On the surface, The Misfits come across as somewhat of a musical oxymoron. Their rhythm sounds like pop-driven early punk and hardcore while their lyrics center around brutal, horror-based themes. To top it off, Glenn Danzig's theatrical vocals resemble a wailing 50's style of pop that resemble nothing so much as zombie Elvis. Over time, The Misfits brand has been popularized and plastered all over t-shirts, hats and other merchandise, leading many in younger generations to recognize the Misfits name or their iconic skull logo without actually knowing any of their songs. Those poor souls are in luck: Introduce yourself to these horror punk pioneers by checking out our list of the top 10 best Misfits songs in anticipation for their monumental reunion at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this December.
If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that this song may be the worst wedding song of all time. But on the flip side, it may be one of the best and most well-known Misfits songs. This song was titled after a horror film with the same name which had previously been released overseas under the name Frantic in 1965. Metallica covered this song in 1998 for their album Garage Inc.
According to former Misfits guitarist Bobby Steele, "London Dungeon" was conceived in a British jail cell after Danzig and Steele were arrested for fighting in the streets of London while on tour. Apparently Danzig had been arrested first and Steele literally got in a fight so he too could have a place to sleep overnight. The early days of punk are just fascinating, aren't they?
"I Turned Into a Martian" comes off the 1982 album Walk Among Us and apparently recalls that one time Glenn Danzig turned into an alien while on tour. Or maybe it's a musical biography of Marvin the Martian? The source of inspiration is a mystery for sure, but we do know that this song has evolved over the decades into one of the Misfits' most recognizable songs.
Some songs capture moments perfectly and are ambiguous enough to relate to most people's everyday lives. Although there is a certain horror element to this song, the opening lyrics implore us to enjoy the little things in life and seize every moment like it's your last. "If you're gonna scream, scream with me, moments like this never last." That sentiment could apply to any fans of any genre (well, maybe not classical).
Like many other Misfits songs, this one also carries the same name of a 60's horror film, The Astro-Zombies. In this one, a mad scientist decides to create superhuman monsters to get revenge for being fired by his space agency. If listeners didn't pay enough attention to the lyrics, they may have overlooked the dark content because of the vagueness of the chorus. "All I wanted to say, and all I gotta do, who'd I do this for, hey, me or you" sounds like it fits in a love song instead of a science fiction payback fantasy.
Who knew a song that proudly proclaims "It's my destiny to eat flesh!" would be so dang catchy? "Ghouls Night Out" perfectly captures the Misfits signature horror punk style with pop melodies that have you obliviously singing along to this lyrical nightmare.
This gem is named after the 1968 horror classic in which a zombie apocalypse takes over the world. The original vinyl pressing of this song included other notable Misfits songs, "Rat Fink" and "Where Eagles Dare" on the B side and was limited to 2,000 copies worldwide.
3. Last Caress
"Last Caress" is arguably the band's most famous song and between its poppy, yet progressive rock-driven melody and the horrifying lyrics, it truly illustrates the uniqueness of the Misfits and the horror punk genre as a whole. Any Misfits fan will tell you that this song is a must listen for anyone introducing themselves to the band.
Some have speculated that "Some Kinda Hate" off of 1985's Legacy of Brutality album is a subtle insult to The Velvet Underground's 1969 song "Some Kinda Love". Regardless, this song has buried its hateful self into our hearts forever. Many long-time Misfits fans have raved that this is one of their most beloved original Misfits jams off of possible their best album: Legacy of Brutality's tracklist offers up other classics such as "Come Back" and "American Nightmare."
No song rounds out this list better than "Skulls" off of their 1982 album Walk Among Us, because nothing screams horror punk more than a man dressed as a skeleton shouting "I want your skull, I need your skull". Don't let the catchiness of this song fool you because its lyrics, much like the others, are dark, sinister and gory.