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Seven Horror Musical Movies

Updated on March 15, 2017
Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd
Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd

Seven Horror Musical Movies


One doesn’t typically think of horror and musical movies being a natural pairing but the creativity of the horror genre provides some great inspirations for musicals. Some horror musicals are beloved weird cult classic and some just too weird to fully understand.

This is a list of Seven movies that fall into the Horror Musical genre. This is not a definitive list by any means. They are not ranked and are in no order. They are just great movies to watch at Halloween time.

Do you enjoy Horror Musicals?

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs.Lovett. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs.Lovett. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Directed by Tim Burton in 2007, Sweeney Todd stars Johnny Depp in the titular role. Based on a Victorian Penny Dreadful and London urban legend the movie was based on the Broadway musical from 1979 by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler.

Sweeney Todd is about a barber who is out for revenge against the evil Judge Turpin who ruined his life by cause his wife’s suicide and sending Todd to Australia for a crime he didn’t commit. He teams up with a Mrs. Lovett who bakes the victims of his shavings in her meat pies.

While the actors are traditional hollywood actors and not musical they all do well with the material. Like all of Burton’s movie, Sweeney Todd has his signature style of quicky dark macabre that lends itself very well to this unsetting musical.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Nell Campbell as Columbia, Patricia Quinn as Magenta,Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter and, Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff, Rock Horror Picture Show
Nell Campbell as Columbia, Patricia Quinn as Magenta,Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter and, Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff, Rock Horror Picture Show

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Very few films/musicals have Rocky Horror’s level of cult status. The movie came out in 1975 and was directed by Jim Sharman. It was based on a musical by Richard O’Brien who wrote the movie screenplay with Sharman and played Riff Raff. Initially the movie was panned by critics but it became a midnight movie when audiences at the Waverly Theatre in New York city starting participating with the film in 1976 which cemented it as a cult movie and a great movie to watch around Halloween.

The plot centers around a young engaged couple who lost their way after getting a flat tire. Seeking a phone, they find a castle find with outlandish people who are holding their Annual Transylvanian Convention. What is ensues is a madcap ride filled with sensual antic and over-the-top musical numbers.

What makes Rocky Horror stand out is the midnight shows but the songs themselves are fun and catchy enough to be humming for days.

Little Shop of Horrors

Rick Moranis as Seymour, Little Shop of Horrors
Rick Moranis as Seymour, Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors

Directed by Frank Oz, the movie version of Little Shop of Horrors was released in 1986. It was based off of an off Broadway musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. The biggest difference between the two versions is the ending. The original ending of the musical very dark as the plant take over the world which makes it more of a cautionary tale opposed to movie version which has a standard Hollywood happy ending. The original ending was shot but it tested badly with audiences.

The story follows a nerdy florist, Seymour who has a faustian deal with a man-eating plant that he can be rich and get the lady he loves if he keeps the plant fed with fresh human.

Also another note, record label want the song “Suddenly Seymour” to be changed to “Suddenly Someone” to make it more marketable but the filmmaker didn’t sell out and kept the song as it was originally intended.

The film does a great job of weaving the music into the flow of the narrative and the puppetry work is really top tier.

On a personal note, This is my favorite musical movie, even including Bollywood movies.

Chandramukhi

Jyothika as Ganga, Chandramukhi
Jyothika as Ganga, Chandramukhi

Chandramukhi

Speaking of Bollywood movies, most of the movies to come out of India are musicals. This means that even the few number of horror, thriller or supernatural movies are in fact musicals. To be clear Chandramukhi is not a Bollywood, it is actually a Tamil movie.

Chandramukhi, Moon Faced Woman, came out in 2005 and was directed by P. Vasu. It is a Comedy Horror movie. It is actually a remake of 2004’s Apthamitra which was also directed by P.Vasu which itself was a remake of a Malayalam film called Manichitrathazhu from 1993. It was also the first Tamil movie to be dubbed in German.

Chandramukhi tells the story of an extended family and the creepy goings on of their mansion that is haunted by an ancient courtesan who is out for revenge on the king that beheaded her lover.

There is a unhinged creepy vibe to this movie that is only enhanced with the comedy and music.

Also if you want to watch a Bollywood horror movie there is 2007’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa.

The Happiness of the Katakuris

The Happiness of the Katakuris
The Happiness of the Katakuris

The Happiness of the Katakuris

Directed by Takashi Miike and released in 2001, The Happiness of the Katakuris is a horror comedy musical. It was loosely based on The Quiet Family which is a Black Comedy movie from South Korea which was released in 1998. t won a Special Jury Prize for its director at the 2004 Gérardmer Film Festival.

It takes a surreal approach with the narrative as some scenes are dream-like fantasies, karaoke style for the songs and even Claymation. Its take on comedy is more in the farce tradition than in wit.

The plot is a family bought a guest house near Mt Fuji however the only guests they get end up dying one after another. They family soon finds themselves caught in a web of fear and lies and it only gets worse when a con-man comes around.

The strength of this musical is just how crazy it is with it take on musical number and its insane brand of comedy. Also singing Zombies.


Phantom of the Paradise

William Leach as the Phantom of the Paradise
William Leach as the Phantom of the Paradise

Phantom of the Paradise

Directed by Brian De Palma, Phantom of the Paradise came out in 1974 on Halloween. It is a mixed of Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait Dorian Grey and Faust by Goethe/Christopher Marlowe. The music was done by Paul Williams. Williams also did the Phantom’s singing voice as well as played the antagonist, Swan.

The plot follows Phantom of the Opera but more along the lines of the 1943 version where his music is stolen and he was disfigured during the course of the movie and not from birth. The Phantom does get his redemptive arc which was in the book but not so much in the previous movie versions, like the 1925 Lon Chaney version or 1943 Claude Rains .

Phantom of the Paradise is a great adaptation of phantom that adds a lot bright and over the top colors. It also really makes the story all its own. The Music is a great combo of 50’s and 70’s style.

And remember, you can always watch the 2004 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Terrance Zdunich as the Graverobber & Alexa Vega as Shilo,  Repo! The Genetic Opera
Terrance Zdunich as the Graverobber & Alexa Vega as Shilo, Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, Repo! The Genetic Opera came out in 2008 and was based on a 2002 musical of the same. The musical was written and composed by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich. Zdunich appears in the movie as the Graverobber. Repo! The Genetic Opera is Splatter punk rock opera that has a comedic edge while still being a horror. The movie was a bomb at the box-office but has since found a cult following with its futuristic rock goth style.

The plot goes that in the distant future there is an epidemic of organ failure and a company, GeneCo, provides people with organs but if they are even a minute late with the payment a Repo Man comes for the organ.

Repo! The Genetic Opera is very over-the-top and is intentionally gross with all the organ and blood imagery. While the lyric at time do lack subtlety it’s a weird mixed of crazy fun and bizarre.

Paris Hilton won a Razzie for worst supporting her role as Amber Sweet, a spoiler rich girl who addicted to surgery.

Which one of these movies would you most likely watch this Halloween?

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What is your Favorite Movie Musical?

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