The resurgence of synthwave is the best new development in horror.
I think we should also consider bringing back another staple of the modern genre too: the cheese metal soundtrack. Synthwave adds a layer of creepiness to a film. A metal song adds a layer of goofy fun. Most of the best horror films (especially those from 80s or inspired by the 80s) generally have both of these elements.
Put on your headband and check out a few examples with us:
This one comes to us from KILLER PARTY, a film whose significance is questionable but for the fact that it turns the “final girl” trope on its head. It gets bonus points for being a Canadian film and of course for the awesome video above which features a fantastic knee-slide by the guitarist and the drummer playing in front of an onion ring stand. Too bad the “Killer Party ghost car dance” never caught on either. Finally, what could be more low budget than the video only featuring live action for the first half of the song?
Here’s the thing: it’s not really a bad song at all.
On the subject of Canada:
Thor! If you’ve never seen Rock ‘N’ Roll Nightmare (I prefer the international title “Edge of Hell” – I’m not sure why they didn’t use that), this is something you need to experience. The centerpiece of the film is of course the star Jon Mikl Thor and you get plenty of rock in between a film that plays out like some of the sillier Full Moon films. If you’ve never seen this film and you let out a rousing “what the fuck” when the cycloptic barfing worm puppet showed up in the video above: that’s mostly what the whole film is like.
If you’re afraid that you can’t stomach this style of film, there’s also a great Rifftrax version out there that cushions the blow to your brain.
Besides the aforementioned barfing cycloptic worm puppet, this video gives us Thor himself, the girlfriend darning the guitarist’s spandex pants, and some serious rockage.
I should also mention that the documentary I Am Thor is really worth a watch.
Back to the rock, with what is probably my favourite horror metal song and video of all time:
Dokken’s contribution to A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, and what a contribution it was. The song is legitimately good, and the video has so many great moments that I can hardly pick my favourite: the teleporting miniature drummer in a furnace, the awkward burst through the wall for the guitar solo, Patricia Arquette screaming over the music. In the end, as usual, Robert Englund as Freddy steals the show.
The Dream Warriors is a fun entry to the series, arguably marking the point when ANoES went into “franchise” mode (whether you consider that a good or bad thing: they were still on full steam at this point). Like most entries in the series, it’s creative, weird, and doesn’t take itself too seriously while maintaining the creepy factor. You have to love that Thai poster too.
I could continue with other examples (The Dungeonmaster anybody?) but I think I’ve made my case. Filmmakers: please keep calling S U R V I V E and Disasterpiece, but don’t forget that Steel Panther and The Darkness are out there too.