The Scarecrow is a creature as old as agriculture whose existence is built on fear. What a perfect fiend for Halloween! To honor of these pumpkin-headed kings I hearby offer this harvest of 13 songs to keep the corn swaying at your Halloween party.
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 Monster Mash is awesome, nobody is disputing that, but it is not the only ‘Halloween Carol’. This may come as a surprise to anyone who has ever tried to assemble a playlist for a halloween party.
If you are in a rush and only want to choose one album to set the mood I would recommend Halloween Hootenanny, Rob Zombie’s spooktacular record of original songs by the Ghastly Ones, Los Straitjackets, The Bomboras, Rocket From The Crypt, Zacherle, etc. If you picked up an album from any of these contributing artists you are well on your way.
But if you want a hand picked list of rare gems I present the following list of terrifyin’ tunes from the crypts of Hip Hop, Trip Hop, Doo Wop, Disco, Cajun and…Thai Funk???
– Wolfman Jack by Binary Star. Awesome story about a werewolf in the ‘hood, and the best you’re gonna find unless The Werewolf of Watts ever gets greenlit.
– Witch Queen of New Orleans by Red Bone. This cajun rock song is about Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen of N’awlins.
– Are you ready for Freddy? by The Fat Boys. I’m going to assume you already own ‘Nightmare on my street’ by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. If not consider this a two-for-one, because Are You Ready for Freddy? teams Freddy Krueger with the Fat Boys. Unlike the Fresh Prince video that was filmed but never released, the Fat Boys video is on youtube!
-Dr. Frankenstein by Ice Cube. People probably know this song but may forget to add it to their halloween mix. What better way to get the party bumpin’?
– Fatal by RZA. As long as we’re getting hardcore here’s the Wu Tang Clan’s RZA with the best (only?) thing to come out of Blade Trinity.
– Monster Crack by Kool Moe Dee. Why not go old school with a rap about the crack monster?
– The Horror by RJD2. From Hip Hop to Trip Hop, this is a groove I listen to year round.
– Do The Zombie by The Symbols. Here’s a pre-Romero zombie Doo Wop song that’s great fun.
– Monster Beach by The Surf Trio. This is the ultimate distillation of the ‘surf guitar’ vibe present in so many Halloween songs. Possibly the greatest song ever.
To end this list here’s a 3-peat of Disco Dracula:
– Soul Dracula by Hot Blood. The video alone is mind blowing.
– Soul Dracula by Messer Chups. Now with added Surf guitar!
– Soul Dracula by Thai Beat A Go-Go. In this version the melody is sung with lyrics in Thai!
There are thousands of wonderfully weird Halloween – worthy songs out there, and hopefully these will lead you down some interesting haunted trails. Happy Halloween!