With Halloween rapidly approaching, music-savvy zombies and zombettes everywhere are brushing up on their undead dance moves, breaking out some red leather jackets and perfecting the MJ head twitch. But with more than 30 years having passed between the release of “Thriller” and today, we thought we’d update our Halloween repertoire with 15 spooky music videos from the 21st century. Some are silly, some are scary, and some are just downright unsettling, but with zombies, werewolves, skeletons and lots of ghostly figures, each is worth a watch on fright night.
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads will Roll”
If you’re not quite ready to fly from the “Thriller” nest, “Heads Will Roll” is a good place to start. The clip features a very well-dressed werewolf sporting Jacksonesque white socks who just so happens to be a really great dancer. Plus, Karen O seems to be perpetually ready for a Halloween party—even if her costume is just “badass rock chick in plastic dress”— and we think it’s pretty cool when people bleed confetti (we’re looking at you, Santigold).
2. TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me”
Presented like an old-timey silent horror flick, dialogue cards and all, TV On The Radio’s video for “Wolf Like Me” is just as amped-up and relentless as the powerful song itself. Featuring static-ridden black and white footage of Tunde Adebimpe howling out his charged lyrics in front of the full moon with a pack of stop motion-animated werewolves, “Wolf Like Me” truly blurs the line between man and beast.
3. Basia Bulat – “In The Night”
Who says you have to be afraid of the dark? In this upbeat clip, Canadian songstress Basia Bulat and some costumed friends take a walk through a pitch black forest, encountering dancing skeletons, bears playing drums and lots of masks along the way. This Halloween parade looks like great fun to join, led by Bulat’s signature autoharp and infectiously earnest voice.
4. Friendly Fires – “Skeleton Boy”
Watch Friendly Fires’ “Skeleton Boy” video to experience some serious “why didn’t I think of that” low-budget costume envy. Though the clip starts with nothing more than a few faces floating in the dark, the room eventually fills with a vortex of confetti that brings the undead band to life.
5. Laura Marling – “Ghosts”
Laura Marling’s charming animated music video for “Ghosts” might be a reflection upon her experiences with past lovers, but its graveyard setting is perfect for any folky fright night. It’s got all the Halloween staples: bats, headstones, a full moon and a skeleton playing keytar (obviously), plus a face-painted Marcus Mumford if you look close enough.