Monday, October 31, 2005


Horror Film's Anthem

It’s Halloween night and I have just finished watching John Carpenter’s Halloween for the umpteenth time (an almost annual ritual on this night) and it reminded me of my interview with Carpenter. During it, I asked him how he came to use the Blue Oyster Cult song “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in the film. He related how creepy he thought the song was, a song essentially about suicide, and thought it would add to the texture of the film. In Halloween, we hear it in the background (from a car radio) as Laurie and her friend Annie drive around and smoke some pot on the way to their babysitting jobs. It clearly foreshadows the deadly events that are about to unfold. The song has since become the most-used song in horror films. It can be heard over the closing credits of the Peter Jackson film The Frighteners, starring Michael J. Fox. It is also played in the beginning of Mick Garris’ epic TV adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand as the camera pans over a sea of dead bodies at a top secret military lab and realize the deadly virus has escaped. Wes Craven put an acoustic version of the song in Scream, which, like Carpenter’s use, cleverly foreshadows upcoming events.

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