THE RAMONES – CHAIN SAW
The Ramones released their debut album in 1976. Among songs of sniffing glue, male prostitution, and beating brats with baseball bats was a song inspired by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. “”Chainsaw” opens with the sound of…well…a chainsaw! The line, “She’ll never get out of there,” recalls the futility of escaping from a cannibalistic house of horrors. The pervasive dark humor of The Ramones is on full display. Mispronouncing “massacre” to rhyme with “took my baby away from me,” keeps a disturbing song lighthearted and fun.
THE MISFITS – NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
No band embraced horror more than The Misfits. In 1979, the band released “Night of the Living Dead” on Halloween. Glenn Danzig vividly described the plague of Undead zombies depicted in George A. Romero’s classic film. Catchy and hook-laden, it’s all too easy to sing along with the “Whoas” as Danzig warns of “armies of the dead.”
S.O.D. – FREDDY KREUGER
Legendary crossover band S.O.D. was a side project with a twisted sense of humor. Taking a rare break from comedy, S.O.D. opened side two of their debut with an ode to Freddy Krueger. At 2 minutes and 32 seconds, “Freddy Krueger” is the longest song on the record!
M.O.D. – MAN OF YOUR DREAMS
Like all good horror movies, there must be a sequel. After the demise of S.O.D., lead singer Billy Milano promptly formed a new band. U.S.A. For M.O.D. had a lot in common with the S.O.D. record, right down to ANOTHER song about Freddy Krueger. “Man of your Dreams” warned us “You thought he was dead/It was all in your head/You better get ready for Freddy.” Songs written about A Nightmare on Elm Street never get old!
DOKKEN – DREAM WARRIORS
As A Nightmare on Elm Street blossomed into a promising franchise, studio execs sought to capitalize on the popular hair metal scene of the 80’s. To promote A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Dokken contributed the song “Dream Warriors.” In addition to clips from the film, the promotional video featured new footage of Patricia Arquette and Freddy Krueger. Ultimately Dokken saved the day by fighting off Freddy with the power of glam rock!
ALICE COOPER – HE’S BACK (THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK)
In 1986, Alice Cooper launched a major comeback with the help of Jason Voorhees. “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” was chosen as the lead single for Constrictor. A cautionary tale of slasher slaughter, the title clearly had a double meaning as rock’s eminent shock rocker returned to the stage. As part of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, the song was featured throughout the movie. MTV also embraced the promotional video.
LAAZ ROCKIT – LEATHERFACE
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III was released in 1990 with the intention of embracing “hard-core horror.” The violence was enough to earn an X rating, forcing the studio to edit footage for a theatrical release. The hardcore approach also applied to the soundtrack. Rather than hire commercially accessible artists like other horror franchises, they actively sought out heavier acts. The CD featured thrash bands like Death Angel and Sacred Reich. Laaz Rockit’s anthem to Leatherface kicked off the soundtrack and was chosen for a music video.
The Ramones – Pet Sematary
Renowned horror author Stephen King is a genuine Ramones fan. One suspects that he had a part in enlisting The Ramones for the movie adaption of his classic novel, Pet Sematary. Although the track appears on Brain Drain, “Pet Sematary” was written specifically for the film. The song also became a hit for The Ramones. The music video no doubt helped “Pet Sematary” reach number four on Billboard’s “Modern Rock Tracks.”
POSSESSED -THE EXORCIST
No official connection is required to recreate famous horror soundtracks. Possessed utilized “Tubular Bells” to kick-off their homage to The Exorcist. The eerie theme music proved to be the perfect complement to the brutality of early death metal.
DEICIDE – DEAD BY DAWN
The Evil Dead was over-the-top in its gratuitous use of blood and horror. Others have tackled this cult-film but no band captured the spirit of The Evil Dead more than Deicide. Starting with the classic phrase “JOIN US,” Deicide describe the “Book of the dead/pages bound in human flesh” before name-checking the Necronomicon. The chorus is merely a refrain of that unholy warning “Dead by Dawn.” A treasure-trove of Evil Dead references, “Dead by Dawn” is a fitting tribute to a horror classic!