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Top 10 Horror Musicals

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Trevor Fonvergne Blood and gore is okay, but it’s so much better when the characters sing about it! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Horror Musicals. For this list, we're looking at those films that combine both horror and musical elements into a dark, creepy experience you can sing along to. Special thanks to our users Norris Vaughn for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Trevor Fonvergne

Top 10 Horror Musicals


Blood and gore is okay, but it’s so much better when the characters sing about it! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 horror musicals.

For this list, we’re looking at those films that combine both horror and musical elements into a dark, creepy experience you can sing along to.

#10: “Cannibal! The Musical” (1993)

It’s typical that something this morbid came from the guys behind “South Park.” Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote this musical based loosely on a true story about a trip from Utah to Colorado that resulted in, you guessed it, the cannibalism of all but one of the passengers. Such a morose tale could’ve been a pretty big downer, but fortunately Parker and Stone helped us stay upbeat by throwing some very cheerful-sounding songs into the mix. Shot while the duo was attending college, they claim to have failed the film history class they were taking at the time of filming. Looks like things worked out all right for these hilariously macabre dudes, though.

#9: “The Devil’s Carnival” (2012)

This film opens with the deaths of three characters who then find themselves in a carnivalesque hell with 666 rules. To make matters even more interesting, each of these characters ventures on a musical journey based on one of Aesop’s fables. The stunning visuals, as well as the religious and fairytale-based symbolism, elevate this intriguing premise. Despite its dark humor, there’s a very real sense of dread that you just can’t shake, no matter how much singing and dancing there is. And we do love our horror musicals with an extra dash of dread…

#8: “The Phantom of the Opera” (2004)

The classic 1925 horror film didn’t seem like the most obvious choice of film for a musical adaptation, but Andrew Lloyd Webber made the story into one of Broadway’s most successful shows ever. The film adaptation, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum, manages to balance the creep factor with the dramatic flare of the score. The story follows opera singer Christine Daaé as she discovers that the “Opera Ghost” is actually a deformed musical genius who falls in love with her. With love, music and one of theatre’s most notorious anti-heroes, what more could you ask for?

#7: “Repo! The Genetic Opera” (2008)

Despite underperforming at the box office, this rock opera has gained a cult following since its release. Taking place in 2056, the film is set after an epidemic of organ failure has overtaken the world. Naturally, that means a biotech company has figured out a way to capitalize on this by loaning out organs. Sounds alright actually. However, if a customer fails to pay their loan, the Repo Man comes and “repossesses” the organs. The main plot follows young Shilo, played by Alexa Vega, as she learns that her father is the Repo Man. Dark, stylish, and original, the jams from this film will stay in your head long after the credits roll.

#6: “The Happiness of the Katakuris” (2001)

There are some strange movies on this list, but this one just might take the cake. This Japanese film follows the Katakuri family, who open a bed and breakfast where all the guests somehow meet their doom. But, instead of reporting the deaths, the family decides to conceal all of the deaths in order to keep their business running. The film takes on a rather bizarre, farcical tone, complete with claymation sequences and ironically cheery musical numbers. After viewing this film, you likely won’t have any idea what you just watched, but you’ll certainly be thinking about it for quite some time.

#5: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Henry Selick directed this Tim Burton film that blends horror and musicals just as well as it blends Halloween and Christmas. This dark, stop-motion feature tells the tale of Jack Skellington, the theatrical Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, who discovers and tries to embrace the light-hearted spirit of Christmas, with some misguided results. The visuals were revolutionary, landing the film an Oscar nomination, and the songs remain hauntingly beautiful, menacingly creepy, and downright freaky, hitting all the right notes for a family-friendly horror musical romp.

#4: “Phantom of the Paradise” (1974)

A not too thinly veiled rocker take on “The Phantom of the Opera,” this film also takes inspiration from novels like “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and “Faust.” A disfigured musical composer’s music is stolen by the corrupt producer, Swan, who thinks the composition will be perfect for the opening of his concert hall, the Paradise. After being framed and jailed, the composer decides to exact his revenge, while meanwhile falling for Phoenix, one of the singers at the Paradise. The film succeeds by paying tribute to past works of horror and musicals, while also creating a truly original cinematic experience, even receiving Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for its score.

#3: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007)

It was a match made in heaven when Tim Burton signed on to direct Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Tony Award-winning musical about a serial-killing barber whose partner turns the bodies of victims into meat pies. This is the kind of plot that sounds like it wouldn’t work particularly well for a musical, but with songs like “Epiphany,” “A Little Priest,” and “Johanna” crafting an eerie mood that works on so many levels, and Johnny Depp receiving an Oscar nomination for his surprising musical theatre prowess, this is easily one of Burton’s better films.

#2: “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986)

This comedy-horror is based on the stage musical of the same name, and follows the nerdy Seymour as he grows an exotic plant that feeds on blood in order to impress his co-worker, Audrey. Naturally, things get out of hand, and gory deaths ensue. Alan Menken’s score gleefully embraces both classic horror and musical elements, including a particularly jazzy singing plant who truly is the star of the show. Also, we won’t give any spoilers here, but be sure to check out the film’s original ending as it features one of the most horrific songs in the film but was altered in the final edit because it was considered too dark for audiences.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a couple of honorable mentions.

“Don’t Go in the Woods” (2010)

“Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead” (2006)

#1: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)

Nothing else could have topped this list because, quite simply, there is nothing else like it. Based on the stage play, this adaptation of “The Rocky Horror Show” follows the straight-laced Brad and Janet as they find themselves in the castle of Tim Curry’s iconic, sexually explorative mad scientist, Dr. Frank N. Furter. Developing a cult following that’s only gained momentum, “Rocky Horror” is a freak show from start to finish, with catchy song after catchy song pushing the bizarre plot along. The film’s legacy can still be felt decades later, as it holds the record for longest theatrical run in film history. Let’s just say that seeing this in the theatre is an experience like no other.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite musical gore fest? For more horrifically musical top 10s published every day visit WatchMojo.com.
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