What does that song mean?

Did I Ever Introduce You To Horrorpunk?

Posted Dec 7th 2022, 07:13 by Penguin Pete

Being as your Present Author is a confirmed horror film fan, a rock-blog critic, and generally weird anyway, it should come as no surprise that the Horrorpunk genre fascinates me. The center band of this genre is the Misfits, whom you know from the Tshirt graphic if nothing else. But there is so much more to explore in the bloody basement of the Horrorpunk genre - if you'd care to grab your flashlight and follow me.

Vampire Beach Babes - Gothic Surf-a-Rama

So groovy, they could have been neighbors to the Munsters, the Vampire Beach Babes will have you doing the "Gothic Surf-a-rama," from the northern Arctic circle down to southern Alabama. The perfect blend of surf-rock (at least 50% of punk rock's DNA) and horror themes. If this sweet number (anybody else get a Butthole Surfers vibe?) doesn't carve a grin in your face, you just might have joined the ranks of the undead recently.

Nekromantix - Haunted Cathouse

Horrorpunk also has strong Psychobilly (punk + rockabilly) connections, most commonly referenced by bands like The Cramps. Nekromantix is an outfit out of Copenhagen fronted by Kim Nekroman playing on the "coffinbass," a custom double bass instrument shaped like a coffin. With an attitude like this, Nekromantix' sound is authentic mid-century rock with a horror vibe piped in through drive-in movie speakers.

T.S.O.L. - Funeral March

Now see, here's a group putting the hardcore "punk" in horrorpunk. T.S.O.L. is an oldie classic group (first album cut 1981!) out of Long Beach, California, who have pretty much stood alone as the most distinguished members of horrorpunk outside of the Misfits themselves. But they're still a bit edgy even by modern standards, with songs like "Code Blue" refraining "I wanna f*ck the dead." Not for everybody, but hardcore punks swoon over these guys.

Bloodsucking Zombies From OuterSpace - Monster Mutant Boogie

One thing I can appreciate about the horrorpunk genre is the earnest sincerity. Nobody is pretending they're going to gain mainstream success here. They're going for a target demographic and their name tells you just what you're going to get. A tight act, BZFOS has a sound that's a cross between metal and Green Day if they were possessed.

The Dead Next Door - I Married A Ghoul From Outer Space

If you haven't twigged by now, the horrorpunk genre occupies itself with many a tribute to mid-century drive-in movie horror. A title homaged directly from I Married a Monster from Outer Space (1958) (and its many snowclones), this song sticks to dead-center classic punk, say, Vandals, style, but with horror flick lyrics. Doesn't that sound like fun?

The Misfits - Island of Misfit Toys

In case you came here actually looking for the Misfits: it's Christmas, so how about "Island of Misfit Toys" off their - wait for it - Christmas album? This song is a tribute to the location of the same name from the 1964 Rankin-Bass classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The Misfits here tap into a vibe that goes unspoken in the original work. Isn't the idea of a "misfit toy" sorta creepy? Who made them? Where are the children who were supposed to have them? Are there "misfit kids" too? Anyway, merry Christmas in case we don't say it again.

Why Horrorpunk?

What is the difference between horropunk and metal genres? That's a little tough to say, and indeed many of the bands in this genre could bump right over to thrash metal without missing the proverbial beat. How about the difference between horrorpunk and goth rock? That's mostly a matter of style and tempo. To be sure, the Misfits are an influential band, acknowledged by the likes of My Chemical Romance, but their sound is actually more like a dark-side version of Offspring or a more clearly enunciated Ramones. It takes the outliers, the satellite members of the genre, to run with the theme and really have fun with it.



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