Monday, October 9, 2017

Riske Business: Songs I Love from '90s Horror Movies

by Adam Riske
Jam these while you carve your King Arthur: Legend of the Sword jack-o-lanterns.

Title: “The Perfect Drug”
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
From: Lost Highway

From a soundtrack full of great songs, “The Perfect Drug” is the pinnacle. This song is so good it makes me want to walk scarily around Six Flags with a cane and a top hat even when it’s not Fright Fest. You know what would be cool? If this music video was life and going to work every day was a 4-minute music video. I would have had so much trouble shooting this video because I’m afraid of birds. They’re so fucking weird. Just ask Tippi.

Title: “Mouth”
Artist: Bush
From: An American Werewolf in Paris

Right off the jump, this video is solid because it reminds me of how wonderful the CGI is in An American Werewolf in Paris (it’s not wonderful) and shows me that Gavin Rossdale is all “I’d order something off the menu if I only knew how to read.” Then Julie Delpy (drawing the short straw) shows up before Gavin eats, so it becomes Before Lunch. The rest of the video is evidence that none of these people know what it’s like to be at a carnival. I kinda want to watch An American Werewolf in Paris now. Vince Vieluf is in it. Where’s Vince Vieluf these days? Do you think he ever cooked dinner for someone and was like “Vieluf Parmesan coming right up!” Did any of you make a bet with your friends that Vince Vieluf was going to be bigger than Vince Vaughn? There’s still time!

Title: “Got You (Where I Want You)”
Artist: The Flys
From: Disturbing Behavior

“Katie Holmes is attractive so let’s write a song about it.” – Chris Klein, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Me, You, Everyone You Know, The Flys in 1998. Wait, did she just murder those two guys at the 1:13 mark? This song was also well known for being used in the Fossil “Got To (Wear A Watch Dude)” promotion some years later.

Title: “Cemetery Gates”
Artist: Pantera
From: Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

I didn’t need further convincing that this song rules, but starting a song with a Crypt Keeper laugh is always a good start. Back around the time Demon Knight was released, I used to make fun of horror movie soundtracks because I was convinced it wasn’t about the artists’ music as much as them having a hardcore band name you could put on the front of the CD. I have since changed and now I adore this music (e.g. I own the Demon Knight soundtrack). I love the part at 1:37 in this video where the guitar slaying is timed perfectly with Billy Zane punching through that sheriff’s head. That’s metal as shit, yo! I also like starting at 3:12 when all the Pantera demons are breaking through the blood seals Bill Sadler put down. And the video is bookended with a great ending all its own. Old Man McCoy in Ed Wood would love it (“I want the video to end with a big explosion!”). P.S. Do you all remember the “Crypt Jam?” The Crypt Keeper raps while wearing a White Sox hat. It was a time where all my worlds were colliding!

Title: “Do the Right Thing”
Artist: Redhead Kingpin & The F.B.I.
From: The People Under the Stairs

Why is this song not in Do the Right Thing (1989)? Anyways, happy to have you in The People Under the Stairs, even if you are no “Crypt Jam.” I like the part at 0:11 when it does that super ‘90s “Ah, yeah.” Can’t get enough of that. I need to consult my resident rap expert Chaybee on this one. “Ay, yeah.” Were Redhead Kingpin & The F.B.I. a thing? This song sounds way more Strictly Business than The People Under the Stairs. “Ah, yeah.” Is “doing the right thing” in this context just not keeping people under your stairs? Is this song super repetitive? “Ah, yeah.”

Title: “Tales from the Hood”
Artist: Domino
From: Tales from the Hood

While this doesn’t reach the heights of Domino’s “Ghetto Jam,” which is a classic, “Tales from the Hood” is pleasant enough. Did you know I have an LP single of this song because Patrick found it while we were at a record store before we saw John Carpenter in concert (humblebrag)? That’s a friend right there. I also bought a John Travolta album that day. The Tales from the Hood soundtrack is good. This is the 4th best song on it. The chorus of this song could almost be my recommendation of the movie if I played around with the lyrics: “I know it sounds bad. But it’s so good. This is Tales. (Hands over a copy) Tales from the Hood.” I have yet to spin the John Travolta album.

Title: “I’m Awake Now”
Artist: Goo Goo Dolls
From: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (it wasn’t)

Back before people knew Goo Goo Dolls weren’t metal as fuck, they had a song (an awesome one) in Freddy’s Dead. Have you ever checked out Goo Goo’s soundtrack game? It’s strong. We’re talking “Long Way Down” from Twister, “Iris” from City of Angels (swoon), “I’m Still Here (Jim’s Theme)” from Treasure Planet (not a dry eye). The list goes on. The Goo Goo Dolls look like they’re digging Freddy’s Dead until Freddy chases them out of the theater because he’s kind of a dick.

Title: “Ghosts”
Artist: Michael Jackson
From: Ghosts

I’m including this video because it played in theaters before Thinner back in 1996! Full disclosure: I’m watching "Ghosts" for the first time as I write this, though I have it on a bootleg DVD with Moonwalker, Thriller and Captain EO, which might make it the greatest single piece of media known to man. "Ghosts" reminds me a lot of a Halloween Doritos commercial. This video needs Billy Butcherson. I’ll give "Ghosts" a pass. The chorus is decent, the dancing rules, the makeup effects are fun. It feels like if Casper were rated PG-13.

What are some songs from ‘90s horror movies you want to give a shout out? Happy Scary Movie Month, everyone! Lots more good stuff coming your way!


  1. Little history on "Do the Right Thing" = Spike actually hired Redhead to write the theme but when he heard the song and it started with "Do the right thing, not talking about a black or white thing" Spike said "What?! That's EXACTLY what we're talking about here!" so he didn't like the song and didn't use it. It's a good thing because as a result we got "Fight the Power".

    1. That's incredible. Thanks Chaybee! Talk about a happy accident on Spike's part. Fight the Power is so iconic to that movie.

  2. Thank you for using Bush's mouth great song that shaped my informative years growing up....just stinks I found it in the dumpster fire that was American werewolf in paris

    1. It would be a great song to hear at the orthodontist

  3. nice list! some of those are my faves too. especially The Flys from Disturbing Behavior

    The Offspring - Beheaded, from Idle Hands
    Type O Negative - Summer Breeze, from I Know What You Did Last Summer
    Stabbing Westward - Save Yourself, from Urban Legend

  4. First one that comes to mind is Dark Night from From Dusk Till Dawn. I think the band is called The Blasters. Love that song.

  5. I clicked on this article thinking, "Well, obviously, Love Spit Love's cover of The Smiths' How Soon Is Now? from The Craft (1996) is going to make the list, but I wonder what else will." I have no idea why I thought that.

    1. Best use ever of "How Soon is Now" is in the brilliant 1985 Made for TV Halloween film: "The Midnight Hour". A must watch if you haven't seen it.

    2. A big factor in the ones I pick is if they have a music video tied in with the movie. The Love Spit Love song would have totally made it if it did.

  6. The "oh, yeah" was great, until it got completely run into the ground during the early 2000's with the brief popularity (for me anyways) of scratch dj hip hop...looking squarely at you, q-burt.

  7. Goo Goo Dolls represent! Gotta love anytime Freddy's Dead can get a mention in an article, haha. It's a great song though. However, I prefer Iggy Pop's 'Why Was I Born? (Freddy's Dead)' that plays over the montage during the end credits. By far the best 5 minutes of the movie.

  8. Bush video exsquisite. Rosedale is a bloody fox!! I think I'd take 2017 rosedale over 1996 Rosedale though. Rugged, aged, and experienced.

  9. For me, Redhead Kingpin was definitely a thing within my posse. I definitely owned his first album "A Shade of Red". And he definitely wrote your new favorite song, "Pump it Hottie". You're welcome.

    "Pump it Hottie" was my jam. Excuse me while I go buy an album I hadn't thought about in 20 years but somehow still remember the lyrics.