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Music and dance in horror films


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Many horror films feature (sometimes elaborate) music/dance sequences. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

"Hey You," sung by Tante Berthe (Ann Codee) in *The Mummy's Curse.*

 

The dance of the ladies in *She Demons*.

 

"Dance Calinda,? one of the songs from *Macumba Love.* There is a similar calypso-type song in *I Walked with a Zombie.*

 

The Oscar-nominated musical climax/ceremony in *King of the Zombies,* presided over by High Priestess Tahama, played by Madame Sul-Te-Wan, the first African-American actor to sign a movie contract.

 

And, perhaps most elaborate of all, from *Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman,* the Festival of the New Wine scene, which could be right out of an operetta. The song concludes with these words, addressed to Baroness Frankenstein (Ilona Massey) and Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.): ?To them I toast: come drink with me, and may they every happy be. And may they live eternally." Talbot gets hysterical, grabs the singer, and the scene ends.

 

What are your favorites? Not soundtracks/background music, or songs over credits, like *Spider Baby* or *My Son the Vampire*, but music/dance integrated into the plot.

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This probually is the best time to ask a question about a certain music piece in a horror film. Does anyone know why did they used the opening music in "Dracula" (1931) from Act 2 of Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky?

 

Did Bela Lugosi do ballet (vampire in tights :P )

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Universal used that theme for a few of its early horror films. I first heard it as a small boy, when Dracula's Daughter was on tv in NYC -- the old Shock Theater. The ballet is about a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil magician, hence the particular relevance to horror. The vampire usually wants to turn a beautiful young girl into a bat! In the ballet, the magician is kind of part man, part bird. The music itself is kind of spooky and works well to set the mood for what's to come. It was a good choice, especially since many early films used classical themes for scoring.

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Every Bollywood horror film has singing & dancing segments, something I love.

 

The most obvious example is the song Jaan Pehchan Ho in GUNAAM later used in GHOST WORLD featuring Christina Ricci dancing to it on TV. That movie features superstar Bali dancer Helen (still in Indian films) because most of the time the singers & dancers are not even actors in the story.

 

In the best Bollywood horror films you'll see a giant vampire stalking his next victim in one scene and then next scene the local villagers group dancing around scantily clad whirling virgins in attempt to stave off the next attack.

Defies logic, but great fun!

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> {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}

> Universal used that theme for a few of its early horror films. I first heard it as a small boy, when Dracula's Daughter was on tv in NYC -- the old Shock Theater. The ballet is about a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil magician, hence the particular relevance to horror. The vampire usually wants to turn a beautiful young girl into a bat! In the ballet, the magician is kind of part man, part bird. The music itself is kind of spooky and works well to set the mood for what's to come. It was a good choice, especially since many early films used classical themes for scoring.

You didn't hear it in DRACULA'S DAUGHTER. You heard it in DRACULA, THE MUMMY and SECRET OF THE BLUE ROOM.

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You're right, sorry. Were those the only three? Seems there were more. Btw, another great musical sequence is the Hermit's (O.P. Heggie) violin music in Bride of Frankenstein. Very important to the plot.

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}

> This probably is the best time to ask a question about a certain music piece in a horror film. Does anyone know why did they used the opening music in "Dracula" (1931) from Act 2 of Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky?

>

As was pointed out, it was a good choice to set the mood. But also it was Public Domain and so Universal used it (at least) five times because it saved them money.

 

By the way, on the Universal Music Cue Sheets for all five films in which I can find the music used, the title of the composition is given as "Le Lac des Cygnes", never "Swan Lake".

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> {quote:title=PrinceSaliano wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=Swithin wrote:}{quote}

> > Universal used that theme for a few of its early horror films. I first heard it as a small boy, when Dracula's Daughter was on tv in NYC.....

> You didn't hear it in DRACULA'S DAUGHTER. You heard it in DRACULA, THE MUMMY and SECRET OF THE BLUE ROOM.

>

 

Also:

MYSTERY OF LIFE (1931)

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932)

 

Can anyone think of any others?

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Here's a list I compiled awhile back in a Yahoo Group I started for the Universal horror classics.

 

"Lullaby of the Bells" - Phantom of the Opera (1943) - Written by Edward Ward (I), lyrics George Waggner, sung by Susanna Foster and Nelson Eddy

"Festival of the New Wine" song - Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, sung by Adia Kuznetzoff

"Tanta Berthe's song (Hey You)" - The Mummy's Curse, sung by Ann Codee

"I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls" - The Mad Ghoul -Sung by Lillian Cornell (dubbing Evelyn Ankers)

"All For Love" - The Mad Ghoul - Arranged by Milton Rosen Sung by Lillian Cornell (dubbing Evelyn Ankers)

"Aurora" - Hold That Ghost - The Andrews Sisters

"Sleepy Serenade" - Hold That Ghost - The Andrews Sisters

"Me and My Shadow" - Hold That Ghost - Ted Lewis and his orchestra

"When My Baby Smiles At Me" - Hold That Ghost - Ted Lewis and his orchestra

"You Came a Long Way From St. Louis" - Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy

"Here We Go Gathering Nuts In May" - The Invisible Man

"When Love Comes Stealing" - The Man Who Laughs (Rapp?e-Pollack-Hirsch)

"The Color of Your Eyes" - The House of The Seven Gables - Music Frank Skinner Lyrics Ralph Freed

"Boogie Woogie Boogie Man" - Murder In The Blue Room - Jazzy-Belles (June Priesser, Betty Kean, and Grace McDonald)

"Mama Dit Moi" - The Mystery of Marie Roget

"Quoth the Raven" - Ghost Catchers

"Blue Candlelight and Red, Red Roses" - Ghost Catchers

"The Customer's Always Right" - Ghost Catchers

"Scenes that are Brightest" from an English Operetta by Wallace called "Maritana" - Werewolf of London

"A Funny Little Man" - Murders In The Rue Morgue - sung by Sidney Fox

"Beloved" - Secret of The Blue Room - "Sung" by Gloria Stuart

"LaRosita"- The Invisible Man - played over the radio in Dr. Kemp's study

Melvyn Douglas - singing the lyrics to "Singin' In The Bathtub" to the melody of "Singin' In The Rain" in THE OLD DARK HOUSE

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What a great list! "Aurora" by the Andrews Sisters is indeed one of the many highlights of Hold that Ghost. And I had no idea The Mad Ghoul had so much music -- I must go back and look at it.

 

I suppose we can add "Ben Bolt," Marian Marsh's (Trilby) song in Svengali, which is sort of in the genre. And I learned since my original posting that Ann Codee's song from The Mummy's Curse was co-written by her husband, Frank Orth.

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Liberace in "Misery" (1990)

This is pushing it....but since the gory part of "Carrie" (1976) occurs during the Prom....the kids are dancing and a band is playing.

Bette Davis sings and dances for her comeback in "What Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962)

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