When it comes to music videos that make a lasting impression, one rule always holds fast and true: the scarier the better! After all, the most popular, influential, and widely-copied video of all time was a special-effects-laden, big-budget homage to Z-grade horror movies that changed music television (remember that?) and pop music forever. And what’s not to love about a visual that gives you a cracking tune, a hot beat and a few good jolts by way of a disgustingly made-up cast of zombie dancers?
In the wake of that groundbreaking clip, which is our first pick below, the world of pop became a veritable mausoleum of spooky sexpots, undead divas and grisly choreography. Lend an eyeball to our supernatural roundup and revisit several of the classics (and not-so-classics) of the genre. And if you wake up screaming from a nightmare tonight, don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Michael Jackson, “Thriller”: The ultimate monster mash, Michael’s “Thriller” showed us he could be funky, campy, and downright terrifying (outside the realm of his personal life). Here, the late King Of Pop offered up a big-budget extravaganza that captured the world’s imagination like no other music video, before or since. Werewolf Michael later supplied the hook to another horror hit, Rockwell‘s unnerving “Somebody’s Watching Me”.
Backstreet Boys,”Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”: Owing no small debt to Michael Jackson, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and classic horror movies, the BSBs threw threw one hell of a monster party in this colorful clip for their third smash single. Plus, they’re still pretty cute in gross make-up.
Shakira, “She Wolf”: In this howler, a full moon turns the Colombian powerhouse into a literal sex-beast. Anyone else jealous they weren’t invited to the party going on in Shakira’s glitter cave? Ah-wooo!
Ray Parker, Jr., “Ghostbusters”: Spawned from the 1984 box-office blockbuster, this low-budget, cameo-intensive clip is both creepy and funny in so many ways – all of them unintentional. I ain’t afraid of no Teri Garr!
Elvira, “Haunted House”: We love that Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, made a genuine grab for a pop hit with this schlocky CGI-slathered video, but the well-endowed diva didn’t need all those extra 3-D effects.
The Wanted, “Chasing The Sun”: Sometimes being in a British boy band can really bite — just ask the poor gents of The Wanted, who mingle with a group of lovely ladies in this video only to discover they’re a pack of club-going vampires! Looks like they should have been chasing a hammer and wooden stake, instead.
Ladyhawke , “Dusk Till Dawn”: Okay, so the scariest thing about this video is that we remember when all of those ’80s cartoon character Halloween costumes were NEW. And that we may still have a few in our closet. And that we may try them on sometimes.
MGMT, “Kids”: The electro wizards of MGMT got in touch with their inner child – and scared the hell out of it – in this unsettling tour de force. Seriously, we see some of these demons in our dreams now.
Billy Ocean, “Loverboy”: In a post-”Thriller” musical landscape, even soft rock crooner Billy Ocean felt the pressure to turn out a video filled with ghoulies, gremlins and otherwise gross-looking creatures. Since he couldn’t get the Jacksons, he had to settled for actors in rubber masks.
Lady Gaga, “Born This Way”: As far as Gaga goes, it was a toss-up between this and the Michael-esque dance moves of GaGa’s iconic “Bad Romance”, but we chose this one for the freaky-yet-hot skeleton man. Call us, zombie boy!