This weekend will be frantic with Halloween parties. But what to include on the playlist? Here’s what I think is an essential list that DOESN’T include clichés like Thriller, Ghostbusters and The Monster Mash.
Alien Sex Fiend
Now I’m Feeling Zombified
Born in the Batcave (a London club that served as the original crypt for the British Goth scene), ASF featured Nik Fiend on vocals. He used to work the cloakroom and given the nature of the clientele, I’m sure he handled many actual cloaks.
Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Bauhaus’ first single—a sprawling nine-and-a-half minute echo-drenched monster—came out in August 1979. Point of trivia: The artwork for the original single is a still from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a horror film from 1920.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Red Right Hand
Nick scooped the title Milton’s Paradise Lost and turned it into the story of a serial killer from the ghetto. Legend has it this song inspired the entire vibe of the soundtrack from the first X-Files movie.
The Birthday Party
Release the Bats
Before Nick moved to England, he fronted the Birthday Party, one of Goth’s first wave of groups. One listen and you’ll be swatting imaginary bats away from your head all night.
Burn the Flames
A vampire sits at a piano exhorting the eternal flames to burn higher. Used in Return of the Living Dead.
Dead Man’s Party
The title track of OB’s fourth album back in 1985. The video featuring dancing skeletons became indelibly connected to the band for the rest of their career. Interesting fact: Oingo Boingo leader Danny Elfman now composes for movies and television. He wrote the theme for The Simpsons.
When director William Friedkin was looking for something supernaturally scary to serve as the theme for The Exorcist, he found it in the opening sequence of a just-released one-man-opus called Tubular Bells by Englishman Mike Oldfield. The entire piece is almost 26 minutes long, but all you really need is the first four.
The Von Drats
Group from Dratsylvannia (at least that’s what they told me) temporarily living in Toronto until the villagers give up and go home with their pitchforks. They learned everything they needed to know about music from the theme song of The Munsters. Strats and Fender amps with the tremolo set on “kill.”