B-Movie Bullsh*t Random List O'Stuff Part 1: Thematically Sound
So, as a means of providing y'all with more frequent content, I've decided to occasionally throw together random lists of stuff related to this blog's raison d'etre. For my inaugural list I'm going to take a look at the best B-Movie theme songs of ALL TIME. And when I say "ALL TIME" I really mean "the first ones that came to my head when I first thought up the idea." Seriously, if I actually thought about it and made an attempt to represent different sub-genres over the past five decades or so, I'd probably come up with a completely different list.
1. The Ramones "Pet Sematary"
It should come as no surprise that my favourite band of all time would be responsible for my favourite horror movie theme song, but even if it had been recorded by someone else the song alone would likely make my list. There's a genuinely sad, mournful quality to the lyrics and melody that transcend the potentially ridiculous chorus. It reminds me a lot of "Poison Heart", another uncharacteristically somber Ramones song from their Mondo Bizarro album, which was also written by Dee Dee, the most troubled member of the band. For some these efforts stand out as evidence of the band's inability to transcend their apparent limitations, but I've always found them strangely affecting. Much more so than the movie that inspired the song, which is another example that proves my contention that the worst Stephen King adaptations are the ones where he was directly involved in the production.
2. The Dickies "Killer Klowns From Outer Space"
Like The Ramones, The Dickies were another classic punk band with a sense of humour, which made them the perfect choice to write and record the theme song for The Chiodo Brothers insta-cult classic. Like the film that inspired it "Killer Klowns From Outer Space" is inherently goofy without sacrificing a sense of essential strangeness that allows it to become far creepier than it has any right to be. Starting with the perfect opening that turns Julius Fučík's "Entry of the Gladiators" into a cool guitar riff, the song plays with our perceptions of what a pop should be--managing to be simultaneously catchy, disturbing and funny at the same time. Fortunately the same is true of the movie, which is well worth checking out if you haven't seen it already.
3. Alice Cooper "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)"
I'm probably alone in my defence of Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI as the best entry in the entire series, but I've always found Tom McLoughlin's take on the material to be the closest match to my own personal sensibilities. I've met many people who insist that its predecessor A New Beginning is far funnier, but I've always found its campiness to be the result of incompetence rather than design (that said, Part V does have the best nudity to be found in the entire series). Part VI, on the other hand, was clearly intended to be a comedy and features many moments likely to go above the head of its intended audience (for example the shot where one of the young terrified campers is shown reading Sartre's existentialist treatise No Exit). For that reason Cooper's theme song (whose title refers to the fact that Jason was noticeably absent from Part V, where *SPOILER* the killer turned out to be an ambulance driver no one gave a fuck about) fits perfectly as a fun ode to the pure joy of horror movie escapism. Cooper also previously set the tone of another classic B-Movie, Class of 1984, where his "I Am the Future" echoed the arrogance and alienation of that film's disaffected teenage antagonists.
4. Ernie Andrews "The Glove"
Performed by Andrews, the theme song for Ross Hagen's interesting late 70s combination of bounty hunter thriller and depressing drama was written by Robert O. Ragland and Sid Wayne. As you can hear below, the song is hilariously over-the-top and actually doesn't come close to matching the sad, existential tone of the film that follows it, yet there's no way you can deny any theme song that features the impossible to forget lyric, "You can't escape / the kiss and rape / of The Glove!" That said, I highly recommend you check The Glove out. Not only does it feature John Saxon's best performance, but it manages to be genuinely moving in a way only a film from that period could be.
5. John McDermott "The Ballad of Harry Warden"
I actually quite liked the remake of My Bloody Valentine, but there's a good reason why the original will always live on in my memory as the superior version and you can listen to it below. Written by Paul Zaza, the song (which plays during the end credits) is a charming folk ballad that tells the tale of the crazed minor who escaped from an insane asylum and killed a bunch of folks before the Valentine's Day dance, which in turn caused a young boy to go insane and replicate his crimes a couple decades later (...aum...spoiler?). The other reason why I prefer the original movie is because it is--by far--the most explicitly Canadian horror film ever made.