We kick off the new year with a look at some of the best holiday horror songs and soundtracks to spin from now through Valentine’s Day.
If you haven’t noticed by now, from my previous articles talking about Fall Holiday Horror Soundtracks and Xmas Horror Soundtracks, I have an absolute obsession with horror movie soundtracks — and an extra-special fondness for the sounds of holiday horror. While we’ve already covered the biggest holidays of the year, that doesn’t mean there’s not much more great content to explore.
From celebrating the new year to preparing for one of the most equally loved and reviled holidays of the year, Valentine’s Day, we’ve got you covered.
Some of my recommendations won’t be full soundtracks but hit songs (due to the lack of a produced album). Here’s a look at film scores and songs available on gore-geous vinyl, CD, or MP3.
1. New Year’s Evil (1980)
Directed By: Emmett Alston
Music By: W. Michael Lewis, Laurin Rinder
Single: New Year’s Evil, The Cooler
Bands: Shadow, Made in Japan
Label: Cannon Records
After two Blu-ray releases in the last ten years, now is the time to give the Horror Hounds that Evil on vinyl. Guaranteed to be a coveted and quick-to-sell-out release…hopefully, Waxwork Records is listening!
The title song from New Year’s Evil, performed live and throughout the film by the Seattle-based band Shadow (looking quite Bowiesque blushed), brings a new wave and metal mix. “New Year’s Evil” was written by Roxanne Seeman and Eduardo Del Barrio to help market the film.
While no full soundtrack was ever produced by Cannon Films, two promotional 7” 45 RPM vinyl singles were released at the end of 1980.
Shadow’s “New Year’s Evil” and guitar-wrenching B-side “Simon Bar Sinister” featured on one release. Made in Japan, from Australia, shared the next single with their popular hit “The Cooler” and B-side “Suicide Ways.” The musical score towards the end is also noteworthy.
In 2020, MGM released “New Year’s Evil” as a single digital MP3 on Amazon, Spotify, and Apple. Hey, it’s better than nothing!
2. Bloody New Year (1987)
Directed By: Norman J. Warren
Music By: Nick Magnus
Single: Recipe for Romance
Band: Cry No More band (Chas Cronk, Roy Hill)
This 1987 British Horror film starts off with Cry No More’s catchy new wave pop song “Recipe for Romance.”
A soundtrack was never produced, and only two songs from the film were featured on their self-titled album that year. “Recipe for Romance” can be found on Bandcamp as a download.
The suspenseful incidental music mixed with laughter tracks by Magnus is effective and eerie.
Bloody New Year is bat-shit crazy and fascinating. With some great kills and campy makeup effects, I recommend giving this rarity a shot. Released on Vinegar Syndrome in 2019 but now out of print, Bloody New Year is currently streaming on Tubi.
3. Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)
Directed By: Yoshihiro Nishimura, Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Music By: Kou Nakagawa (Tokyo Gore Police)
Single: Manhunt, Pinky Love (Pretty Trippi’s Version)
Artist: Tomohiro Odawara, Trippi’s
This Japanese gore-splattered film has the best score, and Odawara’s romantic English melody “Manhunt” stays with you.
It was impossible to find out whether there was an official CD soundtrack released in Japan when I researched. Luckily, a few downloads of the song have been posted on YouTube, Soundcloud, and Spotify.
Trippi’s “Pinky Love” is also a catchy pop music song.
Nakagawa is a master; much of the film score takes on spaghetti western Spanish guitar themes colliding with heavy metal guitar action.
If Japanese gore is your bucket of blood, I highly recommend watching this box of love-tainted Valentine’s Day chocolates!
4. Valentine (2001)
Directed By: Jamie Blanks
Music By: Don Davis OST
Soundtrack: Various Artists
Label: Warner Bros. Records
Artwork: Theatrical Poster
Valentine is not shy about mixing things up with an infusion of electronic, industrial, rock, and nu-metal.
Dated but still great, my personal favorites are Rob Zombie’s jumping “Superbeast (Porno Holocaust)” mix, Disturbed shredding it up with “God of the Mind” and the industrial opus of “Love Dump (Mephisto Odyssey’s Voodoo Mix)” by Static-X.
Other notable favorites are “Opticon” by Orgy, Amanda Ghost’s “Filthy Mind”, and the eerie lyrics of “Breed” by Snake River Conspiracy.
Composer Don Davis delivered throughout the film but was overshadowed by the mainstream artist soundtrack.
You can still find Valentine on CD and MP3 on Amazon, Spotify, and Apple.
5. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Directed By: George Mihalka
Music By: Paul Zaza (Prom Night, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II)
Vocals By: John McDermott, Marie Bottrell, and Lee Bach
Label: Waxwork Records
Mastered By: Thomas DiMuzio (Gench Mastering)
Artwork: Ghoulish Gary Pullin
My Bloody Valentine plays a tale over two 180-gram (Blood Red and Pink Smoke) colored records. Paul Zaza and George Mihalka both write touching liner notes of each other’s work, and this vinyl pressing was produced from the original master tapes.
Zaza’s emotional and orchestrated string sections in The Horror of Valentine Bluffs Suite kick off another soundtrack to behold from start to finish. He takes us on a musical journey of different intense ranges in between songs like “The Last Valentine” (Marie Bottrell) and “I’m a Guitar Man” (Lee Bach).
The soundtrack alone tells a story. What better way to end the LP than on the swaying end credit song created to market the film “The Ballad of Harry Warden”, performed by John McDermott.
The artwork by Ghoulish Gary Pullin is some of the finest LP artwork to grace a vinyl pressing. Passionate about this film, and it shows. I especially love the inner newspaper graphics.
I stopped by Pullin’s table at The Living Dead Festival last June, and he was kind enough to give me a quote on his creative partnership with Waxwork Records:
“They are great to work with. MY BLOODY VALENTINE is Canadian Horror. I’m a Canadian, so I was glad to be first in line for that job. I’m really proud of the record. I hope people enjoy it.”
Pullin went on to say:
“I’m glad to see that some of these horror films are getting recognized, like MY BLOODY VALENTINE, the original. Sure, horror fans know what it is, but I think it appeals to a lot of different audiences. Glad people are rediscovering its music and the film. It was fun to do. I love doing designs, doing my own take on a film, and working with people that have the same passion. Waxwork Records are very passionate horror fans as well. I loved working on that project.”