Edited by Hilary Beck on
So you’re at a Halloween party, chowing down on your fun-size Snickers bars, when all of a sudden your hipster friends play “The Monster Mash.” As much as we love boogieing with Frankenstein, the song sucks. Try these tunes specially designed to give your lame friends nightmares for days.
1. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: I Put a Spell On You
The original and the best. Many have tried, but none compare to the voodoo master. When performing this song, Screamin’ Jay would wear a cape and emerge from a coffin on stage–not to mention the fog, real live snakes, tusks in his nose, and a rather charming cigarette-smoking skull called Henry. He’s kind of a lunatic.
Talk about commitment! The Godfathers of Goth used to drive around in a funeral car called the Bauhearse, and when performing the sorta cliché vampire hit “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” manorexic singer Peter Murphy would hang upside down like a bat. For ten minutes. But now that vamps have been co-opted by sparkly Twihards, we look instead to this tortured ode to a fucked-up Catholic childhood…he and Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy would probably be besties.
When the big-haired, twig-legged Horrors emerged in 2006 with names like Spyder Webb and Joshua Von Grimm, you kind of knew what you were gonna get. They’ve since ditched the spooky kid names, but their debut single (and creepmaster Chris Cunningham‘s video) can still make the hairs on the back of your neck stick up. At only 90 seconds long, it’ll leave your guests wondering what the hell just happened.
There’s an eerie children’s choir, lead singer Andrew Eldritch looking miserable in the rain, and the broad looks like Elvira with less impressive cleavage. ‘Nuff said.
Some more song titles from Nick Cave‘s oeuvre: “I’m Gonna Kill That Woman,” “Release the Bats,” “Jack the Ripper,” and an entire album of Murder Ballads. Any song from the coolest Australian ever would do, but it’s this Scream staple that’s regarded as his most disturbing. Cave’s sinster, strained vocals, the skulking beat, and the murderous lyrics sound like a horror movie come to life. That hand’s red for a reason.
This is what happens when you take a lot of hallucinogenic drugs. After spending some time in a hospital for the criminally insane, psychedelic legend Roky Erickson wrote a whole album devoted to ghouls, aliens, demons, and just being totally nuts. That said, you can probably outrun a zombie.
And finally, put on Thriller. It’s a jam, and after all this doom and gloom, your creeped-out friends will probably just want to dance.
What are your favorite spooky tunes?