PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Making Mix Discs for Halloween? Pick from These Creepy Best

Ben Wener and Kelli Skye Fadroski
The Orange County Register (MCT)

Fifteen favorites to help you bang your head while frightening trick-or-treaters:

"Bad Moon Rising", Creedence Clearwater Revival -- Stephen King used it for foreshadowing in The Shining, then ended "Silver Bullet" with it. Bands from Social Distortion and Rancid to Type O Negative and Rasputina have covered it. It's not terribly scary, of course. But despite its seemingly chipper exterior, it's sense of foreboding runs deep. (From Green River, 1969)

"Bark at the Moon", Ozzy Osbourne -- There's at least a disc's worth of Black Sabbath songs you could include, and more than a few other Ozzy solo cuts. Yet everything about this charging rocker screams Halloween, from its silence-shattering opening to its grave-digging lyrics to its howling finish. (From Bark at the Moon, 1983)

"Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen", Santana -- True, as with "Evil Ways", this one seems to be on the radio every half-hour. But how can it be denied? (From Abraxas, 1970)

"Helter Skelter", The Beatles -- "I've got blisters on me fingers!" The opening guitar salvo still sends chills, McCartney has never seemed so possessed, and the droning stomp toward the fadeout is still so hypnotizing, it's not hard to see why Charles Manson thought he heard secret messages. For further hair-raising chills, add in Siouxsie and the Banshees' version. (From The Beatles, 1968)

"Hells Bells", AC/DC -- "Highway to Hell" fits, too, but the tolling title sound of this heavy-metal staple will, as the song says, "give you black sensations up and down your spine." Were it not for the Stones selection below, this would be Satan's anthem. (From Back in Black, 1980)

"Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me", U2 -- OK, so it's not really very scary sounding, more hyper-dramatic. Still, it's mood that matters, and Bono has rarely sounded so over-the-top -- and the near-operatic music matches. (From The Best of 1990-2000, 2002)

"Lucifer Sam", Pink Floyd -- "That cat's something I can't explain." A bit of Syd Barrett's surrealism always goes down unsettlingly this time of year, and this ode to the familiar that follows witch Jennifer Gentle around is one of the late drug-damaged madman's finest. The ghoulish, descending-into-darkness riff, like Batman on acid, will prick up ears that haven't heard it for sure. (From The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967)

"Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)", David Bowie -- The title kinda says it all. There are plenty of other Bowie selections to fill up your soundtrack, from spooky ("Warszawa") to rockin' ("The Jean Genie") to downright loopy ("TVC15"). But with party tunes, sometimes it's better to be obvious. (From Scary Monsters, 1980)

"Frankenstein", The Edgar Winter Group -- Duh-duh dunn-dunn da-dunn-dunn-dahhh. Need we say more? (From They Only Come Out at Night, 1972)

"Strange Brew", Cream -- "Kill what's inside of you." Another haunted rocker centered on another witchy woman. Play it before or after the Eagles track below. (From Disraeli Gears, 1967)

"Sympathy for the Devil", The Rolling Stones -- Please allow him to introduce himself. Frankly, you could put together an entire box set of songs devoted to Beelzebub. Suggestions: Van Halen's "Runnin' with the Devil", INXS' "Devil Inside", the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", the B-52's "Devil in My Car" and Mitch Ryder's "Devil in a Blue Dress". We'd also toss in Robert Johnson's "Hellhounds on My Trail" as a corollary, but you can't really dance to it. For thematic thrust plus dark delight, however, nothing beats the Stones' woo-hoo-ing classic. (From Beggars Banquet, 1968)

"Burn the Witch", Queens of the Stone Age -- Josh Homme & Co.'s "Hangin' Tree" and "Into the Hollow" are also worth considering, but we'll take this fiery stomper about mob rule. "The first to speak is the first to lie/The children cross their hearts and hope to die." Dread-filled ... yet sexy! (From Lullabies to Paralyze, 2005)

"Witch Hunt", Rush -- Part of the Canadian trio's "Fear Trilogy", this menacing third piece actually came first, followed by second part "The Weapon" (on 1982's Signals) and first installment "The Enemy Within" (on 1984's Grace Under Pressure). In 2002, Rush added a fourth part, "Freeze", but stick to the darker original. Eerie fact: the mob noise in the opening moments was recorded the night John Lennon was killed. (From Moving Pictures, 1979)

"Witchy Woman", Eagles -- "See how high she flies," and then take note of her other freakish characteristics: "Sparks fly from her fingertips," "she got the moon in her eye," "she can rock you in the nighttime till your skin turns red." Well, OK, that last one doesn't sound so bad. Still ... watch out. (From Eagles, 1972)

"Zombie", The Cranberries -- It's actually about the killing of two boys in an IRA bombing in Northwest England. But when Dolores O'Riordan cries out "zombie! zombie! zombie-yuh-ah-yuh-ah!" for the umpteenth time, your party guests probably won't be thinking about that. (From "No Need to Argue," 1994)

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.