Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Night Prowler” — AC/DC (1979)

Too scared to turn your light out
‘Cause there’s somethin’ on your mind
Was that a noise outside the window
What’s that shadow on the blind

Highway To Hell is AC/DC’s best album and that’s not even up for a debate, so let’s move on from that statement and declare that Night Prowler could be the spookiest song the band ever recorded.

It’s also the final track on the last studio album fronted by the late lamented Bon Scott, and it’s a slow blues-rock blast of creepy crawliness that shows a classic rock band at the height of their powers. Between that chunky Malcolm Young riff, Scott’s sinister vocal stylings, and of course Angus Young’s howling guitar solo, Night Prowler is a powerful rocker, but it makes our list of Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs because all of those effects are put to great use in order to creep the pants offa you.

And it works. The Prowler is unstoppable. He surrounds himself with all the accouterments of creeping terror: a dark world at midnight, streets bare, dogs howling somewhere off in the distance, the menace of the grave, the chill of the spine, and his intended victim lying in a state of helpless, frozen fear. Terror really doesn’t get much more primal and evocative than that.

The song was said to inspire an actual serial killer, and in response the band claimed that the song was actually about a guy sneaking in to his girl’s bedroom window for some late night noodlins. Your mileage may vary. I think the record speaks for itself. And that ain’t a bad thing.

A rat runs down the alley
And a chill runs down your spine
And someone walks across your grave
And you wish the sun would shine
‘Cause no one’s gonna warn you
And no one’s gonna yell attack
And you don’t feel the steel
Till it’s hangin’ out your back

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