(Ch)Op-Ed #2: Movie Music Magic Pt. 1 #20-#11

Music and Movies go hand in hand. Think “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” and The Breakfast Club. “Danger Zone” and Top Gun. “My Heart Will Go On” and Titanic. That Sara McLachlan song and City of Angels. The list goes on and on. But what songs stick out in your head when you think “horror film?” 

Let’s rank the 20 best non-score, pivotal songs in horror movie history. What did I leave out? What is your list? 

Honorable Mention: 

“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” by Harry Belafonte (Beetlejuice) 


I dare you to watch Beetlejuice and not walk away singing the Day-O song. Dancing around the table, it’s a truly iconic scene. But for our purposes, we are gonna say Beetlejuice is NOT a horror film. What do you think? Should it have been included? Let’s get to the list.

20. “No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Megadeth (Shocker)

Shocker is polarizing. People love it or hate it. Is it funny? Is it Freddy Krueger light? Is it the epitome of terrible pre-Scream 90’s slashers? It’s one of those movies that has everything: Serial killers, bloody gore, dreams that foretell the future, TV and electricity jumping maniacs, Ted Raimi, Peter Berg before he directed box office bombs, Walter Skinner, you name it. And it also has  an old Alice Cooper song covered by Megadeth. It occurs when old Horace Pinker is getting ready to be electrocuted. Not an iconic spot in the movie, but try listening to this cover and NOT thinking of Shocker.

19. Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes (Halloween II)

Halloween is such an iconic franchise, it’s hard to NOT think of this song when you mention it. Growing up, I thought they made the song just for the movie. Alas, it’s actually a 1954 #1 song by the Chordettes. But for as iconic as the song is, and as attached to the movie as the song is, it only occurs during the end credits. Not exactly the kind of scene that means a lot. 


18. “Pet Sematary” by The Ramones (Pet Sematary)

Another great song by a great band that is absolutely iconic. It’s one of the Ramones’ biggest hits, reaching #4 on the Modern Rock Charts in 1989. When you hear the song, you absolutely have no choice but to think of the movie. The lyrics make sure of that. But once again, it’s played over the end credits.


17. “Hey Man, Nice Shot” by Filter (Demon Knight)


“Hey Man, Nice Shot,” the song that tells the story of poor R. Budd Dwyer, who publicly committed suicide on live TV. The song was everywhere in the mid 90’s, unabashedly one of Filter’s most famous songs. In Demon Knight, it plays over the opening credits, where William Sadler is speeding in his car, trying to get away from demon Billy Zane. It’s a great opening to the film (if you don’t count the Tales from the Crypt wraparound segment) and gets your blood pumping for one of those 90’s smart ass villain movies that you either love or hate.

16. “Save Our Souls” by Motley Crue (Demons)


An obscure Motley Crue song. An obscure Italian horror film with an American rock soundtrack. When I originally heard the song, and I found out it was Motley Crue, it quickly became one of my favorite pre-Dr. Feelgood era glam songs. It’s all about bad Satan-ey demonic stuff! Fun stuff! And a great movie!

15. “Jeepers Creepers” by Paul Whiteman and His Swing Wing (Jeepers Creepers)


What is there to say about this one? The name of the song literally matches the name of the movie. The lyrics are even recited in the movie. Is it creepy? Meh. I feel like the song is a little hokey and stupid. But it is played quite a bit and is closely related to the film, so I give it that.

14. “I Think I Love You” by the Partridge Family sang by Jerry O’Connell (Scream 2)


The fat kid from The Goonies tries to get old Sidney to lighten up and love again. He gets goofy in the cafeteria, jumping up on the tables and singing a classic Partridge Family song. It’s played for laughs and fun, but shows off how charming the character is, and how far he is willing to go to woo young Sidney and prove to her that not only can he be trusted, but that he’s not the killer.

13. “The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash (Dawn of the Dead ‘04)


I’ve never been a Johnny Cash fan, but the version of his song is pretty kick ass. It plays over the opening credits montage of the world ending and zombies taking over. Dawn of the Dead, widely regarded as one of the best remakes of all time, uses the song to get the movie moving in the right direction, and prepping us for the frenetic pace in which not only the zombies move, but in which the movie plays out. 

12. “All I Have to Do Is Dream” by The Everly Brothers (A Nightmare on Elm Street ‘10)

Yes. I get it. You hate the remake. It’s shit. But I love it. And I love it when a classic song from a bygone era is used properly in a current horror film. It’s the right subject matter. It makes sense. Once again, it’s played over the credits.  


11. Return of the Living Dead soundtrack


“Party Time” by 45 Grave. “Tonight (We’ll Make Love Til We Die)” by SSQ. “Surfin’ Dead” by The Cramps. They all occur at excellent spots in the movie. The zombie skeleton popping up out of the grave for the first time. Trash’s dance scene. The punks barricading the door from the Tarman. I can’t imagine any other songs being used in those iconic scenes. But once again, these aren’t hit songs. This isn’t exactly a well-known mainstream movie. Us cult enthusiasts love it, but most normal people haven’t ever seen it.  

Pop in next time for the finale of the list. Numbers 10-1. Will your song make the list? What did I miss? 


About RetRo(n) 61 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.