While hunting for some free entertainment for Halloween, I discovered that there were a surprising number of horror movies that can be legally and freely downloaded because they have fallen into the public domain. I found cheese-filled creature features like The Giant Gila Monster (1959), Attack of the Giant Leeches (1953), and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962), but I also came across a number of films that I realized have been musically inspirational to some big name bands.
Here are the top 10 musically inspiring horror films in the public domain and what they inspired. The IMDB star rating is included so you can determine what to (or not to) download onto your ipod.
10. The Wasp Woman (1960)
IMDB: 3.4 stars
Musical Inspiration: This movie was said to have inspired the Misfits’ song “Queen Wasp” which appeared on Earth A.D, released in 1983.
9. Teenagers from Outer Space (1959)
IMDB: 3.0 stars
Musical Inspiration: This was said to have inspired the single “Teenagers from Mars”, which was first recorded by the Misfits in 1978. The song was not on a full-length album until Collection I in 1986.
8. Horror Hotel (1960)
IMDB: 6.7 stars
Musical Inspiration: Are you tired of the Misfits, yet? Me neither! The song “Horror Hotel” was first released by the Misfits on 3 Hits from Hell in 1981. It would later appear on both Evilive and Collection II.
7. Nosferatu (1922)
IMDB: 8.1 stars
6. White Zombie (1932)
IMDB: 6.5 stars
Musical Inspiration: The American metal band White Zombie (1985-1998) took its name from the movie.
5. The House On Haunted Hill (1959)
IMDB: 6.8 stars
Musical Inspiration: The movie inspired the song “House on Haunted Hill” by the Ghastly Ones, a horror-themed California surf band. The track can be found on a compilation called Gothabilly Rockin Necropolis.
4. Carnival of Souls (1962)
IMDB: 7.1 stars
Musical Inspiration: The band Orbital sampled the line “Why can’t anybody hear me?” from this movie in the song “Spare Parts Express”, which was released on Middle of Nowhere in 1999.
3. Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
IMDB: 6.2 stars
Musical Inspiration: In 1982, composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashmaan created an off-Broadway musical based on the movie. At the time, you couldn’t get away from advertising featuring the play if you tried. I still can hear the friggin’ theme song: “Little shop, Little Shop Of Horrors” torturing me in an endless loop whenever I happen across the title of this movie.
2. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
IMDB: 3.4 stars
Musical Inspiration: Not only was the Misfits record label named “Plan 9” in tribute to the movie, but the Misfits song “Vampira” was a tribute to Maila “Vampira” Nurmi, one of the stars of the movie. The song “Vampira” first appeared on Walk Among Us in 1982.
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
IMDB: 7.9 stars
Musical Inspiration: “Night of the living Dead” was released as a single by the Misfits in 1979 and later appeared on Walk Among Us in 1982.
For more public domain horror movies, be sure to check out the Horror Section of The Internet Archives.