A few years ago, I was talking to a distant relative of mine who was a doctor. He was helping me understand the different kinds of amnesia and how it works since I was working on a screenplay wherein the protagonist loses his memory from his accident. One of the interesting things I remember about our conversation was this floating theory that music can possibly help people regain their memories. In a recent documentary called “Alive Inside” featured in numerous news outlets, it has been reported that an Alzheimer’s patient regained lost memories by the sound of his favorite songs. It’s hard to explain this on a purely scientific and technical basis, but I’m sure a lot of people could see why this is possible. It’s similar to how we feel like a kid again and remember so much fond memories whenever we hear a particular song of our past.
While music can revive good memories of our past, it can also bring back ones that are best forgotten. When I was a child, my cousin pulled a horrible prank by locking me in a dark room late at night for twenty minutes. I was shaken and all I had to accompany me was the bellowing chimes that echoed from my family’s old Grandfather clock. To this day, I still get that eerie feeling crawling up my spine whenever I hear the chimes of a Grandfather clock especially if its during the night time. It’s weird how before that incident, the chimes didn’t scare or at the very least bother me at all. When you think about, music is like an imprint or an identification number that helps us locate our memories.
Similarly, there are also times when we remember a particular scene from a movie, show, or video game simply because we hear the soundtrack while we go about our everyday lives. Just like how one song from Huey Lewis and The News called “Hip To Be Square” paints a vivid picture of Christian Bale dancing before shoving an axe on Jared Leto from the film “American Psycho.” Anyway, here is a list of tracks that doesn’t sound creepy on its own, but is now popular as such because of their appearance as soundtracks in various media. Let me know if you guys have suggestions as well!
1. Love Rollercoaster by Ohio Players (Tanning Scene from Final Destination 3)
Okay, I know that I shouldn’t take Final Destination 3 seriously and people think the series is complete crap. However, I appreciate it for what it really is. It’s not a horror movie, because it’s more of a dark comedy. I seriously look forward to every film, knowing I’ll discover more ways on how one could die in a freak accident. Despite a plethora of deaths, there are always a couple of memorable ones that deserve a perfect “10.” Whenever my friends and I hear the song “Love Rollercoaster” by Ohio Players, the tanning scene from Final Destination 3 almost always comes to the top of our heads. Often times, I would laugh at the death scenes in Final Destination films, but I have to admit, this scene was pretty disturbing since we were watching this film as young teenage girls who might have thought of getting a tan sometime in the near future. Plus, slowly burning to death plus being pierced by shards of glass? No, thanks. At least the others died in an instant.
After watching this scene though, as ridiculous as it sounds, there will always be a little tingle of hesitation at the tip of our spines. If for some weird coincidence Love Rollercoaster was playing in the Tanning Salon, you can definitely count me out.
Granted, Love Rollercoaster has been plagued with an urban legend of its own because people claimed that there is a woman heard screaming in the middle of the track. Legend says that there was a woman murdered in their studio during the recording of the track. However, I knew this was pretty much crap and it didn’t really affect how I viewed the song before I saw Final Destination 3. Anyway on its own, the song is an upbeat tune using the term roller coaster as a metaphor for the ups and downs of a romantic relationship. Yet, I have a feeling we will think of an entirely different kind of pain whenever we hear this song.
2. Twisted Nerve by Bernard Hermann (Originally from the 1968 film Twisted Nerve, then recently from Daryl Hannah in Kill Bill and Tate Langdon from American Horror Story)
It’s hard to choose a particular scene for Twisted Nerve since it was used in a lot of popular media, but I chose to show the scene where it was originally taken from. However, the track is most notable for its appearance on Kill Bill, but most recently it resurfaced as the theme song for Tate Langdon in the television show American Horror Story. Despite being unable to pin point a particular scene, this tune definitely evokes an eerie vibe even if it has a cheerful sound of it. If you’ve noticed, all of the films and shows I mentioned has murderous if not psychotic characters. I won’t be surprised if I’ll be hearing this track in another horror film or television show.
On its own, one might think that this tune could be a great accompaniment during an afternoon walk in the park. However, after watching mass murderers like Martin Durnley and Tate Langdon casually whistle this tune as their anthem, you might have to think twice before you take that walk around the park.
3. Whole World in His Hands by Unknown (Steve Buscemi’s scene from Con Air)
In all honesty, all Children’s songs or the like have the unfair advantage or potential of being creepy. My father once told me to stop singing the Children’s song “Hush, Little Baby,” one time because it was such a “serial killer song.” I remember watching Buscemi’s scenes and I kept thinking “Oh, please don’t kill this little girl because Buscemi totally has that whole serial killer vibe down.
It’s funny how I used to sing this song with my friends when we were all little tots in kindergarten. Now that I’m older, people totally give you a weird stare if they hear you singing this song. They might not have seen Con Air, but if you sing it in the same eerie way Steve Buscemi does, then you might just get yourself a handful of stares instead of a clap or two.
4. Goodbye Horses by Q Lazzarus (Buffalo Bill’s scene from Silence of the Lambs)
This was actually the song that inspired me to write this article. One of my favorite films of all time is Silence of The Lambs, and I could never forget that moment when I first saw Buffalo Bill dancing to Goodbye Horses. This was really disturbing and it messes with your head, as I tried to comprehend how a human being could do such a heinous thing. Whenever I hear the song, the first thing I think about is Buffalo Bill dancing with the scalp of a woman’s head. Forget the lyrics, Silence of the Lambs has undeniably immortalized this track as one of the top anthems for serial killers in popular culture.
William Garvey, the writer of this song, wrote that: “the song is about transcendence over those who see the world as only earthly and finite. The horses represent the five senses from Hindu philosophy (The Bhagavad Gita) and the ability to lift one’s perception above these physical limitations and to see beyond this limited Earthly perspective.” Clearly, this song didn’t intend to convey such a haunting feeling to its listeners when it was written. There was also an extended version of the song released because Lazzarus wanted to capitalize on the success of Silence of the Lambs.
Anyway, that’s all I have for now. Do you guys know of any other songs that were made creepy because of their use in media? Let me know if you do.