These days, I am content just sitting around with some nice, soft indie rock playing and a good latte in hand. But whenever I need to get motivated for Halloween, I always turn back to my high school days as a goth kid who lived every day for the musical pickings of horror music genres. Sure, I could discuss songs like “Monster Mash” and “Thriller” but we are in the 21st century and I figured I’d go a little bit more modern and a whole lot darker.
“Halloween” by The Misfits
In my opinion, horror punk icons The Misfits are the embodiment of classic Halloween. From their signature DeviLock hairstyles to the band’s branding, which was borrowed from both the classic film serial, “The Crimson Ghost,” and popular horror film magazine, “Famous Monsters of Filmland,” The Misfits epitomize Halloween for me.
Released on Oct. 31 1981, The Misfits’ “Halloween” and its b-side accomplice “Halloween II” are both raw and brooding. The bluesy vocals of original frontman Glenn Danzig combined with the recording style of the band’s early work, “Halloween” can be likened to a classic horror film soundtrack.
As a fan of black metal, a gothic sympathizer and an English major, I adore the music of British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. Known for their elaborate stage presence, wildly offensive merchandise and lyrics sung at a slightly obnoxious, high-pitched scream, Cradle of Filth is a complex anomaly and not everyone is suited for their performances.
One of the band’s most whimsical tales of suspense is the hauntingly beautiful “Her Ghost in the Fog.” I’m not going to begin dissecting this song for deeper meaning, but I will tell you this: if “Beauty and the Beast” was an R-rated horror film, it would closely resemble this song.
Whether you love or hate them, you know something about Detroit hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse (ICP). With their iconic painted-faces and terror-themed lyrics, ICP has built their empire rapping about all things cynical and grotesque.
ICP is nothing without their legions of fans dubbed “Juggalos.” That’s why every year the group puts on a special Halloween performance in their hometown of Detroit called, Hallowicked. During this performance ICP introduces a brand-new Halloween-themed song. With 2014 marking the 20th anniversary of Hallowicked, I think it’s only appropriate to name the song, “Every Halloween” as my favorite Hallowicked song.
A cross between 1950s rockabilly and classic zombie films, The Horrorpops are a sweet and special treat. With frontwoman and upright bassist Patricia Day accompanied on guitar by her husband Kim Nekroman, The Horrorpops bring a dark romance to their already ghoulish performance. “Walk Like a Zombie” represents the entire listening experience of this band and is the closest song on my list to a dance tune. If the psychobilly genre had a version of “Thriller,” this would be it.
Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without a bit of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Back in 2008, the franchise released a compilation album featuring popular bands covering tunes from the iconic Tim Burton film.
Many people enjoy the Marilyn Manson cover of, “This is Halloween” and I will leave it here for honorable mention, but my favorite track off the disc is the shivering cover “Making Christmas” by Rise Against. It is somewhat peculiar for this band to make a track as creepy and original as “Making Christmas,” but with this song’s hard-hitting guitars and quirky character vocals, this song is a staple in my Halloween rotation.