Looking for something to get you in the mood for Halloween? Here are a couple of old-school vids that will have you feeling the All Hallows Eve spirit in no time flat...
By: Jimbo X
Around this time last year, I did a post highlighting five somewhat-forgotten music videos that, in my humblest of opinions, were superior horror-themed offerings to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." With the Halloween season in full swing, I reckon now is a pretty good time to do an update for 2015; and frankly, I think this one beats the pants off the already awesome set-list from last year.
Alice Cooper - "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" (1986)
We're just hitting total 1980s horror cheese shock rock awesomeness critical mass with this one. As quite possibly the only musician in history who could release a full album containing nothing but great songs from shitty movies (lest we forget Mr. Cooper's contributions to such iconic works as "Monster Dog" and "The Class of 1984"), this track chiseled off the "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives" soundtrack has it all. There's a very Twisted Sister-like, anti-dad farcical comedy intro, which immediately segues to horrible matte painting backgrounds, goofy stereotypes rocking out in a neon-hued movie theater, plenty of live concert shots of Alice and -- of course -- tons of clips of Jason Voorhees doing what he does best. Throw in a really half-assed, super anti-climactic post-video joke, and you have yourselves one of the greatest masterpieces of crap ever shown on Music Television. And hey, speaking of hair metal converging with slasher movie icons...
Dokken - "Dream Warriors" (1987)
Dokken is definitely one of the more underappreciated hair-metal titans of the Reagan and crack cocaine years. I mean, just listen to "All Alone" -- how can that not get your hands curling up into devil horns (voluntarily or involuntarily?) "Dream Warriors," no doubt, is Dokken's zenith, not only because it's a great, atmospheric little song, but also because it -- as the name implies -- ties directly into the best "Elm Street" movie of 'em all. Oh, you get plenty of Freddy in this one, along with quite a bit of Patricia Arquette (damn, I love how the band members themselves are oh-so-carelessly wedged into the film scenes.) With an outstanding post-video Easter egg, this one just SCREAMS "required Halloween viewing" like a deranged mental patient dancing underneath a full moon.
Geto Boys - "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" (1991)
Forget the Halloween qualifiers, this is unquestionably one of my 10 all-time favorite music videos ever -- even now, on the offhand chance the song comes on the radio, I just have to bump the hell out of it. For the uninitiated, the Geto Boys were a pioneering Houston rap group that, at the time of "Mind Playing Tricks on Me," consisted of Scarface, Willie D., DJ Ready Red and, of course, the greatest suicidal rapping midget of all time, the incomparable Bushwick Bill. Eschewing the goofy movie-tie-in horror of the early '80s, this ultra-low-budget video instead focuses on the dual real world terrors of mental illness and having to live in the ghetto, complete with exposed boobies, a spooky proto-Candyman and a scene where Bushwick Bill, dressed like a pirate, runs around stealing Halloween candy from little kids. If there's a more perfect recipe for Samhain viewing than that, I'm not quite sure human eyes are ready for it.
Ozzy Osbourne - "Back on Earth" (1997)
Ozzy has made a ton of videos that could qualify as essential Halloween viewing -- who could forget him turning into the world's crappiest looking werewolf in "Bark at the Moon," or demonic possession cheese-fest that was "Shot in the Dark?" -- but I ended up selecting this one for its uniqueness. Released in that weird dead zone between "Mama I'm Coming Home" and The Osbournes reality TV show, the video for "Back on Earth" is a throwback to the old expressionistic German horror works, like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu. The sepia-tone imagery definitely made it stand out for its time, and you have to give the Ozz-Man credit for repping F.W. goddamn Murnau at a time when Hanson and the Spice Girls were still considered en vogue. That it's arguably the last truly great song the former Black Sabbath frontman ever performed probably doesn't hurt it, either.
Reggie and the Full Effect - "J Train" (2008)
By the time this knee-deep-in-the-Recession offering was released, YouTube had already eclipsed MTV as the premier source for music videos. Tis' a pity this one never made the national rounds, as it's a great homage to a litany of texts, ranging from the old school Universal monster movies to The Monster Squad. The premise is simple; Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy and the Bride of Frankenstein all amble into a strip club ... and yeah, that's about it. Featuring a cameo by MySpace wash-up Tila Tequila, this thing is so emblematic of its time; it's corny and unsure of itself and just kind of thrown together without rhyme or reason, but at the same time? It's fun as hell and you can't help but smile at the goofiness therein. So, yeah, it's essentially the spirit of Halloween epitomized.