Musicals are always a popular movie choice. Whether it’s a movie adaptation of a popular Broadway show, or an entirely new idea that happens to be a musical as well, there are plenty of them out there, and plenty that release each year, especially thanks to Disney. Even if you’re not a fan of original scores, there are plenty of jukebox musicals to enjoy as well, using already existing popular songs in it and building their story around that.
Perhaps one of the most interesting takes on a musical is when horror elements are incorporated. When we think of horror it’s often slashers and jump scares, and definitely not any kind of songs continuously being sung by the characters in it. Even so, there are many musicals that can be considered horror, and there are plenty of them that grew popular enough to become classics and gain cult followings. Check some out for yourself now, or find more to enjoy more you might not have known about.
7 repo! The Genetic Opera
repo! The Genetic Opera is based on a stage musical of the same name, brought to life in film. This sci-fi horror movie is set in 2056, where organ failures run rampant among the population, changing the very nature of human life. An evil fictional megacorporation known as GeneCo provides organ transplants for those who need it, and put their clients on a payment plan to cover the cost. If they miss a payment, however, they are hunted by repo men who will kill them and ‘repossess’ the organs.
When the CEO of GeneCo is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he decides his children aren’t worthy heirs and instead plans to give it to Shilo Wallace, the daughter of his ex-fiancee. Shilo, meanwhile, is dealing with her own issues, stuck inside thanks to a rare blood disease and completely unaware that her father is a repo man. As she begins to test her luck and sneak out, she discovers the corrupt nature of the world and just how much she’s been unaware of. Though its initial release had mixed reviews, it grew popular among audiences, quickly becoming a cult classic.
6 The Phantom Of The Opera
The Phantom of the Opera probably needs no introduction, but has a very storied history; the 1910 novel from Gaston Leroux has been adapted into a classic silent film with Lon Chaney and, for our purposes, a grand Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The show is the longest running Broadway musical, still playing at the same theater it opened at in 1988. There have been dozens of adaptations, but the Joel Schumacher film from 2004 is perhaps best known for bringing the drama and music to the big screen.
The story follows a stand-in for an opera singer. When a masked opera ghost appears before her later at night and takes her into his underground lair, she discovers he’s begun to fall in love with her and even already has a wedding dress for her. He begins to torment the theater after taking her back, trying to get her in the lead and doing anything to get her there, even resorting to murder. The movie received a few nominations at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, including one for Best Musical or Comedy. The 1925 and 1943 films are the best for horror, but this version is the best for the music.
5 Anna and the Apocalypse
A dark Christmas zombie musical might sound improbable, but that’s exactly what Anna and the Apocalypse is. Anna is about to finish school and move on to university, but has plans to take a gap year despite her father’s disapproval. She doesn’t even notice when a zombie virus breaks out, finishing her shift at the bowling alley and going home like normal. It isn’t until the next day when she and her friend are going to school that they discover the zombie breakout, suddenly needing to find a place to survive.
As Anna and her friend meet up with others in the bowling alley and find out there are people they care about stuck in the school building, they have to find a way to fight the zombie hordes and survive long enough to get everyone back together and get out of the town. The movie was received well upon release, getting praise for its performances and unique musical numbers.
4 The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a musical comedy horror film based on the stage production The Rocky Horror Show. It parodies many sci-fi and horror movies, making it full of classic movie clichés. When a recently engaged couple’s car breaks down in the rain, they seek refuge in a nearby castle, hoping to be able to call for help. When they reach it, they discover they are interrupting an annual Transylvanian convention, for which everyone is dressed up in elaborate costumes.
The head of the house, Dr. Frank N. Furter, introduces himself to the couple, upon which they find out he’s actually a mad scientist. When he creates and brings a person to life, things begin to go downhill as Frank quickly grows jealous and relationships begin to grow strained. While the initial reception was negative, the film became a hit as one of the first big cult classics and a true midnight movie after audiences began participating with the film. Audience members would frequent the theaters and talk back to the characters, and some even began to dress as them and perform alongside the movie, and that’s what turned it into a cult classic with one of the best original soundtracks in movie history.
3 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Based on the musical of the same name, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a story about love and revenge. Benjamin Barker returns to London 15 years after being falsely convicted by a corrupt judge who lusted after his wife. Taking the name Sweeney Todd, he returns to his old shop and learns from Nellie Lovett, the woman who runs the meat pie shop under his, that his wife is now dead because of the judge.
Vowing sweet revenge, Todd begins to murder anyone in his way of getting to that judge, and Lovett is all too eager to help him out by using the remains of his victims in her pies. The movie went on to be nominated for several awards across different awards shows, including the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and the Oscars. It even won Best Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes.
2 Little Shop of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors has a rather unique take on aliens, as here, they take the shape of carnivorous plants. During a full solar eclipse, flower shop assistant Seymour discovers an unusual plant and brings it back to the shop, naming it Audrey II after his co-worker. He soon discovers that the only thing that will get the plant to grow is human flesh and blood, and as its uniqueness brings a lot of business and attention to the once struggling store, Seymour begins to give into the plants whims.
Soon, his own blood is not enough to keep up with the plant’s appetite, and he has to think about resorting to murder to keep his good fortune coming. The follow-up to a 1982 off-Broadway show (and delightful remake of Roger Corman’s 1960 classic) received several nominations across awards shows, like the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and the Oscars.
1 The Nightmare Before Christmas
One of the most popular Halloween and Christmas movies is The Nightmare Before Christmas. This isn’t like any ordinary Disney movie, as it does actually bring a lot of things that might scare kids to life in the stop-motion claymation style. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, is having a crisis, as he’s become bored with the yearly routine of frightening people in the real world every Halloween. He accidentally stumbles upon Christmastown as he wanders around, and all the bright colors and new things inspire him to plot against Santa Claus and take over Christmas for himself. He soon learns that the holidays are all separate for a reason.