FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Mar 4, 2010

killer tracks

One of my favorite things about horror movies is the all-too-rare "completely effing incongruous song". Now, I'm not talking about a misguided soundtrack, or the awful generic heavy metal that is constantly droning throughout most indie horror flicks.

Tangent: what's up with that, anyway? Are directors afraid of silence and/or ambient noise? TURN OFF THE MUSIC, IT WILL BE OKAY.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest. Now, what I am talking about, Willis, is the random song that doesn't much fit with the mood or atmosphere of the film whatsoever. This song may have you scratching your head. This song may pull you out of the moment- but the rarest of the rare pulls you out of the moment with straight-up awesomeness. Such is the case with these, my five favorite WTF? horror movie songs. I listen to them on my iPod because I am that hip (tell me I'm hip!). Here they are, in total countdown to YESSSS! order.

Before we get to The Cow Who Can Act, we're treated to some truly bizarre music during the opening credits: "Peaceful Verde Valley" by Dorsey Burnette. I'm not sure what kind of mood this song is supposed to establish, exactly: perhaps the peace of our verde valleys is meant to be ironi-tastic. Who cares? You know you want to sing along.

Listen: Killer Party


Phew, had to get that out. This 1986 movie might suffer from a case of the "What the Fuck Am I?"s- is it a slasher? a possession movie? a musical?- but what it doesn't suffer is a lack of I love it-ness. It's such a product of its time...and if you love 80s horror as much as I do, you'd be a jerk not to love Killer Party.

Oh my God, this song is so good! It accompanies both the opening and closing credits...and best of all, it's sung by the actresses who play the three leads (Vivia, Jennifer, and Phoebe).

WHY ISN'T KILLER PARTY ON DVD? I feel like starting an internet petition.

Listen: Creepshow

Short and oh so sweet is this little interlude in the opening story, "Father's Day", which finds Cass and Hank getting down. Thoughts:

1) I should have included this in my AMC column about horror movie dance scenes
2) Cass was total 80s white hotness
3) I love that this is recorded right from the movie and you can hear Cass's bangles...bangling
4) What the fuck kind of dance was Ed Harris doing, anyway?

I know plenty of people who dig this David Hess-flavored rape-fest of a movie, but it's not really to my taste. What is to my taste, however, is this amazing track that accompanies a rapist-rapee dance sequence during a party at said house on said edge of said park. How can such a great song come from such a terrible film? How??

Listen: Maniac

One of these days I've got to write up some sort of review of Maniac, a film frequently slapped with the "misogynist" label- erroneously slapped, in my opinion. It's a fine line between being misogynist and being about misogyny, and I find Maniac to be in the latter category. It's not an easy movie to watch, and it's certainly not an overall pleasant experience- though it does contain some of the best stalking scenes in all of horrordom.

Whatever Maniac may be, however, it does clearly feature the MACK DADDY of fucking great incongruous horror movie songs with "Showdown". Amidst all the graphic violence, there's a scene that features sweaty creepster Joe Spinell breathing heavily while the object of his affection, Caroline Munro, photographs fashion models (that's her spouting direction and encouragement in the song). So so so sooooo good. YAAAAAAAAY!

Bonus track!

Listen: mystery song

Can you name the horror movie that features this track? I cannot, so if you know, set my mind at ease, won't you? It's the least you could do.

EDITED TO ADD: You guys rule! Mystery solved: It's the opening track for Cannibal Ferox, which I've never seen. That's some serious what-the-fuckery.


Scare Sarah said...

Awesome examples ther FG.

What about Andy Williams' Happy Heart at the end of Shallow Grave?

Love, love, love that song.

Paul Lilienthal said...

Although metal is my favorite genre, I have to completely agree with you. These watered-down quasi-metal songs and these spazzy death metal songs suck and they do not set the mood for a horror movie at all. Find yourselves something more ambient.

I have to say, in metal's defense, that the soundtracks to Demons, Night of the Demons, and Night of the Demons 2 all kick some sort of ass.

You ARE hip. I'm sixteen and I don't even use an ipod. See, you're so hip you're ahead of the teenagers, or rather just me.

spazmo said...

"Mr. Sandman" at the end of Halloween II seemed a little out-of-place.

When I listen to "Peaceful Verde Valley", it's hard not to think of a 70's Ford commercial...a very long, peculiar one featuring everyday working joes, dusty pickups, cowboy hats and tarantulas.

Anonymous said...

The Australian Film Fair Game ends with a song that sounds like a track Bette Midler rejected from Beaches.

Bill Walsh said...

This is a hilarious and brilliantly creative post. Awesome. Thanks, Anastasia!

B-Sol said...

"Once More" from House by the Edge of the Park!! I've been dying to find that recording ever since I saw the movie. What a Euro-disco cheesefest of colossal proportions. You have provided a fine service this day, Stacie.

Midnight Fright said...

...and let's not all forget the entire Keith Emerson penned soundtrack to Argento's "Inferno". Emerson, in all his prog rock glory, can't go for the slow note, and instead has pulsing key pounding spasmo riffs at the strangest and most inapropriate times.

Pensive woman staring silently out the window? Beeldy-bee-beep-boop-bling bling-ka-zazt...ZOW.

Another soundtrack that seems strangely mismatched is that of Margheriti's "Invasion of the Flesh Hunters" (also know as "Cannibal Apocalypse") which is funky-disco a rather sedate film. John Saxon enters a room of bloodied flesh...and the audience hears "Bow-chicka-chicka".

Naturally, I own both soundtracks. Totally delicious listening.

Joe Sherlock said...

The opening credits theme to BOG was a hilarious 70's mellow country-ish tune. What was funnier is when over top of this realxing ballad came the slime-dripping letters for BOG!

Unknown said...

The mystery track is the opening title music to CANNIBAL FEROX (aka MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY).


Stacie Ponder said...

I CANNOT BELIEVE that's the opening to Cannibal Ferox. THANK YOU! Once again, awesome incongruity.

Amanda By Night said...

I am SO glad you are enjoying all that horror music I gave you (it seems like eons ago, don't it?)! I love the music from House on the Edge of the Park. Too bad the "Sweetly" song was taped directly off the tv so it has all the rape sounds! Yikes!!!

One song that needs to be mentioned is Mistress of the Apes. I play that one at the gym! :)

It took me forever to get the Cannibal Ferox one myself. A lot of these songs I acquired randomly from differnt collectors and so I didn't know were all the music came from. I will be watching movies now and hear one of the songs and go, "Hey, I have that on CD!" "Winner Takes All" from Killer Fish is one of my faves! :)

Janice said...

what's up with that, anyway? Are directors afraid of silence and/or ambient noise? TURN OFF THE MUSIC, IT WILL BE OKAY.
I was thinking of that last night. I was watching Carnival of Souls for the first time last night and while I was expecting it to be spooky, I wasn't expecting it to make me jump. But it did! How the hell did a movie from 1962 scare me? I think it's effective framing of shots and the gentle use of the organ music.
God, that was a good movie.

Neil Fulwood said...

The weirdest thing about Emerson's 'Inferno' score is that most of it is based around a speeded up variation on Verdi's 'Va Pensiero', the opera chorus the students are listening to during the lecture when Mark glimpses the Mother of Tears.

My favourite WTF use of music is when the pagans all spontaneously start singing that middle-ages party fave 'Summer is i-cumen in' while Sgt Howie feels the fire in the original version of 'The Wicker Man'. The fact that Christopher Lee launches into it like he's kicking off a stadium rock gig ("Good evening, Summerisle!") just ramps up the what-the-fuckiness even more.

Missy Y. (formerly A Case of You) said...

This is mostly off topic, but House on the Edge of the Park would have to be the most disgusting piece of shit film I have ever seen in my life. And I love some disgusting piece of shit films, so you know it's got to be bad for me to say that.

matango said...

More disgusting than Last House on the Left (to stick with David Hess)?

I guess it's not incongruous, but I deeply love the Friday the 13th Part 3 disco title track.

Stacie Ponder said...

I think it's far more disgusting than Last House (which, I think, at least tries to have a point). House...Park may purport to be a rape/revenge flick, but it's mostly, you know, rape. It doesn't make sense, and it's just plain sleazy.

Anonymous said...

I'll make this post safe for the youngins' again by mentioning the "how lonely the monster is" song from Legend of Boggy Creek.

Also, there are more than a few parts in John Frankenheimer's "Prophecy" where it sounds like the horn section has the sheet music upside down.

Stacie Ponder said...


Ryan said...

The song in the beginning credits of Anthropophagus made me wtf.

spazmo said...


Yeah, Stacie. "Showdown" is definitely doing it for me. Sounds like it came straight out of Malcolm McLaren's pop-fashion factory. Beats the hell out of most modern retro-disco dreck.

Punkyscudmonkey said...

Completely brilliant post, I'm listening to Maniac right now and will be for the rest of the day.

Not from a horror movie, but the song at the end of the INCREDIBLE James Glickenhaus/Jackie Chan movie The Protector, One Up for the Good Guys, is one of my favourites. After you've just watched 90 minutes of Jackie kicking seven colours of ass in a drug factory, you really need to hear Chip "Wild Thing" "Brother of Jon Voight" Taylor singing a country-ish ballad about how the good guys always win in the end. I am not being sarcastic here, you really really do.

Punkyscudmonkey said...

Oh, thank the Lord. It's on YouTube:

BJ Colangelo said...


Madbikerteknik said...

Thanks for "Do it to me once more, Love me more and more"! I love the light happy pop tunes that accompany the Italian horror films. When I hear those kind of songs it suggests that the events in the film are happening in a real normal world. The music is like any ordinary Europop song from the era that the characters would hear going about their normal daily lives. And when it is source music like "once more" it cements that idea. Thanks again and I hope you do more of these posts on inappropriate music from horror films.

Stacie Ponder said...

BJ-C, The Cow Who Can Act is the most brilliant thing I've ever seen ever ever. I wonder if the director KNEW how good it was. It's amazing.

Hayden said...

What about the song over the end credits for Squirm?

Found here.

James C. Sugrue said...

You had me at rape-fest.