No creative discipline has the power to perturb its audience quite like cinema. Yes, other visual arts can evoke stirring emotions of primal fear, but that is nothing in comparison to the deep way cinema can coax fear out of an audience. One only has to briefly cast your mind over the plethora of different types of film that manage to stoke fear to heed this point.
The final montage of grisly Nazi murder in Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, the macabre allegorical nightmare of the Saw franchise, or even films such as We Need to Talk About Kevin, all strike fear into the heart of the consumer as they speak to the very base kind of human fear that we all know too well. Clenched jaws and sweaty palms are the norms when watching such films.
Given that the thrills and general emotional rollercoaster scary films provide, the way they appeal to the innate human desire to be scared has led to some musicians attempting to emulate it in their music, in a bid to take their songs out of the mundane and into the visceral.
These attempts can range from trying to directly emulate the themes of the big screen onto the song sheet to the more subtle, where the eeriness is felt through textures and brief lyrical inferences. The list of musicians employing movie horror is truly innumerable.
This modus operandi has been tried by everyone from Type O Negative to Lady Gaga, and even more surprising figures, such as the Queen of off-kilter pop, Kate Bush.
It turns out that there’s a lesser-known track in her back-catalogue that takes great inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s 1977 novel, The Shining. Taken from her 1982 album, The Dreaming, ‘Get Out of My House’ places the song’s narrator in the same terrifying universe as the incredibly spooky Overlook Hotel from The Shining.
The song takes on the essence of an asylum, and the pounding rhythm of the drum gives it a suffocating, claustrophobic feel. This expertly emulates the film’s iconic feeling that the walls are always closing in. Bush’s lyrics also build on this sentiment: “This house is as old as I am / This house knows all I have done.”
Kubrick’s adaptation of the book was genius in the way that it brought all of the horrors of King’s words to life. Aided by his education as a photographer, visually, Kubrick established The Overlook Hotel as one of the most spine-tingling environments ever put to film.
Another genius thing about Kubrick was the fact that Bush was not the only musician he has inspired. The way he perceived and developed art has influenced a wide array of musicians including David Bowie and Blur. However, Bush’s take on the film is undoubtedly one of the most chilling ever put to record.
Listen to ‘Get Out of My House’ below.