It’s time for another episode of Songs that Need a Soundtrack. I want to point out a few songs that I would love to see used in horror features. That doesn’t mean that any of us could even conceivably afford the rights to these damn things. That doesn’t mean that any one’s going to give us their permission to use Katy Perry’s “E.T.” in a steamy alien sex scene in the sequel to Spielberg’s movie of the same name, but a horror fiend can dream, right?
Here’s ten more songs and suggestions for how I would use them in a movie if I had a budget. If I was remotely motivated. If I wasn’t a lazy cast off of the video game generation. If I wasn’t a do-nothing.
“War of the Gods” by Amon Amarth from the Surtur Rising album
Amon Amarth has been around for quite a few albums, but I only got into them this year. Thanks XM radio. Your Liquid Metal programming saves the day again. I envision this song to fit into a “cowboy” horror movie. Now that doesn’t mean it needs to be a rehash of the Burrowers or Cowboys vs. Aliens. I’m thinking something of something along the lines of a damsel in distress about to be consumed/mutilated/defiled by a larger than life monster. This is the song you’d play were the hero is riding his horse/driving his muscle car/running fast but using slow motion footage. It’s the “save the day” music. There’s something very western in this metal.
“Play with Me” by Extreme from the Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure OST
This song has some of the signature guitar sounds from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is in fact the inspiration for writing this edition. On my way to work this morning I was thinking about Chronicle and I was thinking about how fun this song is. Well, combined the two. Not a full on Chronicle rip off, but maybe a scene of superior invincibility with a group of young men. Probably vampires. Probably something like the Lost Boys. Definitely something in the 80s. This song just can’t be taken seriously during any period later than 1990 or so. The scene would involve the younglings learning to use their new found power, whatever they would be. A male version of the craft would do the trick (keep your Coven jokes to yourself).
“Subterfuge” by Daath of The Hinderers album
Subterfuge is a ruckus song. Fast paced thrash that falls into a slow durge with a breakdown that screams for sorrow. My guess is this film is where the bad guys commit an act of extreme violence immediately followed by the family of said victim finding out. The song itself is a story. It’s epic. Because of the grit in the vocals and guitar riffs I’m thinking that whatever violence is perpetrated should be messy/gory. It should be committed with a rust sharp implement. I’m partial to skinning someone alive but incorporating some form of sexual torture to drive the “fuck-up-ed-ness” home.
“Not So Dense” by Deer Tick off the War Elephant album
If you are unfamiliar with the awesome power of Deer Tick just buy War Elephant and Born on Flag day… and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Depressing at times. Uplifting at others. The grit in this man’s voice could sand down the barnacles from your boat. This song is superior for use in a zombie flick. It’s perfect for the angered remembrance of a life before the apocalypse set in and all the dead started a-walkin’ about. It’s got rage but also a sweetness; perhaps a loved one lost or a dream gone to pot.
“Sing Sing Death House” by The Distillers off the Sing Sing Death House album
Raw aggression! Brody Dahl and the Distillers are a group that wants to rip your fucking tits off. I this is also perfect for a zombie film. It’s probably a vicious, fast paced assault on the zombies. Probably zombies that are less passive (think City of the Walking Dead and
“Exhausted” by The Foo Fighters off their self titled album
This is really credit music. It’s off the Foo Fighters first album when Dave Grohl was writing very powerful shit. The guitar riffs and pitch bends just might break your neck. The movie that this song would finish off in the credits would be a battle for the lives of your typical breakfast club mob of teens. They would have survived, but not without sustaining a loss of a close friend or relative. The song is bittersweet. It’s raunch, but then it’s got pretty melancholy melodies that play your heart strings. The ending of a movie like this usually has an Easter egg show up in the credits or a sequel might be on the way to continue the story of these survivors.
“Night Goat” by The Melvins off Houdini
Ah yes… “Night Goat”. Now this is a song that I had the pleasure of covering with one of my previous bands. It’s sludgy. Messy. This song takes no prisoners and would be perfect for the villain reveal. Think of somebody like Lord Vigo, Ruler of Carpathia from Ghostbusters meets The Predator. This reveal is the kind that shows the ground quake, close ups of footsteps crumbling igneous rock. The bad guy that this tune introduces probably wears armor and looks good doing it. Fear this man.
“Spill the Blood” By Slayer off South of Heaven
In a recent Facebook status update I mentioned just how this song should be used. I’m going to recant it here, but that update on Dr. Terror lead to a keen observation by Son of Celluloid’s Nathan Hamilton. Slayer hasn’t been used in enough damn horror movie soundtrack despite its near perfect orchestration and design to be in genre films. Filmmakers take note. We expect more Lombardo drum riffs in the future. You have been warned. Now for the story line. I want “Spill the Blood” to open up a movie. The scene should be in a lab where corrosive, neon green chemicals are being mixed and/or experimented on. A freak accident leads to an explosion and then the chemicals drip all over one of the scientist’s face (give a big nod to Lucio Fulci here folks). The neon chemical should melt the face and cause loads of bubbly, baking soda an vinegar bursts with red food coloring abounding. The neon chemical should have a life of its own once combined with the flesh of the scientist. I want to watch the chemical creep, almost blob like, across a lab table and along the floor trying to escape for the titles kick in.
Death Valley 69” by Sonic
Youth featuring Lydia Lunch off Bad Moon Rising (great album art horror fans).
Sure, this one was the subject of a Richard Kern student film that rocked. I can remember watching Hardcore Vol 1 and thinking, “Damn, Lydia Lunch is a hottie”. It’s a chaotic song. It’s meant for fast paced action/killing… chaos. I think this one could have made it on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack, but since it didn’t, look for it something like that. Something where the chaos is too damn much for the MPAA. Maybe something animated with lots of Heavy Metal esque animation and transformations.
“Take Me To the River” by the Talking Heads on More Songs About Buildings and Food
I’ve had nightmares where this song’s bass riff repeats, seemingly endlessly until I wake up. The whole thing is a bit surreal which in and of itself is nothing strange for the Talking Heads. I want this song to be used in a sorta funny, sorta creepy one on one with an intelligent killer. You’d think Patrick Bateman right off the bat. I want this killer to be getting ready for the hunt. Preparing. Getting all the tools of the trade in order. Think of a movie like Behind the Mask that is self aware. You’d be looking up at the killer from a counter top in his model kitchen circa 1978. I want a green fridge and counter top. Faux Brick. He should pack at least one length of coiled rope and maybe something similar to the Gross Pointe Blank/John Cussack assassin kit. This killer needs to be facially expressive. Perhaps this killer has kids and one of their toys gets caught up in the mix. The version I would use would e a slowed live version and might make a reprise during any other prep scenes.
Take a minute. Take a listen. What songs would you use in a horror flick and in what way or scene? Maybe some aspiring filmmaker will read this, be well funded and steal your cool idea right from under you so that you can attempt to sue them later only to realize you don’t have a leg to stand on. Then you’ll most likely drink yourself into a stupor and write something more brilliant than the idea thief that stole said song use idea.