Halloween Music List
What better way to start our set than a tribute to the costumed outcasts of society, those who are relentlessly bullied and told things like “you look so absurd, you look so obscene”? Time for them, and us, to let those freak flags fly!
Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party”
The Halloween fest continues with the delightfully delirious mind of Danny Elfman. His “Dead Man’s Party” with Oingo Boingo is just as vivid and cinematic as any of his later film scores.
Harry Belafonte, “Jump in the Line”
Many a man of a certain age recalls crushing on Winona Ryder in her Beetlejuice turn as Lydia, particularly during her shake, shake, shake down the line in one of director Tim Burton’s many inspired moments in the film.
Rocky Horror Cast, “Time Warp”
Our triptych of cinematic Halloween songs concludes with a jump to the left and then a step to the right. Richard O’Brien’s timeless “Time Warp” is the most fun one can have in Frankenfurter’s abode.
Donovan, “Season of the Witch”
Scottish troubadour Donovan isn’t usually associated with Halloween, or even any other holiday, but a spooky sense of poisonous foreboding imbues his “Season of the Witch.”
The Fifth Estate, “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead”
More witch business, this one a bubblegum-pop revival of a Wizard of Oz slice of Munchkin mirth. Lest you think this is too lighthearted for a ghoulish playlist, note this old Rick Polito Oz film review: “Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.”
Nina Simone, “I Put a Spell on You”
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the primordial shock rocker, spawned this timeless tune — which somehow has never placed in the Top 40 in any of its versions — but to these ears, Nina Simone gives the most haunting, venomous reading. John Lennon once said that her inflections here inspired his and Paul McCartney’s vocal approach to “Michelle.”
Kim Carnes, “Crazy in the Night (Barking at Airplanes)”
A forgotten nugget of ’80s pop, “Crazy in the Night” reminded listeners that Kim Carnes had an eccentric side to her. (Anyone else remember 1981’s “Draw of the Cards” and its creepy-as-all-hell video?) And with this week’s storm activity, “hiding under the covers” seems a good idea for more than one reason.
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, “A Nightmare on My Street”
How can we not include this? Rap’s greatest ode to Freddy Krueger is a welcome reminder of the Will Smith who busied himself with whimsical storytelling rather than by-the-numbers film blockbusters.
Halloween: The Complete Collection (Limited Deluxe Edition) [Blu-ray]
DVD (Anchor Bay)