Turn up the music, turn up the chill
It’s early in the month, but with Halloween heading our way, it may be time to start some planning. Sure, you need to get your mini Snickers and Milk Duds and Twizzlers in hand. And, if you’re one of those people, set up the fake gravestones and spiderwebs in your yards.
If you’re an adult, though, and aren’t planning to put on a costume and trick-ortreat, there are other ways to celebrate Halloween.
Lots of folks sit down in the days before Halloween to binge on horror movies, a fine, time-honored tradition. It’s a safe bet, however, that not as many pick out scary, unsettling music to welcome Halloween. And we’re not talking about “Monster Mash” or the theme to “The Addams Family.” These are songs recorded by wellknown artists and bands that might give you a chill up your spine or goosebumps on your forearms.
The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” is an obvious one. Its dark melody and bleak arrangement are creepy in and of themselves. But add the lyric: “There’s a killer on the road / His brain is squirming like a toad,” and the trepidation automatically increases.
“Enter Sandman” by Metallica is a reliable frightener, especially when it tells children to be quiet and ignore the noises because: “It’s just the beasts under your bed / In your closet, in your head.” Parents’ worst nightmares come true in Alice Cooper’s “Dead Babies,” where little Betty OD’s on aspirin she took Shawn Ryan off a shelf. But Alice offers sage wisdom when he explains that: “Dead babies can’t take things off the shelf.” So true.
Not many may remember “D.O.A.” by Bloodrock, a little slice of horror from 1971 about a pilot and his girlfriend who crash in a plane. He remembers everything about the ride to the hospital. Unfortunately, he’s pronounced “dead on arrival” at the hospital, even though he still knows “the sheets are red and moist where I’m lyin’.”
You know there had to be a song by Black Sabbath in this list, and what better than the title track of their self-titled debut in 1970. It’s got Satan and a “big black shape with eyes of fire” and a child screaming for its mother. Plus the opening guitar chord by Tony Iommi sounds like he’s slamming the guitar into a huge iron bell.
Listen to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” and tell me the icy piano and her mesmerizing vocals don’t paint a haunting picture. The song is even more alarming because the “strange fruit” in Southern trees are black men who’ve been lynched.