A Soundtrack for Your Halloween

halloweenHorror movies and haunted houses are usually good for some frightful fun around Halloween, but they’re not as useful if you need a little atmosphere music when handing out candy to trick-or-treaters or a soundtrack for a dress-up Hallow’s Eve bash. For that, you’re going to need the appropriate tunes pumping out of your stereo. Below, I’ve assembled a fairly eclectic tracklist that should keep the chills and the grins coming all night long.

01 Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath” : The perfect mood striker; it really does sound like you’ve wandered into some deep woods coven ritual.

02 Goblin – “Suspiria (Main Title)” : Demented theme song for a demented horror movie from a demented punk band. Absolutely essential.

03 Warren Zevon – “Werewolves of London” : Not a scary song, but an exceptionally unflappable one, witty and very catchy. Why this wasn’t in An American Werewolf in London still boggles my mind.

04 Danny Elfman – “This Is Halloween” : Whether you consider it a Halloween movie, a Christmas movie, or both, A Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic and has a nice soundtrack. This one, obviously, is most appropriate.

05 Joy Division – “Dead Souls” : “In a Lonely Place” is bleaker (and better for a mix designed to disturb), but hearing Ian Curtis repeatedly howl, “They keep calling me,” rises the tension in the room quickly.

06 The Cure – “Lullaby” : There were plenty of appropriate vibe setters on the likes of Pornography but this one’s both beautiful and disconcerting. Maybe this is the sort of spider man that horror-maestro Sam Raimi should have investigated instead of one with a symbiote costume, hm?

07 Bauhaus – “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” : Kind of obvious, but fitting, and you need some Bauhaus on here somewhere.

08 Alice Cooper – “Welcome to My Nightmare” : Muppets Halloween, need I say more?

09 Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising” : Great for Halloween, great for any time.

10 Manic Street Preachers – “The Intense Humming of Evil” : A song inspired by a visit to Auschwitz? Yeah, this gets under your skin pretty quickly.

11 [This is a good spot for an intermission. May I suggest a brief snippet of creepy carnival music for an aura of hideous, grease paint-splotched clowns coming to cut out children’s hearts? Or maybe an equally unsettling soundbite from one of the most odious, skin-crawling movies ever made, Jesus Camp?]

12 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – “I Put a Spell on You” : Back from the break with a classic. Time and hundreds of covers make it more campy than freaky now, but come on, that voice!

13 Bloodrock – “DOA” : The classic rock texture isn’t too chilling, but the lyrics are pretty unnerving.

14 Marilyn Manson – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” : No, Manson didn’t best the Eurythmics original, but he did make it darker and more twisted.

15 The Doors – “People Are Strange” : If the melody isn’t strutting with sinister menace, it’s rolling with creaky, funhouse faux-joviality.

16 John Carpenter – “Theme from Halloween” : Uh, duh.

17 Smashing Pumpkins – “We Only Come out at Night” : Vampires were cool once, and even though this song isn’t nearly that literal, its unconventional melody and instrumentation make it just off-kilter enough for a little diabolical enjoyment.

18 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “The Curse of Millhaven” : “All God’s children, they all gotta die.” Holy hell, this song is dark, but funny in an “Excitable Boy” kind of way, too. Perfect, then.

19 Bobby “Boris” Pickett – “Monster Mash” : Cheesy or not, no Halloween is complete without a graveyard smash. Seriously.

Blue Öyster Cult – “Don’t Fear the Reaper” : Not because of references to Death, but because that guitar solo during the bridge is one of goth rock’s biggest inspirations.

21 Jerry Goldsmith – “Ave Satani” : From The Omen, and for no better reason than the fact that Latin chants are second only to eerie children’s choirs as immediate soundtrack cues that something ominous is about to get really ugly.

22 Michael Jackson – “Thriller”
: Certainly not one of Jackson’s best, but any song with a Vincent Price monologue is Halloween-worthy, and always a good closer after the alcohol has seeped in and you’re feeling a bit goofy.

Now, if I’ve done my math right (and if you have the appropriate versions of the above songs), this should fill out a standard-size CD quite nicely and make your Halloween night one to remember. A few samples from above can be perused at your leisure below.

Matt Medlock


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