Morbid melodies: Tune in and terror out
Every October I try to challenge myself to find a few new spooky songs to add to what I lovingly call my “morbid melodies” collection. The great thing is, I usually can but it’s only my cats that end up appreciating my efforts. So this year I thought, “To hell with it, lemme share some my favorites with you folks!”
In classic Ariel-fashion, of course, I also have to share a few of the music videos that I watch repeatedly because OF COURSE.
The first music video that I had wanted to share was DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince’s “Nightmare on My Street.” I usually just listen to the song but thought it’d be cool to put the video on here too. However, try as I might, I could not find the video I remembered from when I was a kid. I kept thinking “did I make this up? Is this one of those Mandela Effect things?” I looked into it and while I was aware that New Line Cinema had not wanted to have the song associated with the Nightmare On Elm Street films, I didn’t know that they had essentially made the video disappear.
Looking for it on the Internet doesn’t yield much. There are tons of fan videos, images put to the song, etc., but the official DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince music video apparently does not exist. On the other hand, it’s easy as pie to locate the music video for the Fat Boys’ “Are You Ready For Freddy?” released around the same time in 1988 since New Line had selected the Fat Boys as the rap group to rep Freddy Krueger in an official music video-context. Here’s the thing: “Nightmare on My Street” is a waaaay better song, was far more popular and regardless of “official film connection” a music video was actually made.
New Line wasn’t having any of it. A lawsuit followed. New Line pulled “Nightmare” from MTV after just a few weeks of it being in rotation, and the video hasn’t been seen since. There are calls out all over the Internet asking people who might have been recording MTV at home during that period of time in 1988 to scour their VHS collections just in case they might possibly maybe perhaps have any tapes of music videos that might not have been taped over…? Even Jeff Townes (DJ Jazzy Jeff) and Will Smith (Fresh Prince) have admitted that they either don’t have copies or believe it to be lost forever. But many people on these Nightmare on Elm Street and Old School Rap forums are like me: they remember how this amazing music video was and wish they could see it again. For now, here is the audio.
The two music videos I can give you are cheesy but glorious. One is a metal band (Dokken) participating in the Nightmare on Elm Street universe for what is probably the best out of all of the NOES films Nightmare on Elm St 3: Dream Warriors (Chuck Russell, 1987). Accompanying that is one of my favorite songs to do at karaoke (try it! It’s super fun!).) The video for the Mary Lambert adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (1989) is a total win and let’s be honest, who can turn down the Ramones in a graveyard?
As for the music…some groovy cuts here. Hopefully you’re familiar with the Disney cartoon adaptation of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It debuted on television in 1955 and was part of the Disneyland TV show. Actor/singer Bing Crosby narrated the cartoon as well as lending his pipes for the fabulously charming number I have included in this list, “Headless Horsemen.” This particular version was recorded on Bing Crosby’s own television show and includes a lovely introduction by Bing himself.
My favorite “HFS weirdo picks” on this list are Rosemary Clooney’s tune, “The Wobblin’ Goblin” and Sheldon Allman’s “Children’s Day at the Morgue.” Clooney, as you may know, was a well-known and respected singer and actress. Yeah, she’s George’s aunt too. Released as one of the hundreds of novelty children’s Halloween tunes that used to come out around the holidays, I think “Wobblin’ Goblin” has a lot more panache and character than many I’ve heard and should really be reintroduced into our kids’ lives. So all you parents out there, maybe it’s time to start singing this one to your little ones and putting it back into circulation!
Sheldon Allman! Wow! He is beyond fascinating. An actor, composer and Canadian, this mind-melting song comes from his album Sing Along With Drac. Allman was the singing voice for Mr. Ed, played Reverend Jim Post in James Brooks’ In Cold Blood (1967), and wrote the theme song lyrics for the 1967 animated George of the Jungle series (amongst other things).
I threw in a few loose lovely tunes like 1958’s “Mad Scientist” by the Zanies, “Igor’s Party” by Tony and the Monstrosities (1960) and “I Was a Teenage Creature” from Lord Luther and the Kingsman (1958) because they are such goddamn fun. Fun fact about Lord Luther: if you are familiar with the song “W-P-L-J” from Frank Zappa’s album Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Luther McDaniel aka Lord Luther wrote that tune when he was with a band called the Four Deuces.
Had to include the one super sexy tune from Kip Tyler, a guy who went to the same high school I did (but many years before me). The slinky, dirty, yummy “She’s My Witch” from 1958 is all the grown-up bits of the holiday and just drips with everything good…or bad? I can’t properly tell you how much I love this song. I have an obsession with songs like this where the woman has some preternatural power linked with sexual desire and goddamn rock and roll.
Finally…this wouldn’t be a proper collection of spooky songs without a horror host entry. A word from the beloved Zacherley on the “Coolest Little Monster” from his 1960 album Spook Along With Zacherley. From Ghoulardi and Morgus to Vampira and Elvira, horror hosts have been our tour guides through the visual depths of scary cinema. But Zacherley certainly has his own special place in the hall of horror hosts and this is a helluva song.
Posted by Ariel Schudson