Top Ten Favorite Songs Based On Films

Greetings friends,

These songs are based on films. I have not included songs that were made for films. These are also songs that I personally enjoy and from genres that I normally listen to. I limited each artist to one song so that certain bands would not populate the entire list. There are some bands like Iced Earth, Star One, Iron Maiden, Wednesday 13, and Metallica that have multiple songs that fit into this topic. Warning, I do talk about the movies that the songs are based on so I am obligated to give an alert for spoilers. I felt that it would be practically impossible to talk about the songs without talking about the movies as well.

10. My Chemical Romance – Early Sunsets Over Monroeville
This song was inspired by Dawn of the Dead (1978) (R.I.P. George Romero). I’m not a huge fan of “emo” bands. However, I did enjoy some of My Chemical Romance’s work, especially the two albums The Black Parade and I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. The latter of which is home to this song. George Romero is well known for his zombie films, this being one of his best. When it comes to zombie films I tend to prefer Lucio Fulci, that is beside the point though. This song does a good job of capturing the source material. The beginning of the song depicts the setting (which is a mall), “Up and down escalators, Pennies and colder fountains, Elevators and half price sales.” The middle and end of the song explores the dilemma of the character struggling with having to shoot his wife because she has turned into a zombie, “Not knowing you’d change from just one bite, I fought them all off just to hold you close and tight, but does anyone notice? But does anyone care? And if I had the guts… To put this to your head, but does anything matter? If you’re already dead…” Zombies are fascinating for reasons described amazingly well by the Nostalgia Critic (I’ll let him talk about it so I don’t have to).

Loved ones turning into zombies is something that is explored well by sources like George Romero’s movies and recently with the series The Walking Dead. Some of my poetry explores this idea too. Most notably my poem Winter of the Dead. It has some similar inspiration as the song above. I wrote it around the time of The Walking Dead premiere.

Winter of the Dead
My love is lying in the other room.
The fever has already started to spread.
I got up to be beside her.
I placed my lips upon her head.
Why have the gone began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
We were walking home.
When she was bitten by the dead.
It’s not the zombies I’m afraid of.
It’s the losing her that I so dread.
Why have the gone began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
The evil ones they walked behind us.
As I ran home with her in arms.
We both knew she was infected.
She had the virus in her head.
Why have the gone began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
Is it snowing yet? she asked me.
You see my love she loves the snow.
I opened the curtains and the white dust fell.
The beginning of my frozen Hell.
Why have the gone began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
I kissed my love one last time.
Her lips they tasted so divine.
I felt the blood stop within her heart.
We had promised to never be apart.
Why have the dead began to rise again?
This is the winter of the dead.
I laid down beside her.
Gun in my left hand.
I put my arms around her.
I put a bullet in our heads.

9. Rush – Cinderella Man
This song was inspired by Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936). Rush did a great job with this song. Since Rush is one of the greatest bands of all time, it is no surprise that they made it on the list. The more shocking thing might be that I listed them so low. Part of this is due to the fact they have much better songs than Cinderella Man. If Tom Sawyer was based off of a movie then it would be much higher on the list. The movie Mr. Deeds starring Adam Sandler is a loose adaptation of the original movie. I have never seen the original movie but I have seen Mr. Deeds and I have listened to this Rush song many times. The gist of the storyline seems to be about a rural man that inherits a large sum of money from an urban relative, “A modest man, from Mandrake, Traveled rich to the city, He had a need to discover, A use for his newly-found wealth.” The rural man has to go to the city and is introduced to many characters that seek to undermine him for his inheritance. The rural man comes face to face with the greed that is an unfortunate characteristic of the urbanites that he is surrounded by. They mock him and do their best to break him emotionally, “Because he was human, Because he had goodness, Because he was moral, They called him insane.”

8. Wednesday 13 – Haddonfield
This song was written about Halloween (1978). 1978 was apparently a good year for horror movies. John Carpenter helmed this movie who is also a well-known horror director. Halloween is about the slasher Michael Myers. Myers escapes the sanitarium he is being kept at (for the murder of his sister as a child) and returns to his hometown to kill again, “It was the night that he came home, So you don’t go out alone, When it’s dark in Haddonfield.” Myers fixates on one of the teenagers in the town by the name of Laurie Strode and stalks her, “And now he’s looking for Laurie, But she doesn’t even know.” Anyone that gets in the way of him and Laurie gets killed in the process. Myer’s psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis finds out about the escape and knows about what Myer’s intends to do and thus tries to stop him, “But Loomis is trailing him, And he won’t go without a fight, oh no.” Loomis does end up finding Myer’s in the end and shoots him. However, the body is never found. The song does a good job of capturing the character of Myer’s and retells the story of the movie for us, albeit a cliff notes version. The comparison of Michael Myer’s to the bogeyman is a nice touch, “It’s only the boogie man, And he knows what he wants tonight.” No one is safe when Myer’s is in town.

7. The 69 Eyes – Lost Boys
This song is inspired by The Lost Boys (1987). It is from the perspective of the lost boys. It has been a long time since I watched the movie, it is a horror movie about vampires. It centers around a couple of brothers that move to Santa Carla, California with their mother in order to live with their grandfather. The brothers meet up with some of the locals and end up finding out that some of them are vampires. One of the brothers is turned into a half-vampire (they are not full vampires until they kill). The head vampire of the area intends to turn the brothers mother into a vampire so that she can in turn be a mother for his lost boys which is another name for his clan. I can’t help but nod my head along to the groove of this song. It is really catchy and in my opinion one of the best songs by The 69 Eyes. The lines, “Morning light hurts your eyes” and “We are dead until dark” reference the vampire condition. The indirect sunlight causes pain and the direct sunlight can be fatal. When the main character Michael is discovering what he is in danger of becoming he experiences sensitivity to the morning light. Sunlight keeps the vampires of the area at bay during the day so although they are technically the undead, in their own way they come alive at night.

6. Metallica – Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
This song is inspired by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). This song is haunting and I think tries to capture what it is like to be in an actual sanitarium (although I cannot speak from experience). Some of the lines that stand out are, “They keep me locked up in this cage. Can’t they see it’s why my brain says ‘rage’?”, “Whisper things into my brain, Assuring me that I’m insane.”, and “Keep him tied, it makes him well. He’s getting better, can’t you tell?” I have never watched the movie that the song is based on (it is on my to-watch list) but from what I can gather from the song it is about a mental patient that is stuck in a sanitarium and does not enjoy the experience (not that one would). The mental patient towards the end is planning an escape. Throughout the song the character calls out for the sanitarium to just leave him alone. This could be the caretakers at the sanitarium or perhaps it has a deeper meaning of the actual building having a presence of its own.

(Vid)
5. Evergrey – Nosferatu
This song is inspired by Nosferatu (1922). Once again, I have never seen the film that this song is based on. The song is from the perspective of Nosferatu as they hunt their prey. They refer to themselves as an embodiment of darkness, an embodiment of despair, and classify themselves as the undead, “I am despair.”, “All the stories you’ve heard are true. The tales of my darkness too.”, “You must leave your breathing life. Only to be reborn in mine.” The song refers to the vampire bite as planting dark seeds. It also implies that in addition to drinking the blood that the soul of the victim is harvested.

4. The White Stripes – The Union Forever
This song is based on Citizen Kane (1941). I have not seen the film that this song it based on either. Some research led me to the site Songfacts. There I found the following breakdown that does a good job of explaining different aspects of the song.

3. Iced Earth – Dragon’s Child
This song is inspired by The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). There is beginning to be a pattern here of movies that I haven’t seen. I’ll have to correct that one of these days. This song is one of my favorite songs that comes from Iced Earth’s Horror Show album. The album also features songs based on other films and works of literature. The song Wolf is inspired by The Wolf Man films. The song Damien is inspired by The Omen films. The song Im-Ho-Tep is inspired by The Mummy. The song Jekyll & Hyde is inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The songs Frankenstein and Dracula are inspired by the stories of the same name. The song The Phantom Opera Ghost is inspired by The Phantom of the Opera. While I enjoy the entire album, Dragon’s Child stood out to me because when I listen to it I almost feel as if the creature is actually chasing me. The vocals capture the essence of the character and the music flows at a chilling pace setting the overall tone of the song. “Oh, beware the blackened water. The creature has come to take you away!”

2. Star One – The Eye of Ra
This song is based on Stargate (1994). I’ve seen this one! The movie is great and this song is an amazing tribute. Star One is a creation by man by the name of Arjen Anthony Lucassen that seems to exist for the sole purpose of creating songs with themes usually borrowed from sci-fi movies and shows. In addition to Lucassen, most of the albums feature guests from bands such as Symphony X, Nightwish, and Headspace. There were many to choose from and but this song stands out to me. In order to narrow the list down I started by picking my top five songs that follow the theme of this list. I then narrowed the top five down to my top two. From there it was agonizing trying to choose only one. Perfect Survivor (based on Alien) was the other contender for this spot until The Eye of Ra pulled ahead. I love how the backing vocalists complement the lead vocalist. It creates what in my opinion is practically a perfect song. The song switches perspectives throughout featuring a storyteller, archaeologist, marine, native girl (native to the planet they traveled to through the Stargate), and then all of them together. Archeologists on Earth discover what they call a Stargate in Egypt. After they find a way to activate it and program it, a team of archaeologists and marines travel through the gate to explore the other side, “I have finally found the key, to chart a course to the other side of the galaxy.” Unfortunately, once there they find themselves lacking the coordinates to program the Stargate on that world to return them home, “Unaware of our coming fate, we disappear through the ancient gate. We arrive in a desert land, and set up camp on the burning sand.” The team discovers a group of humans that are slaves to the god Ra and mine the planet for minerals for him. Ra turns out to be a member of another race that once had come to Earth in order to possess human bodies and extend his life. Ra enslaved the humans of Earth to mine for minerals and moved some of them to the new planet where the team find themselves, “Behold, a thousand slaves. Mining ores in the planet’s caves.” In the past, the humans of Earth revolted. Ra thus far has kept the humans on the other planet under his rule but the team of archaeologists and marines help the currently enslaved humans revolt as well, “A bloody battle has begun, we must destroy this king of the sun.” Eventually the final symbol for the coordinates to program the Stargate is discovered and the archaeologists and marines can return home, “We have found the seventh sign. Down in the catacombs. When the seven points align. They will lead us all back home.”

1. Iron Maiden – The Wicker Man
This song is inspired by The Wicker Man (1973). There is a remake of the The Wicker Man that came out in 2006. The remake is a steaming pile of shit. The original is a horror movie classic that is based on a book called Ritual by the author David Pinner. This song is in my opinion one of the greatest songs of all time. The movie takes place on an island called Summerisle where the islanders worship pagan Celtic gods. A police Sergeant by the name of Howie is sent to Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl by the name of Rowan after receiving an anonymous letter. Howie is shocked to find out about the ways of the islanders. After doing some research Howie comes to the conclusion that Rowan was chosen for a sacrifice which is part of a celebration by the islanders. However, Rowan is actually not the intended sacrifice, Howie is. The chorus of the song I believe alludes to the world becoming anew at the start of every day. They are dancing to celebrate the coming of their May Day celebration where all must join hands around a burning wicker man that contains a human sacrifice. The chorus is as follows, “You watch the world exploding every single night. Dancing in the sun a newborn in the light. Brothers and their fathers joining hands and make a chain. The shadow of the Wicker Man is rising up again.” I believe the ending of the song, “Your time will come, your time will come” to be suggesting that eventually the wicker man will choose you.

A special thank you to Wikipedia, Songfacts, and Dark Lyrics for the research assistance.

Thank you,
Jake Jeffries

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