13 great, memorable music moments in horror movies

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An essential part of planning the perfect Halloween party is the perfect playlist of songs to get you in the scary good mood, like “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, Oscar nominee from Ray Parker Jr. ghost hunters theme song, pretty much anything from Black Sabbath and Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O”. This upbeat 1956 Calypso hit may seem like an obscure choice, but I can’t help but think of beetle juice whenever I hear it, it easily earns a spot on the list. There are plenty of other songs I might not have considered playing during “Rocktober” without their memorable inclusions in some of the best horror movies ever made, like this classic rock staple’s famous appearance in a classic slasher masterpiece.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Nancy Kyes on Halloween

(Image credit: Universal)

“Don’t Fear The Reaper” – Blue Öyster Cult (Halloween)

Blue Öyster Cult’s iconic 1976 hit, “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” was scary enough on its own as a ballad about an ill-fated Romeo and Juliet romance. However, its diffusion in the years 1978 Halloween as Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes) are unknowingly followed by Haddonfield’s infamous “reaper” Michael Myers, gave it an even more menacing vibe. The song would also retaliate in 2007 Halloween – Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s original slasher.

Christian Bale in American Psycho

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

“Hip To Be Square” – Huey Lewis and the News (American Psycho)

There was absolutely nothing spooky about “Hip to Be Square” when Huey Lewis and the News published it in 1986. Everything changed 14 years later when Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) put it on and presented a sophisticated and in-depth analysis of the pop-rock single’s themes to a drunk Paul Allen (Jared Leto) as he prepared to smash his brains out with an ax. Lewis himself would later mock this watershed moment in American psychopath in a hilarious video for Funny or Die which also stars “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Larry Fessenden in You're Next

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

“In Search of Magic” – Dwight Twilley Band (You’re Next)

The menacing opening piano chords leading to the groovy celebration of unbridled optimism that is Dwight Tilley’s ‘Looking for the Magic’ make him almost a perfect companion to the jet black comedy throughout Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett You are next. Otherwise, the 1977 song is effectively juxtaposed with two scenes from the brutal and brilliant 2011 home invasion thriller – the open-air premiere with horror icon Larry Fessenden as Erik Hanson. and the second when Kelly (Margaret Laney) runs to Harson’s house (where the song has apparently been playing on repeat the entire time) to fall prey to one of the masked assassins targeting her family.

Beetlejuice Day-O scene

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

“Day-O” – Harry Belafonte (Beetlejuice)

A more definitive, much lighter, and utterly inventive example of some of the best horror comedy movies is the aforementioned. beetle juice. Exhibit A: When the recently deceased Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis) attempt to scare the Deetze (Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara) away by possessing them and their guests with a dance on Harry Belafonte “Day-O », Concluded with the surprising arrival of bestial hands made of resuscitated shrimp. The Jamaican-American artist told Pitchfork in 2018 that he has since enjoyed the effect Tim Burton’s cult hit of 1988 has had on his career.

The cast of Return of the Living Dead

(Image credit: Orion Pictures)

“Surfin ‘Dead” – Les Crampes (Return of the Living Dead)

Another classic horror comedy is heavily inspired by George A. Romero Return of the Living Dead, who is famous for introducing the idea of ​​zombies with a specific brain need in 1986. The film also has a truly spectacular soundtrack, with none more appropriate to its theme than “Surfin ‘Dead” – the hybrid of ‘another world of Cramps Beach Boys and the Ramones that plays out when the actors desperately try to barricade themselves from corpses by mercilessly chasing them from outside the local morgue.

Ted Levine in The Silence of the Lambs

(Image credit: MGM)

“Goodbye horses” – Q Lazzarus (The silence of the lambs)

There is a subtle discomfort in the synth-based melody of “Goodbye Horses”, sung by Q Lazzarus, which makes its inclusion in one of the Oscar winner’s most uncomfortable moments for Best Picture in 1992. Thesilenceofthelambs a stroke of genius. On the other hand, William Garvey, the original writer of the 1988 hit single, states that the song is about “the ability to raise one’s perception above [their] physical limitations, ”lending a stimulating gender-identity commentary to the scene of Jame“ Buffalo Bill ”Gumb (Ted Levine) dancing in front of a mirror, despite the homicidal character’s unforgivable heinous actions.

Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke in We

(Image credit: Universal)

“I have 5 on it” – Luniz (Us)

There is a more explicit strangeness to the main melody of “I Got 5 On It” – the true meaning of which is debated in 2019 We when we first meet our family of protagonists on their way to an unhappy vacation. Rap duo Luniz’s 1995 single makes a superb retaliation for writer and director Jordan Peele’s second effort as an orchestral remix during our heroine Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) ‘s final showdown with her counterpart ” attached ”, interwoven with flashbacks of their shared ballet career.

Tim Capello in The Lost Boys

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

“I still believe” – ​​Tim Capello (The Lost Boys)

The open cold of We also pays homage to the classic 1987 horror comedy from director Joel Schumacher The lost boys, which also has some famous scenes shot on location at the Santa Monica Pier. This California hotspot is where Michael (Jason Patric) and his younger brother, Sam (Corey Haim), attend a concert performed by fat buff Tim Capello, who plays a mean saxophone on his original song, ” I Still Believe “. It doesn’t seem out of place in a dark vampire story like this, but that’s exactly why it remains a frequent topic of conversation among the movie’s biggest fans.

Rocky Horror Picture Show cast stars in The Time Warp

(Image credit: Disney / Fox)

“The Time Warp” – Distribution (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

The saxophone section is also pretty mean in “The Time Warp”, which is easily the most recognizable song on the block. The Rocky Horror Picture Show – the mother of all cult movies which was adapted from a hit musical and originally released in 1975. The Shattering Number – with its own elaborate choreography explained by Charles Gray’s “The Criminologist” in cutaways –is how lovebirds Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick) are greeted at Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s (Tim Curry) estate by its weird (but quite talented) inhabitants.

Bauhaus in La Faim

(Image credit: MGM)

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” – Bauhaus (La Faim)

Oscar winner Susan Sarandon would later star in a more serious (but equally provocative) horror film called Hunger, which opens with Bauhaus performing “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in a nightclub where vampires (played by Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie) search for their next meal. The gothic rock band’s haunting debut single, which pays homage to a horror icon known for playing Dracula, perfectly sets the tone for the erotic and bloody story of immortality that ensues in Top Gun 1983 thriller from director Tony Scott.

Anna Paquin in Trick 'r Treat

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” – Marilyn Manson (Trick ‘R Treat)

The otherwise whimsical and underrated horror anthology film Trick or treats isn’t without macabre eroticism – most notably when Laurie (Anna Paquin), dressed as Red Riding Hood for Halloween, and her friends undergo complete transformation into werewolves before giving predator Steven Wilkins (Dylan Baker) his ultimate comeuppance under a full moon. The devilishly ironic twist of Michael Dougherty’s 2007 debut is complemented by Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – a refreshing and off-balance industrial take on the electropop favorite Eurythmics.

The werewolf in An American werewolf in London

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

“Blue Moon” – Sam Cooke (An American werewolf in London)

An even more gruesome, but gripping, example of a man turned dumb occurs in John Landis An American werewolf in London when David’s (David Naughton) misanthropic condition makes his furry debut with the help of some Oscar-winning makeup effects from Rick Baker. The soundtrack to John Landis’ 1981 horror comedy classic is littered with references on the nose to the lunar event that causes the centerpiece’s transformation (from “Moondance” to “Bad Moon Rising”) but l Sam Cooke’s rendition of “Blue Moon” serves as a masterful juxtaposition to the horror we see before us.

A drawing of Frank from Donnie Darko

(Image credit: Arrow Films)

“Mad World” – Gary Jules (Donnie Darko)

While I love a good juxtaposition (as many of my picks above show), I recognize that nothing really beats a song that fits perfectly with the emotional tone and central message of a pivotal cinematic moment. One of the most prominent examples of this occurs towards the end of Donnie Darko, after Jake Gyllenhaal’s troubled “hero” title goes back in time to prevent his survival from a freak accident, followed by a montage of side characters seemingly familiar with déjà vu from the alternate timeline created at the start of the film under the name “Mad World” plays on the soundtrack. Gary Jules ‘stripped down, piano heavy cover of Tears for Fears’ Meditation on Existential Terror is a grim, yet cathartic version of the bizarre mental journey of Richard Kelly’s 2001 independent thriller.

It’s fun to think that only one of the songs on this list is from a musical, until you realize that it just isn’t a lot of horror movies that are musical comedies. Well, with the number of great musical moments we’ve counted above (and how many more we could have included as well), it looks like that should change someday.


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