(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

Spoooky, scaaaary: The ultimate Halloween-in-quarantine playlist

All the costumes, trick-or-treating and spooky-season fun is essentialy off the table due to COVID-19

Welcome to the most genuinely unnerving Halloween week in memory.

All the costumes, trick-or-treating and spooky-season fun is essentialy off the table due to COVID-19. But the real terrors of a rampaging virus and a tense election (to say the least) are very present. Michael Myers himself would probably take one look around and head back into Laurie Strode’s closet to hide this one out.

If you’re stuck doing witchy incantations at home (or just pounding mulled cider until the morning of Nov. 4), The Los Angeles Times’ music team pulled together a playlist to keep the demons at bay, from nu-metal nightmares to grisly horrorcore hip-hop to Belarusian goth TikTok hits.

Backxwash, “Spells (feat. Devi McCallion)”

Zambian Canadian artist and 2020 Polaris Prize-winner Ashanti Mutinta, better known as Backxwash, beckons us to wade in the bog of her brain in the murky witch-hop of “Spells,” featuring sinister howls and spitfire verses by MC Devi McCallion. “I told my mama that the devil got a place for me,” McCallion rhymes, “I’m going to hell and I bet you I’ll be safe for weeks.” (Suzy Exposito)

Clipping, “Blood of the Fang”

Couched in horror-film language, the new left-field hip-hop track “Blood of the Fang” concerns America’s most curdling story — that of slavery, centuries-long oppression and the country’s “addiction to blood.” Name-checking Black activists and outlining the gnarled consequences of racism, Clipping’s Daveed Diggs promises to “digest the flesh of every wicked human / ‘Til the best and blackest blood is back to ruling.” (Randall Roberts)

The Cramps, “I Was a Teenage Werewolf”

All good Halloween music should be a bit camp, and no one did spooky-cartoon-skeleton-dancing music better than the Cramps. “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” borrowed its title from a schlocky monster flick, but truth be told, we all feel like hairy hormonal monsters locked inside these days. (August Brown)

Miley Cyrus, “Zombie” (2020)

The Cranberries’ early-’90s pop-grunge classic is revived with scary precision by the onetime kiddie star whose career keeps refusing to die. (Mikael Wood)

Eagles, “Witchy Woman” (1972)

Inspired in part by various women he’d met at the Troubadour and the Whisky a Go Go, Don Henley’s first writing credit with the Eagles deploys a slinky-spooky soft-rock groove to summon the image of a lady with “raven hair and ruby lips” who can “rock you in the nighttime till your skin turns red.” (MW)

Gravediggaz, “Defective Trip (Trippin’)”

RZA’s horrorcore supergroup with Prince Paul, Frukwan and Poetic had one of the best album covers of ’90s rap for “6 feet Deep,” and this bleak descent into glue-sniffing insanity is one of its masterstrokes. Seething rats, crackheads, all-consuming flames: Horror movie or real-life for the poor in Giuliani-era NYC? (AB)

Halsey, “Nightmare”

“I won’t smile, but I’ll show you my teeth,” spits Halsey in her 2019 one-off track, “Nightmare.” A Top 40 chameleon-gone-torrid alt-rock bombshell, Halsey fires off scorching barbs about a particular kind of horror show: the patriarchy. “I’ve been polite, but I won’t be caught dead / Letting a man tell me what I should do in my bed.” (SE)

Handsome Family, “Poor, Poor Lenore”

Crooner Brett Sparks presents the opening couplet of this mournful 2000 country song as if he were a minister delivering a graveside eulogy: “Poor, poor Lenore carried off by crows / As she wandered alone where the red oaks grow.” With lyrics written by wife Rennie Sparks, “Poor, Poor Lenore” travels with the birds and our hero, “their beaks twisted in her hair,” as they fly Lenore “to the top of a dead tree where the heartbroken go.” Who stomped her heart? A gravedigger, of course, who “kissed so hard her mouth filled with blood / Then he left her to cry where the red oaks die.” (RR)

Ella Henderson, “Ghost (Oliver Nelson Remix)”

Haunted by the memory of her ex, this big-voiced “X Factor” flameout goes to the river to pray, only to come home and find the dude’s evil eyes still “sitting on the wall … watch(ing) every move I make.” (MW)

Lingua Ignota, “Wicked Game”

The SoCal-reared singer, composer and noise artist has an unlikely gift for a great cover. Her gutting of Chris Isaak’s misty pop hit has plenty of love for the original. But now it’s a barely recognizable goth-opera nightmare that samples “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima” by Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Beautiful, gruesome — and both funny and unnerving once the chorus hits. (AB)

Post Malone feat. Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott, “Take What You Want” (2019)

Gloomy, power-ballad perfection from hip-hop’s streaming king and metal’s prince of darkness — oh, and Travis Scott, who turns up to bemoan the fact he can’t fit all his women in his tiny sports car. (MW)

Ministry, “(Every Day Is) Halloween”

Long before Al Jourgensen became the dreadlocked soldier of conservatives’ nightmares, he was a new-wave pretty boy who made a jailbreak from his contract with Arista Records in pursuit of gloomier pastures. In his 1984 single “(Every Day) Is Halloween,” Jourgensen rallies for those who remain spooky year-round: “I let their teeny minds think / That they’re dealing with someone who is over the brink / And I dress this way just to keep them at bay / Cause Halloween is everyday.” (SE)

Misfits, “Mommy, Can I Go Out & Kill Tonight?”

If you have to ask, you know the answer. Of course you can’t, Glenn, but that’s never stopped you before. A 1982 song about getting bullied and muscling up both brains and body to seek vengeance, the Misfits’ classic Jersey punk song features this bit of creepy poeticism: “Killed a girl on Lovers’ Lane / I kept her toes and teeth / Every night I stalk around until I find my keep / I’ll bring back a souvenir / For it’s my mommy’s dream.” (RR)

Molchat Doma, “Sudno (Boris Ryzhy)”

Belarus post-punks Molchat Doma were virtually unheard of beyond Europe until their doom-laden 2017 track “Sudno (Boris Ryzhy)” took on a second life on TikTok. Hallmarked by eerie synths and late Soviet-era malaise, the song has soundtracked viral videos capturing Russian club kids and American hypebeasts alike — as well as a colony of hanging bats. The band’s upcoming album, “Monument,” is due out Nov. 13. (SE)

Rihanna, “Disturbia” (2008)

The wordless vocal hook is as anodyne as Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee).” But listen closely to the pre-chorus in this thumping, electro-pop song, in which Rihanna describes an experience with fear — itself “a thief in the night to come and grab you” — in language that’s downright chilling. (MW)

Salem, “Starfall”

Salem never got enough credit for how its depressed, drugged-up trap — which craved death and sub-bass alike — became a template for SoundCloud rap a decade later. Ten years after its LP “King Night,” the duo is back with “Fires in Heaven” and driving right into a tornado in the video for the single “Starfall.” (AB)

Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, “The Alien”

Go ahead, turn off all the lights in your apartment. Put on this soundtrack’s suite of slippery synth noises and unbearably tense drones from Alex Garland’s 2018 sci-fi horror flick about aliens, deformation and nature’s unknowable cruelty (here’s an excerpt of “The Alien,” its creepiest part). Wait for that four-note theme to hit. Then open the closet door and just imagine what’s waiting on the other side. (AB)

Scratch Acid, “Cannibal”

“Hey! You’re eating my heart!” barks Texas post-punk band Scratch Acid’s David Yow to open this song about being devoured alive. Yow, who went on to form the Jesus Lizard, possesses a yowl to die for and uses it to full effect as sharpened guitar tones stab in time. “Stop eating my brain!” (RR)

Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Spellbound”

Siouxsie Sioux, the English godmother of Goth, let her inner sorceress run wild on the Banshees’ 1981 LP “Juju.” In opening track “Spellbound,” the prowling bass line gives way to a dizzying pursuit between the guitar and drums, and to a greater degree, the witch and her bewitched. “You hear laughter / Cracking through the walls,” hisses Siouxsie, “It sends you spinning / You have no choice.” (SE)

Slipknot, “My Plague”

A typically vivid threat of violence from Iowa’s masked metalheads — “I’ll reach in and take a bite out of that s — you call a heart” — that unexpectedly gets a jolt of pained post-emo melody. Figures that the plague is “you.” (MW)

The Specials, “Ghost Town”

Released during a devastating economic downturn that shuttered shops and clubs and saw the rise of white nationalism, the British ska band’s 1981 single is driven by a pit-in-the-stomach sense of dread. Organ chords straight out of a Lon Cheney-era monster flick creep along. A stuttering beat suggests a zombie limping down a desolate highway. “Can’t go on no more,” cries Terry Hall, as if fading to dust. (RR)

Three 6 Mafia, “Live by Yo Rep”

There are diss tracks meant to end careers, and then there’s Three 6’s “Live by Yo Rep,” a “Malleus Maleficarum” for Memphis rap. Here’s a sampling of the fates awaiting their nemeses in Bone Thugs N’ Harmony: “I want to slowly peel off all your skin / Get grease and boil it hot, pour it on you and your dead friends,” “Bodies sit in box chopped up in pieces / His soul done rose, I placed them tubes up under my mattress,” “Broke out the blender and I made some Krayzie gravy.” Later, Three 6 Mafia would go on to win a well deserved Academy Award for original song. (AB)

Tino Corp, “It’s Halloween Dub”

One of 16 spooky dub tracks on an album by San Francisco producer Ben Stokes under his early ’00s Tino moniker, this deep, breakbeat-driven instrumental features lots of wretched old samples. It’s taken from “Tino’s Breaks Vol. 6: Hallowe’en Dub,” a collection dense with howling, wailing, grunting noises that, combined with the mid-tempo rhythms, make it a seasonal dance-floor go-to. (RR)

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Halloween

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

(Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared Thursday.
COVID-19 outbreak at LNG Canada Project site

14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (Image courtesy CDC)
Nak’azdli Whut’en taking extra precautions against COVID

Offices, community buildings closed to the public for the next 14 days

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Most Read