill) by Lovebug Starski
This old school Monster Mash is the perfect way to start a party
The Crypt Jam by John Kassir
I’m not sure it gets more Halloween, or 90’s, than this one
Maniac Cop Rap by Barnes and Brian “B.Dub” Woods
Movie credit raps are THE BEST
Addams Groove by MC Hammer
Take foolish pride, put it aside, and groove to MC Hammer
Monster Squad Rap by Michael Sembello
5 minutes of Halloween flavor
Murder Ink by Dr. Dre
If you are going to rap about a murder spree, do it to John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’
Chuckie by Geto Boyz
Don’t like it? Blame it on Chucky
Nine Dead Bodies by Esham
I’m going with a live version because it suits this wild, raucous song
Halloween on Military Street by Insane Clown Posse
This forgotten freshness takes you on a Trick or Treating journey
Alive (Nightmare) by Kid Cudi
I believe there is sufficient evidence to officially declare this a werewolf song
Sasquatch by Ice Cube
Time to get the party ramped back up with some Squatchin’
Bollywood Undead by Kung Fu Vampire
If you love bhangra, kung fu and vampires this is the track for you
1-800-Suicide by Gravediggaz
Any Gravediggaz song would work, but this one ends with Vincent Price’s laughter
There are gifs that perfectly sum up an emotion or experience, and there are gifs that defy reality and beg for explanation.
These will be the basis of W.P.G., The Writing Prompt Gif Game.
I want people to send each other the world’s best and worst gifs as writing prompts. The gif can appear at any point in the story. End the story and tag another person with a new gif, invite them to build on the story, whatever you like.
This is all just an excuse for me to collect my favorite gifs for posterity and pretend I’m being productive, but that’s not important.
I’ll go first, with a musical tale I call…
B-Rabbit stood on the stage, trembling, mouth dry, about to lose the most important rap battle of his life before it even began. He stared into the lights to blur the vision of his swaggering rival and jeering crowd, to burn away everything except for the beat. His fingers were clenched around the cheap mic, knuckles turning white as he tried to hold onto the words that were vanishing, unborn, from the tip of his tongue.
He dug deep inside and dredged up all of his anger, fear, passion and pain. It threatened to choke him or tumble from his mouth as sobs and shrieks, but he forced it, through sheer will, to come out as truth.
“Look If you had One shot Or one opportunity To seize everything you ever wanted In one moment Would you capture it Or just let it slip?
Yo His palms are sweaty,
knees weak, arms are heavy There’s vomit on his sweater already,
And there you have it, the first of doubtless millions of WPGs.
It has been a long time since I’ve demanded my MTV, but every now and again I’ll catch a glimpse of a music video with some great Sci-Fi and Horror elements.
Allow me to play VJ for a moment and introduce a few videos.
1. 1983 by Neon Trees
I am always on the lookout for vampires. Something about this video, with its Zoltar machine wish opening and Lost Boys style carousel setting made my Vamp-sense tingle. I did not expect a brief cameo (at 3:18) from a fully grown Edgar Frog!
If you do not know who Edgar Frog is, please leave.
2. Thought Contagion by Muse
This suite of videos off the band’s album Simulation Theory is a shot gun blast of awesome sauce straight from the 1980s. There are vampires, werewolves, robots, Tron style VR chases, time traveling phone booths, and Terry Crews taking out Critters with a proton pack. It’s madness.
3. Odd Look by Kavinsky
This one is a bit older but I think some people missed it. Kavinsky is the magic, Ferrari driving zombie altar ego of a french electropop musician. The concept album OUTRUN is like the movie The Wraith. Did you see that one? That’s how cool the album is.
4. Bonfire by Childish Gambino
Before Donald Glover made Atlanta or This is America he was making interesting, experimental videos like these next two. Bonfire is a self-contained horror story set at a summer camp with a great twist.
5. Telegraph Ave by Childish Gambino
This one is full of chill vibes and gorgeous visuals leading to a shocking turn (at 3:40).
6. Deep Down Low by Valentino Khan
Want to see something really tentacular? Check out the video for this house music track that looks like something Junji Ito might experience tripping on ketamine in Innsmouth.
It has recently come to my attention that there is a sub-genre of music called Horror Reggae. I don’t get a lot of Reggae in my diet, but the dollop of horror makes it quite delicious.
Here is a handpicked list of Reggae, Dub, and Calypso horror songs for your Hallowe’en party. Caribbean scares come mostly in the form of Obeah (voodoo, witch doctors), Duppy (spirits) and jumbies (zombies, evil creatures). If you want to get political, however, you sing about vampires. Lots of vampires.
Gimme some Horror Reggae!
1) Dracula Prince of Darkness by King Horror.
King Horror seems less interested in metaphors for societal ills and political corruption and more interested in screaming about monsters.
2) Witch Doctor by Mighty Sparrow
3) Mr. Brown by Bob Marley & the Wailers
Mr. Brown is a clown who rides to town in a coffin.
4) Ketch Vampire by Lee Perry
Jah Jah sent us here to catch vampire
We have the chalice to light up Jah fire
When I-and-I a-go catch them vampire
I-and-I a go set them on fire
5) Obeah Man by Lone Ranger
6) Dracula by Desmond Dekker
Don’t trust a big butt and a smile
7)Duppy Conqueror by Bob Marley and the Wailers
8) Vampire by Lee Perry and the Upsetters
9) Frankenstein by King Horror
Only Frankenstein can bust up these vampires in the list
10) Vampire by Peter Tosh
11) Obeah Wedding by Mighty Sparrow
A diss track against a girl so ugly she needs necromancy. Damn.
12) Chase Vampire by Sancho
13) Zombie Jamboree by King Flash and Calypso Carnival
The Season of the Witch is upon us, and once again I have conjured songs for your Halloween party. The theme for this year is Witches. There are too many great weird songs to choose from, so I used arcane magicks to pick my lucky 13.
Turn on any classic rock station and you’re bound to hear Love Potion No.9, I Put a Spell on You, Black Magic Woman, Witchy Woman or a ditty by Fleetwood Mac. This list is not meant to be comprehensive. I’m scooping down deeper into the cauldron and tossing back any tune you can’t dance to.
Come, have a sip of strange brew and listen for a spell.
Season of the Witch by Donovan (This isn’t No. 1, it’s the introduction)
Devil Woman by Cliff Richard (The 60s and 70s- the golden age of witch songs)
Swamp Witch by Jim Stafford (I love these southern fried stories full of creepy bayou atmosphere. “Snakes hang thick from the Cyprus trees, like sausage on a smokehouse wall.”)
Marie Laveau by Bobby Bare (This is a novelty song, but it harkens back to the time when everyone knew about the Witch Queen of New Orleans.)
Marie Laveau by Dr. John (This song does the Witch Queen more reverence.)
Voodoo by The Neville Brothers (Voodoo songs are often songs about love)
Voodoo Woman by Curtis Knight (or love lost)
Voodoo Woman by Koko Taylor (The next chapter in Curtis’ story?)
One Eyed Witch by The 7th Court (The manic energy of the electric organ just sounds like Halloween)
Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band (The cheesy fx of this music video had me spellbound as a kid.)
She’s My Witch by Kip Tyler (Let’s down tune for some Rockabilly and a few rippin’ guitar songs)
Brujo by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Screamin’ Jay is Halloween royalty, and he’s representing the Man-witches)
Wicked Old Witch by John Fogerty
19 Witches by Monster Magnet
The Witch by The Cult
Witchfinder General by Carl Douglas (It’s not all love songs. Pimps up, Witches down.)
The Salem Witch Trial by Kiriae Crucible (Dark days in Salem. But on the bright side: electric organ!)
It’s only right to give the last word on witches to the ladies who have been so persecuted and maligned. And who better than Yoko?)
Yes, I’m a Witch by Yoko Ono (the 1974 original is smoother, but this version brings the madness home)
Here’s another 13 songs for your Halloween party. The theme for this year’s mix is Horror Movies, featuring songs from scary movies or about movie monsters. While there are many throat-shredding, head-banging heavy metal bands that write nothing but monster odes, this list will even appeal to mullet-challenged individuals.
If you think a song is missing from this list, you may find it included on a previous list here, here, here and here.
Batman, Wolfman, Frankenstein or Dracula – The Diamonds
There are many songs about B-Movies from the 50s and 60s, but I like this one because it’s about a girl who can only be amorous when watching monster movies.
Beware of the Blob! – The Five Blobs
I don’t know what else Burt Bacharach and his band The Five Blobs sang about, but this is the definitive song about blobs.
Human Fly – The Cramps
Bzzzz bzzzz bzzzzzz!
The Creature From the Black Lagoon – Dave Edmunds
I like how simply the love story is laid bare in this catchy tune.
The Howling – Babel
This entire song is performed live several times in The Howling 2: Your Sister is a Werewolf.
Big Bad Wolf – Bunny and the Wolf Sisters
This is the song from the prom at Teen Wolf to which the Teen Wolf dance is choreographed. Dear God I love this movie.
Pet Cemetery – the Ramones
Sometimes Ramones is bettah. For bonus horror movie music, checkout ‘Chainsaw’ about a certain massacreeee.
Drinkenstein – Dolly Parton & Sylvester Stallone
Not from a horror movie, not a classic monster, not stopping me from putting it on the list. The album has a bigger sound, but the outfit from the movie is not to be missed:
I Still Believe – Tim Cappello
This song was performed live in Lost Boys, and the saxophone player really brings the heat.
He’s Back (the Man Behind the Mask) – Alice Cooper
This movie is written about Jason Voorhees for Friday the 13th part 6. Not only does the music video have Cooper in a hockey mask running around a theater showing the movie, Jason himself makes a cameo.
Dream Warriors – Dokken
Not to be outdone, Dokken made a music video for Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3 where they rock out so hard they give Freddy Krueger a nightmare.
Do the Freddy – The Elm Street Group with Freddy Krueger
Did somebody say FREDDY? Two rap songs weren’t enough, so Freddy cut an album with The Elm Street Group that will definitely give you nightmares. Other highlights include ‘Dance or Else’ and ‘Down in the Boiler Room’.
Feel free to suggest more songs in the comments. I hope you enjoy the music and have a Happy Halloween!