Happy Halloween: SPIN’s 7 Scariest Songs
Our editors pick the best tracks to spookify even the dullest Halloween party.
OK, all you sexy nurses, blood sucking vampires, and Michael Jackson impersonators, SPIN’s editors have created a playlist to help you through your Halloween weekend festivities. Our suggestion? Play them loud — and get your spook on!
Goblin, “Suspiria” (from Suspiria: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Like a devilishly twinkling, come-hither version of The Exorcist’s “Tubular Bells” cop, the theme to Dario Argento’s 1977 blood-drenched Italian horror epic (about a young American ballet student who unwittingly attends a German dance academy that, of course, turns out to be a front for a coven of witches) is an ominous prog-rock invocation — celesta chimes, folky strumming, ceremonial timpani, reverberating bass, synth swells and wails and swoops, all building to an interlude of churning acid guitar and mellotron madness, while ghostly incantations (“Witches! Witches!”) whisper menacingly. It’s a masterful maelstrom that delicately sucks you in, again and again. Later sampled on Raekwon and Ghostface Killah’s “Legal Coke.”– CHARLES AARON
My Bloody Valentine, “You Made Me Realise”
Any song featuring a part that the band themselves refer to as “the Holocaust section” should be considered uneasy listening. — STEVE KANDELL
Moonlit goth poetry (“I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become”), wild dogs howling in the night, a marimba hook that sounds like skeletons dancing, a Stepford perfect studio sheen, and a chorus that, against every good impulse, seduces you into submission. “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you.” What? What’s waiting? The answer, you fool, couldn’t be more clear: Ours is not to question why. Ours is just to do and die. — DAVID MARCHESE
As μ-Ziq, Mike Paradinas crafted some absolutely gorgeous, drum’n’bass-kissed soundscapes — “Brace Yourself Jason” is a true electronic masterpiece — but this cut from 1997’s Lunatic Harness is altogether disturbing. A machine-like array of percussion and metallic scratches give way to distorted, maudlin samples of brass instruments before a sandpaper-y, Gollum-esque miscreant repeats one phrase ad infinitum: “I don’t wanna be your lover, baby, I don’t wanna be your friend.” Move over, Buffalo Bill. This is far creepier than “It rubs the lotion on its skin.” — PETER GASTON
Poltergeist Theme Song
“Any time a child sings, run for cover. Carol Anne’s lullaby predates the Langley Schools Music Project by almost 20 years but it’s damn cute — and by cute, I mean bat shit crazy. — PHOEBE REILLY
Suicide, “Frankie Teardrop”
This 1977 minimalist epic is more than ten minutes of soul-harrowing menace. A driving organ and a drum machine’s motor rhythm build hypnotic tension, while Alan Vega’s quavery rockabilly vocals tell the story of a desperate man driven to murder/suicide. But what makes this song truly horrifying are Vega’s screams, which punctuate the dense synths every so often to illustrate the frenzied mind of a lunatic.– CATHERINE DAVIS
UNKLE & Thom Yorke, “Rabbit in Your Headlights”
Over piano chords fit for a jazz club from hell, menacing industrial sounds, and bass that pulses like an EKG machine, Yorke gets his spooky on: “Christian suburbanites washed down the toilet / Money to burn / Thin rubber gloves / She laughs when she’s crying / She cries when she’s laughing / Fat bloody fingers / Sucking your soul away.” And a croak-y voiceover pulled from the 1990 psycho-thriller Jacob’s Ladder seals the deal: “If you’re frightened of dyin’ and you’re holding on / You’ll see devils tearing your life away.” Check your shorts. — WILLIAM GOODMAN