Dead Man's Party
September 14, 2009 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Advance Halloween preparation! We're having a Dark Carnival- themed party-- think scary clowns, murderous roustabouts, and evil fortunetellers. We're looking for appropriate background music.

We don't want standard spooky classical stuff, nor regular pop/rock. No Night on Bald Mountain, no Thriller. What we want are songs that sound upbeat, carnival-ish and creepy at the same time.

On our list so far:

Carnival of Souls- Combustible Edison
To the Shock of Miss Louise- Lost Boys soundtrack
Beatrix- Cocteau Twins
Pretty much anything by Nox Arcana
Cemetary Polka- Tom Waits
Coney Island Baby- Tom Waits

What else? Calliope music is especially welcome.
posted by cereselle to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (26 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
The Killer Klowns from Outer Space theme song!
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 2:50 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Kurt Weill- Threepenny Opera.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:51 PM on September 14, 2009

Oops, I got excited and didn't include a link, lol.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 2:52 PM on September 14, 2009

You might check out The Builders And The Butchers. ...Creepy gothic Americana jugband-meets-Violent Femmes.
posted by applemeat at 2:58 PM on September 14, 2009

posted by zamboni at 3:03 PM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nick Cave - Red Right Hand
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:06 PM on September 14, 2009

You want some Pram (this is "Track of the Cat", but most of their stuff will do).
posted by carrienation at 3:07 PM on September 14, 2009

Dock Boggs, maybe "Sugar Baby"
posted by Duffington at 3:23 PM on September 14, 2009

Danny Elfman's soundtrack work might be appropriate. A lot of the music from Mr. Bungle's self-titled first album might work too, especially Carnival and Stub (A Dub).
posted by lekvar at 3:24 PM on September 14, 2009

Jason Webley - Dance While the Sky Crashes Down, 2AM, Constellation Prize,
Lee Presson and the Nails - Waltz of the Damned, Malestrom
Voltaire - When You're Evil
Mark Growden - House of Love
posted by mollymayhem at 3:30 PM on September 14, 2009

There's more Tom Waits for you, particularly all of The Black Rider which features a demonic circus. Also, In the Colosseum off of Bone Machine.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:31 PM on September 14, 2009

Dead Can Dance... there are a bunch of songs, but specifically The Carnival is Over fits your theme nicely.
posted by kimdog at 3:41 PM on September 14, 2009

The Dark Carnival is a concept of Juggalo culture. You might find some interesting material in that milieu.
posted by Liver at 3:53 PM on September 14, 2009

Danny Elfman's soundtrack work might be appropriate.

Also his pre-soundtrack work. Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party is pretty much mandatory here.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:05 PM on September 14, 2009

There's a greatly extended version of "To The Shock of Miss Louise" on the expanded version of The Lost Boys soundtrack which is nice — the original is rather short.

Siouxsie and the Banshees: "She's a Carnival," natch.

Harlequin Jones has some stuff in that vein, but Vermillion Lies mines it harder; when you have a track named "Circus Apocalypse," you know you've hit gold.

I'll go digging around in my collection for more.
posted by adipocere at 4:06 PM on September 14, 2009

The Residents' Freak Show and Have a Bad Day.
Seattle's Circus Contraption ("Quirky-jerky, loony-croony, gypsy carnival opera music.").
posted by prinado at 5:35 PM on September 14, 2009

Nick Cave is really good for this. In addition to Red Right Hand, try The Carny (which is from Your Funeral, My Trial).
posted by amery at 5:51 PM on September 14, 2009

Beats Antique do exactly this sort of thing - particularly on their most recent album, Collide. I especially love the Bassnectar remix of Roustabout.

Pentaphobe's latest, Sawdust, also has a few songs with the dark circus feel - check out Kitten Pig and Delicate Perceptions, to start.

And Yard Dogs Road Show may also have something right for you, though they I think that they lean a bit more towards vaudeville than circus style...
posted by polymath at 6:26 PM on September 14, 2009

Seconding Tom Waits' Black Rider album, which has about half a dozen songs that basically define the creepy carnival genre.
posted by svenx at 6:53 PM on September 14, 2009

seconding Mr. Bungle and adding the Goblins soundtrack from Suspiria. not much is creepier than that! Toccatta en Fugue in D minor is always good this time of year
posted by Redhush at 7:50 PM on September 14, 2009

Stan Ridgway — "The Cannon Song" from The Threepenny Opera might have an appropriate feel.
posted by Lexica at 8:02 PM on September 14, 2009

There is some unique music on the Paprika soundtrack. May or may not be creepy.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 8:11 PM on September 14, 2009

Tim Buckley - Carnival Song, although it might be more laconic than creepy
Blood, Sweat & Tears' Spinning Wheel has calliope effects, although it's more psychedelic than creepy. Les Reed does a great loungy version, with a short flute fade-out instead of the calliope. It's available here.
The music for the closing scene of Playtime starts with calliope and then does a fast-paced run of carnivalesque themes. MefiMail me if you're interested.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:50 PM on September 14, 2009

Err, make that peppy carnival themes. Maybe it could be the welcome music, before everything goes horribly wrong.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:51 PM on September 14, 2009

Wikipedia list of Murder Ballads
posted by de void at 8:57 AM on September 15, 2009

I'm surprised that no one mentioned the band Dark Carnival, a Niagra-led spooky '90s band in the vein of a more conventional Diamanda Galas or less eclectic PJ Harvey. But since the idea of a sinister carnival was kind of their thing, well, pretty much all of their music will fit.

Another band from the same area and era was Fez, who used calliope and squeezeboxes extensively in their murder ballads, and who had a serious affinity for the freak show side of the circus.

Other bands that would work well include 16 Horsepower and Lingua Franca, the latter who did a Brechtian song cycle about murder that included a calliope.
posted by klangklangston at 8:14 PM on September 16, 2009

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