10 Gloriously Gruesome Songs for Your Halloween Playlist

So Halloween is coming up, and if you’re like us, you’re probably starting to think about putting together a mixtape for a Halloween party. If so, you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve put together a selection of some of the gore-filled masterworks that’ll be vying for a place on our playlist in a couple of weeks’ time. (Note: as much as we’re all for blood and gore, we’re generally less enchanted by songs that involve misogyny, rape, and/or other such unpleasantness — and anyway, these are party songs, and we don’t figure the likes of Mayhem’s “Chainsaw Gutsfuck” or Cannibal Corpse’s “Fucked with a Knife” are particularly laden with festive spirit. Sorry, death metal fans.) But anyway, disclaimers aside, here’s what we’ve come up with — what’s gonna be playing at your party?

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds — “O’Malley’s Bar”

Perhaps “Stagger Lee” is the obvious choice from Murder Ballads, especially because of its notorious description of Stagger’s sexual preferences, but in our opinion, it’s “O’Malley’s Bar” that really takes the cake as far as sustained gruesomeness goes. Over the course of nearly 15 gore-filled minutes of mass murder, Cave manages to capture what Hannah Arendt so famously called the banality of evil — the killer’s casual narcissism (“When I shot him I was so handsome…”), his perverse self-justification (“If I have no free will/ Then how can I be morally culpable?”), ultimately, the stupid futility of it all (“Fear me! Fear me! But no one did ‘cos they were dead…”). It’s also shot through with Cave’s often-overlooked sense of humor, especially the description of the ashtray that the killer uses to finish off one unfortunate victim as being “as big as a fucking really big brick.”

The goriest bit: “Her head it landed in the sink/ With all the dirty dishes”