Bela Lugosi’s Dead | Bauhaus

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Bela Lugosi’s Dead | Bauhaus

Greg McClure

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“Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.” – Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Dracula (1931).

As children turn into young adults, trick-or-treating turns into Halloween parties. Playlists are often assembled of songs that may have some spooky themes, but are overall danceable and won’t scare a guest away. This song is not meant for those playlists.

Clocking in at just over 9 and a half minutes, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” the first single from the English post-punk and gothic rock group Bauhaus, is the kind of song that should play in your head if you are walking through a forest alone, late at night.

This song isn’t scary, but it is unsettling to say the least. Peter Murphy’s baritone doesn’t come in until almost 3 minutes into the track, but the mood of the piece has already been established by the instrumentation. The icy and echoing drum part, the descending and minimalist bass line, and the chiming guitars all mix to leave the listener feeling unsettled.

This song is considered Bauhaus’ signature tune and is one of the first examples of gothic rock. It has had a big influence on gothic culture — not limited to music. It is included in the soundtracks of quite a few films and television episodes, such as The Collector (2009), David Bowie’s erotic vampire film The Hunger, and episodes of Supernatural and American Horror Story: Hotel. These nods are only fitting considering that the song’s title references Bela Lugosi, whose 1931 portrayal of Dracula is held as the classic interpretation of the role.

If you have a night of solitude ahead of you, give this track listen. If you are adamant about having “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” on your Halloween playlist, may I suggest the chvrches cover from 2014.