Your 2019 Horror Mix Tape: 10 Great Tracks from the Genre This Year

I love a good soundtrack. Movies and TV shows are where I find a lot of my favorite new music, and 2019 was chock full of memorable musical moments. So when I was asked to turn in a Top 10 for the end of the year, I knew I should find some of my favorite songs from this year’s genre offerings to share with the world in one epic mix tape.

These ten songs aren’t ranked, just arranged chronologically (by U.S., non-festival release date), in order to help you journey back through the year that was! 

Track 1: “Stayin’ Alive” Lizzo Happy Death Day 2U

Applying the song “Stayin’ Alive” to a slasher franchise like Happy Death Day might seem like an obvious choice on the surface, but it’s one of those ideas that separates the geniuses from us regular people. If it’s so obvious, how come nobody has ever done it before? Plus, getting Lizzo to perform on your soundtrack is never a bad idea.

Track 2: “I Got 5 On It (Tethered Mix)” Luniz (feat. Michael Marshall) Us

There is a long history of horror films taking classic songs and turning them creepy (think “American Girl” in Silence of the Lambs), but never has it been done so flawlessly. Every sonic element of the hip hop track “I Got 5 On It” has been stretched and repurposed into a minor key, atmospheric soundscape. It’s a masterpiece of sampling, and it can be listened to on its own separate from the image, which is not true of a lot of pieces of film score.

Track 3: “Masquerade’ Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

SPOILERS: The scene in the season finale where Sabrina and her pals distract the literal devil by performing a song from Phantom of the Opera is pure camp bliss. It comes absolutely out of nowhere, but it meshes so perfectly with the joyous genre bending of the series.

Track 4: “La Llorona” Chavela Vargas

The trailer for Curse of La Llorona briefly featured a snippet of the Mexican folk song “La Llorona” in a spooky minor key, but it deserves so much more attention than that. It’s song that has been performed by many different artists over the years (including, perhaps most memorably to U.S. audiences, by Alanna Ubach in the climactic scene of Pixar’s Coco), but for this mix, I have chosen the rendition by Chavela Vargas. She was a queer Latina singer who broke gender barriers by singing in the traditionally masculine ranchera genre, and her performance is particularly haunting and beautiful, as it should be.

Track 5: “Cello Duet No. 3” The Perfection

All good mix tapes get classical every now and again. The Perfection was such a delightful surprise to emerge from the shadows of Netflix, and the fact that it teaches you to care deeply about the cello is just one of its many, many strengths. 

Track 6: “Lookout Weekend” Debbie Deb Ma

Octavia Spencer’s Ma just wants to have fun, and how could you not when she puts on Debbie Deb? This track from 1984 feels intensely ingrained in its era but yet weirdly timeless. It’s a perfect bridge between the generations, capturing the themes of the film in a crystalline six minute dance track.

Track 7: “Ellos Quieren Sangre” Varsovia Los Espookys

HBO’s Los Espookys, a comedy about a group of friends in Mexico who create a special effects company, defies categorization. It’s a surreal, spooky, hilarious journey through the singular minds of creators Ana Fabrega and Julio Torres. So it’s perhaps surprising that they found the perfect theme song for this show. Varsovia is a Peruvian synthpunk trio and their song “Ellos Quieren Sangre” (which translates to “They Want Blood”) is the perfect mixture of creepy John Carpenter-esque instrumentation and peppy, danceable enthusiasm.

Track 8: “See You Later, Alligator” Bill Haley & the Comets Crawl

This is the most perfect end credits needle drop ever conceived, bar none. Need I say more?

Track 9: “The Hide & Seek Song” Headquarters Music Ready or Not

The creators of Ready or Not couldn’t find the perfect creepy sounding 50’s children’s song for their film, so they just did the damn thing and created one themselves. “The Hide & Seek Song” is a deliciously spine-tingling evocation of spooky vintage songs like “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” from Insidious or “Hush, Hush, Hush, Here Comes the Bogeyman” from Sinister 2.

Track 10:  “A Glass of Soju” Choi Woo Shik Parasite

This song is just plain pleasant, combining guitar riffs plucked straight from a Western film with a lilting Korean vocal that evokes the folk protest songs of the 60’s. But just like the movie itself, there’s more to this song than meets the eye. It takes you on a sonic journey through a variety of moods that feel conflicting but end up at one coherent whole before the end of those three short minutes.

Brennan Klein is a writer and podcaster who talks horror movies every chance he gets. And when you’re talking to him about something else, he’s probably thinking about horror movies. On his blog, Popcorn Culture, he is running through reviews of every slasher film of the 1980s, and on his podcast, Scream 101, he and a non-horror nerd co-host tackle horror franchises from tip to tail! He also produces and co-hosts the LGBTQ horror podcast Attack of the Queerwolf!.for the Fangoria Podcast Network.



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