A haunting pop hit from the 90s becomes a surprising modern horror anthem with Ghost’s cover of “Stay” heard on “Insidious: The Red Door”.Intro by Jack Wells
Psychos and power cords. Blood and bombast. Evil iconography and methodical hostility.
Judging by these examples and many more, it’s no surprise that horror films and metal music are intrinsically entwined. Yes, there are a ton of great horror film scores out there, many of which have become irrevocably ingrained into our cultural awareness (Psycho, Jaws, and Halloween, anyone?). But, when one typically thinks of music associated with terrifying creatures, masked lunatics, and mind-melting mania, heavy metal will usually stand supreme.
This symbiotic relationship, an unholy union firmly cemented in the neon glow of 80s excess, continues unabated to this day (Metallica being featured in the fourth season of Stranger Things is a prime example).
Morbidly Beautiful even had the honor of reviewing a 2022 documentary that examined this relationship in detail, appropriately titled The History of Metal and Horror, which you can find here.
In our continued celebration of both the heavy and the horrific, a couple of MB music lovers wanted to spotlight a newly released collaborative track featured in James Wan’s latest Blumhouse offering: Insidious: The Red Door.
The song in question, “Stay,” is brought to life by Swedish metal superstars Ghost and features additional vocals by one of the mainstays of the Insidious franchise, Mr. Patrick Wilson himself.
As an FYI: aside from acting in Hollywood films (including quite a collection of stellar horror offerings), Mr. Wilson is also a classically trained vocalist (his mother was a voice coach) and starred in several Broadway and off-Broadway productions in the 90s. He also played Raoul in 2004’s Phantom of the Opera film, opposite Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler. Insidious: The Red Door has him reprising his role of patriarch Josh Lambert from the first two films.
Originally appearing on the Shakespears Sister album Hormonally Yours in 1992, “Stay” was a moderate radio hit.
The song’s pop/shoegaze stylings dovetail nicely within the existing alternative scene of the time. (Check out the original version of the song right here.)
It was also, apparently, the song that caused a major rift within the band itself, ultimately leading to their dissolution as a duo.
For the version featured in The Red Door, sinister minister (and Ghost mastermind himself) Mr. Tobias Forge has kept the overall feel of “Stay” largely intact. From the ethereal opening and soaring vocals to the mid-tempo beat and choral moments, the framework is basically unchanged.
To be fair, quite a few original Ghost tracks also feature similar characteristics, so covering this particular 90s pop song wasn’t necessarily a HUGE stretch. Still, once Tobias’ distinctive voice joins for the refrain and the distorted electric guitar kicks in, there can be no doubt that Ghost has made the song theirs.
As an ardent fan of the original, as well as a Ghost aficionado, I absolutely consider this a worthy rendition and successor.
The devilish Swedish act is also no stranger to covers, having released three EPs which primarily consist of classic tunes given the “satanic panic” treatment. The latest, Phantomime, just dropped in May and features metal adaptations of “Jesus He Knows Me” from Genesis, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner, Iron Maiden’s “Phantom of the Opera,” and others.
This overhauled and retrofitted version of “Stay” could have easily been lifted straight from that record.Conclusion by Kelly Mintzer
Consider this the point in the song where Siobhan Fahey comes in with her little growl and crazy eyes.
It’s a role I was born for.
Jack, the angelic Marcella Detroit for “carrying-the-metaphor-too-far” purposes, covered Ghost’s bona fides, but I, as something of a megafan, would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ghost frequently covers an interesting and often overlooked corner of horror music-which is to say, pop.
The genre is often viewed with unwarranted derision and scorn, but Ghost is, undeniably, a pop band. Look at Tobias’s history of covers; Abba, Phil Collins, the Eurythmics, Depeche Mode, The Pet Shop Boys, hell, the Beatles.
Mr. Forge is a man who loves and honors pop. And pop-metal has a long and delicious history with horror movies.
Some of you whippersnappers will be too young to remember this, but there was a magical time when a lot of pop-rock, metal, and punk bands contributed songs to the end credits of movies. This trend gave us “Dream Warriors” by Dokken for the Nightmare on Elm Street movie of the same name, “He’s Back” by Alice Cooper from Friday the 13th pt. VI, “Diadems” by Megadeth from Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, and “Pet Sematary” by the Ramones, among many others.
The trend lamentably died out, but we’ve been absolutely primed for a resurgence, and Ghost fired the opening salvo with “Hunters Moon,” which played over the end credits for Halloween Kills.
So, it is no surprise that Cardi C and his Nameless Ghouls threw down pretty hard when it came time to light up those Insidious credits.
What may perhaps shock some is how damn good our friend and favorite horror dad Patrick Wilson sounds with the band.
It’s both surprising and entirely logical.
Wilson has a soaring, beautiful theatrical voice, and Tobias has always leaned into the dramatic. Anyone who has listened to Ghost or been to a ritual knows that the slender Swede behind the mask and tight pants is clearly living his theater kid dreams (and we celebrate that!).
Our beloved Tobias has a good ear for production; his unique vocals — somehow simultaneously gravelly and higher than you might anticipate — contrast well with Wilson’s clean, crystal tones.
“Stay” is a swooping, earnest song full of sincere emotion without an ounce of irony. And though it was clearly originally written about romantic love (albeit of an obsessively unhealthy variety), the lyrics remain general enough to apply to the complicated family dynamics that drive the Insidious series.
The Insidious franchise deals heavily with the pull between dark forces and the family’s attempts to remain in the light. The song could have been written FOR the film instead of just being a pitch-damn-perfect cover.
There comes a point where one must truly stop themselves from gushing about a less than 4-minute song. And though we’ve reached that point, it is absolutely imperative we take a moment to note the greatest deviation between the original and the cover.
Over the final, repeated chorus, Mr. Wilson releases gorgeous, seemingly effortless wails from his upper register — perhaps channeling the paternal instincts of his character, Josh Lambert. It manages to elevate the drama of an already theatrical song.
It’s wildly effective, deeply beautiful, and entirely worthy of the horror end-credits song resurgence.