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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A spooky Halloween playlist

No other holiday has mood swings quite like Halloween. Running the gamut from horror to kitsch to comedy, the holiday is as variable as the types of costumes donned by schoolchildren on the day itself. This Halloween, we have put together a collection of songs collected from the staff at Oxford University Press that reflects that intrinsic variability. If there is one thread to follow through these 11 songs, it is films that we associate with Halloween, where horror and humor can live side by side (and occasionally collide). From a trio of hilarious, old-fashioned witches to a ballet-dancing coven of scary ones, from the Antichrist to a very famous cartoon dog, we’ve provided you with not only a Halloween playlist, but a list of movies to watch while tossing back candy corn.

The Ramones’ “You Should Never Have Opened That Door”
“Pretty self-explanatory. The Ramones and Halloween go together like a teenage road trip and a Native American burial ground.”
Owen Keiter, Associate Publicist

Nine Inch Nails’ “Came Back Haunted”
“All Nine Inch Nails songs sound foreboding but this one is new and even has ‘haunted’ in the title. This is Trent Reznor’s first NIN single since winning an Oscar for The Social Network score.”
Jeremy Wang-Iverson, Senior Publicist

Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party”
“Not only is this a song about a zombie party, but the lead singer of Oingo Boingo is Danny Elfman, who writes the soundtracks for Tim Burton’s films – most famously The Nightmare Before Christmas, where Danny Elfman also plays the singing voice for Jack Skellington. It doesn’t get much more Halloween-related than that!”
Lauren Hill, Publicity Assistant

Vince Guaraldi’s “The Great Pumpkin Waltz”
“Halloween always brings Vince Guaraldi’s ‘The Great Pumpkin Waltz’ to mind for me, underscore to ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ (1966). It’s tremendous fun to return to as an adult. You can almost hear the leaves falling (and see Snoopy flying along as a World War I Flying Ace!).”
Norm Hirschy, Editor, Academic Editorial

Sun Ra’s “Demon’s Lullaby”
“Sun Ra used his solar sonic exploration to travel to worlds above and below. ‘Demon’s Lullaby’ provides the eerie atmospherics perfect for any late night Halloween haunt.”
Stuart Roberts, Editorial Assistant

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You”
“This song is a central figure and major plot point in one of the greatest Halloween movies ever made, Hocus Pocus. I chose the original version instead of the Bette Midler version, however, because of the ridiculous noises that Jay Hawkins makes at the end which reminds me of a tape of horrifying screams and torture noises my parents had and would play from a hidden boombox in our yard on Halloween to scare small children.”
Erin McAuliffe, Marketing Coordinator, Digital

Bette Midler’s “I Put a Spell On You”
“I love ‘I Put a Spell on You’ because without fail, it always makes me think of Hocus Pocus when Bette Midler gets up to sing it and casts a spell on the crowd. I still absolutely adore that movie, even though it’s not scary and it’s totally for kids. Really enchanting.”
Melanie Mitzman, Assistant Marketing Manager, Academic/Trade

Jerry Goldsmith’s The Omen Soundtrack
“With lyrics in Latin and a full orchestra, this creeps me out and sends chills down my spine every time I hear it or watch the movie. I have goose pimples now just thinking about this music.”
Christian Purdy, Publicity Director

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”
“The quintessential Halloween song with a ‘horror movie’ video to back it up. ‘Thriller’ gets the crowd going no matter what the occasion and never fails to have everyone doing their best MJ inspired zombie impressions, poses and dance moves!”
Ayana Young, Online Marketing Temp

Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters Theme”
“Everyone has shouted, ‘GHOSTBUSTERS’ too emphatically at some point in time. The movie was great, and the song is just as good. You can’t hear this song and not bob your head.”
Kate Pais, Marketing Assistant, Academic/Trade

Goblin’s “Suspiria Theme”
“This song sounds like a very sinister music box, made creepier with a discorded lute accompaniment and menacing vocals. The immersive, atmospheric score contributes perfectly to the film’s setting: a German ballet school secretly run by an ancient coven of witches.”
Megan McPherson, Sales Assistant

Your 2013 Oxford Halloween Playlist:

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