Last night my MP3 player was getting some serious rotation and I started to find a few patterns in my playlists. 1. There is no stopping my love of deep male vocals. I'm looking at you Michael Gira, Stephin Merritt, Tom Waits and Co., 2. I have an unhealthy number of Sex Dwarf covers and 3. Horror movies.

I'm not just talking about instrumental scores in horror films, because I can easily name a bazillion off the top of my head that are brilliant including Suspiria (and most Italian horror flicks), The Shining and The Thing. Instead, I wanted to challenge myself to recall those favorite movie moments where a non-instrumental track totally made the scene. I thought this would be super easy at first but to my surprise it took a little thinking before I came up with a hefty enough list to share with you. I'm only featuring one at a time to avoid slamming you into a giant YouTube wall, so please stay tuned for more each week. Oh, and the part-time masochist in me doesn't want you to make this easy for me by giving me suggestions (wait until I beg at least) but keep sending me your comments--I love reading them. Check out my first pick for the film Alone in the Dark after the jump.
Before we get to the tuneage, if you haven't seen New Line Cinema's first motion picture release, Alone in the Dark, I highly recommend it. Jack Sholder directs this 1982 slasher about four psychopaths who try to kill their new psychiatrist. And now allow me to blow your mind with this cast: Martin Landau (Mission: Impossible), Jack Palance (Ripley's Believe It or Not), Donald Pleasence (Dr. Loomis!), Dwight Schultz (Star Trek & A-Team's Murdock!), giant Erland van Lidth (Running Man) and Frederick Coffin (Mother's Day). Add to the mix Tom Savini's special effects and original songs from the NYC punk/glam-trash band, The Sic F*cks, and you have a buried treasure that reallyisas good as it seems.

The film opens with an amazing dream sequence in a diner and then we are introduced to a cast of crazies that includes Preacher (Landau), Frank (Palance), Fatty (Van Lidth) and Bleeder (Phillip Clark). They all reside on the third floor, where the most dangerous criminals are kept at Leo Bain's Asylum. However, this is no ordinary Asylum and Dr. Bain is more stoner than shrink. He refers to his patients as 'voyagers' and keeps the third floor criminals locked up with an electrically-activated security system that has no bars. Dr. Dan Potter (Schultz) arrives at the Asylum as a replacement for the former third floor Doc, Harry Merton, but his presence is met with paranoia. All the patients believe Dr. Potter murdered Dr. Merton and become convinced he's after them now, so they plot to kill him. During a blackout one night, the nut jobs escape the asylum and carry out their plan--descending upon Doc's house for revenge.

Palance delivers a great performance as a the leader of the pack, bubbling with rage and wielding a wicked cross bow. Landau is perfectly creepy--leaving a lasting impression and the irony of Schultz playing the only semi-rational character in the film is good stuff. I also like the Bleeder who always hides his face (he eventually dons a hockey mask) and gets nosebleeds before he kills. Schultz, Landau and Palance certainly steal the show and alone make the film worth watching, but this flick delivers on some decent gore, dark humor and a perfectly timed ending.

Now what about that music? Dr. Potter goes to a nightclub to watch the band The Sic F*cks play but the aforementioned blackout shuts down their set. The nightclub scene makes another appearance later on but I don't want to give too much away. The Sic F*cks were one of the earliest NYC punk/glam bands--headed by Russell Wolinsky with scenester sisters Tish and Snooky who started as back-up singers for Blondie. They also invented Manic Panic hair dye which my teenage hair was all too familiar with. The band has two original songs in the film, Rock or Die andChop Up Your Mother that are both seriously fun. I love the naggy mother bit in Chop Up Your Mother played out by the sisters. The scene with Chop Up Your Mother was actually dubbed in, so the band and audience totally faked their performance during a silent shoot. According to legend, one of the band members ran into Jack Palance on the streets of NY years later and reminded him he was in the band The Sic F*cks in the film, to which Palance replied, "We were all sick f*cks in that movie." Remember that perfect ending I mentioned? It's all about Jack Palance doing his crazy pants routine in the nightclub to the murderous melodies of The Sic F*fucks. Check out the clip below and let me know if you love this musical moment as much as I do.

categories Features, Reviews, Horror