There’s something undeniably intriguing about monsters. No matter how often we see them in movies or read about them in books, they capture our imaginations. And for as long as there have been stories, there have been songs about monsters.
Some of these songs are dark and scary. Others are humorous and light-hearted. But they all share one characteristic: a fascination with the creatures that go bump in the night.
So if you’re looking for a little Halloween fun, listen to 13 of the best songs about monsters. You could be surprised by what you hear.
1. “Thriller” By Michael Jackson
This classic song from the King of Pop is about zombies who come to life and attack a group of people. “Thriller” is one of few pop songs about horror that is not a novelty. The music video was the first one added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry.
Listen to the song as it opens a hair-raising horror story. Michael Jackson pulls the listener in by using the “you” pronoun. You can’t help imagining yourself being the one going through the scenes.
Jackson talks to you about a night close to midnight when you see something scary. You are helpless, and the horror of it paralyzes you. He sings that it’s “thriller night,” and you’re in for the most frightening night of your life.
2. “Monster Mash” By Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
A song with “monster” in the lyrics is “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers. Though released in 1962, it is still the most popular novelty song. Aside from that, it was #1 in 1962 and sold millions of copies.
Like the previous song, “Monster Mash” is a horror movie told in song form by a mad scientist. It sings about his monster creating a popular dance move. The scientist then throws a party that Dracula and the Wolfman attend. The mash in the title refers to the mashed potato dance that was popular at the time.
The producers had to be creative when it came to sound effects. For example, the coffin lid sound was created by pulling a nail out of a piece of wood. The cauldron was air-blown into a glass of water with a straw.
3. “Werewolves Of London” By Warren Zevon
A fashionable British werewolf? You can find that only in the music video of Warren Zevon‘s “Werewolves of London.” Zevon wrote the song years prior. He stated that it was a novelty song and never understood why it became a big hit.
What’s notable about the song is it’s funny. Zevon starts singing about seeing a werewolf looking for a Chinese restaurant to enjoy some noodles. He warns people, especially “little old ladies,” not to let the werewolf in.
Zevon further added some funny lines into the song, such as “his hair was perfect” and “I’d like to meet his tailor.” Yes, the werewolf kills. But he does look good while doing it.
4. “The Purple People Eater” By Sheb Wooley
Monsters are supposed to scare you. But in Sheb Wooley‘s “The Purple People Eater,” you might find yourself having fun.
This 1958 novelty song is about a creature that comes from outer space to eat people. The lyrics describe it as a “one-eyed, one-horned” flying monster. Though it eats purple people, no one needs to worry. The monster is here to “get a job in a rock and roll band.”
The song was a monster hit, no pun intended. It reached #1 on the Billboard charts. Many artists, including Elvis Presley, have since covered it.
5. “Godzilla” By Blue Oyster Cult
The series of Japanese Godzilla movies in the 1950s inspired Blue Oyster Cult‘s “Godzilla.” The song is equally tongue-in-cheek with heavy guitars and ironic lyrics.
The lyrics mainly talk about the destructive nature of this giant monster. It pulls wires down and “picks up a bus and throws it back down. Seeing the destruction it leaves in its wake, the people believe it should go.
“Godzilla” was released in 1977 and has become a campy classic. The song did not chart but received a ton of radio play over the years.
6. “The Monster” By Eminem
There are only a handful of songs with “monster” in the title, including Eminem‘s “The Monster” featuring Rihanna. Unlike the other songs on this list that talk about scary creatures, the monster here represents the mental issues that come with fame.
The beginning of the song talks about how the singer is almost used to what she’s going through. She even gets “along with the voices inside of my head.” It arrives at the point where other people think she’s crazy.
The song goes on to say that people want fame, yet they’re not made to handle it. Eminem raps about the thin line between success and fame. You can lose both if you don’t know how to handle it.
7. “Vampires Will Never Hurt You” By My Chemical Romance
As the title suggests, this song is about vampires. It describes them as fearful of the sun and spike and with razor-sharp teeth. However, as you dig deeper into “Vampires Will Never Hurt You,” you’ll find out that vampires are metaphors for greedy humans.
In short, this song by My Chemical Romance is a critique of greed, consumerism, and capitalism. The titular vampires represent those qualities. A lover’s desire to protect one another represents lead singer Gerard Way’s desire to escape these things.
Way has stated that it is his favorite song he has ever written. He also thinks that it is the best vocal performance he has ever done.
8. “Frankenstein” By Edgar Winter
No words to analyze in Edgar Winter‘s “Frankenstein.” However, this is one of the most popular instrumental rock songs.
Why Winter called it “Frankenstein” will make you nod your head in agreement. Back in the day, editing a song meant cutting the tape and splicing it together. The tape ended up over the chairs and all over the room. One part was here, the other was there. They thought it was like Frankenstein.
Surprisingly, this was the first popular song to use a synthesizer as a lead instrument. “Frankenstein” made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
9. “She Wolf” By Shakira
If you want a song that mentions “monster” from a woman’s perspective, “She Wolf” is for you. This is by Colombian singer Shakira and is apparently about a woman who transforms into a she-wolf when the moon is full.
In the lyrics, she is described as stealthy, howls, and has “ravenous hunger.” These descriptions fit a wolf perfectly. But you might be surprised that the she-wolf here is a metaphor for empowered women.
These women are the women of today. They know how to express themselves and know what they want. They will not think twice about defending their desires with their teeth and claws.
10. “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” By Alice Cooper
If you’re into slasher films, then you’re familiar with the Friday the 13th film series about Jason Voorhees’ killing sprees. Alice Cooper‘s “He’s Back (Man Behind the Mask)” was written for Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives.
The song begins with a couple parked deep in the woods. Cooper sings, “Did you hear that voice/Did you see that face/Or was it just a dream?” This is kind of ironic, though, if you ask us mainly because Jason doesn’t expose his face or say anything.
But the truth is that Jason is indeed back, being “the man behind the mask.” Although the song was not successful, it was a hit among slasher fans.
11. “Bark At The Moon” By Ozzy Osbourne
We’ve got another werewolf-themed song on the list, “Bark at the Moon” by Ozzy Osbourne. This chronicles a werewolf coming back from the dead and looking for revenge. It’s really no wonder why he would write this song. His work often included horror themes.
The accompanying music video features Ozzy in a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde role. Throughout the video, he gradually turns into a werewolf and literally barks at the moon.
The album Bark At The Moon was Ozzy’s first following the death of guitarist Randy Rhodes. It reached #19 on the Billboard album chart.
12. “The Thing That Should Not Be” By Metallica
Musicians also find inspiration for their songs from other literary works. Metallica‘s “The Thing That Should Not Be” is based on the short stories of 20th-century American writer H.P. Lovecraft. These describe a monster that the author called Cthulhu.
To better understand the song, one must read Lovecraft’s story first. But if you’re not into the stories that the author crafted, then let us tell you a little bit about them first. The “great old one” the song references is one that will bring insanity and violence.
The song also claims that humans are insignificant and that the universe does not make sense. If humans come closer to finding the truth, they might go insane.
13. “I Was A Teenage Werewolf” By The Cramps
The American rock band the Cramps was known for dark aesthetics. B horror movie concepts influenced many of their songs. “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” reflects those things. In addition, this song was their parody of the 1957 horror film I Was a Teenage Werewolf.
The song is about a teenager who turns into a werewolf and goes on a killing spree. The band inserted funny lines such as, “I was a teenage werewolf/Braces on my fangs.” A line also says, “You know, I have puberty rights.”
The fast-paced song features distorted surf guitars. The lead singer’s voice also becomes erratic, adding to the whole eerie feel.
Summing Up Our List Of Monsters Songs
Songs about monsters provide a unique insight into the human psyche. They let us explore our fears and anxieties in a safe and controlled environment.
Each of the songs has something different to offer, but they all share one common theme: the fear of the unknown. Whether it’s a werewolf or Frankenstein’s monster, these songs tap into our deepest fears and give us a glimpse into the dark side of human nature.
Don’t let them scare you, though. Just think of them as the products of these fantastic musicians’ wild imaginations and creative juices.