5 Of Our Favorite Horror Musicals! Let’s Dance!

Image: KPBS

When it comes to horror films, most people don’t really think of singing and dancing. We think of gore, jump scares and murder. We think of people being chased by a crazed serial killer or blood and guts. In reality, some writers and directors thought it would be creative (outside of the box ideas) to put a fun twist on the horror genre and create a toe-tapping song-and-dance. Well, the good news is that these ideas worked for our top five favorite musicals.

Let’s check them out!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Image: Vanity Fair

When I think of horror musicals, THIS IS THE ONE. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) has boosted the LGBT community since its conception into the horror genre. The cult classic, musical comedy horror film was based on the 1973 musical stage production, The Rocky Horror Show. The screenplay was written by Jim Sharman and actor Richard O’Brien (also starring as the character of Riff Raff). It also stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick.

Even though the film has received backlash since its release in 1975, audiences around the world have returned to theaters to watch the film as it’s referred to as, “the midnight movie.” On top of that, there are Rocky Horror conventions held in different locations that last for days. As a fan favorite, this horror phenomenon deserves to be at the top of our list. “DAMMIT JANET!”

Now, let’s do the Time Warp!


Little Shop Of Horrors (1986)

Image: IMDB

“Little shop, little shop of horrors!” Ha! Yes, I am singing that song because now it’s stuck in my head! Little Shop Of Horrors (1986) is a horror comedy musical film based on the off-Broadway musical comedy of the same name. The screenplay was written by Howard Ashman and directed by Frank Oz. It stars Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Steve Martin.

The 1986 film was actually a remake to the 1960 film, Little Shop Of Horrors. That Venus flytrap just won’t stop talking! The original finale of the 1986 film had to be re-written and re-shot after test audiences didn’t react kindly to it. That’s okay because it has become a fan-favorite and is indeed deserving to be on our top five list. If you haven’t heard the news, The Hollywood Reporter affirmed in February of 2020, that another remake was in the works and it is set to star Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton and Billy Porter.

“Feed me Seymour, feed me!”


Beetlejuice (1988)

Image: Wikipedia

The film might not be a true musical but some scenes do require some of the characters singing and dancing. However, Beetlejuice (1988), did spawn a stage musical at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. in October of 2018. The musical also opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on April 25, 2019. The show is scheduled to end on June 6, 2020 and a national tour is expected to begin in 2021.

The film is a horror comedy written by Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren. Directed by Tim Burton, the film was a commercial success as it grossed in at $73.7 million. It stars Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. That poor married couple didn’t even know that they were ghosts! So tragic to haunt your own house and try to force the new owners to leave.

“I’m the ghost with the most, babe.”


The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Image: Google

This might be one of the best musical films ever made in some fan’s little black book. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 95% based on 94 reviews and has hit an average rating of 8.25 out of 10. Tim Burton’s, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), is a stop-motion animated musical Halloween-Christmas dark fantasy film directed by Henry Selick. Voice cast includes: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara (also in Beetlejuice – above), William Hickey and Paul Reubens.

The film first originated in a poem written by Tim Burton in 1982 while he was working as an animator for Walt Disney Feature Animation. Disney ultimately released the film through Touchstone Pictures because Disney believed that the film would be, “too dark and scary for kids.” However, the film met financial success grossing in over $76 million. As a fan-favorite, the film is shown on cable network channels during the Halloween and Christmas seasons.



Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)

Image: IMDB

I must admit, it’s kind of different (almost weird) seeing Johnny Depp on the big screen inside of a musical film, but it works, and he certainly captivated audiences. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007), is a musical period slasher film directed by Tim Burton as well. Good ole Burton creating a unique style to separate himself from the “typical” hype of filmmaking.

The film is an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Tony Award-winning 1979 musical of the same name. It stars Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp as the English barber and serial killer who kills his customers with a straight razor. It’s kind of sick as you watch them process the dead bodies into meat pies. MMMMMMM….. corpse meat pies. Gross haha!

“Swing your razor wide!”


These top five musicals made the cut. If you can think of any other ones to include for another post, by all means, let us know!

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