In 1981, when I was a sophomore at Grissom High School in Huntsville, Ala., I went with friends to “Halloween II.” It’s difficult for kids now, who are accustomed to lots of gore and torture, to understand how ground-breaking and terrifying the Halloween movies were at the time.
At the end of “Halloween II,” when we think Michael Myers is dead (again), the song “Mr. Sandman” plays in the background.
Every time I heard the song after that, I got a chill. I recall thinking at the time that the producers of “Halloween II” had ruined a perfectly good – and innocent – song. Originally recorded in 1954, first by Vaughn Monroe and then by The Chordettes, it beckoned the folkloric Sandman to “bring me a dream,” making it entirely incongruous with the murderous Michael Myers.
So what other innocent-seeming pop songs have been ruined by horror movies? I was thinking about this over the weekend when Sweetums and I watched “The Autopsy of Jane Doe,” a highly rated supernatural thriller. (Great suspense and performances. Very creepy). The song ruined in that movie? “Open Up Your Heart (and Let the Sunshine In),” perhaps best known as a tune sung by Pebbles and Bam Bam on the Flintstones but written in 1954 and recorded by the McGuire Sisters.
Watch the Pebbles and Bam Bam version below.
I recalled the song but didn’t remember its pop lyrics to an upbeat tune were all about the devil. Here is a sampling:
Mommy told me something a little kid should know.
It’s all about the devil and I’ve learned to hate him so.
She said he causes trouble when you let him in the room.
He will never ever leave you if your heart is filled with gloom.
So let the sun shine in, face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose and frowners never win.
So let the sun shine in, face it with a grin
Open up your heart and let the sun shine in.
When you are unhappy, the devil wears a grin
But oh, he starts a-running when the light comes pouring in
I know he’ll be unhappy ’cause I’ll never wear a frown
Maybe if we keep on smiling he’ll get tired of hanging ’round.
You can see how its use in a horror film gave me the creeps. Below is my list of songs ruined by horror films. Which songs would you add?
- Mr. Sandman, “Halloween II,” 1981
2. Did you ever see a dream walking? (Bing Crosby and others, 1933), 1985’s “Nightmare on Elm Street 2” and 1988’s “The Lady in White.”
3. Tip-toe Thru’ the Tulips (originally published in 1929 but Tiny Tim’s 1968 version is the best-known), 2011’s “Insidious” and 2015’s “Insidious 3.”
4. Jeepers Creepers (a jazz standard published in 1939), 2001’s “Jeepers Creepers.”
5. We’ve Only Just Begun (Recorded in 1970 by The Carpenters), 2007’s “1408,” based on the Stephen King short story.
6. Rocky Mountain High (recorded in 1975 by John Denver), 2000’s “Final Destination.”
7. Run, Rabbit, Run (originally published in 1939), 2016’s “Get Out.”
8. Let the Sunshine In, 2016’s “The Autopsy of Jane Doe.”