The 13 Best Horror Movie Music Videos From Killer Soundtracks

Freddy Krueger and Dokken.
Freddy Krueger and Dokken. New Line Cinema / Elektra

Killers are often more famous than their victims, but only horror movie killers will ever get to capitalize on that fame. While Dennis Rader rots in prison, Jason Voorhees is free to appear on The Arsenio Hall Show and Chucky makes guest appearances in WCW arenas. But nothing exemplifies the brazen flaunting of their violence more than the music video guest spot.

One of the more peculiar inventions in movie marketing, the accompanying soundtrack single and music video is especially incongruous when it comes to horror movies. Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” video featuring clips from Dangerous Minds makes a certain amount of sense, with its parallel tone to the film. But that all changes with horror movies, where fear is directly contradicted by a musical burlesque, pulling monsters out of the shadows to headbang or even spit a bar or two. The horror movie music video is automatically demystifying. Which may be why they so often appear in connection with horror sequels, when the monster has become more of a marketable action figure than a threat.

But however much it reduces the capacity of a horror movie to scare, there’s nothing in movie marketing quite as jarring and thrillingly offbeat as a good horror movie music video. Here are 13 of the best.

Rob Zombie “Living Dead Girl” for Bride of Chucky

This first pick is a bit of a cheat — the music video wasn’t attached to the movie — but otherwise the slot would have belonged to “What If,” a Creed song from the soundtrack to series low point, Scream 3. Sorry to have reminded you of it. Robb Zombie’s Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and White Zombie chimera, the music video for “Living Dead Girl,” is so much better. Zombie and co-director Joseph Kahn (Torque, Detention) nail the 1920s look, making this the perfect horror tribute. The song was included on the soundtrack of not only the Bride of Chucky, but Gus Van Sant’s quixotic and very stupid remake of Psycho too.

Bush “Mouth” from An American Werewolf in London

First appearing on the second Bush album “Razorblade Suitcase,” An American Werewolf in London doesn’t deserve a song as good as “Mouth.” Let’s just not talk about that movie. This music video, with its carnival werewolf orgy, is much better.

The Crypt Keeper “Crypt Jam” for Tales from the Crypt

Since the Crypt Keeper isn’t really a horror movie figure in his own right, more a master of ceremonies, his music video for Tales from the Crypt just barely qualifies. But who can resist the Crypt Keeper, clad in a hoodie and White Sox cap, dishing up pan-fried fingers and hammered brains to his house party guests?

Megadeth “No More Mr. Nice Guy” from Shocker

Shocker may be one of Wes Craven’s worst movies, but that doesn’t take anything from this Megadeth video, which includes killers bursting from TVs, lyrics about sneaking into church incognito and Dave Mustaine getting fried in the electric chair.

Alice Cooper “The Man Behind the Mask” from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

As much as I’d love to list “I Am The Future,” Alice Cooper’s excellent theme song for bloody high school “drama” Class of 1984, it’s his music video for Friday the 13th Part VI that best fits the bill. The most self-aware entry in The Friday the 13th series, Jason Lives opens with Voorhees slashing the screen in imitation of James Bond’s opening credits gunshot. This is one instance where the music video isn’t substantially sillier than the movie.

Laaz Rockit “Leatherface” from Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III

There are probably hardcore Lȧȧz Rockit fans out there, but I will always and only know them for their video for Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, which juxtaposes clips from the movie with seemingly 100 percent unrelated footage of headbanging in the desert. It picks up when they start carving guitars in half with chainsaws.

LL Cool J “Deepest Blue” for Deep Blue Sea

More musicians need to be cast in horror movies so we can get more pop culture moments like LL Cool J’s music video for Deep Blue Sea, a movie he also appears in. There’s no other chorus quite like “Deepest! Bluest! My hat is like a shark fin!” repeated 35 times. Congrats also to Cool J’s character for surviving to the end, a rarity for black men in horror movies.

Motorhead “Hellraiser” for Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

Hell yeah, Lemmy vs. Pinhead. This is actually one of the least goofy horror movie metal singles, at least until Lemmy starts playing poker with the lead Cenobite. Footage of Motorhead wrestling around in the expected Barker bondage wear is almost creepier than the monsters in the movie, which officially make the transition from creepy sex demons to goofball super killers in Hell on Earth, adding demons who throw weaponized CDs and have video cameras for heads.

The Fat Boys “Are You Ready for Freddy?” from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

This is peak Freddy Krueger swagger right here. Dream Master may not be the best entry in the series, but coming off of three excellent movies it’s the most confident, positioning Krueger as the wisecracking pop culture icon that would completely eclipse any hint of horror until Wes Craven reinvented the character in New Nightmare six years later. The video, which has Prince Markie Dee and the rest of The Fat Boys trio staying overnight in his uncle’s abandoned house, might even be better than the movie. And, of course, Freddy raps. He’s terrible: “So my advice to you is to... stay ready, because you know who’s back? Freddy. You see, my name is Freddy and I’m here to say, I’ll wrap you up and take you away.” Honorable mention goes to DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s superior track, “ A Nightmare on My Street,” which the studio rejected for the soundtrack, even forcing the destruction of an already-shot music video.

Dokken “Dream Warriors” from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

It’s almost weirder when a soundtrack tie-in is actually really good and fits the movie. “Dream Warrior” fits the vibe of the movie, in which teen patients at a mental clinic learn to unite and fight back against Freddy from inside their dreams. It’s hair metal poppy, very 80s, but with a menacing edge. And, of course, Dokken saves Patricia Arquette from Freddy with the power of rock and roll.

Ray Parker Jr. “Ghostbusters” from Ghostbusters

“Ghostbusters” doesn’t have a Freddy cameo, but it does have Ray Parker Jr. haunting the hell out of a poor young woman trapped in a neon house. On top of the expected film footage, the “Ghostbusters” video also shows Parker Jr. dancing through Times Square with the ‘busters and, best of all, weird insert cameos from Chevy Chase, John Candy, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Carly Simon, Peter Falk, Teri Garr and Al Franken. Bustin’ hasn’t made you feel good until Danny Devito screams “Ghostbustas!” in your face.

AC/DC “Who Made Who” from Maximum Overdrive

The music video for “Who Made Who,” starring AC/DC and caliper-wielding, brushed chrome aliens, is almost as wild as the movie it’s attached to, Stephen King’s coked-out (not kidding, look at him in this trailer), mechanical mayhem, truck-murder movie, Maximum Overdrive. Lightning strikes, armies of marching Angus Young clones and laser gongs turn the “Who Made Who” music video into more of a sci-fi extravaganza than a horror movie tie-in.

The Ramones “Pet Sematary” from Pet Sematary

When a great band does a for-hire soundtrack song, it’s rarely their best work. “Pet Sematary” is a radical exception: it’s one of the best Ramones songs. Set in a graveyard, the “Pet Sematary” video is like an off-kilter retelling of the movie’s resurrection plot, as The Ramones are dragged back to life to rock and roll against their wishes.

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