REWIND: The good, the bad and the ugly of spooky movie music

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Welcome to Week 3 of Halloween Month. As I’m writing this well in advance, something I desperately try to avoid given the breakneck 2020 news cycle, I don’t know what horrors I should probably be addressing. I’m assuming someone important is dead, for example, and there’s probably some new horrifying voter suppression. Trump probably said something ominous for the future of American democracy.

You’re probably scoffing at how naive and optimistic I was.

One thing I can probably guarantee is that I’m coping by watching an unhealthy number of horror movies. It’s October, after all, and I watch far too many in the best of times. So, naturally, I want to make a list of the best songs from horror movies.

As it turns out, there are only a couple good songs from horror movies. So enjoy a couple good songs from horror movies and then a couple… less good songs from horror movies.

Rocky Horror Picture Show — “Eddie”

Literally every song from the “Rocky Horror” soundtrack is tied for the best Halloween movie song. The hard part is choosing which represents the set.

“Time Warp” is of course the obvious choice, but too obvious. Everyone knows the “Time Warp” so what’s the fun in that? My personal favorite is “Hot Patootie,” the only good thing Meat Loaf has ever done as I’ve previously explained, but also doesn’t seem particularly Halloween-ish. And “Rose Tint My World” is amazing but far too long.

That leaves “Eddie,” which seems the most Halloween-appropriate. I mean, after all in the chorus he threatens your life with a switchblade knife.

But the scariest part? Thinking that intrepid photographer Onome Uyovbievbo and I covered the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” Sketchfest reunion in January of this year. It feels like a decade ago!

The Nightmare Before Christmas — “This Is Halloween”

Is it cliched? Yes. Do I care? No. It’s a great song from a great movie.

Despite the full title of the movie being “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the movie was not directed by Tim Burton. It was also not written by Tim Burton. He produced it, yes, but basically he came up with an idea, let other people actually turn it into a thing, then slapped his name on it. Tim Burton is that one person you had to deal with in every group project in school.

MC Hammer — “Addams Groove”

Let’s call this the bridge between the good and the bad.

It’s on the bad side because it’s a song written for a movie in the ’90s. That’s just a terrible genre all around, especially when they don’t actually appear in the movie. I blame “Ghostbusters” for the whole ordeal.

Of course, it’s on the good side because it’s by MC Hammer. Everything MC Hammer does is great. Even this! It’s not easy to make a good song for a ’90s movie.

Speaking of “Ghostbusters,” I almost made this the “Ghostbusters” theme but decided that, you know what, you don’t need that. You’re going to hear that song about 10,000 times this month, I’ll spare you. You’re welcome.

The Fat Boys — “Are You Ready For Freddy”

And now we’re into the, let’s say, less good realm of movie songs.

Still, the Fat Boys are underrated hip-hop pioneers. Their first two albums were produced by Kurtis Blow, an absolute legend. They recorded covers of Beach Boys and Chubby Checker songs with the Beach Boys and Chubby Checker themselves.

You know who’s not a hip-hop legend? Robert Englund. Giving him a verse was ill-advised.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince — “A Nightmare on My Street”

OK, I’m kinda cheating. This is not, in fact, a horror movie song.

Is it about Freddy Kreuger? Yes. Does it explicitly reference “A Nightmare on Elm Street” in the title? Yes. But it is not, in fact, from “A Nightmare on Elm Street” movie.

This was originally supposed to be the song for “Nightmare on Elm Street 4,” but was passed over for the Fat Boys song above, because Will Smith wasn’t the all-time king of the movie soundtrack rap song yet. But they liked it so they released it anyway and, in the original version, made the association pretty clear.

They got extremely sued. The video was changed to what you see above, and later copies of the album had a sticker on it specifically disclaiming that there was no connection between the song and the movie. That seems like a lot of trouble to go to so you wouldn’t be associated with a man who, less than a decade later, would be one of the biggest stars in the world.

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