I’ve been secretly working on a project that somehow combines all of my favorite flavors: Horror, VR, Escape Rooms, Lovecraft, and Monsters!
That project is HUSH: In Search of Dominic Ward, a co-op room scale VR game that traps you in a cell with only your wits, a friend in an adjoining room, and your microphone to communicate. But beware, something stalks the catacombs, and it can hear you.
With the convergence of Black Mirror’s interactive movie BANDERSNATCH and the reboot of MARY POPPINS, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to post my interactive Mary Poppins inspired ‘choose thine own adventure’ game.
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!
My creepy Christmas story ‘With Their Eyes All Aglow’ was recently singled out in a review on Shocktotem, so I thought I’d share a little research that went into the tale.
O Little Town of Deathlehem, edited by Michael J. Evans and Harrison Graves
Last Christmas time I heard a disturbing factoid reported on the radio: Each Christmas tree brings up to 25,000 bugs into your house.
Okay, tiny mites are icky, but it’s hard to beat spiders for pure terror. I looked at the lights shining on my tree and imagined a cluster of luminescent arachnids. Do glow-in-the-dark spiders even exist?
The glowing spider has only been spotted once, in the deepest jungle of Myanmar in 1923 by Barnum Brown, the curator for the American Museum of Natural History.
“Darkness came on swiftly and my pony began to stumble. Somewhere we had missed the trail…Presently, a few feet away, I saw a ball of light as large as a man’s thumb.
Tying the horse, I advanced as carefully as possible toward the object, which was surrounded by thorny bushes…I struck a match. There in full view was a spider, his large oval abdomen grayish with darker markings. Still he did not move, and as the match flame died out, his abdomen again glowed to full power, a completely oval light, similar in quality to that of the fireflies.
Remembering native tales of poisonous insects and spiders, I wrapped a handkerchief around one hand, parted the brush with the other, and when close enough, made a quick grab. Alas! The handkerchief caught on a stick before I could encircle him and my treasure scurried away. I followed as quickly as possible, but the light soon disappeared under stones, brush, or in some burrow, for I never saw it again.”
I had my spider and my setting. To make things more interesting, I made my glowing spiders more sociable.
Social spiders cooperate like ants or bees. Colonies can spin much larger webs and then swarm to take down prey as large as birds and bats.
(I was going to insert some photos of bats in webs, but I couldn’t find any that were not being feasted upon by giant spiders. You’re welcome.)
My wife suggested the title for this story be, ‘Spiders get all up in yo’ bidness and then ruin Christmas.’ Yes, these spiders may ruin Christmas for a few unlucky people, but don’t let that stop you from checking out the anthology O Little Town of Deathlehem. You can buy the book at Amazon, and all profits from the anthology will benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Many country western songs, especially those favored by Johnny Cash, seem to exist in a bleak Weird West haunted by wailing winds and ruled by Old Testament justice. Listen to ‘Ain’t No Grave’, ‘The Man Comes Around’, or ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ and you’ll see what I mean.
The song ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ has always painted vivid pictures in my mind. In the song God tells John to let five sinners (the long tongued liar, the midnight rider, the rambler, the gambler and the back biter) know that they’re marked for judgment. I wondered who these colorful characters were, and how they had ended up on the wrong side of God’s Law. Who was John, the chosen messenger and avenger of the almighty?
Inspired, I decided to write my first story in the weird western genre. Happily, my piece found the perfect home in SONG STORIES : BLAZE OF GLORY. This is the second anthology from Song Stories Press featuring tales created from music.
In order to ground the ‘Weird’ I wanted to make the historical details of my ‘West’ as accurate as I could. Here are a few notes about the WEIRD.
MEET THE GANG:
The Long Tongued Liar
I chose the Long Tongued Liar to head up my band of outlaws. The name conjured up Orochimaru, the scheming master of serpents and my favorite villain from the manga Naruto. With God as long arm of the law, however, I knew my outlaws should be hell-spawn. I searched the tomes of demonology for an appropriate counterpart and found Jezebeth, the Demoness of Falsehoods. It’s hard to track down reliable information about her, but what else would you expect?
The Midnight Rider
I have always wanted to write a weird western tale about the song ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’.
As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Devil’s herd, across these endless skies
With that character already in mind, I had my Midnight Rider.
How to make rambling seem villainous? I had a choice between a character that moved around a lot or one that talked too much. I chose that latter and created Giovanni Mountebank, the loquacious showman behind “Dr. Giovanni Mountebank’s Medicine Show & Traveling Dime Museum.”
A clue to Giovanni’s origins is the sinister bird mask that hangs above his clockwork wagon. He was born in the Dark Ages, where he began his dubious career in medicine as a Plague Doctor. While no medical training or experience was necessary, Plague Doctors had the special authority not only to record the Last Will and Testament of their patients, but to perform their autopsies as well. Imagine the possibilities for corruption and you get an idea of Giovanni’s path to the dark side.
Every weird western needs a Skinwalker, and Nayenezgani Biwosi is mine. His first name comes from the monster slaying hero of Navajo mythology. Tucked into the background of all my demon outlaws is the story of righteous men corrupted by Jezebeth. The name Biwosi comes from Hastiin Biwosi, the first Navajo killed in the witch purge of 1878.
In the gambling halls of the badlands, however, he is known as ‘The Suicide King’. His favorite game is ‘Russian Roulette’ (although the term hadn’t been invented yet). A skinwalker can assume the form of any hide or fur he is wearing. The Gambler keeps a coyote pelt draped over his fancy clothes, but he plays for the skin of his victims.
I wanted to round out my rogues’ gallery with a vampire. I needed to find a different angle on it as well as a way for a vampire to move around in the harsh sun baked southwest. My solution was twofold: conjoined twins, one living, one undead.
The grim avenger in this story is a mysterious man known only as John. He hides scars beneath his deerskin gloves, carries thirty pieces of silver and wields an antiquated blunderbuss pistol loaded with crucifixion nails. He once walked a very different path, but Jezebeth destroyed everything he knew. Check out the story to find out more.
You can find pumpkins and candy corn anywhere, but where to find great scary songs for a Halloween party? There are a lot of Norwegian Death Metal bands out there with great songs about cannibalism and axe murder, but those aren’t really crowd friendly.
You may already have some Halloween music, a few ‘no-braaaaainers’ like Thriller, Ghost Busters, Monster Mash, and Dead Man’s Party. All good stuff, but you can only do the Thriller dance for so long.
Here’s another hand-picked play list of 13 spooky fun songs to help summon the Halloween spirit and keep people on the dance floor.
It’s Almost Halloween by Panic at the Disco
This song sets the mood perfectly. When I launch my own probe into the depths of the solar system, this song will be inside on a gold record.
I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow
Yes, this song is ‘on the nose’, like a wart on a witch. Would you have it any other way?
Ghost town – Extended Version by The Specials
The moaning of the phantom organ, the eerie chorus, the delicious ska beat. If this weren’t an extended version, I’d have to play it twice.
Spiderwebs by No Doubt
As long as we’re dancing on the off-beat, let’s keep it up with No Doubt.
Walking with a Ghost by Tegan and Sara
Walking with a ghost smells better than walking with a zombie, but they both sound pretty sweet.
I Walked with a Zombie by The Aliens
If you’re feeling adventurous, checkout some other songs by lead singer, Roky Erickson. You may find yourself falling down a psychedelic rabbit hole of songs like “Bloody Hammer”, “Night of the Vampire” and “Creature with the Atom Brain”.
Spooky by The Zombies
This tune goes out to all the spooky little girls out there…
Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell
This video is amazing! Back in the day I was so starved for horror that I would watch MTV and wait for the music video for songs like this or The Rolling Stone’s ‘Too Much Blood’.
It’s interesting how many main stream pop songs from the 80’s make good Halloween songs. Yet another reason why the 80’s were totally rad.
The Haunted House of Rock by Whodini
This song has sound effects, monsters, and lots of sweet puns. It’s almost like a children’s Halloween album, but it’s from 80’s hip hop group Whodini.
The Freaks Come Out at Night by Whodini
Now that I think about it, this is a great Halloween song too!
What? By Rob Zombie
So much of Rob Zombie’s music is perfect for Halloween, but this song has a fun bounce to it without the hard edged aggression that may turn off non-Metal heads.
Monsta Mack by Sir Mix-A-Lot
What kind of party would it be without Sir Mix-A-Lot?
I’m Your Boogie Man
Let’s end this list with a two-fer. KC and the Sunshine Band followed by Rob Zombie. Listen for the soundbite from John Carpenter’s original “Halloween”.
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!
My short horror story TOOTH AND BONE will appear in Short Sips, the second volume of Coffee House Flash Fiction from Wicked East Press. The story details the unfortunate meeting of an unscrupulous dentist and a patient in dire need of the dental arts.
I’ve spent a lot of time in dentist chairs, and that is where this story was conceived. I was going through a particularly vigorous deep gum cleaning when I thought, “How strange it must be to put your hands into a total stranger’s mouth?” The story came back to me recently as I was having a root canal performed (for a second time). I kept the thinking about it when I lost
the crown on the fresh root canal. By the time I went back for the new crown I owed nearly $2,000.
The dentist had a long list of other things that needed to be done. And things that needed to be redone. This may have colored the tone of the final story a bit. It’s not a happy story, but I hope you’ll think it’s a fun one.
My dentist says that if you ignore your teeth they’ll go away. I say watch where you put your fingers.