Looking for some spooky Halloween music for your party but sick of the same old songs? "Thriller" is a great song, but you'll definitely hear it 50 times between now and Halloween whether you want to or not. And then there's "Monster Mash," which is not a great song, but always gets played anyway. Here are a few scary songs that could liven up any dead party. There's even a Spotify playlist at the end of the post for your listening
1. Goblin - Suspiria Theme (1977)
The Italian band Goblin frequently worked with director Dario Argento, and their soundtrack to his movie Suspiria is almost as well known as the movie itself. [And for those of you that like prog rock, check out Cherry Five, which is just pre-Goblin Goblin—their album was produced by Eddy Offord who also produced Yes, among other bands.]
2. Siouxsie & the Banshees - Peek-A-Boo (1988)
"Peek-A-Boo" is the perfect Halloween song, even better than the Siouxsie & the Banshees song actually called "Halloween."
3. Echo & the Bunnymen - The Killing Moon (1984)
The composition of "The Killing Moon" was actually based David Bowie's "Space Oddity" played backwards.
4. Disasterpeace - Pool (from the It Follows soundtrack) (2015)
Fans of the Stranger Things' soundtrack might want to check out the music from It Follows; it's got a similar synth-y, cold wave vibe. This is the first score done by Disasterpeace (really just one dude named Rich Vreeland), who previously made video game soundtracks.
5. Lou Rawls - Season of the Witch (1969)
Donovan's "Season of the Witch" has been covered countless times, but this one by the legendary Lou Rawls, who Frank Sinatra described as having the "silkiest chops in the singing game," is definitely the best.
6. The Misfits - Hybrid Moments (1978)
Pretty much any song by New Jersey punk band the Misfits would be appropriate for a Halloween mix (for example, the one called "Halloween") but "Hybrid Moments" is special to me for its super-sweet, romantic overtones: "If you're gonna scream, scream with me / Moments like this never last." Ah, monster love.
7. Air - Dead Bodies (from The Virgin Suicides soundtrack) (2000)
One reason the music for The Virgin Suicides sounds so perfectly creepy could be that Jean-Benoit Dunckel, one member of the French duo Air, composed it while he was sick. In an interview with Dazed, he said, "When we were recording the drums and some of the main tracks for the film, I got really, really sick and had an awful fever and I was about 40 degrees for the whole week we were recording. I honestly feel like the fever went into the music."
8. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Up Jumped the Devil (1988)
Australia's Nick Cave, the most perfect man ever to walk the earth (science fact), is known not just for his dark music but also for being a hellish interview subject. Like that time he told the Guardian "I have to spend hours talking to fucking idiots like you who have no kind of notion about anything." That went well.
9. Dr. Octagon - Aliens (2006)
Dr. Octagon is the alter ego of rapper Kool Keith, a man known for his weird lyrics and even weirder persona.
10. Broadcast - Mark of the Devil (from Berberian Sound Studio) (2012)
At the time of her sudden death in 2011, Broadcast's Trish Keenan was working (along with partner and bandmate James Cargill) on the soundtrack to Berberian Sound Studio, a movie about a sound engineer who goes crazy while making a low-budget horror movie.
11. Mastodon - Halloween (2014)
Fans of Game of Thrones might remember metal band Mastodon from the song "White Walker" they did for the show's fifth season. But what those fans might not know is that the band was also lucky enough to get killed on the show. Sometimes dreams do come true. Band member Brann Dailor told Pitchfork,
It was such an incredible experience to be on set as extras for our collective favorite show Game Of Thrones and to be wildlings murdered and then brought back to life by White Walkers was beyond amazing. I watched my best friends Brent and Bill, murdered right in front of me as I myself was stabbed in the stomach and had my throat slit multiple times, and I didn't mind at all.
12. Q Lazzarus - Goodbye Horses (1988)
While not technically a spooky song, "Goodbye Horses" has the distinction of being the song playing while Silence of the Lambs' Buffalo Bill made himself up all pretty and ladylike.
13. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats - I'm Here To Kill You (2011)
Of the band's (late 60s/early 70s) sound, Uncle Acid's generally mysterious singer Kevin Starrs told Decibel, "The songs are influenced by everything I listen to. There was no plan to sound like anything in particular. I just wrote songs and they came out like this. Same with my singing. We couldn't find a singer, so I just started singing and it sounded weird as fuck so I went with it."
14. John Carpenter - Theme From The Fog (1980)
John Carpenter doesn't just direct horror movies, he creates the music for them, too. His synth soundtracks are iconic, and while the music from his movie Halloween is probably the most famous, all the soundtracks are pretty scary. He sometimes tours, so if that's something you're interested in, follow him on Twitter at @TheHorrorMaster for updates.
15. Dead Moon - Graveyard (1988)
Dead Moon was an awesome rock band from Portland that unfortunately broke up in 2006. Two of the members, married couple Fred and Toody Cole, went on to form Pierced Arrows, though, and they're still going strong.
16. Radiator Hospital - Ghost Story (2013)
Philadelphia's Radiator Hospital isn't frightening at all, but this song is sort of Halloween-themed, and I like it, so here you go.
17. The Black Angels - Haunting at 1300 McKinley
Austin's Black Angels say they got their name from the Velvet Underground's "The Black Angel's Death Song," but that doesn't stop me from hoping it was also secretly from the Saturday Night Live sketch where Molly Shannon's Mary Catherine Gallagher tries to join a Catholic school girl gang.
18. Gravediggaz - Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide (1994)
Man, remember when hip hop horrorcore was a thing? Gravediggaz were one of the first, made up of Wu-tang Clan's RZA (as The RZArector), Anthony Ian Berkeley a.k.a. Too Poetic (as The Grym Reaper), producer Prince Paul (as The Undertaker) and Stetsasonic's Frukwan (as The Gatekeeper). Berkeley unfortunately died of cancer in 2001, but let's hope he's still rapping from the grave.
19. The Sonics - Strychnine (1965)
20. Dead Kennedys - Halloween (1982)
Two songs on a Halloween mix titled "Halloween" is fine, right? Frontman Jello Biafra's lyrics are usually political in nature, but this one is just straight up about Halloween.
21. Judas Priest - The Ripper (1976)
Absolutely one of the best choices for karaoke, if you can pull it off, which you almost definitely can't.
22. The Birthday Party - Release the Bats (1981)
All right, the party's over, and now you've got to get everyone to leave. A Birthday Party song is almost guaranteed to clear a room, except perhaps for any lingering Nick Cave fans.
BONUS Norma Tanega - You're Dead (1966)
This song by California folk singer/songwriter Norma Tanega is not on Spotify, but it's a great addition to any Halloween mix, not just because of the lyrics, but because it's also played in the opening credits of the funniest horror/comedy (and easily one of the funniest comedies, period) movie of all time, What We Do In The Shadows.