It's that time of year again! It's that special day when we all dress up like Booker T. Washington, hang the stockings over the fireplace, stuff ourselves full of turkey, and light the sky on fire with illegal rockets! Well, at least that's how I celebrate my Halloween.
The point is, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It combines all of my favorite things: darkness, fire, ghosts, and sitting in my house with all of the lights off hoping the screeching vermin my neighbors call children don't egg my house! For those of you who aren't schizophrenic sociopaths, however, I've put together this fun list which combines two of my other favorite things: music and talking endlessly about nothing of importance.
Grab a slice of pumpkin pie and warm yourself over the burning corpse of an unsupervised minor, because here's my personal top 5 Halloween songs!
*Disclaimer: Do not actually burn any children to death. Unless they belong to my neighbors.
5. This Is Halloween, by Marilyn Manson
Winner: Best Halloween Movie Theme
One song that keeps cropping up on lists of the best Halloween songs is the Ghostbusters theme song. Alright, fair enough. It's a catchy tune. But I can do you one better. Let's take a theme from a movie that's actually about Halloween, then have the creepiest artist you've ever heard of remake it.
This cover is from the album Nightmare Revisited, an alternate soundtrack for Nightmare Before Christmas featuring covers from KoRn, Rise Against, Shiny Toy Guns, Marilyn Manson, and others. Manson does a really good job here, turning Jack Skellington's goofy intro song into one that not only rocks but is pretty damn sinister to boot.
Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King now!
Also Try: The Ghostbusters theme song. I told you it was catchy.
4. Trick And Treat, by Rin and Len Kagamine
Winner: Best Foreign (and Super-Nerdy) Halloween Song
Rin and Len Kagamine don't technically count as musicians, being as they're not actually human. They're actually singing computer programs from Japan, called Vocaloids. Since it's the funniest way of describing it, imagine if a text-to-speech program and an auto-tuner had a baby, only the result is about 1,000 times better than what I'm sure you're imagining. As it turns out text-to-speech only sucks in America. Also probably in Turkey. I haven't checked but, you know, it's Turkey.
The lyrics to this one are in Japanese (so, yeah, admittedly probably not the best choice if you're looking for music for a Halloween party) but essentially the song is from the perspective of two evil spirits who disguise themselves as children, lure an unsuspecting victim to their house in the woods with the pretense of friendliness, then proceed to drug and murder her. This is, to me, the very best of the many great Vocaloid Halloween songs, and one of the best Halloween songs period.
With apologies to any Turks reading this. Congratulations on getting the internet to work on your rock!
Also Try: While I'm being the huge nerd I am, here's a bonus version of the Ghostbusters theme for those other nerds who will get it.
3. Day of the Dead, by Voltaire
Winner: Best Reason Voltaire Is Awesome For Halloween
Voltaire isn't a particularly well known artist but he really should be. He's a great and often hilarious musician with a unique sound most often described as dark cabaret, with folk, symphonic, and even country influences. Voltaire perfectly captures the dark and spooky essence of Halloween, even when not singing about Halloween.
Day of the Dead, from the album Ooky Spooky, is actually based on the Mexican version of the holiday: Día de los Muertos. It's one of Voltaire's funnier songs and one of his most unique, combining his usual violin-heavy style with mariachi influences.
If you're a fan of dark wave at all then you're probably already a fan of Voltaire too, or at least you should be. If you're not a fan then listen to this song anyway because it really is a great tune.
And here's to the only entry on this list with a title that doesn't start with the letter T!
Also Try: Because Voltaire's Zombie Prostitute is not even remotely safe for work, you get Blood Red Sandman, by Lordi. Because the main point of this entry is clearly to show the people calling Manson "devil music" just how wrong they are.
2. Thriller, by Michael Jackson
Winner: Best Michael Jackson Song
Don't even pretend you didn't expect this song to be on this list. Unless you were recently discovered in an ice crevasse and thawed out by scientists you know who Michael Jackson is, and even if you despise everything about him if you have any appreciation for music at all then you have to love this song.
Okay, so technically Thriller isn't about Halloween at all. It's about horror movies, with the 14 minute short film specifically being about 1950's era drive-in serials. Regardless of any of that Thriller manages to perfectly capture the essence of Halloween and why being scared is fun. Also, come on, it's seriously one of Michael's best songs.
This is the short film. If you just want to hear the song, skip to 4:40.
Also Try: There's a thing musicians do called sampling, where they take sound bites and insert them into their songs. In Threatened Michael takes this to the next level, editing together Twilight Zone sound bites to create an entire verse "rapped" by Rod Serling. Check it out.
1. The Monster Mash (Remake), by The Misfits
Winner: Ultimate Halloween Song of Ultimate Destiny
The Monster Mash, by Bobby Pickett and the Crypt Kickers, might be considered just a goofy old song now but for a while in the 1950's it was number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It's also been on just about everyone's list of the best Halloween party songs for more than half a century. Love it or hate it, it's become a fixture of the Halloween season, the same way It's A Wonderful Life has been linked inextricably with Christmas time.
Horror punk band The Misfits have been rocking slightly less time than that (since 1977) but in a lot of ways they embody the macabre feel of Halloween even better than Voltaire, with songs like Skulls and, of course, Halloween.
In 2007, these two came together at last with this remake. It's still all the goofy cheese you know from the original song, but in a way that rocks hard. It might not be the best song ever, or even the best song on this list, but it is pretty much the ultimate Halloween song and that earns it its spot at number 1.
Dracula still wants to know what happened to the Transylvania Twist.
Also Try: Alice Cooper's Feed My Frankenstein, which totally would've made the list if I had anything to say about it except that it's freaking awesome. Back on the topic of the misfits, though, how could I not include this? Halloween, by the Misfits.