Horror metal is a thing, of course, but why limit ourselves to that narrow box? There are so many Halloween-appropriate metal subgenres, and Halloween deserves to be celebrated so thoroughly, that I’m broadening this edition to include any metal song that’s even remotely spooky, evil, or otherwise suitable for the occasion.
Alice Cooper — “Feed My Frankenstein”
Alice Cooper, in addition to being a fantastic musician, is the father of shock rock. Without him we wouldn’t have a significant chunk of this list; Gwar, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and Lordi all of them owe their existence to Vince Furnier and his madness.
The obvious song choice for a Halloween list is “Welcome to my Nightmare” of course, since “Feed My Frankenstein” isn’t actually about Frankenstein as much as it’s about a series of decreasingly subtle euphemisms for sex. This one, however, was in Wayne’s World, and if I ever become a baseball player and need a walk-up song, it’s going to be this song’s opening riff.
Lordi — “Blood Red Sandman”
You may remember Lordi from that column where I enraged most of Europe by correctly pointing out that nearly every Eurovision entry is total garbage. They won in 2006 proving that as recently as 13 years ago there was still joy and wonder in the world.
Their videos are nearly all mini horror movies, and none are as good as “Blood Red Sandman” and its retelling of Evil Dead. In fact it actually one-ups the movie by including the whole invisible-except-through-the-camera angle which is just profoundly creepy. It’s Halloween all around!
Mercyful Fate — “Into the Coven”
Enough of the fun, light stuff. Let’s bring King Diamond to the party.
Among the first wave of black metal, Danish legends Mercyful Fate are basically Christian rock but for Satan. “Into the Coven” specifically was one of the 15 songs cited by Tipper Gore’s group in 1985 during its effort to exclude certain types of art from inclusion in the First Amendment. Other songs on the list included “Eat Me Alive” by Judas Priest, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister, and… uh… “She Bop” by Cyndi Lauper.
It was a different time.
By the way, one of the reasons they wanted music censored was depictions of drug use. Tipper Gore followed the Grateful Dead on tour when she was younger. Somehow this never came up at the time.
Marilyn Manson — “Antichrist Superstar”
As the Lady Gaga to Alice Cooper’s Madonna, you knew Manson had to be somewhere on this list.
Manson is a little depressing now, apparently unaware he’s a 50-year-old rich guy. You can only be all dark and moody for so long before it gets ridiculous. Even Alice Cooper mostly plays golf now.
But back in the ’90s? When he was young? Manson terrified parents and delighted the sort of trenchcoat-wearing, maladjusted teenagers who enjoyed when parents were terrified. He was definitely evidence of the death of propriety and the worst thing that would ever happen.
Now he’s basically classic rock.
Rob Zombie — “Living Dead Girl”
For a band called White Zombie, it has surprisingly few singles about scary things. It’s mostly cars. And there’s nothing wrong with songs about cars, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t help when I’m trying to write a Halloween column.
Fortunately, Rob Zombie also has a prolific solo career where he did have vaguely monster-esque songs! And some weren’t even about old Munsters episodes! So I picked one of those, and here we are.
Now go eat some candy. You can always buy more before Thursday.
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.