The 411 Music Top Five 10.26.13: The Top 5 Songs in Horror Films
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 10.26.2013
From Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" in Seven and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" in The Devil's Rejects to Motorhead's "Hellraiser," Anthrax's "Bordello of Blood" and more, the 411 staff counts down their top 5 uses of songs in horror films!
THE TOP 5 SONGS USED IN HORROR FILMS
Criteria: We're getting close to Halloween so of course it's all about horror; this week we're going to look at the best uses of songs in horror films. For our lists, we weren't necessarily looking for instrumental themes like "Tubular Bells" in The Exorcist or the Halloween theme, but rather popular music that was either recorded for or utilized in horror films.
5. Bruce Dickinson - "Bring Your Daughter To the Slaughter" (Nightmare on Elm Street V)
Doing the research for this list, I discovered two things, the first thing being that this song was originally a Bruce Dickinson song, which I had totally forgotten about; and two, that this song was used for the Nightmare on Elm Street 5 soundtrack. The song itself is pretty simplistic, with a chorus that repeats quite often, but that's fine, because Bruce Dickinson could sing me the phonebook, and I wouldn't dislike it. Now, "Weekend Warrior", is different, but that's a discussion for another day.
4. Anthrax - "Bordello of Blood" (Tales from the Crypt: Bordello of Blood)
I like Billy Idol as much as the next guy; he's an important part of rock music without a doubt. But he made a huge, huge misstep when he decided to record an album inspired by William Gibson's Neuromancer. First off, he completely missed the point of Neuromancer. Second, this was Idol trying to sound important and instead just sounding like a completely pretentious ass in his own style. Some people have the intellect to pull of a concept album and I'm not saying Idol is stupid man. But he should know that he should box in his own weight class, musically speaking. This wasn't doing that.
3. W.A.S.P. - "Scream Until You Like It" (Ghoulies II)
Who doesn't love classic W.A.S.P.? A giant meaty riff to start out what is ultimately a catchy ride, including gang vocals, great chorus, and everything else that makes classic W.A.S.P. a fun listen. This is coming from a guy who really doesn't like hair metal that much.
2. Motorhead - "Hellraiser" (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth)
Originally co-written by Lemmy and placed on an Ozzy album, this song was covered by Lemmy and put on his album, because why not cover the track that you helped write? This was placed on the, "March or Die" album, but before it showed up on the Hellraiser 3 soundtrack. And if I take the word of my Radulich in Broadcasting Network mates, Robert Winfree, and Sean Comer, it might have been the best part of the movie.
1. Lynyrd Skynyrd-"Free Bird" (The Devil's Rejects)
This song showed up in The Devil's Rejects and was used beautifully in the finale of the movie. The song itself, do I have to talk about how great it is? It's only the song so great every asshole (aka ME) has to yell for a band to play it, no matter the concert. One of the best cuts of southern rock, and a legendary song, for sure.
Honorable Mentions: Motörhead- "Hellraiser" (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth), The Ramones - "Pet Sematary" (Pet Sematary), Alice Cooper - "He's Back (Man Behind the Mask)" (Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives)
5. Gerard McMann - "Cry Little Sister" (The Lost Boys)
I love a good 80s vampire film, and no matter how bad its long-delayed and ultimately straight-to-video sequels may have been, Lost Boys is an absolute paragon of the genre. Joel Schumacher was once a hell of a director before he put nipples on Batsuits and he put song to great use here, from the Echo and the Bunnyman cover of "People are Strange" to Roger Daltrey's take on "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." The film's official theme was the best, as pop-rocker Gerard McMann left it all out there on the mic for "Cry Little Sister." This is one of those cheesy '80s pop songs that attained a timeless quality and, I think, is just as good today as it was then.
4. Dokken - "Dream Warriors" (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)
You have to give it up for Dokken. This is undoubtedly the cheesiest song on this list, but damn if it wasn't perfect for the third slice-and-dice of Freddy Krueger's third cinematic outing. It's classic 1980s metal goodness with a an ominous take in the sound and lyrics to fit with the Elm Street aesthetic. This may not be the most timeless classic but as a song used in a horror film it's nearly perfect.
3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seed - "Red Right Hand" (Scream)
Did you know that Nick Cave and the Bad Seed's "Red Right Hand" is, in fact, not the official theme song for the Scream franchise? It isn't, but it might as well be. Each of the four movies had their own theme (including, cringingly enough, a Creed song for Scream II) but as far as Ghostface fans are concerned (yours truly) this is the real theme. The song featured prominently in the first three songs and the creepy, moody since of dread it invokes is perfect for a slasher film. Nick Cave is a master of the macabre and so it just makes sense that he would get a song on this list.
2. Nine Inch Nails - "Closer" (Seven)
And this was the second song that came to mind when I came up with this topic. David Fincher and Trent Reznor have quite the cimenatic history, and it began all the way back when Fincher took Nine Inch Nails' signature song "Closer" and set it to an incredibly disturbing opening that set the tone for Se7en. This opening is truly iconic and more to the point, it sets the tone for the rest of the film. It really is one of the great uses of song in horror.
1. Lynyrd Skynyrd-"Free Bird" (The Devil's Rejects)
Some songs are transcended by their use in a film scene. There is no better example of this than the use of "Free Bird" at the end of The Devil's Rejects. Rob Zombie is a fantastic musician and while he has his critics in terms of film-making (I'm not one of them, though he's by no means perfect), one thing that he is renowned for is his use of song in film. I will never listen to this Lynyrd Skynyrd classic the same way again; the song itself is one of the all-time great southern rock songs. Hell, it's one of the all-time great rock songs. If you are not mind-blown by the guitar solo at the end of this song than you are dead inside. And it's use here was absolutely amazing.
The Final Word
As always, the last thoughts come from you, the reader. We're merely unpaid monkeys with typewriters and Wikipedia. Here's what you need to do: List your Top Five for this week's topic on the comment section using the following format:
5. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
4. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
3. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
2. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it
1. Artist - "Song": Why you chose it