Emily Cosgrove | October 2017
I have always loved Halloween. First off, the holiday happens during the best season—fall. I hate summer! I even hate spring! Call me “emo”, but I live for gloomy days and weather where I get to finally break out my beloved faux fur coats. Unfortunately, here in Chicago fall lasts literally two weeks. Also I love ANYTHING spooky, creepy, macabre, obscure. I am obsessed with the paranormal, scary movies, oddities in our pop culture (and if you are too, check out my column for The Chicago Vibe, “WTF!”). Halloween is dedicated to just that. And who doesn’t love dressing up in costumes?! I have seriously had my costumes planned for months.
But lastly, and most importantly, Halloween and Halloween-themed movies have spawned some of the greatest songs and soundtracks of all time. Not necessarily musically brilliant, but entertaining, weird, and unique nevertheless.
So, if you need a spooky playlist for your Halloween party, or just want to get in the Halloween mood, I decided to compile a list of seven of the best Halloween songs ever made! But don’t be mislead—you won’t find any “Monster Mash” or the Ghostbusters theme here. That’s overdone. I want to recommend some obscure--yet iconic--songs that you probably haven’t heard of. Because what’s the fun in seeing the same stuff over and over?
Here we go!
7. “Spooky”- Lydia Lunch
Okay, this one isn’t from a movie soundtrack, but it is amazing and needs to be included. This song randomly popped up on my Discover Weekly feature on Spotify (which you need to check out, I have discovered some of my favorite songs from those playlists), and listen to it constantly. It’s a cover of the Classic IV song and it is so badass, and sounds mysterious and…spooky.
6. “Never Was a Love Like Mine”- Gale Garnett (from the claymation Mad Monster Party)
When I say I enjoy obscure elements of our pop culture, THIS is what I am talking about!I doubt the majority of you have ever seen the 1967 Rankin/Bass claymation movie Mad Monster Party, but that means you should go watch it NOW. You know who Rankin/Bass is—they created many Christmas classics like Rudolph, Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town—basically all those classics you see on TV during Christmastime. Mad Monster Party just never lasted through the years I guess, but I had the DVD as a kid. I was always mesmerized by the leading lady, a femme fatale-type character named Francesca (even though looking back, the clay animation characters are kind of creepy). She is voiced by Gale Garnett, who has one of the most seductive, beautiful voices I have ever heard, as displayed in this song.
5. Theme Song from The Munsters
If you are not familiar, The Munsters was a television show that aired from 1964-1966. The premise is very similar to The Addams Family—a creepy, spooky family living in a normal neighborhood. I have always loved The Munsters much more—it was a big staple in my childhood. Even if you don’t know the theme, you most likely heard it when it was sampled in the song “Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy. It’s so catchy and has the surf-rock sound popular from that time. There have been different variations of the theme throughout the seasons of the show, but this one is probably my favorite television theme song of all time.
4. “Anything Can Happen on Halloween”— Tim Curry (from the movie The Worst Witch)
Tim Curry. The love of my life. The most underrated actor, ever. You know Tim Curry as the iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter from (my favorite movie ever) The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Although completely brilliant in this groundbreaking role, he was type-casted the rest of his career because of it. Which explains his role as “The Grand Wizard” in the 1986 British made-for-TV movie The Worst Witch. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds. But Curry’s trippy, odd performance with awful special effects (remember, it was the 1980s…) is something you NEED to see to believe.
3. “Looking for the Magic”— The Dwight Tilley Band (from the movie You’re Next)
How did a seemingly obscure power pop jam from 1977 become a character of its own in a 2013 slasher flick? Well, I have no idea, but the person who had the idea to put this song in this movie needs an award! You’re Next is a pretty good horror film, but the thing that made it stand out to me was the way this song was used throughout the movie. It is the last song that would come to mind when you think of a horror film, it’s chill and relaxed. But it is used in brilliantly in numerous ways throughout the film, and morphs into a character of its own. Once you’ve seen You’re Next, it is guaranteed to send a chill down your spine (and get stuck in your head!)
2. “Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye”— The Juicy Fruits (a made-up band from the movie Phantom of the Paradise)
I knew I HAD to add a song from this movie, but had absolutely no idea which song to pick. The entire soundtrack is gold, every track is different, but I figured I would go to the high-powered, 1950s greaser-inspired opening number of this rock musical. I don’t want to say too much about Phantom of the Paradise (there may be a whole article dedicated to it coming up very soon), but I will say that it is everything Rocky Horror is and (it pains me to say this about my favorite movie) MORE. Killer soundtrack, just the right amount of camp, and the best super villains of all time. A must-see Halloween movie that never got the cult-status it deserved.
1. “Science Fiction/Double Feature”— Richard O’Brien (from the movie Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Although I love every single song from my favorite movie (and it is not obscure), how could I not add the iconic opening number, which features the bright red lips that everyone knows (even if you do not know the movie)? This song is not only beautiful, but genius because if you listen closely, it informs the audience on exactly what Rocky Horror pays homage to: the lyrics list and reference tons of 1950s science fiction B-movies (low-budget films), which the RHPS clearly parodies throughout the entire film. Many people never even realize that without these classic films, Rocky Horror would have never existed. It is what makes this a brilliant film. I have watched this movie countless times, whether it be at home or at a midnight showing at a theater. No matter what, this opening number always wows me, and gets me a little bit emotional. And always, ALWAYS in the mood for Halloween!
So there you have it, seven spooky songs to get you in the spirit of Halloween! Hopefully, you were introduced to some cool Halloween-related movies and shows you never heard of before, and enjoyed listening to some of my favorite spooky songs! Happy Halloween!