I love cheesy Halloween music as much as the next person – that is, minimally – but having worked in an elementary school for twelve years, I will tell you that “Monster Mash” has worn especially thin. To the point where hearing it makes me want to cry. Here is a rockin’ alternative playlist for those of us who like our Halloween songs on the…less saccharine side. Enjoy!
Haunt You – The Pack a.d. (2011) Two Canadian garage rockers inspired by sci-fi and horror films. Hard-hitting, big sound. About someone dead.
Red Right Hand – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. (1994) Dark and ominous…”red right hand” is a line from Paradise Lost, referring to the vengeful hand of God.
The Sky is a Poisonous Garden – Concrete Blonde. (1990) Whip fast and chilling.
Howlin’ for You – The Black Keys. (2010) O.k., not really anything spooky, but you can pretend werewolf. Bluesy with great drums. The official video parodied action flick trailers…maybe not so work-safe.
One of These Days – Pink Floyd. (1971) A quiet, ominous windstorm. One disturbing sentence. Menacing bass. Screaming guitar. Beautiful.
Ballroom Blitz – Sweet. (1973) Yes, you’ve heard it in Suicide Squad, but it was cool way before then. Supposedly inspired by a concert the band was playing in Scotland when the crowd started throwing bottles at them and drove them off the stage. Awesome!
Vampire Blues – Neil Young. (1974) Vintage Neil…amazing guitar…sink your teeth into this one.
The Darkness – Zombie Girl (Darker Mix by Komor Kommando). (2009) Synthy, B-horror movie industrial rock with a heavy beat.
Lullaby – The Cure. (1989) Giant spider. Childhood nightmares. Drug addiction? Deceptively pretty song with a high creep factor.
Devil Behind that Bush – The Cramps. (1997) A she-devil scares the lead singer out of his pants. Hmmm… Upbeat, surfy, psychobilly.
Night of the Living Dead – The Misfits. (1979) No one does horror punk like these guys. This song was released on Halloween, 1979.
Novocaine – Switchblade Symphony. (1995) Orchestra meets goth rock with haunting vocals.
Earth Died Screaming – Tom Waits. (1992) Deeply unsettling. Waits’ growly voice and the eerie “sticks” percussion – created by guys actually “banging two-by-by fours against stones or rocks on the ground” according to Songfacts – make a creepy combo. Clips from The Earth Dies Screaming (1964) zombie film accompany the song in this video.
Yummer Yummer Man – Danielle Dax. (1988) – Don’t let him near you! Great ’90s experimental/pop rock. I saw her in concert, opening for the Sisters of Mercy in Boulder…
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) – David Bowie. (1980) A woman withdraws from society and goes a little crazy…Great guitar and perscussion. And of course, it’s Bowie.