Monstrous creatures like vampires and zombies have haunted our imaginations for centuries. Our obsession with these fantastical fiends shines through in pop culture with the abundance of hit songs about monsters released in the last century.
Although some of these songs are only trotted out to celebrate Halloween, most aren’t specific enough to classify as “Halloween songs” and should be considered for your playlist all year long.
Add some horror to your soundtrack by listening to these classic (and sometimes not well-known!) songs about monsters!
25 Songs About Monsters for Your Playlist
Traditional Monster Songs
The first 15 songs are mostly about mythical creatures, imagined monsters, werewolves, vampires, and other creatures of the night. If you’re looking for a song celebrating a classic beast or night of terror, these are the tunes for you.
Monster Mash (Bobby Pickett)
Pickett’s endearing “Monster Mash” is arguably the most well-known Halloween song and typically makes every Halloween playlist. The 1962 pop classic features monsters such as Frankenstein and Dracula dancing the iconic mashed potato and Twist.
Play this monstrous melody at your Halloween party to get everyone on the dance floor showcasing their 50s dance moves!
Thriller (Michael Jackson)
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is so iconic that it’s played all year long. The story of creatures lurking just out of sight, chasing unwitting victims, and wreaking havoc in the night is a tale as old as time. This masterpiece of a song morphs the story into a theatrical experience.
I dare you not to rush to the dancefloor the second you hear the iconic howling and electrifying power cords opening the song.
Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon)
Although it started as a joke, “Werewolves of London” morphed into one of the most iconic songs about monsters ever recorded. The catchy chorus, which includes fun howling, is impossible not to sing along to, and the bluesy guitar rifts add interesting layers to delight even music critics.
The classic rock song is perfect for a playlist all year long and will delight listeners regardless of the season.
Mest is the early 2000s pop-punk scene’s most underrated band. Their fourth LP, Photographs, featured a song by their secondary vocalist, Jeremiah Rangel, describing a horrifying nightmare he experienced featuring a zombie apocalypse.
“Graveyard” isn’t a typical Halloween song. The dead are only mentioned once at the beginning of the tune, but the haunting yet powerful lyrics perfectly describe the feeling of helplessness and maniacal hysteria one might feel amid a world-ending zombie plague.
The Purple People Eater (Sheb Wooley)
If you’re looking for a fun Halloween song to add to a monster playlist, look no further than the ridiculously fun “Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley. This late-50s novelty song adds whimsical fun and catchy lyrics to any Halloween party.
Enjoy the tongue twister and see if you can sing along to the one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater!
Godzilla (Blue Oyster Cult)
Blue Oyster Cult celebrates one of the most well-known monsters in modern pop culture with a killer rock tune. The catchy chorus and fantastic guitar riffs betray the seriousness of the lyrics – a monster on a rampage destroying Tokyo.
The final refrain is a repetition, highlighting the song’s main point, how powerless men can be in the face of nature’s brute force.
Furry, Happy Monsters (REM)
“Furry Happy Monsters” is a parody of REM’s classic “Shiny Happy People.” REM switched the words to describe carefree monsters frolicking about enjoying the sunshine. In the second verse, the monsters get sad, but as the song ends, they rediscover their joy and are happy again.
The song was created for the children’s show Sesame Street. REM performed it live on air for the show, and it’s part of Vol 1 of the Songs of the Street soundtrack.
I Want a Monster To Be My Friend (En Vogue)
Sesame Street embraces songs about monsters. The R&B group En Vogue also created a fantastic piece about monsters for the iconic children’s show. En Vogue sings about wanting a scary monster with a big heart as a friend.
The sweet melody and soft vocals will make everyone want a monster friend.
Green Monster (Suicide Silence)
You’d expect monstrous themes in death metal and Suicide Silence delivers. Although the lyrics ultimately decry the horrors of capitalism (the true green monster of the song), they are often incomprehensible.
“Green Monster” is perfect for your playlist if you want to jam, headbang, and get angry.
Eye of the Zombie (John Fogarty)
John Fogarty’s bluesy rock ballad describes an evil monster lurking in the darkness outside a nearby village. The catchy chorus blames a zombie, but the rest of the lyrics leave the creatures up to the imagination.
The creature with hideous teeth hides in the dark, but the last lines, “You can’t hunt a shadow, you can’t kill a dead man,” may represent a deeper meaning. Sometimes there is nothing to fight in the dark but our own humanity.
The Monster is Loose (Meatloaf)
The hard rock jam by Meatloaf describes a monster living in a cage, growing more spiteful and hateful day by day. The song takes a terrifying turn in the chorus when Meatloaf shouts, “THE MONSTER IS LOOSE!”
The fast-paced melody, strong instrumentals, and forceful lyrics showcase the horrible truth: the monster lives in us. Is it the man, meatloaf, or the beast inside that is loose and dangerous?
Men in Black (Will Smith)
Will Smith’s rap solo “Men in Black” isn’t technically about monsters but about the top-secret government agency tasked with saving the world from monstrous alien invaders.
The fun song accompanies the cult classic movie and describes the secret activities and brave actions of the heroes sworn to protect our planet from extraterrestrial invasion.
Bark at the Moon (Ozzy Osbourne)
Heavy metal jam “Bark at the Moon” describes a monstrous werewolf escaping from his torment to wreak havoc on those who cursed him.
Osbourne’s trademark devilish vocals and laugh add to the frightening aura already imbued by the lyrics, while the accompanying cords and fast tempo are sure to get the heart racing.
Banshee Under My Bed (Fenians)
Irish folk rock band The Fenians sing a delightful tale of a horrifying banshee hiding under a child’s bed. The poetic lyrics and easy rhythm make it the perfect song for a sing-along. After one listen, the entire group will be shouting:
“Mommy, there’s a banshee under my bed,
I can’t go to sleep in the morning I’ll be dead
If you don’t come quick, she’ll eat up my head
There’s a banshee under my bed!”
The Thing That Should Not Be (Metallica)
Opening with Metallica’s signature guitar rifts, “The Thing That Should Not Be” describes an ancient creature lurking beneath the sea, awakened to hunt and drive humanity mad.
The song features heavy guitar while frontman James Hetfield channels his inner Ozzy to belt out the frightening lyrics. An epic guitar solo accompanied by heavy drums completes this heavy metal classic.
When Humans are Monstrous
Most songs about monsters use them as an allegory for human behavior. Although this may be the case for some of the pieces above, the overt symbolism leaves it up to the listener to decide whether the song’s villain is a creature of evil or a person exhibiting monstrous behaviors.
There’s no confusion in this next group of songs. People can be monsters, too, depending on your perspective. Some of the best songs about monsters are actually about the horrific things humans do to each other, as portrayed in these five incredible pieces.
Monster (Lady Gaga)
Lady Gaga’s famous “Monster” isn’t about a real monster but describes a relationship gone wrong. The beast is a man, the “bad boy” archetype who smooth-talks women to get what he wants. The woman in the song, a Lady Gaga self-insert, keeps wondering if there could be a relationship, even after feeling used after the encounter.
The pop melody is easy to sing along to and makes a fantastic dance number. The catchy chorus makes it a perfect addition to any playlist.
Man in the Box (Alice in Chains)
Lyrically, “Man in the Box” offers horrific imagery. The man in the box suffers immense abuse, covered in refuse with eyes sewn shut. Lead singer Layne Staley’s intense vocals masterfully add to the uncomfortable scene.
The song was a big hit in the 1990s. Most people will recognize the melody, which offers a somber yet thrilling addition to any Halloween score.
Mommy’s Little Monster (Social Distortion)
One of punk rock’s most iconic bands sings of troubled children living lives of self-destruction. The title itself highlights the juxtaposition of parents’ expectations versus reality, describing kids as mommy’s little monsters rather than mommy’s little helpers.
The song is quintessential Social D with a fast tempo, powerful lyrics over a quick beat, and a fun guitar solo to break up the verses.
Scary Monsters (David Bowie)
80’s Legend David Bowie highlights the ways toxic relationships can make people become scary monsters. The lyrics make it unclear whether the man or woman in question is the monster, she seems mentally unstable, but what did he do to cause it?
Bowie’s deep vocals and monotone rhythm add a sense of terror to the backdrop of fast-paced techno beats popular in the 80s.
Monsters (Erik Church)
Erik Church’s country ballad reminds us that monsters aren’t lurking underneath the bed; they’re our fellow humans walking among us.
Church has a traditional country twang, and he lets the powerful vocals act as the centerpiece, accompanied by slow guitar strokes that build up to an impressive solo mid-way through.
Monsters Inside of Us
Many musicians also use monsters as metaphors to describe feelings or urges within themselves. Addictions, inappropriate behavior, and intrusive thoughts can often make us life monsters. These songs highlight the helplessness and horror we often feel at ourselves in the face of our shocking inner thoughts.
Die Monster Die (The Misfits)
The punk rock jam chorus “Die Monster Die” belays the reality behind the verses. Repeated themes of mirrors showcase the truth: the monster is in you.
The high-speed tempo, power cords, and intense drum beats are typical of the genre, making it a perfect tune for the mosh pit.
Monster (Kanye West)
Kayne West’s self-portrait “Monster” represents the very worst the iconic rap artist feels about himself. The lyrics paint a grim description of West, and due to the singer’s eccentric ways, it’s often unclear whether he’s singing about how he feels or how the media sees him.
The slow-paced intro sounds almost bluesy before transitioning into a traditional rap song with heavy bass and witty rhymes.
Note: this song contains graphic language.
The alternative rock ballad opens with slow guitar strokes backing up a vocal-heavy introductory verse. The guitar builds into a rock jam in the lead-up to the chorus, providing an epic jam matching the change in tone.
The song describes lead singer Brent Smith’s struggle with internal monsters, which often seem outside his ability to control, a problem many of us can relate to.
Monster (Imagine Dragons)
Image Dragon’s “Monster” describes a battle we all face: feeling different inside, unable to control some of the urges we face.
The pop-rock tune features fun beats and the potent vocal array of frontman Dan Reynolds. Reynolds has the unique ability to reach deep into your soul highly with his charged and passionate voice.
My Own Monster (Katy Perry)
Before she was Katy Perry, Katy Hudson published a 10-track LP that included the haunting “My Own Monster.” The song gives voice to fears many of us experience, often created in our own heads.
The song features the powerful vocal range Perry came to be known for, while the soft melody, creepy intro, and intense emotions make listeners wonder if the fear is imagined.
Monsters Abound in Song
As you can see, songs about monsters range from mythical to human. Some of the best and most popular songs featuring monsters aren’t about creatures of the night at all. They are about the monster lurking within all of us, giving a name to the horrible thoughts and feelings we try to keep buried.
Musicians who sing about monsters offer us insight into the darker portions of our minds and give us the freedom to explore these hidden places through song.
There’s no better way to embrace the macabre side of humanity.