Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Voodoo” — Godsmack (1998)

Hazing clouds rain on my head
Empty thoughts fill my ears
Find my shade by the moon light
Why my thought aren’t so clear
Demons dreaming, breathe in, breathe in
I’m coming back again…

I remember the first time I saw Wes Craven’s The Serpent and the Rainbow. It was in theaters in 1988, right when I was in high school and HUGE into horror movies. It wasn’t a big hit or anything; maybe a long-lost forgotten film from Craven’s filmography. Certainly not as famous as his Nightmare on Elm Street or Scream movies.

I thought the movie was fantastic — creepy, terrifying, cringe inducing, and very, VERY real. The film explores the travels of an American pharmaceutical stooge (played by Bill Pullman) as he makes his way through Haiti. The organization he represents wants to get their hands on “Zombie Powder” to be used as a potent anesthetic. In search of this holy grail of huge pharma corporate profits, he enters the world of voodoo, zombies, black magic, and a big nasty spike going right through his nutsack.

Read that last line again.

The Serpent and the Rainbow terrified and fascinated me, and apparently it made a lasting impression on Godsmack singer Sully Erna as well. He in turn wrote the song Voodoo for the band’s 1998 debut album, inspired by the Wes Craven movie, and the results are equally haunting. I mean sure, the tune is drenched with that late 90s alt-metal meets nu-metal vibe, which for many is terrifying enough on its own.

But the song works. It’s catchy, it’s creepy, and it perfectly captures the terror of a white man way out of his element, trying to exploit Haitian Vodou for his own personal gain. At multiple points in the movie, anyone assaulted with a high dose of the “Zombie Powder” is left paralyzed, unable to move, or speak, or do anything at all. To all appearances, they are “dead”. Except they are far from it.

And then they are buried alive…

Consider that terror while you’re listening to Voodoo. Trapped underground, in the dark, locked in a coffin, while still very, very much still alive.

I’m not the one who’s so far away
When I feel the snake bite enter my veins
Never did I want to be here again
And I don’t remember why I came…

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