Horror and musicals have a lot more in common than you might think, as they both possess a camp sensibility and have amassed many dedicated LGBT+ followers who have helped propel them further into mainstream fame. pop culture.
This, of course, led to the creation of the subgenre of horror musicals, which have long remained a staple in cinematic history and have since become legendary cult favorites. These movies have helped take the terror away from those who may not be able to handle classic horror movies. So it’s a great middle ground and starting point for people who want to get into the horror genre. As the Halloween season draws to a close, it’s time to embark on the esoteric world of musical horror films, which are sure to have you scared and laughing.
“The Phantom of the Opera” (2004)
Beginning with a classic, the 2004 cinematic portrayal of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Phantom of the Opera – which was in turn based on the original 1910 French novel by Gaston Leroux – is full of 19th century gothic visuals and costumes and is utterly enchanting. He has an exceptionally talented vocal performance by Emmy Rossum which even gives the big Mariah Carey a run for his money with his whistle skills.
The musical film follows the traditional style of classic gothic horror from when it was first produced and is similar to the story of Frankenstein’s Monster by Mary Shelley, with the titular “Phantom” possessing all the tropes of a horror antihero right down to his intense worry and angst. Its dreamlike aesthetic and romantic story are more than enough to draw anyone in, but its dark atmosphere and spooky vibes also make it a perfect watch for horror lovers everywhere.
Anna and the Apocalypse’ (2017)
In the world of the zombie apocalypse genre, filmmakers generally go down two paths: hyperrealistic horror survival films that terrify all who dare to watch, or campy, comedic takes on beloved brain-eating monsters. The British film of 2017 Anna and the apocalypse follows the latter’s route and even takes camp to a whole new level by making it a Christmas-themed zombie musical. Sled!
Anna, played by Ella Hunt, must battle the party-adorned walking dead alongside his friends through the gory task of slaying zombies while performing upbeat musical numbers that align with classic teen musical repertoire, like the fight for not fitting in or having a crush that isn’t reciprocated. Meanwhile, a grotesque massacre continues around them. All zombie movie fans, especially Shaun of the Deadshould give this campy horror musical a watch if they haven’t.
‘Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical’ (2005)
Based on the cult 1936 exploitation film of the same name, Reefer Madness: The Musical from the Movie is a mostly unknown made-for-television musical film. It satirizes the original marijuana-based message of terror from the original film in an incredibly campy and hilarious way, featuring Kristen Bell, Alan Cumming, Neve Campbelland John Mann.
The film follows a couple of once-innocent teenagers in Central America in the 1930s who succumb to hedonistic Satanism and commit acts of cannibalism, murder and sadism, all thanks to the seductive and dangerous attraction of the fearsome “Reefer Gang”. ” who supplies them with weed. It’s hilarious with great performances from the ensemble cast. Bell, in particular, pulls off an excellent powerful musical display that really adds to its charm.
“Little Shop of Horrors” (1986)
Another adaptation of a beloved Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors is a 1986 horror musical that stars Rick Moranis as Seymour Krelborn, a nervous flower shop clerk who tends to a rare space plant called Audrey II, named after his love interest Audrey, played by Ellen Green. The plant only grows and feeds on human blood and flesh, leading Seymour to commit acts of murder to keep the plant sated.
The film is (once again) incredibly campy and absurd, filled with fan-favorite series bits such as “Suddenly Seymour” as well as a delightfully deranged performance by Steve Martin as a sadistic dentist in the aptly named “Dentist!” and other equally bizarre feats of offbeat musical excellence.
‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ (1975)
Arguably the poster child for horror musicals everywhere, the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show is based on the 1973 stage production of the same name. It features an unforgettable ensemble cast including the likes of Susan Sarandon, meatloafand of course, Tim Curry as the ever-iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter in a glitzy, flamboyant homage to B-grade horror flicks from the Silver Age of cinema.
The film is not only groundbreaking for being a pioneer in the musical horror genre, but also for its portrayal of sexually diverse characters and themes. His unapologetic portrayal of LGBT+ liberation has since become a legendary part of movie history and beloved by nearly anyone lucky enough to give him a watch.
‘Sweeney Todd: The Evil Barber of Fleet Street’ (2007)
Another musical classic adapted to the big screen, this 2007 Tim Burton horror musical stars Johnny Depp and his then wife Helena Bonham Carter who are draped in a muted, gray wardrobe typical of any Burton film. The musical follows Sweeney Todd, a murderous barber from Victorian England bent on revenge who hides his crimes through Mrs Lovett grinding bodies into his meat pies.
Any Burton fan will be pleased with all the classic hallmarks of his style still present in this film; the dark color calibration, morbidity and chemistry between Depp and Bonham Carter. But it still holds up as a fun reimagining of a musical theater staple.
‘Repo! The Genetic Opera’ (2008)
After the cult success of The Rocky Horror Picture ShowMillennials have been given their own cult classic rock opera for their generation. Rep! The Genetic Opera is a 2008 musical horror film that features the talents of Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head, and Paris Hilton.
Related: 10 Movies That Became Surprisingly Cult Classics
Like most cult favorites, the film received fairly mixed reviews when it was first released, but has since received more love and appreciation for its shameless ridiculousness and absurdity, and is truly a fun watch.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)
Directed by legendary stop-motion animator Henry Selick (not Burton, who is instead the producer of the film), The Nightmare Before Christmas is the perfect movie for November and has inspired a spooky aesthetic and appreciation in the hearts of people around the world. The stop-motion musical is a classic due to its imaginative visuals, unique story, and catchy songs that have since become go-to picks for Halloween party playlists.
Endless fun, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a holiday movie that brings together the most horror-loving goths and Mariah Carey’s festive enthusiasts in a way that hasn’t been mastered since.
“The Lure” (2005)
Mermaids have long enchanted audiences around the world. The highly anticipated The little Mermaid live-action remake destined to be a box office sensation. Other mermaid-related media such as the ever-iconic H20: Just add water follow the same kind of ethereal and beautiful depiction of these half-fish women. However, the 2015 Polish film the lure instead features man-eating, singing sirens, a horror tale of the Hans Christen Andersen tale.
The horror genre hasn’t incorporated mermaids as much as it should, so the lure is a much-loved delight that even fans of the original story can be entertained by the much more graphic and bloody – but still magical – addition to the Mermaid’s cinematic universe.
A dazzling punk-rock, body-horror, queer musical film, Spiders (2016) is absurd, bizarre, and bizarre in all the best possible ways. The plot follows a poor couple, Eden and Matilda, who buy a pet tarantula that will soon wreak havoc on their lives.
It’s a real gem that has yet to get the love it truly deserves, so give it a chance as the Halloween season draws to a close!
NEXT: 10 Best Horror Movies With Little To No Dialogue