We’re halfway through the month of October, and since it’s Monday once again, that means it’s time for another Halloween-appropriate entry of the Monday Music Video. This time we’re going back to 1985 for a song that was used in a film that has nothing to do with the season, but the song itself is quite appropriate. The song? “Dead Man’s Party”, by Oingo Boingo.
If one just listens to the song, it feels like it’s a perfect fit for the season. It’s upbeat, but off-kilter. It has a sense of fun and a sense of the macabre at the same time. Great for Halloween parties. Looking at the video, however, one notices an unexpected individual showing up to the party: one Rodney Dangerfield. This is because the song, though written for the album of the same name, was also used in the soundtrack for the Dangerfield comedy Back to School. It was one of three songs off the Dead Man’s Party to be used in films. The best known is “Weird Science”, used in the film of the same name, and the other is “No One Lives Forever”, used in both The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Casper: A Spirited Beginning, two films which probably couldn’t be more dissimilar.
Despite the inclusion of Rodney Dangerfield, the video doesn’t completely abandon the themes expressed in the song. The album cover for Dead Man’s Party is designed in homage to the Day of the Dead, and the same skeletal figures show up in the beginning and end of the video, playing music in stop motion form. This will seem eerily prescient for anybody who remembers who was the front man for Oingo Boingo: Danny Elfman, who would go on to score numerous soundtracks, especially for Tim Burton, including the stop-motion macabre movies The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.
In a way, Danny Elfman’s entire musical career has been a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more?