Top Five… Frighteningly Fun Halloweeny Movie Songs

It’s Halloween this week, so to get you in the mood, Ross McG takes a look at his favourite spine-tingling singalong moments.

There are songs that scare you (Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Shakespeare’s Sister’s Stay) and then there are songs that are just plain scary (anything by Razorlight, really). I’ve always thought that the best pieces of music to send chills down your spine also had a sense of fun. Which means pant-wettingly brilliant pieces of music such as John Carpenter’s theme for his slasher classic Halloween don’t make this list, despite their obvious place in movie history. Instead I’ve gone for a bunch of songs, some of which have nothing to do with Halloween at all, that are spooky but kooky.

5. Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper (Wayne’s World)

It isn’t really Halloween without everyone’s favourite born-again Christian, golf ball hitting, boa constrictor fondling rock hero. There are a lot of things you can accuse Alice Cooper of, but subtlety isn’t one of them. Thankfully, that’s just the way we like him. Cooper has always had something of the cinematic about him and his songs work well in a number of movies. It was his No More Mr Nice Guy that soundtracked a young Ben Affleck beating some teenager’s ass with a cricket bat in Dazed And Confused (don’t worry, it’s not as seedy as it sounds), for example. But when you want an Alice anthem with a bit of a monster feel, look no further than Feed My Frankenstein from quite simply the best movie ever made, Wayne’s World. In a film packed with great cameos, Cooper steals the show, and his sleazy ode to Mary Shelley’s finest is one of the movie’s best bits.

Scream-inducing song lyric:

‘Well, I ain’t evil, I’m just good lookin’
Start a little fire, and baby start cookin’
I’m a hungry man
But I don’t want pizza
I’ll blow down your house
And then I’m gonna eat ya!’

4. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr (Ghostbusters)

When Ghostbusters was first released, my family and I queued with hundreds of other people (this was in the days before you could be ripped off by online booking fees) around the outside of a cinema in the freezing cold to see it. We didn’t even get near getting in. This experience remains, alongside having my Game Boy stolen, one of the most disappointing days of my life. Yes, eventually we went to see it a few weeks later and the film was great, but I couldn’t help wondering if it hadn’t been better in the screening I had missed. This was back when I probably thought each showing of a film was like a live performance – think I was expecting Bill Murray himself to zap Zuul on stage. Anyway, to get me through the days before I saw Ghostbusters, I had to make do with Ray Parker Jr’s cracking theme song, complete with its video featuring John Candy, Chevy Chase, Danny DeVito and, uh, Carly Simon, even though I didn’t have a clue at the time who any of them were. Looking back, the fact the song is an alleged rip-off of Huey Lewis and The News track I Want A New Drug just makes it all the more enjoyable now. That’s how cool Huey Lewis was.

Scream-inducing song lyric:

‘Who you gonna call? – Ghostbusters!
If you’re all alone
pick up the phone
and call – Ghostbusters!’

3. This Is Halloween by Danny Elfman (The Nightmare Before Christmas)

This song is so scary it was covered by Marilyn Manson. Okay, so was Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, but Tainted Love can be scary too – an acquaintance of mine was once beaten up in a nightclub while it was playing. If you’re lucky enough to be in a nightclub this Halloween weekend that plays anything from Danny Elfman’s terrifically terrifying soundtrack, feel free to do the Monster Mash. This Is Halloween is the perfect opening to Henry Selick’s (NOT Tim Burton’s) The Nightmare Before Christmas, introducing us to all the main ghouls and the world they inhabit.

Scream-inducing song lyric:

‘I am the one hiding under your bed
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red
I am the one hiding under your stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair’

2. Dracula’s Lament by Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

Say what you like about Judd Apatow, and Ross McD has, but the guy has had his moments. Although only a producer on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, you have to give him some credit for creating an atmosphere in which others felt the freedom to insert a long-running gag about Transylvania’s finest being the subject of a musical involving puppets. FSM is a little gem of a movie but its standout moments involve put-upon Peter (Jason Segel) showing the world his strange lyrical fascination with good ole Dracula.

Scream-inducing song lyric:

‘And if I see Van Helsing, I swear
to the Lord I will slay him!
A-ha-ha-haa! Take it from me
I swear I will let it be so! A-ha-ha-haa!!
Blood will run down his face
when he is decapitated…aah!
his head on my mantle is how
I will let this world know:
How much I love you–
I can’t.’

1. I Put A Spell On You by Better Midler (Hocus Pocus)

They don’t hand out honorary Oscars for works such as Hocus Pocus but they really should. As the only film to be good yet still feature Sarah Jessica Parker it deserves a place in the cinematic pantheon. And before you start, Footloose doesn’t count cos it’s a flippin’ mess, the only highlight being Nice Guy Eddie’s attempts to learn how to dance. Frankly I couldn’t see any problem with the recent MTV remake – why not have two shit films called Footloose? But to be fair to SJP (okay, I’ll also give you Honeymoon In Vegas. And LA Story. Damn you, Parker. You see, you can act when you try!), she is great in Hocus Pocus. Alongside Bette Midler as Winnie the Witch and Kathy Najimy, she makes up the scariest siblings since The Shining twins. Hocus Pocus really weaves its magic when the cackling trio dive into a stirring version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You, a song covered down the years by Shane MacGowan, Joe Cocker, Eels and Roxy Music. Yet no one belts it out better than Bette.

Scream-inducing song lyric:

‘It’s been three hundred years
Right down to the day
Now the witch is back
And there’s hell to pay!’







16 Responses to “Top Five… Frighteningly Fun Halloweeny Movie Songs”

  1. I haven’t seen Hocus Pocus in a long while. I used to think Sarah Jessica Parker made one hell of a hot witch!

  2. Dan.. get it and watch it this Halloween – you won’t regret it.
    That kid from Eerie Indiana.. never made a bad film.

  3. As good as ‘This Is Halloween’ is, it doesn’t come near ‘Jack’s Lament’. Close, as usual, McG

  4. come back to me when you know something about movies, McD

  5. Technically the lyrics from “Dracula’s Lament” are
    …”He’d take you from me, but I swear, I won’t let it be so.”

    Great list though!

  6. Glad to be corrected Generationxhausted.
    i would pay good money to see Gary Oldman sing that song.
    well, some money, anyway

  7. Encapsulated GHOSTBUSTERS backstory:
    Filmmakers use “I Want A New Drug” as temp music.
    Filmmakers ask Huey & Co. to write a theme song.
    Huey & Co. politely refuse.
    Filmmakers give temp footage w/ “Drug” temp score to Parker.
    Parker writes “Ghostbusters”.
    “Ghostbusters” sounds like “Drug”.
    Huey & Co. sue.
    Huey & Co. settle out of court, agree never to speak of it again.
    I like both songs.

  8. @alyfox.. good recap. i like both songs too. my favourite Huey though is A Couple Of Days Off. underrated

  9. I stand up and applaud you Ross. Good call on A Couple Days Off it’s one of my top favs as well!!…though I pretty much love every Huey song ever used in a movie. Pineapple Express shows us he’s still got it:)

    Going to see him actually tomorrow…lovely lovely gift from the wife. Hope I can get an autograph:P

  10. Youre. Going. To. See. Huey?
    you just became the coolest person in the world in my eyes.
    You were at number 3 before today, Marc.

  11. you forget flight of the navigator as a good film that features SjP.

  12. Graham… get out. is she in that? that is good trivia. id totally wiped that from my mind.
    As long as you wasnt in D.A.R.Y.L. that would be too much to bear.
    She wasnt in D.A.R.Y.L. was she?
    man its annoying typing out the title D.A.R.Y.L. over and over again with its punctuation.
    stupid D.A.R.Y.L.

  13. BarefootBanshee Says:

    Good list even if you did just give the impression that Tim Burton had nothing to do with Nightmare Before Christmas, while it is true that Henry Selick doesn’t get the credit he deserves as director, he wouldn’t have had the chance to direct it at all if dear old Tim hadn’t written it first. Although regardless of all that I think it’s Danny Elfman’s music that made it a classic. By the way Sally’s Song is by far the creepiest song in the whole film.

    SJP, I do hate her but she has made a couple of good movies… Hocus Pocus of course and Ed Wood, both perfect for Halloween viewing.

  14. I always thought SJP was kinda hot in a kind of 80’s way in “Flight Of The Navigator” maybe it was the pink streak in her hair. Also she wasn’t too bad looking in L.A. Story

  15. Well I hope I can get at least one or two good photos amid the mass of News fans…keep you posted:)

  16. Nothing like a shout out to Hocus Pocus to warm me up in November.

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