Horror vinyl became a big new trend in 2018. From well-established labels such as XL Recordings (home of Adele) to lesser-known oddballs such as Death Waltz Records, plenty of spooky outlets are taking the vinyl revival to its natural, horrific conclusion, this year releasing or reissuing killer horror soundtracks as lush, lovingly produced vinyl packages.
We couldn’t quite run to 666, but here are six of the best, all ideal stocking fillers for your favourite vinyl-loving horror nut this Christmas.
What is it? Thom Yorke’s ethereal collection for the new remake of Italian horror maestro Dario Argento’s witchy, psychedelic ’70s classic.
Label: XL Recordings
Why it’s great: The new movie, directed by Luca Guadagnino, moves the action to ’70s Berlin, overlaying the film with emotional fall-out from WWII. For all the heaviosity, Yorke’s soundtrack is light as a feather; haunting soundscapes seep into minimalist piano ballads such as the standout ‘Suspirium’.
Spookiest detail: Creepy lyrics scratched into the inner sleeve – “I’ve turned, turned, all broken, my bones” – will bring flashbacks to anyone who’s seen the movie.
What is it? Many horror fans consider the original Suspiria to be Argento’s masterpiece, but perhaps that honour falls to Profondo Rosso (aka Deep Red), his 1975 giallo (a style of Italian thriller that usually involves an unknown killer, an amateur detective and buckets of blood) that swings with visual panache and camp, over-the-top violence – and throws in a horrifying, buck-toothed doll, too.
Label: Death Waltz Recording Co.
Why it’s great: This might be the most beautiful package in this collection – thanks to the gold-embossed sleeve and blood-red vinyl – and the music, provided by Italian prog-rock heroes Goblin, is a wildly inspired combination of disco, thumping rock and lashings of alternative jazz.
Spookiest detail: You open the record to be confronted with an image of blood-stained hands playing piano, a chilling indication of things to come.
What is it? The 11th movie in the Halloween franchise picks up where the first one left off, disregarding the mythology that the sequels cooked up; we’re in back-to-basics territory. The original’s creator, John Carpenter, didn’t direct this latest remake, but he did return to the keyboard for the intense soundtrack.
Label: Sacred Bones Records
Why it’s great: This the first Halloween soundtrack Carpenter has scored since 1982’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Here he’s back with a vengeance, lacing his inimitable synth themes with claustrophobic percussion, ghostly piano and even barbed electric guitar. Which kind of makes you think: I can’t believe it took John Carpenter 40 years to think of doing the Halloween theme with electric guitar.
Spookiest detail: The inner-sleeve confronts you with a massive image of the killer wielding a fuck-off knife.
What is it? The first Halloween sequel, set on the same night as its predecessor, written by John Carpenter and collaborator Debrah Hill but directed by hired hand Rick Rosenthal, sees the action move to a desolate hospital. As with the original, Carpenter provides a tense soundtrack that winds up the claustrophobia, ice-cold synths reflecting the chill of that fateful night.
Label: Death Waltz Recording Co.
Why it’s great: The soundtrack is harder and gnarlier than that of the original, but it’s the stunning new artwork that makes this Death Waltz release so essential. Artist Paul Mann has dreamed up a distinctly ’80s design, the cover a collage that blurs murderer Michael Myers into images of a pumpkin and his arch-nemesis Dr. Loomis. Inside, there’s an even more impressive illustration, similar in style, that blends memorable images from the movie.
Spookiest detail: Pumpkin-orange vinyl with blackened flecks that seep into the dark centre of the record.
5‘Daughters of Darkness’
What is it? Your favourite Belgian lesbian vampire movie from 1971. A young couple checks into a hotel in Ostend, Belgium, the only other guests two glamorous women, one of whom the concierge swears to have met 40 years previously – and she hasn’t aged a day. Readers, the women are vampires.
Label: Music On Vinyl
Why it’s great: The soundtrack is as camp and baroque as the movie, filled with swooning strings and swirling organ arrangements. The vinyl package is a doozy, too, adorned with a shimmering gloss finish and, as an added bonus, containing a schlocky ’70s poster of the movie.
Spookiest detail: Blood-red vinyl, of course.
What is it? Argento’s self-reflexive masterwork, a 1982 giallo about a novelist whose horror thriller inspires copycat killings, the gore fabulously silly even by the director’s standards.
Label: Waxwork Records
Why it’s great: The movie features various touchstones from Argento’s career and three members of Goblin reformed to pay homage with this swinging, electronic camp-fest. The records here, one blood-red and another razor-blade grey, await inside a matte sleeve designed and illustrated with devilish attention to detail.
Spookiest detail: The cover is a cut-out that frames a character’s bloodied face in a white sheet, an unshakable image from the film.