We expect scary videos from Ozzy, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, but the dark side isn’t just relegated to those with a spooky musical flair. Pop stars like Michael Jackson and Chris Brown have gotten in on the haunted fun, turning in clips that range from the cheesily eerie to the downright terrifying. In honor of Halloween, the freakiest day of the year, we’ve compiled 15 of the scariest music videos ever created. Check them out below … if you dare.
15. Chris Brown, “Wall to Wall” (2007)
Before vampires were a a certifiable trend, Chris Brown cast a sexy fang-toothed female companion in his 2007 video for “Wall to Wall.” Brown doesn’t seem to mind the bites — just so long as vampiredom doesn’t affect his dance moves.
14. The Horrors, “Sheena Is A Parasite” (2006)
At first, it seems like Sheena (Oscar nominee Samantha Morton) just has a twitchy way of getting her groove on, but the gruesome surprise she has waiting under her pretty white dress isn’t quite so pretty. Behold the freakiest 98 seconds in British rock history.
13. Soundgarden, “Black Hole Sun” (1994)
Suburban utopia morphs from kitschy to twisted in Soundgarden’s 1994 video. The video is terrifying because of the creepy Precious-Moments-big-eye-ification and rictus grins of all the mundane characters. Then — lo! — housewives, old ladies and little girls are literally sucked into a dark abyss at the center of a burning sky. Shiver!
12. Rockwell, “Somebody’s Watching Me” (1984)
His house is well-lit, his TV is on, and he’s got a giant dog to protect him. We’re not sure why ’80s pop singer Rockwell is so petrified in the video for biggest hit, but the paranoia is worrisome. But wait, where is that Michael Jackson voice coming from?
11. Skrillex, “First of the Year (Equinox)” (2011)
When a predator decides to stalk a little girl who leaves a playground unattended, he comes face to face with a beast even for sinister than himself. This creepy video, directed by French filmmaker Tony ‘Traund’ Datis, adds a terrifying visual punch to Skrillex’s brutal barrage of beats.
10. 30 Seconds to Mars, “The Kill (Bury Me)” (2006)
“There’s not gonna be a single living soul here,” Jared Leto tells his bandmates as they pull up to an abandoned hotel at the beginning of this clip. The setting is not as secluded as the screamo band thinks: the foursome encounters a creepy man in a suit, a blood-covered blonde girl and someone dressed in a bear costume in this re-imagining of “The Shining.”
9. Geto Boys, “My Mind Playing Tricks on Me” (1991)
Paranoia takes hold of a male anti-hero in this cinematic clip for the Texas rap trio’s 1991 single. A male character fears for his life and keeps “lookin’ over my shoulder, peeping ’round corners” to avoid being tracked down by a mysterious killer. The music video includes stark imagery and an unexpected twist near the end, but the most memorable image remains the trick-or-treating little boy punching a grown man in the face at 3:56.
8. Rob Zombie, “Dragula” (1998)
The beauty of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” video, which finds the former White Zombie singer in ghoulish makeup and driving a hellish hot rod, lies in its campy details. The robot awkwardly dancing behind Zombie, clips of a happy clown accompanied by shots of an exploding atom bomb, and the human skull stick-shift in the singer’s car all make the video deserving of multiple views.
7. The Cure, “Lullaby” (1989)
Even at their poppiest moments, Goth godfathers The Cure have always been a bit spooky. But the band really out-creeped themselves with “Lullaby,” in which mop-topped frontman Robert Smith is terrorized by a shadowy figured called the Spiderman before he himself grows an extra set of limbs and is devoured by a giant arachnid. Not a clip you want to show the kids before bedtime.
6. Ozzy Osbourne, “Bark at the Moon” (1983)
For the “Prince of Darkness,” the “Bark at the Moon” video is not exactly shocking. Ozzy plays a werewolf, a mad scientist and a dead man, but perhaps who he is in real life — a mumbling, tattooed rocker who used to bite the heads off of birds — is scarier than the characters he plays.
5. Fever Ray, “If I Had A Heart” (2009)
Viewers may struggle to understand what’s going on in Fever Ray’s 2009 video for “If I Had a Heart,” but they’re probably still creeped out. Echoing the haunting feeling of the song, the video serves as an interpretive film that shows the mass murder of the wealthy from primitive tribespeople.
4. Evanescence, “Going Under” (2003)
Evanescence compares the trappings of fame to being haunted by ghouls in this clip for the band’s 2003 single. Singer Amy Lee’s makeup is applied by a gaggle of sinister old women, while the crowd at the band’s show morphs into a ravenous pack of zombies. Lee eventually overcomes the visions — only to find that guitarist Ben Moody is a demon as well.
3. Marilyn Mason, “Sweet Dreams” (1999)
We all know shock-rocker Marilyn Manson has a flair for the demonic. But when he donned a ballerina costume (and cut himself, rode a pig and convulsed uncontrollably) in the video for his 1999 take on the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” he really freaked people out. Associating Marilyn Manson with innocent little girls would scare anyone.
2. Michael Jackson, “Thriller” (1983)
The range of emotions invoked by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video is bigger than many feature-length films – there’s comedy, incredulity, and of course, a good scare. Plus, that “Thriller” dance takes some serious skill, and you’d be lying if you said you haven’t imitated at least once. It’s pop’s original spooky music video — and certainly one of the best.
1. Aphex Twin, “Come To Daddy” (1997)
Many videos have startled viewers over the years, but none are quite as horrifying as this clip by British techno maven Aphex Twin. We’re not sure what’s most menacing — the track’s pounding rhythms and howling feedback, the creepy gang of scruffy-faced children terrorizing the town, or the shrieking digital demon born from an analog TV — but everything in this monstrous masterpiece (directed by twisted genius Chris Cunningham) had us sleeping with the lights on for years.