With the success of his groundbreaking film Get Out and his frightening follow-up, Us, writer and director Jordan Peele is ushering in a renaissance in Black horror. His witty blend of social commentary and traditional horror tropes is winning new fans and breaking records at the box office. And his smart scoring choices are making music lovers salivate.
Since the first trailer for Us was released last December, hip-hop fans haven’t stopped talking about the creepy, horror remix to the classic Luniz track, “I Got 5 On It.” Inspired by Matthew Cherry, an executive at Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions who took to Twitter to fantasize about other possible horror remixes, here, in no particular order, is a list of 10 tracks that would be the perfect backdrop to whatever spooky storyline Peele dreams up next.
Organized Noize wouldn’t have to make many modifications to this classic in order to make it horror-ready. The creepy, paranoid lyric “Who’s that peeking in my window?” lends itself to pretty much any horror movie plot, like say, a young loner plagued by a chilling, deadly force that only they can see.
For the most part, orchestra hits should remain deep in the recesses of our collective consciousness, along with crushed velvet, jelly shoes, and parachute pants. But for a Black reimagining of Stephen King’s “Carrie,” we might be able to make an exception. Slow the piano down, keep the orchestra hits and strip Timbaland’s punchy bongos from the beat and we suddenly have the perfect backdrop for another remake of this high school horror. With Black-ish wunderkind Marsai Martin playing the lead.
There are few things scarier than the pitfalls of capitalism. If producer P.K. were to rework this dark, hellish classic, the creepy church organs, frantic strings and DMX’s signature bark would definitely take centre stage. The new and improved horror remix could serve as the soundtrack for a flick about the downtrodden 99% literally eating the rich. Hannibal Lecter style!
This is both the song that inspired this entire list and the horror remix my spirit truly needs. This self-produced Outkast classic is haunting enough in its original state, but adding some effects to the chorus and stronger echoes to the distinctive percussion could make this song truly terrifying. The plot for the accompanying movie would be ripped straight from the headlines: a woman gives birth to twins who were hidden in a secret second womb she didn’t know she had. In this economy. Petrifying.
The strings on this song, lifted from a Richard Evans remake of the oft-covered ballad “Close to You”, are a genius example of reinvention. Far from the sweeping, syrupy feel of the original, the strings on “What’s Beef” have been chopped and distorted to deliver a sinister, far more menacing sound than the love song it once was. If Bad Boy super producers The Hitmen could find a way to make the song even more eerie, it could be used for a gory film about a scorned lover out for sweet, bloody revenge.
This song is a feel-good groove, but lurking beneath its uptempo Brooklyn bounce is the perfect skeleton for a scary remix. Pull those synths out and make them shriek like the standout violins in Psycho. At a lower pitch, the bass line would sound foreboding. It’s the song I’d want to hear in a movie about a haunted brothel where patrons enter…but never exit.
This gloomy track is already punctuated with blood-curdling screams and ghoulish background vocals that would serve any horror flick well. Building on Kendrick’s themes of survivor’s remorse and self-loathing, the accompanying film plot could be about a wildly successful person literally haunted by their own demons. The dizzying saxophone riffs would make for a chilling trailer.
Everything about this dark, brooding song is already petrifying. To really highlight its scariness, remove all elements except the creepy, plucked strings, Cudi’s tortured vocals, and the moody bass line. Pair with a film about the psychological horrors of being the only Black person in the workplace.
This song always freaked me out, and rightly so. Its creepy, vivid remarks on paranoia and loneliness are bone-chilling. For a modern horror update, isolate the iconic guitar riffs and partner with a film about a white cop who is haunted by the ghost of the unarmed Black teen he was acquitted of murdering.
Simon Says is a cute and innocent school game that could take a petrifying turn if one of the players is no longer in control. Picture it: a group of bored suburban teens decide to play a drunken game of Simon Says for nostalgia’s sake. Little do they know, “Simon” has telekinetic abilities and wants nothing more than to lead the rest of the players to their doom. Move over, Godzilla…those earth-shattering horns belong to the horror genre now.