Scary is subjective. I don't find most metal bands scary. Corny, but not scary. Well, Phil Anselmo scares me. That voice. I found Air Supply to be scarier than the bands listed below. But that's for reasons other than their stage show and their wonderful hair. Many punk bands would qualify as scary since the chances of having your eyeballs punched out was a clear possibility if you attended a FEAR concert.
However, in the spirit of Halloween, I went with bands who embodied the chance to live out your darkest fantasies and who may or may not have done a dance or two with Beelzebub. Most of them like costumes, too. Often are good with make-up and spectacular with hair.
Honorable Mention--Rob Zombie: Zombie is a virtual industry at this point, making music, movies and other Zombie-like paraphernalia that's established him as a "Go To" guy when it comes to all things Halloween. But he's really too smart to be scary. (That's a compliment, Rob).
10) Mercyful Fate: Faithful readers of this blog know how keen I am on King Diamond. His goofy Gene Simmons-like makeup and his consistent holding of upside down crosses and petulant screaming make him one of those people who you know you shouldn't invite over for dinner but you do anyway because you have a big heart. And then he throws the punchbowl at your head and your mom tells you that's the last time you can have friends over....but MOM, I'm 40!
9) Insane Clown Posse: Have people died at their concerts? Out of fear? Out of excitement? Out of boredom? Out of unsubstantiated rumors? Horrible rappers, but what a stageshow.
8) Venom: File under: Guys Who Hang With Satan. I don't like to say that anyone can bring "bad vibes" with them, but when you put on a Venom record you definitely feel a change in the air. It's like when my mom would make meatloaf and the whole house would smell bad because she didn't know how to make it and she put all these weird ingredients in it. That's how I got lead poisoning. What's your story?
7) GWAR: File under: guys who take the joke too far. Yeah, it's all fun and games until someone gets an eye poked out. They've been known to "lampoon" popular figures like Paris Hilton and George W. Bush, who I understand still has a few months left on his contract with the U.S. Government before he can run for Commissioner of Major League Baseball. If so, would you raise the mound?
6) The Mentors: Well, their singer's dead so they're not as scary, though they have been on the "comeback" trail from time to time. Wikipedia, the authority on everything arbitrary, calls them a "rape rock band" known for their "sexist lyrics." With tunes like "Golden Shower," you have to take your chances as an audience member since you never know when life is going to start imitating art.
5) Slipknot: Let's hear it for guys who fear they're too ugly to show their real faces. Is that the deal here? Most guys form bands to get girls. How do you get them if nobody knows who you are? "Yeah, I was the guy with the bass guitar in Slipknot." I've never tried it, but I wonder if it works?
4) The Misfits: Danzig would go on to a career as Danzig. But it was his earlier band that really captures the Astrozombie vibe and for which I've always been partial. Walk Among Us remains a punk classic, introducing horror movies to those who might otherwise have watched Lifetime TV.
3) Kiss: Sure they were a little silly. Just look at those boots. I don't know if Gene Simmons was really scary--well, I wouldn't want to battle him in court, that's for sure--but he did spit blood and breathe fire and sing in a voice that sounded like someone punched him in the stomach a few too many times and Kiss knew how to party and use fireworks and levitating drum risers and sing songs like "Hotter Than Hell" and "God Of Thunder." For them, it was Halloween everyday and they got paid in more than just candy that's for sure.
2) GG Allin & The Murder Junkies: You were taking your life into your hands attending a GG Allin concert. He liked to fling his feces into the audience and urinate mid-song. He threatened to kill himself onstage and take the audience with him. Hell yeah, that's worth $8.50. Sign me up. Remember, you only live twice.
1) Black Sabbath: C'mon, who else could qualify? Iron Butterfly? Black Sabbath virtually invented the idea that bands could sing about Satan and witches and magic and fairies who wear boots and they did it with a sound that takes all the air out of your Halloween bag. With Ozzy, with Dio, and not with that other guy from Deep Purple, Sabbath represented the bleak Birmingham, England scene as if they were providing the soundtrack to Rosemary's Baby. I'll have a cup of death with that, please.