Music video for Road Head

The Top 10 Horror Themed Music Videos to Play in the Background of Your Halloween Party

Some of the best parties I’ve been to have tapped into our generation’s (“our” being the cusp of Millennial and Gen Z) love for watching things on a projector during the festivities. While this might sound dumb to some of you, try to picture this: “the club is bumping, the ladies look good, the alcohol is flowing,” and in the middle of it all, you just want to enjoy the music and simmer down for a second.

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One of the best night outs in my early twenties was bar-hopping downtown, going to a dance club, and entering a hypnotic trance while dancing to early 2000s hip-hop music videos. It’s a whole vibe. And hey, isn’t Halloween all about vibes?

Yes, “horror bros” can be a little annoying, but damn, do they make fun media. Bearing this in mind, I’ve compiled a list for you partygoers here that, in my humble opinion, is a nice blend of rowdy, randy, and relaxed, with a proper tinge of horror all the way throughout.

Japanese Breakfast, “Road Head”

Y’all already know, I’ll stan Japanese Breakfast til the day I die. What a delightful coincidence, then, that they love incorporating horror into their music videos! I could have picked from a handful (including one of their more recent songs, “Posing In Bondage”), but I figured this one had the best “vibe” for a function.

Not only is it a good song for getting in the mood and dancing with someone you’re eyeing, the music video is just super fun to follow. Michelle is seemingly trapped in a toxic, codependent relationship with a demon/devil/hellish thing, and the lighting is consistently (delightfully) eery.

Mac Demarco, “My Kind of Woman”

Sometimes, horror is just playing with human absurdities and making us viscerally uncomfortable. Guillermo Del Toro is a master at this. And it seems that Mac Demarco took a page from his book in directing “My Kind of Woman.”

The entire music video is incredibly unnerving, giving the impression that the woman in question is trapped, or maybe that Mac’s desires are being violently repressed. Yet the song itself is absolutely gorgeous, creating a pairing that’s almost as good as the eyes and brains you got fed during elementary school “spooky mazes.”

Vampire Weekend, “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”

I had the unfortunate experience of being surrounding by preppy kids for most of my adolescent life, so believe me when I say it’s natural and normal to clown on them. In that sense, I can understand why you might want to clown on Vampire Weekend for being the Quintessential East Coast Preps who clearly model their music videos after old films they love. “Ohh, have you seen David Lynch’s—” get the hell outta here with that shit, Graham.

But hey, this one works. It follows the classic horror formula of a Winona Ryder-type finally getting her due after being smothered by pollyanna supremacy all her life, a la Beetlejuice. And the song is just super cute and fun.

Blur, “The Universal”

They’re finally letting me out of my cage to gush a little bit over my love for Britpop. No, that doesn’t mean I’m going to choose between Blur or Oasis as the definitive “Best Britpop Band.” I personally think that Pulp earns that title in spades. But it can’t be denied that between the two of them, obviously the most creative music videos come from the band who’s fronted by the Gorillaz guy.

Blur is really, really good at making disorienting, yet super cool music videos, and “The Universal” is probably the best example of this within a “spooky” context. It takes clear inspiration from A Clockwork Orange, and it’s creepy yet entrancing enough to totally fit the mood of a nice, chill evening.

Surf Curse, “Christine F”

I recently had a conversation with someone where they were basically making fun of all the “Surf Curse” kids from our teen years. Little did they know, I was one of those kids, and even now I can’t help but be one of them. There’s a tangible electricity to their music that’s utterly unmistakable.

They actually have quite a catalogue of horror-inspired music videos, since they’re pretty big horror fans themselves, but I just love the culty creepiness in “Christine F’s.” It reminds me of Midsommar, with all the woodsy shots, the intense manipulations, and, of course, the blood.

Steve Lacy, “Dark Red”

If you’re on Instagram at all, you’ve probably heard Steve Lacy’s latest hit, “Bad Habit.” But before all that, we had “Dark Red,” a seedy song about how “something bad is bound to happen to me.” How perfectly, then, that the music video follows through with this ominous prediction.

The song is sexy and moody, yet the video would pair perfectly with a spooky party, since it follows Lacy as he’s been kidnapped by a woman and locked in her trunk. Think Stephen King’s Misery. It’s got that kind of feel to it.

Marcy Playground, “Sex And Candy”

There isn’t really even a story to this music video, it’s just so gross and seedy and delightfully Tim Burton-y. Plus, what are you even doing with yourself if you’re not playing “Sex And Candy” at your Halloween party?

This is just straight up one of the coolest songs of the 90s, and everything about it reflects that. The music video captures such a specific vibe and artistic direction, and the song itself was more or less a shot in the dark by the band’s lead, John Wozniak. Fair warning, though: if you’re spooked by spiders, you might want to refrain from this one.

The Garden, “Stallion”

These boys are pretty prolific when it comes to creepy, demonic imagery, so I could have picked from any number of music videos from their catalogue. However, “Stallion” feels the most cinematic, and if you’re still unsure about punk (or, at the very least, their trippy take on punk), it’s a pretty gentle intro to their style on a relative scale.

Here, we follow a business bro who has either made a deal with a devil, or is being hunted by a devil. Either way, it’s pretty fun to have on in the background, and I love how much fun they seem to be having throughout the whole process. Some of the “pretty boys” of LA don’t know how to make fun of themselves, so I’ve always respected The Garden for having a sense of humor.

Beck, “E-Pro”

One of these days, I’ll meet another Beck fan who isn’t into crypto and finance, and all will be well in the world. But until then, I’ll just have to daydream about a hypothetical party where people are cool enough to play “E-Pro” and be normal about it.

This music video has inspired me so much as an artist, because it’s just cool as hell. I still have no idea how he got it to look the way it does, but goddamn, it kicks ass. Here we see Beck liberate his dead dog from a graveyard full of skeletons, paired with one of his most bombastic songs. I don’t know what else to say without sounding like a teenage boy, it’s just dope.

Mitski, “Stay Soft”

And of course we end on a bang, the biggest bang we could bang on, Miss Mitski Miyawaki. Fun fact about me: I recently saw her live for the first time and cried the entire time. I could go into why, the joy of seeing Asian women perform without inhibitions, etc. etc., but for now, we’ll just focus on the Halloweeny shit.

Mitski is another artist who really seems to enjoy incorporating horror into her videos, and again, I could have picked from an entire bucket of them. But I chose “Stay Soft” since it seemed to mesh best with the atmosphere I’m trying to curate with this list. Plus, if we played too much Mitski, all the bitches would be crying in the club. And then, the true horror in our Halloween party would become a bunch of weeping art hoes being ignored by their horror-bro boyfriends.

(featured image: VEVO)

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Image of Madeline Carpou
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).