2. Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Once More, With Feeling
In 2001, Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wrote and directed a ground-breaking episode of the series. In this case, he added music writer to his resume, because Once More, With Feeling was a fully developed musical episode.
The songs ran the gamut from Disney-inspired (Buffy’s opening number Going Through the Motions), sweet love songs (Under Your Spell, sung beautifully by Amber Benson’s Tara), rock (Anya’s Bunnies and Spike’s Rest in Peace) and a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers tribute (Xander and Anya’s I’ll never tell). There’s even the requisite “I Want” song, Buffy’s Something to Sing About, when she finally tells her friends the dark secret she has been hiding.
The premise: A demon named Sweet has come to town, and has made it so that the residents of Sunnydale sing and dance themselves into flames. It’s up to Buffy and the Scooby Gang to once again save Sunnydale, and they come to some harsh realizations in the midst of all the song and dance.
Fun fact: Anna and the Apocalypse director John McPhail says his film was influenced in part by Once More, with Feeling. You can stream all of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series on a variety of services, including Hulu, Facebook and Amazon.
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
This 1993 stop-motion classic is the Pumpkin King of horror musicals. The animation is gorgeous, the actors are perfect for their roles, and the music is rich and memorable.
Jack Skellington is in charge of Halloween Town’s annual Halloween celebration, and is feeling a little stagnant. He walks in the woods, accompanied by ghostly dog Zero, and ends up stumbling into Christmas Town. Entranced by the snow, the lights and all of the Christmas-y atmosphere, Jack decides to take over the duties of “Sandy Claws” and puts together a creepy/delightful mix of cheer and fear.
The Nightmare Before Christmas is populated by fantastic characters, like Sally the rag doll and the burlap-covered mound of bugs that is the villainous Oogie Boogie.
The songs stick in your head; you’ll be singing This is Halloween for days! Danny Elfman provided the singing voice for Jack, and his yearning, soulful Jack’s Lament is so heart-felt that it takes your breath away.
There has always been a debate as to whether TNBC is a Christmas movie, or a Halloween movie, and I have always maintained that it’s both. The Nightmare Before Christmas can be streamed on several services, including Disney+, Vudu and Amazon Prime.
Do you enjoy musicals? Tell us about some of your favorite horror musicals in the comments section.