Making a list of songs based on horror movies is dead easy. I could do a top twenty just based on The Misfits, Anthrax and Rob Zombie. And once I begin casting my net into weird doom metal or songs written for horror movies, game over. It's a book.
So I decided rather than include the usual - Nightmare on My Street or Man Behind the Mask or Pet Sematary - I would come up with a list of lesser known, possibly weirder songs. All are based, in one way or another, on horror movies. None are horror movie theme songs, none are covers of horror movie theme songs. All, I hope, are unique.
Lizzy Borden - Red Rum
Rightfully unknown Hollywood hair metal/shock rock band Lizzy Borden released this song on their debut album, Love You To Pieces. The band was uncomfortable in the glam metal scene, also being closer to the likes of Alice Cooper, but they never truly took off. They're featured heavily in the rarely-screened Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, where they cover Born to Be Wild.
Red Rum is a pretty on the nose song about The Shining that even namechecks Room 237. It's not a great song, but I love the opening drums.
S.O.D. - Freddy Krueger
Off the incredibly brilliant album Speak English or Die, S.O.D.'s Freddy Krueger actually paints a creepier Freddy than the movies do -
His teeth are black
Flex metal knuckles with a crack
Maggots crawling all throughout his skin
and it's the best song associated with the character (sorry, Dokken). The band, by the one, is one of the first groups to crossover between metal and punk, and it's essentially an offshoot of Anthrax (who also blazed crossover ground with hip hop). Freddy Krueger is one of the lesser songs on the album - Chromatic Death and Milk and Fuck the Middle East are some of the highlights.
Kate Bush - Hammer Horror
Kate Bush's first album produced two hit singles. This was her third single, off her second album Lionheart, and it kind of fizzled. It's also a weird song to include on this list because while it's called Hammer Horror, and is about actors making a Hammer Film, there is no Hunchback of Notre Dame movie in the Hammer canon (at least not that I've been able to identify). I like the theatricality of this track, and the video has Bush looking scarier than most horror movie monsters.
Bobby Bare - Vampira
Bobby Bare almost didn't have a career; his first hit song somehow went out into the world under the name Bill Parsons. Thankfully he recovered, and he eventually gave us the Christian football song Dropkick Me Jesus (Through The Goalpost of Life). But before that seismic country hit, Bare tried his hand at a little bit of rockabilly. For some reason he decided to record this ode to Ed Wood's wooden starlet, Vampira. It's pretty good, actually, and he manages to name drop a lot of generic monsters in there.
My Chemical Romance - Early Sunsets Over Monroeville
I'm not a fan of this band by any means, but this song is a delightfully subtle tribute to Dawn of the Dead. The title alone gives you a sense that it might have something to do with George Romero's classic zombie movie, and the lyrics nicely skirt around the concept without getting too explicit:
Up and down escalators, pennies and colder fountains
Elevators and half price sales, trapped in by all these mountains
Running away and hiding with you
I never thought they'd get me here
Not knowing you'd change from just one bite
I fought them all off just to hold you close and tight
If you didn't know the meaning, you might assume some of the lyrics are metaphorical ("And there's no room in this hell," and "But does anything matter if you're already dead?"). It's super shitty song, but I have to give them credit.
Dave Edmunds - Creature From The Black Lagoon
You know Dave Edmunds from one song that gets played on classic rock radio all the time - I Hear You Knocking. Edmunds has had a long career besides that, playing with a bunch of bands (with names like Rockpile and Love Sculpture) and was producer for a huge number of major British acts in the 1980s (Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, etc). Creature From The Black Lagoon isn't as good as I Hear You Knocking, but it does force me to ask a question: why are there not more Gillman songs? Listening to Edmunds' track you realize that the tragically horny Creature is the ultimate rock n' roll monster. He just wants a lady.