With Halloween coming up, horror, thriller and sci-fi movies are in high demand. Unfortunately, you can’t always enjoy those stories on the road. As a substitute, here’s a handful of albums paired with a movie that best represents the feeling the album conveys. The matches may not be perfect in terms of content or focus, but I think you’ll have similar emotional reactions from each pairing.
Experimental hip-hop trio clipping.’s album Splendor & Misery is one of the most compelling, story-driven albums I’ve ever heard. Telling the tale of a revolt on a trans-galactic slave ship, the album is overloaded with synths, distortion and feedback that haunts the hull of the drifting spaceship. It’s a visceral album with incredible imagery. Take an hour to go for a nighttime stroll with the computer blips guiding you.
Movie Equivalent: Duncan Jones’ “Moon”
In 2000, Del the Funky Homosapien and Dan the Automator collaborated as Deltron 3030 to release a self-titled album exploring the future in the year 3030. The record explores corporate greed, government corruption and a litany of other societal issues through complex lyrics set to the backdrop of synth-heavy, computerized instrumentals. The vivid landscape painted throughout the album is bleak and cloudy — possible remnants from nuclear fallout and a collapse of civilization as we know it.
Movie Equivalent: Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” & Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049”
Neils Children’s 2013 album Dimly Lit fits under the genre of lysergic pop — music that pulls its influences from psychedelic drug use. The album is filled with open space for your mind to wander. Echoes, distant instrumentals and panicked vocals throw you into the bottom of a cave while having a bad trip on some sort of psychedelic. The album has a sense of claustrophobia; the songs creep closer and closer to your psyche without making any legitimate advances. It’s a weird back-and-forth that feels calming in an uncomfortable way.
Movie Equivalent: Drew Goddard’s “Cabin in the Woods”
Since Mac Miller emerged in the hip-hop scene years ago, he’s gone through several major changes in his music. In 2013, he released a self-titled mixtape under his alias Delusional Thomas. Opening the tape with gunshots and ominous child laughter, the album is as as spooky as it gets. Mac’s voice is pitched up, making him sound childlike. His subject matter is incredibly disturbing. Mac comes across as a genuine psychopath who very well might break into your home at any minute just for the fun of it.
Movie Equivalent: Wes Craven’s “Scream”
No Love Deep Web, the second studio album by Death Grips, is one of the band’s most unsettling to date and a descent into madness. Glitchy, spacious instrumentals that drone on in repetition make it seem like there’s no escape from yourself and approaching madness. The drums and bass are heavy as bricks throughout the project. They weigh down on your mind, letting the music wholly take over your body. No Love Deep Web is a look at what it’s like to give up on social norms and lose yourself — for better or worse.
Movie Equivalent: Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”
— Logan Rude
The original “Evil Within” was directed by Shinji Mikami, legendary creator of the “Resident Evil” franchise. The beginning of 2017 saw the release of “Resident Evil 7,” but for those who like their horror games with a faster pace and third-person view, “The Evil Within 2” is the perfect title to play on Halloween.
The latest survival horror game from Mikami’s Tango Gameworks is violent, disturbing and above all else terrifying. There’s a continuation of the original story and return of the same characters, but with how the plot is structured, playing the original isn’t necessary to understand the sequel. Dialogue is hit-or-miss, but when you’re constantly being chased by the game’s enemies — whose character designs are impressively twisted — the mediocre writing can be overlooked.
Unlike more recent horror games like “Outlast,” where running away or hiding are the only options when in peril, “The Evil Within 2” arms the player with an array of weapons to defend themselves against hostilities. While it still contains linear segments with dark, narrow corridors, other areas are more open, allowing for player freedom when navigating the zombie-infested streets of its small-town setting. If you’re looking for a horror game that will make you unsettled and unhinged for 15 to 20 hours, give “The Evil Within 2” a try.
— Brandon Arbuckle
Imagine the sensation of a thousand soaking wet blankets piled on your back. Imagine the cold. Imagine the darkness pulling you in and pushing you down — not to hurt you, but just to hold you. That’s what playing “Silent Hill 2” feels like. It’s this intense, physical but psychological atmosphere that sucks you in and drowns you in itself.
It’s the second game in the “Silent Hill” anthology horror series, and by far the best. It follows the story of James Sunderland who comes to find his dead wife in the titular town of monsters, but it’s not just about him. It’s a small cast, but “Silent Hill”, unlike any other game series before or since, feeds off the psychology of its characters. Their personal demons are reflected not only in the demons they fight but in the environment and geography of the town itself. Even F. Scott Fitzgerald could never hope to reach the level of mastery over symbolism present here.
The game does have one major drawback — it’s hard to get. It was released in 2001 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Windows. It had one awful HD re-release in 2012 that should not be touched, so the only legal way to play the game proper is to either dig up a rare Windows copy or find an old console. Personally, I recommend the latter. Happy hunting, and Happy Halloween.
— Marty Forbeck
For anyone looking to satisfy their horror movie craving, 2016’s “Don’t Breathe” is an underrated, non-stop thriller that is guaranteed to have you holding your own breath as well. The film, directed by Fede Álvarez, focuses on three friends as they attempt to break into the house of an elderly blind man living alone with his wealth. However, the teens quickly realize that the man is a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and is not planning on letting any amateur burglars escape alive. The most unique aspect of this film is the creative team’s ability to maintain a steady pace of turmoil and anxiety. The audience is never given the opportunity to calm down from the previous scare and is forced to share the emotions of the frightened characters. Stephen Lang gives a haunting and physically demanding performance as the blind man, while Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette, of “13 Reasons Why” fame, are undeniably sympathetic as protagonists, making the audience forgets about the illegal intention that initially started the dilemma. “Don’t Breathe” is an excellent example of an original concept with thrilling execution and should be a top priority for your Halloween plans.
— Alex M. Jancovich
While Nicolas Winding Refn’s commercial breakthrough remains to be the 2011 neo-noir “Drive,” I’m sending out a personal recommendation this Halloween for his 2016 brainchild, “The Neon Demon.”
Refn’s fetishistic vision sends Jesse (Elle Fanning) into the carnivorous realm of the Los Angeles fashion scene. Building her stature from the ground up, Jesse jells with fellow models Ruby, Gigi and Sarah. At first, the film casts a hypnotizing, idyllic sheen of awe on the carefree world of objectification, but as Jesse grows in popularity, tensions rise between the models. Despite her persistence to impact the fashion world, the lifestyle reflects its own intoxicating effects back on Jesse. Jealousy, lust and pure rage devour and shape the inner psyche of the girls, and Jesse soon discovers the sinister underbelly of her inner demons which will either help her survive the hostile competition, or bring about her untimely end.
I don’t expect everyone to like it — in actuality, about half of those who see it, hate it. Nevertheless, I urge you to give it a try, as Refn injects visual horror, paranoiac insanity and a deafening commentary on the pitfalls of cultural vanity in ways that will truly and effectively never leave your mind. “The Neon Demon” isn’t a traditional “scary” film, but during a holiday set on being something you’re not, there’s no better way to reflect that concept than through two hours of nail-biting, seat-squirming, toe-curling intensity.
— Christian Memmo
David Fincher is back with yet another Netflix hit, following the success of “House of Cards,” only this time he’s focusing on an entirely new level of corruption. “Mindhunter” follows two FBI profilers in the 1970s as they interview famous serial killers, the most memorable being Edmund Kemper, the infamous “Co-ed Killer,” trying to figure out not how they do it, but why. What “Mindhunter” lacks in jump-scares it makes up for in terrifying psychological games. Fincher is no novice when it comes to a slow and scary burn. He brings us right into the late ‘70s and immerses us in this world in a way that makes you feel like you can’t escape — and it doesn’t help when you remember that it’s based off of a true story. If you want to be up all night, just go ahead and google the “Co-Ed Killer.” Cameron Britton, who plays Kemper, does a fantastic job with his terrifying role. “Mindhunter” is perfect for fans of murder mysteries and true crime alike, so if you can take a break from binging “Stranger Things,” give it a watch.
— Monique Scheidler