DELUXE FEAR FACTOR chronicles some of the coolest, scariest songs in the pop, rock and r&b canon. Some are obvious choices, some are rarities, but all are loaded with 100% fear factor. 23 tracks split into two individual soundtracks.
 


ho's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? The Boogie Man? If your response to those questions is "I ain't afraid of no ghost," then you must be running low on your fear factor. Or you're familiar with one of the coolest Halloween party songs ever put on vinyl.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: "Shock rock" innovator Alice Cooper, known for hits like "School's Out" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy" brought taboo topics to the stage. But it's all for the show, the entertainment. In his own words, Cooper told Esquire that "[Alice Cooper] is highly moralistic. There is always a consequence for Alice. These shows are about crime, punishment and resurrection. Alice is a horrific, character, spitting at society. And he gets executed for it. Much as I love the villain, I need him to get caught. Because if evil ever does win, we're all in big trouble."

Although there isn't a specific genre to place scary, spooky Halloween music, especially since most musicians known to man have pulled a haunted dark track out of the hat at some point of time (Cameo's "She Strange" and Hall & Oates "Maneater" sounds like perfect candidates, Black Label Society's "Stillborn" possibly, or anything on a Dido album). But some songs just simply takes the cake.

Literally.

This essential twenty-five track playlist opens the crypt on some of the greatest spooktaculars to ever hit a turntable or an iPod - whatever your perference is. And with annual Halloween festivities constantly screaming for great mood music, this list will flicker like a glow-in-the-dark compass to the perfect haunted house.

And regardless if you're trying to add some eerie fun to your Ole Hallow's Eve, or if you're hoping to hear something more musical than "ki-ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma-ma" chants in retro scary films, this is bound to be your "final destination." Just make sure you don't have a vandetta with Death while reading this.

- J MATTHEW COBB

"Hungry Like The Wolf"
Duran Duran
(Capitol, 1982)

Inside the song, the splashy synths, drum machine pulses and melodic New Wave pop are signature traces of timeless Eighties offerings. Not so scary sonically, but the title alone - based off the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood - produce a fair share of jitters. Lest we forget the erotic jungle nature of the highly-praised concept video and the “hungry like the wolf” whispers found on the song's bridge.
#3 POP; FROM THE ALBUM RIO

"She Blinded Me With Science"
Thomas Dolby
(Capitol/EMI, 1983)
There's always something about sci-fi that gives us all the creeps. Maybe it's the fear of not knowing and understanding the supernatural and everything else in between. Thomas Dolby's oddly, quirky lab trickery puts the mad world of mad scientists on blast. Or in the non-technical hemisphere, it meant a hottie putting a super unexplainable vex on his conscious. However you look at it, the whole idea of the song sounds a bit creepy. It also crept up the pop charts, soaring to No. 5 pop in 1982.
#5 POP; FROM THE ALBUM THE GOLDEN AGE OF WIRELESS
"A Nightmare on My Street"
D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
(Jive, 1988)
A scary Freddy Kruger tale using Fresh Prince's storyline predictability. The song tried to capitalize on the momentum of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, now with Nightmare 4: Dream Master in theaters. But a bit of controversy, along with a forewarned sticker from the label distancing the rap duo from the actual film soundtrack, got in the way from that ever happening. Some people actually thought “Nightmare On My Street,” produced with haunting samples of the theme music and Freddy's dialogue (“You got the body and I got the brain”), was scarier than most of the Freddy films. We're not going to disclose a spoiler to the song's climax. #4 POP; FROM THE ALBUM HE'S THE D.J., I'M THE RAPPER
"Godzilla"
Blue Öyster Cult
(Columbia, 1977)

Grungy heavy metal set to Rolling Stones beats and electric guitar wails. Of course, the song's subject is the menacing creature who rips through Tokyo using atomic bomb fury. But as the smoke and fire settles, there's a lesson to be learned from the aftermath: “History shows again and again/How nature points out the folly of men.” NEVER CHARTED; FROM THE ALBUM SPECTRES

"Ghostbusters"
Ray Parker, Jr.
(Arista, 1977)

No one really imagined that Ray Parker's slab of spooky funk would've been coined by MTV revelers as being one of the most memorable No. 1's of the Eighties, but the super hit, springing from the 1984 motion picture, became just that. Creepy elements such as the eerie synth lines and the pacing percussion breaks give Halloween parties the paranoia they're looking for. Lucikly, the feel-good disco funk does a good job in nullifying most of the ghostly disturbances. #1 POP; FROM THE ALBUM GHOSTBUSTERS ORGINAL SOUNDTRACK

"Thriller"
Michael Jackson
(Epic, 1983)

The granddaddy of fright night jams. Vincent Price's opening dialogue paved the way for Rod Temperton's haunting lyricism to go for the ultimate scare. The highly-advanced music video, sparking a new generation of concept videos, helped establish most of its fear factor. In many ways, the film has superseded the popularity of the actual song. Make no mistake about it: the song is still the blueprint. #4 POP; FROM THE ALBUM THRILLER

"Somebody's Watching Me"
Rockwell
(Motown, 1984)

Desperate for a break into the industry, Rockwell – Berry Gordy's son – decided to use his fellow Motown star power (Michael and Jermaine Jackson) as well as borrow footnotes from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" escapade to create a spooked synthpop jam. The results: The sly formula worked. Not only did it send a smoke signal up about the fearful Big Brother conservatism of the Regan era (“And I don't feel safe anymore, what a mess/I wonder who's watching me now/Who? the IRS”) but it turned the talk-sing talent-lacking Gordy boy into a one-hit wonder. Still, it's a creepy paranoiac Eighties jam with Michael Jackson background vocals. Good enough. #2 POP; FROM THE ALBUM SOMEBODY'S WATCHING ME

"Freaks Come Out At Night"
Whodini
(Jive, 1984)
Freaks can be defined as sexual deviants and it can mean strange monsters. In the Whodini golden-era rap classic “Freaks Come Out At Night,” the rap wizards use Zapp-inspired force using breakthrough Synclavier effects and digital sampling to create a space oddity that felt ambitiously futuristic and dark. It is that brute toughness that helped pioneer many of the harder elements of gangsta rap. Another honorable mention by Whodini: "Haunted House of Rock," released on their 1983 debut album, includes a gargantic production layout from Thomas Dolby. #43 R&B; FROM THE ALBUM ESCAPE
"Night on Disco Mountain"
David Shire
(RSO/Polydor, 1977)

Turning an eternal classical piece like Mussorgsky's “Night on Bald Mountain” into a disco opus sounds a bit far fetched to imagine. But talented composer David Shire unveiled this Saturday Night Fever dance number using stunning arrangements. He captures all the elements of the classic while also adding extra terror to the symphonic ambiance. The never-ending strutting of the strings creates a fierce drama echoing a swarm of bees. And the winds create a dark chipper coldness that somehow scratches away from the campiness of the disco connection. Discos may have been afraid to play this number, which explains why it wasn't released as a single. NEVER CHARTED; FROM THE ALBUM SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

"I Put A Spell On You"
Screamin' Jay Hawkins
(OKeh, 1956)

The song never charted, but it remains bluesman Jay Hawkins' greatest asset – especially since it became a goldmine for Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nina Simone, the Animals, Joe Cocker, Thin Lizzy and others. But Hawkins' version, the strongest of them all, possess all the strong elements of a “once in a lifetime” take. The bluesy song was recorded when Hawkins was tipsy, making his operatic howling and over eccentric Little Richard whoops much more ferocious and frightful on AM radio. This all predated Jim Morrison's possessed antics used on “Back Door Man.” The song was virtually banned by radio stations, but was celebrated by renowned radio jock Alan Freed. Overnight, Hawkins ascended from his blues roots into a whole new pathos of entertainment, which helped birth shock rock. NEVER CHARTED; FROM THE ALBUM AT HOME WITH SCREAMIN' JAY HAWKINS

"Frankenstein"
Edgar Winter Group
(Epic, 1973)

Closing out the fourth album for Edgar Winter Group, “Frankenstein” is an uptempo guitar freak instrumental loaded with Steely Dan rock funk rhythms, ARP 2600 glitches and shows no sign of the biologically-conceived grotesque monster. Still, it's a beast of a musical throwdown. Enough to scare off a rockstar novice. #1 POP; FROM THE ALBUM THEY ONLY COME OUT AT NIGHT

"Boris The Spider"
The Who
(Decca/MCA, 1966)

This awkward tune, penned by The Who bassist John Entwistle, features some of the oddest and most grungiest guitar chords known to man, although it possesses a fun catchy feeling to it. The death growl – a major influence in death metal – along with the “creepy, crawly” passages helped make the song a favorite during the Who's live shows and has also endured as one of the earliest horror songs in rock history. The “creepy, crawly” lines would also be recycled over time. NEVER CHARTED; FROM THE ALBUM A QUICK ONE (HAPPY JACK)

"Black Sabbath"
Black Sabbath
(Vertigo, 1970)

On the title cut of Black Sabbath's heavy metal-inspired debut album, a druggy procession of a marching drum echoes in the background as Ozzy Osbourne sings of satanic hot flashes. The mysterious “man in black” is the creepy subject of interest on this Cream-influenced rock gem. Just get a whiff of some of the lyrics: “Is it the end, my friend? Satan's coming ‘round the bend.” Fans believed the band were practitioners of the occult. Believe it or not, they claim they weren't. NEVER CHARTED; FROM THE ALBUM BLACK SABBATH

 

DISC 1
1. HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF
- Duran Duran
2. SHE BLINDED ME SCIENCE - Thomas Dolby
3. NIGHTMARE ON MY STREET - D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
4. GODZILLA - Blue Öyster Club
5. GHOSTBUSTERS - Ray Parker, Jr.
6. THRILLER - Michael Jackson
7. SOMEBODY'S WATCHING ME - Rockwell
8. FREAKS COME OUT AT NIGHT - Whodini
9. NIGHT ON DISCO MOUNTAIN - David Shire
10. I PUT A SPELL ON YOU - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
11. FRANKENSTEIN - Edgar Winter Group
12. BORIS THE SPIDER - The Who
13. BLACK SABBATH - Black Sabbath

DISC 2
(CLICK HERE to see back side)

FURTHER READING >>
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