With Halloween upon us, there’s no better time to celebrate the seemingly lost tradition of horror movie tie-in songs. From established legends like Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop to forgotten acts like J Geils Band and Dokken, the fine art of crafting a song to fit the preceding schlockfest has apparently been forsaken. Join us as we count down the ten finest horror film tie-in singles.
10. Fright Night by J Geils Band
Tom Holland’s beloved 1985 classic features a slightly less beloved pop classic courtesy by the mostly forgotten J Geils Band. The group chooses to focus on a heartbreak that wasn’t really there in the film, but they do correctly follow the two main criteria for a naff film tie-in song: make sure you mention the basic plot elements, and make sure it rhymes. “Girl, we’re in for our most frightening night/Fright Night!” There’s probably a good reason you forgot about it.
You can buy Fright Night on DVD for £3 at Amazon.co.uk
9. The Ballad of Harry Warden from My Bloody Valentine by Paul Zaza & John McDermott
The theme song for the 1981 slasher, which never quite lives up to its brilliant title, is a curiously tender little ditty. After the expected cackle, a gentle ballad begins as the story of the film is related to us by a man and his acoustic guitar. “Once upon a time/on a sad Valentine/in a place called Hannigan mine.” Like a weird hybrid of Dire Straits and a protest song, it’s stirring in a way that doesn’t really make sense. You can’t get that in 3D.
You can buy My Bloody Valentine on DVD for £13.20 at Amazon.co.uk.
8. Hellraiser from Hellraiser 3: Hell On Earth by Motörhead
By the time Clive Barker’s acupuncture fetishists and pain-lovers had reached their third movie, the time had come for synergy, leading to a team up with Lemmy’s big-guitared metalheads. Originally recorded by Ozzy Osborne, Motörhead gave their version to Hellraiser 3, which led to the boys shredding licks at Pinhead until he folds in on himself… or something. The lyrics don’t tie into the film at all, but Clive Barker directed the video, which counts for something.
You can buy Hellraiser 3 on DVD for £2.74 at Amazon.co.uk.
7. Who Will Love Me Now? from The Passion Of Darkly Noon by PJ Harvey
A serious change of pace from the novelty tie-ins and slumming rock gods is this affecting, mournful tune for Philip Ridley’s 1995 curio from one of our greatest living musicians. The film stars Brendan Fraser as an unstable hard-line Christian who stumbles across the forest home of liberated artist Ashley Judd. His longing for love and psychological breakdown are brought to life in Harvey’s ballad, which isn’t her best work, but it’s got a haunting quality all the same.
The Passion of Darkly Noon is currently unavailable on DVD.
6. Deepest Bluest from Deep Blue Sea by LL Cool J
LL Cool J’s perfectly acceptable performance as bible-bashing cook Preacher is one of the least-remembered aspects of Renny Harlin’s 1999 classic about a trio of super-intelligent sharks that turn the anti-Alzheimers advances tested on them against a band of scientists and Tom Jane. So take this opportunity to rediscover his single, written from the perspective one of the sharks. “I ate your ancestors/The ocean is haunted,” he threatens, describing himself as “The Gotti of the deep” before the chorus reminds us that his hat is like a shark’s fin.
You can buy Deep Blue Sea on Blu-ray for £6.80 at Amazon.co.uk.
5. Why Was I Born from Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare by Iggy Pop
At this point in the Nightmare franchise no one was really doing anything to be proud of. Even if you were convinced by the title that it would be the final Elm Street, we had to sit through Freddy on a broomstick, videogame Freddy and Tom and Roseanne. On the plus side, Johnny Depp’s cameo is hilarious and Alice Cooper plays Freddy’s abusive stepfather. What about the song? Well, it’s not very good, is it?
You can buy Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare on DVD for £19.99 at Amazon.co.uk.
5. Distracted from The Woman by Sean Spillane
The soundtrack for Lucky McKee’s controversial adaptation of his and Jack Ketchum’s novel features a fantastic soundtrack of songs written specifically for the film by Sean Spillane. The skewed Americana fits perfectly with the perverted American dream of the film, and the wailing, disaffected ‘Distracted’ is the theme for Lauren Ashley Carter’s tragic Peggy Cleek as she slips on her headphones. The whole soundtrack is highly recommended.
You can buy The Woman on Blu-ray for £5.99 at Amazon.co.uk.
3. The Man Behind The Mask from Friday 13th Part VI: Jason Lives by Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper’s deep and abiding love for horror is no secret and neither his love of showmanship. The Friday 13th franchise has always been in need of a bit of swagger and Cooper gives it plenty with his cautionary tale about the perils of going out to the lake to hook up with your girlfriend. “And you had a chance/to be all alone/but you’re not alone/this is your last dance/and your last romance.” He also earns crucial points by starring in a wrap-around scene for the video, showing a level of commitment to the genre that few other established stars would bother to.
You can buy Friday 13th Part VI on DVD for £3.50 at Amazon.co.uk.
2. Pet Sematary by The Ramones
Purists will tell you that The Ramones’ golden era was over by the time this 1989 Stephen King adaptation rolled around, but there’s something weirdly lovable about their contribution to the soundtrack, which proved to be one of the highest-selling singles. The video (reminiscent of Spike’s ‘Rest In Peace’ from Buffy‘s ‘Once More With Feeling’) finds them wearily going through the motions as they tell us that “I don’t wanna be buried in a Pet Sematary/don’t want to live my life again.” It’s worth noting that it’s one of the last songs to feature Dee Dee Ramone before he left the band.
You can buy Pet Sematary on DVD for £4 at Amazon.co.uk.
1. Dream Warriors from Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors by Dokken
The glorious zenith of horror tie-in music is Dokken’s metal classic Dream Warriors. It’s got everything: a music video cut around footage from the film to make it look Patricia Arquette was there, a grinning drummer, impossible high notes and mad hair. With a rallying chorus (“We’re the Dream Warriors! Don’t wanna dream no more!”) and wailing guitars, Dream Warriors encapsulates the cheesy fun of the best Nightmare On Elm Street sequel not directed by Wes Craven.
You can buy A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors on DVD for £4.45 at Amazon.co.uk.