Bauhaus Recorded The Greatest Halloween Song

Written By Mikey Sutton • Editor-in-Chief • Owner

Bauhaus‘ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is the ultimate Halloween song. Without a doubt, it captures the horror and darkness of Halloween like few others can. In fact, both musically and lyrically, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” screams Halloween.

The English post-punk band Bauhaus released “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” as an independent single in 1979. Although disco hadn’t perished yet, the genre began to suffocate radio. Thus, commercial FM stations at the time wouldn’t touch a morbid rocker like this.

Then again, it’s also 9:36 long.

Bauhaus gradually developed a cult following in the early ’80s. Director Tony Scott even used “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” in his sexy horror movie, The Hunger, in 1983.

Bauhaus Recorded The Greatest Halloween Song

That grew into a gothic rock movement, mainly in the U.K. Similarly gloomy artists such as the Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Joy Division continued the sounds of doom. Although they were contemporaries of Bauhaus, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” turned into the Big Bang of gothic rock.

Still, the impact of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” weren’t felt in America until the ’90s. Alternative superstars such as Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails adopted parts of Bauhaus into their modern sounds.

Consequently, alternative-rock stations revived “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” They introduced the track to larger, younger listeners. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” became a favorite on New Wave flashback shows and especially Halloween specials.

For good reason. Decades later, that hasn’t changed.

Bauhaus named the song after the late actor Bela Lugosi. Lugosi played Count Dracula in director Tod Browning’s 1931 classic, Dracula. The role branded him forever. Shockingly, Lugosi didn’t portray Dracula again until the 1948 comedy, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, in 1948.

Lugosi passed away in 1956. He was 73.

Bauhaus Recorded The Greatest Halloween Song

Bauhaus Recorded The Greatest Halloween Song

Image: Getty

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead” echoes the black-and-white creepiness of Browning’s film. David J’s droning, ominous bass opens the cut. From that haunting intro, it already sounds like a funeral march for a vampire. Scratchy guitar riffs create even more nightmarish tension. Enter the foreboding vocals of Peter Murphy. Without a doubt, Murphy sings like a vampire.

His words bite into the flesh:

The bats have left the bell tower
The victims have been bled
Red velvet lines the black box

When he chants, “Undead undead undead,” he clinches the title as the best Halloween song.