It’s that time of year when podcasts give way to my Halloween playlist. Who am I kidding? I listen to it throughout the year. As of this writing, my list contains 144 tracks at just under 9 hours of continuous holiday listening pleasure, but I’m always looking to add more. My most recent acquisition came courtesy of a retail Halloween chain. The Shazam app on my smartphone told me the song I was hearing was “Vampires Are Alive” by DJ Bobo, and it became #144 on the list. Sometimes in an effort to expand the list, it helps to think outside the box.
My Halloween playlist contains traditional themes from movie and television shows like Halloween, The Omen, and The Addams Family. There’s also some novelty songs including “Martian Hop,” “Purple People Eater,” and “Batman, Wolfman, Frankenstein or Dracula.”
There’s also a bunch of hard rock and heavy metal tunes that made the cut, but there are no creepy sound effects. Speaking of heavy metal, the only movie soundtrack I have on my Halloween playlist in its entirety is Trick or Treat, featuring songs by Fastway. The 1986 cult classic is not to be confused with 2007’s Trick ‘r Treat, which has a great version of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Marilyn Manson in it.
When you think you have downloaded everything you could possibly want for Halloween, have you tried songs that remind you of scary movies, or even what scares you?
For example, every time I hear Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” the first thing that comes to mind is Annie and Laurie cruising to their babysitting gigs in John Carpenter’s classic Halloween. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, this is the image I have for the song.
John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” may seem an unlikely Halloween tune, but if you’ve ever seen Final Destination, you know it means something far more sinister. If you hear it during the movie, someone is about to die in an unusual, gruesome way.
Even though I’m not sure if it’s heard in the movie, check out the trailer for You’re Next, and you’ll know why Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” belongs on your Halloween playlist. Also, if you’ve seen American Psycho, then you’re no doubt familiar with “Hip to Be Square” by Huey Lewis & the News.
Of course, there is the late, great Tom Petty. “American Girl” always brings to mind The Silence of the Lambs. That’s the song Catherine is rocking out to before she encounters Buffalo Bill and becomes his captive. Not to be outdone, Buffalo Bill gets his groove on to “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus.
Incidentally, I hate robots. I was afraid of the Talking View-Master I had as a kid, maybe that’s why. As a result, Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” graces my Halloween playlist. Besides, I really like the song and video, too. For me the video is the stuff of nightmares, but I like to watch it anyway. A stage full of dancing robots? That’s a tall glass of no right there. “Mr. Roboto” is the only song on my playlist that reminds me of a personal fear, and it’s likely to stay that way unless I find a song about either worms or elevators. Sometimes having unconventional tunes on your Halloween playlist is a good way to expand your collection.