In the new horror film 'Insidious,' lots of creepy happenings occur inside the house belonging to Renai (Rose Byrne), like the radio that suddenly switches to Tiny Tim's 'Tiptoe Through the Tulips.'
The high-pitched '60s novelty song is arguably shudder-inducing in its own right, but in the new film from the director of 'Saw,' certain spirits' fondness for the tune makes it even creepier.
Trust the power of movies to change the way we view certain songs forever. If you get a shiver when you hear Bobby Vinton crooning 'Blue Velvet' or fear for your life if John Denver's 'Rocky Mountain High' comes on the radio, you're not alone.
Warning: Clips are disturbing (which is kind of the whole point of this article) and generally NSFW. clear="all" />
'Singin' in the Rain' in 'A Clockwork Orange' (1971)
Take a tune from one of the happiest movies of all time and play it over a scene of one of the most debauched, violent attacks ever filmed, and good luck picturing Gene Kelly instead of vicious droog Alex (Malcolm McDowell) dancing as he attacks a suburban couple. (Chances are, you also now associate the Ninth Symphony by "Ludwig Van," aka, Beethoven, with ultraviolence.)
'Blue Moon' in 'An American Werewolf in London' (1981)
John Landis's landmark werewolf film is as funny as it is scary and one of its humorous touches is an all lunar-themed soundtrack, including the '50s classic 'Blue Moon.' Landis chose the relatively upbeat Sha Na Na version over better-known renditions by Bobby Vinton and Sam Cooke to accompany the film's climactic showdown. The disconnect between doo wop and tragedy as the credits roll is jarring.
'Blue Velvet' in 'Blue Velvet' (1986)
If you can hear the wistful Bobby Vinton classic 'Blue Velvet' without thinking of oxygen masks, severed ears and Pabst Blue Ribbon, then you've obviously never seen David Lynch's twisted tale of small-town murder. There's also a heavily made-up Dean Stockwell lip-synching Roy Orbison's 'In Dreams,' as psychotic Frank (Dennis Hopper) mouths every word along with him.
'American Girl' in 'The Silence of the Lambs' (1991)
Long before Buffalo Bill kidnapped anyone, Tom Petty's 1976 rock ode to an All-American girl already had some macabre undertones. It was rumored to be about a college student's suicide, although the rocker insists it isn't. But just as disturbing is watching Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith) jamming to the song on her car radio, oblivious to the fact that she's being stalked by one of cinema's creepiest serial killers.
'Hip to Be Square,' 'Sussidio,' 'American Psycho' (2000)
"Do you like Phil Collins?" Well, we used to, until we saw yuppie Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) use his music -- and numerous other '80s pop classics -- to cheerfully butcher his friends. In this blood-soaked clip, Patrick expounds on how Huey Lewis's music has improved, to become a "personal statement," then lays into friend Paul (Jared Leto) with an axe.
'Rocky Mountain High' in 'Final Destination' (2000)
The students who escaped Flight 180 realize that one way to stay one step ahead of Death is to listen to his musical cues: Whenever you hear this John Denver standard, it means someone's about to die. Most improbably (at 7:58 in this death montage), the song signals Kerr Smith's imminent death by giant sign in Paris, when a street musician starts playing a too-familiar song.
'Jeepers Creepers' in 'Jeepers Creepers' (2001)
This 1938 pop song was written for a film (starring Ronald Reagan, of all people) about a horse of the same name that can only be tamed by this tune. Now it's the theme song for a hideous monster that preys on humans. Why this song? (Apart from the "creeper" angle?) SPOILER! The lyric "Where did you get those eyes?" has a dreadful meaning, as poor Justin Long finds out (in this icky final scene).
'I Wanna Be Loved by You' in 'House of 1,000 Corpses' (2003)
Two young couples have no idea what they're in for when they stumble across this backwoods hellhole inhabited by a family of cannibal serial killers. The uneasy guests are treated to a bizarre show in which their hosts tell jokes and lip synch to the classic Betty Boop tune; if only things stayed this harmless and innocent.
'Ring of Fire' in 'Silent Hill' (2006)
When Rose's (Radha Mitchell) daughter Sharon disappears in the mysterious town of Silent Hill, all is eerily still. How strange is it then, to have Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire' play as the jukebox in a deserted bar comes to life? The song's lyrics (as penned by June Carter), were metaphorical, but the ring of fire in Silent Hill is all too real.
'We've Only Just Begun' in '1408' (2007)
Everything seems normal when writer Mike (John Cusack) checks into the notorious room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York, until the clock radio starts playing this cheerful Carpenters golden oldie. It's the room's way of saying his terrifying ordeal in the suite, where 56 people have died under mysterious circumstances, is just beginning.
'Hurdy Gurdy Man' in 'Zodiac' (2007)
You'll never again hear this song without a shudder after the scene in which a young couple, parked in a remote area for a make-out session, are gunned down by a random psycho, as Donovan's psychedelic pop tune plays surreally on the car radio.
'Wonderful Wonderful' in 'The X-Files' episode 'Home' (1996)
Even though it's TV, here's an honorable mention for the use of this oh-so-sweet Johnny Mathis song in stark contrast with the disturbing scenes of a freakishly inbred family disposing of yet another deformed newborn.