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17 Fear-Filled Songs Inspired by Scary Movies

The Ramones, Talking Heads, Kate Bush and more make great music for creeps

Norman Bates

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The imagery and storylines provided by movies have long inspired songwriters, who have offered musical takes on films ranging from Citizen Kane to High Fidelity and Dirty Harry. But if songwriters can be inspired by movies that make us cry, laugh or mangle Clint Eastwood lines, why shouldn't they also gives us tunes about slashers, monsters and freakazoids? With Halloween hitting this week, here are our favorite songs inspired by the creepy, spooky and downright freaky films that make us nervously hum when we're home alone. Pat Pemberton

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Kate Bush, ‘Get Out of My House’

Here's a creepy little experiment: Queue up the official trailer for The Shining, then turn down the volume and use this song as the soundtrack while you watch highlights of horror. Of course, this song – with its ghost story lyrics and guttural screams – could make a scene from Mary Poppins look freaky. But Bush has said that "Get Out of My House" is her own Shining, minus the "redrums."

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Alice Cooper, ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’

To help Alice Cooper channel horror movie actor Dwight Frye (the song dropped the "e" in his name), producer Bob Ezrin had Cooper wear a straightjacket while recording this song. "Probably my most psychologically disturbed song," as Cooper described it to the Boston Globe, it's about Frye's character, Renfield, from the 1931 film Dracula. "He was the guy nobody ever recognized, but he was the scariest guy," Cooper said. The song ends with Cooper frantically yelling, "I gotta get out of here!," a sentiment he easily conveyed after seven hours of forced restraint.

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Ramones, ‘Chainsaw’

When the Ramones were playing at CBGB in New York in 1974, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was showing at a theater on 49th and Broadway. The punk pioneers weren't subtle about their inspiration here, kicking off the song with the sound of a chainsaw, which leads to the lyrics, "She'll never get out of there/Texas chainsaw massacre."

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