I am very funny and will not be taking feedback
Hello, friends and foes! I’m easing back into blog work by treating myself to an article about something super fun – puns. I’m a big pun fan (see: any previous post, basically) and the metalcore band Ice Nine Kills writes lyrics almost exclusively in puns and wordplay, so… I dig it.
Ice Nine Kills (sometimes stylized as INK) is a metal/heavy metal/metalcore band from Boston, Massachusetts. (We literally cannot escape the horrors of New England on this blog.) They’ve been releasing music since the mid-2000’s but didn’t see commercial success until they signed with Fearless Records in 2015. That success absolutely exploded with the 2018 release of The Silver Scream and then exploded AGAIN with the 2021 release of The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood.
At the band’s helm is Spencer Charnas, devastatingly handsome lead singer and creative director. His vision for the band and their records is crystal clear: horror, horror, horror. They’ve tackled literary greats (i.e. Stephen King, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde) and film giants (Psycho, Saw, Candyman) and they’ve totally killed it. They’re scary good at what they do, from concept to production to merch design, and I’m honored to highlight some of their best (and scariest) lyrics.
Also this served as an excuse to listen to their discography and that was fun for me.
These aren’t in any particular order but I did save my personal favorite for last. Also, check out the end for some honorable mentions. If I didn’t include your favorite track or lyric, let me know in the comments or on Twitter dot com (@AllisonKrebel).
13 ) Hip to Be Scared (The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, 2021)
“Casually cleaving without ever grieving / but wait, let me give you my card / “That’s bone!” / there is no real me, just this dark entity / that cannot be redeemed so it’s time to say goodbye”
This track is based on the 2000 film American Psycho (which is based on a book but we’ve been over that already: http://www.littlebookblogofhorrors.com/2021/10/10-horror-movies-you-didnt-know-were-based-on-books/). The song is in the perspective of the main character, literal psychopath Patrick Bateman, as he comes to terms with his emotionless, cold-hearted and let me reiterate- psychopathic, killer tendencies. This line, as do many in the track, references an iconic scene where Bateman and other banking execs are trading business cards. The color of Bateman’s is ‘bone’, and he won’t let you forget it.
12 ) Enjoy Your Slay (The Silver Scream, 2018)
“Come drain or shine / I’ll hit your whole bloodline / Shall we tell Old Jack what he’s won? / A chopping spree around the family tree / where you can hang once all the work is done”
Our first Stephen King mention on the list, this track is inspired by the 1980 film The Shining (based on King’s 1977 novel of the same name). This song is chock-full of mentions of shining (young Danny’s mysterious supernatural ability) and axes and hotel vacancies. This particular stanza refers to the protagonist Jack’s descent into madness and subsequent attack on his wife and son with an axe. Personally I think the writer-gone-mad trope never gets old. Also, shout out to the chorus: “Welcome to your last resort, don’t overlook the past”. Get it? The Overlook Hotel? Heh…
Fun fact about this song: it features vocals from Sam Kubrick, the grandson of Stanley Kubrick, director of The Shining. The band has also played this track at the real life Overlook Hotel.
11 ) Assault & Batteries (The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, 2021)
“And once he’s planted his seed / you’ll know your life’s been uprooted / ’cause safety’s not guaranteed / assault and batteries included! / Stitched back together it seems / by the evil bride of his dreams / heaven help you if you hear him scream”
The signs are all there: the seed, the bride, the heartless assault of innocent consumers – it’s Good Guy Chucky! This one’s inspired by the classic 1988 horror flick Child’s Play and the CCU (Chucky Cinematic Universe). It was tough to cherry pick a single part of this song because the whole thing is just wicked hilarious. Chucky is an icon and this song totally did him and his killing spree justice.
Shout out to this line, which I quote on the daily: “Hidey-ho, bitch!”
10 ) Stabbing in the Dark (The Silver Scream, 2018)
“Where blood’s thicker than water / I’ve carved up quite a scene / With your worst fears cast on this white veneer / I’ll change the face of Halloween”
It only takes one mention of Halloween to know this banger is about Michael Meyers and the Halloween franchise, started in 1978 and spanning nearly three decades. Blood is thicker than water as Michael is on the deranged hunt for his sister Laurie through the picturesque town of Haddonfield. On Halloween night he carves up anyone he can get his hands on, all while wearing an emotionless white mask (which was made from a cast of William Shatner’s face???). I think we can all confidently say Michael Meyers’ mask is, without a doubt, the face of Halloween. Honorable mention to: “You can’t kill the boogeyman!”.. I mean, literally. How many sequels is he going to survive?
9 ) The American Nightmare (The Silver Scream, 2018)
“They all think it’s just pretend / you’ll never ever sleep again / all your friends are fucking dead / you can’t turn down your own death bed”
If the creepy nursery rhyme didn’t give it away, this one’s based on Wes Craven’s 1984 classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street. The song is written from the perspective of the dream-villain Freddy Krueger as he slashes his way through unsuspecting teens. I love a straight-up pun – all they want to do is sleep, but they can’t close their eyes without Krueger appearing in their dreams to gut them. Death bed, indeed. Poor Johnny Depp!
8 ) The Jig is Up (The Silver Scream, 2018)
“I saw through the selfish but saw no soul / they saw through skin, they saw through bone / Out on a limb to save my city / They’re all just gears in my machine / I savor every puzzled scream / a piece of them to carry with me”
Lyrical genius has been achieved in this track based on Saw (2004) and it’s decades’ long span of sequels. The song is written (according to my calculations) from the perspective of John Kramer, AKA “Jigsaw”, the villain of the film. Kramer’s initial desire is to simply see if his victims have the will to live, not to kill them on his own. His traps are designed to push the victim to recognize the value of life – even if they have to kill someone else to survive. Puzzled screams, pieces to carry with him, very “Jigsaw” things to say. Also, OUT ON A LIMB? If you know… you know. (Poor Westley. This was surely not as you wished.)
7 ) Funeral Derangements (The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, 2021)
“It all began with a skid on the pavement / it ends here with funeral derangements / The flesh is living but the souls have spoiled / The wrath of God lays beneath this soil”
I’m biased in my affection for this song because Pet Sematary (both the 1989 film and 1983 Stephen King novel) is one of my favorite pieces of media of all time. But you can’t deny the absolute power in these proclamations of God’s abominations, risen from the grave when they should have just stayed buried. Sometimes, dead really is better. The protagonist of this deranged tale is Louis Creed, a young father who discovers an ancient burial ground that brings the dead back to life, as evidenced by the family cat, Church. But the living return… wrong. The souls have spoiled, leaving them nothing more than murderous shells of the people (and cat) they once were. Honorable mention to Louis’s internal debate on whether or not to bury his dead son: “still I can’t escape this struggle / driven when push comes to shovel”. Incredible.
6 ) Me, Myself & Hyde (Every Trick in the Book, 2015)
“I’m the devil on your shoulder but I’ll always be your better half / we might share one body but the spine is fucking mine”
This track is from an earlier album with songs based on horrific works of literature. This one, if not evidenced by the title and mention of evil other-halves, is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s a classic for a reason; the timeless power struggle between Doctor Henry Jekyll and… himself. The good doctor found a scientific way to transform himself into an evil alter-ego, the sinister Mr. Edward Hyde, in order to indulge in his darkest desires without marring his good reputation. This track is a love-letter not just to Stevenson’s tale, but to our own inner battle between the good in us and the undeniable evil. “I’m waging war on myself / a captive casualty”. So haunting, so beautiful, so metal.
5 ) Merry Axe-Mas (The Silver Scream, 2018)
“Now Santa’s claws are out / the sinners scream and shout / I made sure the noose was yuletide tight / so much for a silent night”
Christmas and horror! This song is based on the 1984 Christmas/horror flick Silent Night, Deadly Night. Santa’s claws (get it… sandy claws) are out as traumatized, grown-up orphan Billy goes on a killing spree the night before Christmas. The film itself had a rocky start; heavily criticized for painting Santa in a negative (and murderous) light. That didn’t stop it from developing a cult following, however. Looks like Spencer Charnas is among the faithful, because he wrote this killer track about Santa’s not-so-holy night. (Also, yule-tied tight!! I don’t have to explain how amazing that is.)
4 ) A Rash Decision (The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, 2021)
“But the truth hits like a truck / all bottled up / so hard to swallow now that it spreads so quickly”
It was SO HARD to choose a line from this song! It’s inspired by horror icon Eli Roth’s directorial debut Cabin Fever (2002), starring Rider Strong from Boy Meets World (which made it 100x more scary in my opinion.) As so many good horror stories begin, a group of dumb college kids head into the wilderness for a relaxing weekend of sun, booze, and skin-eating blood infection. Turns out, the river (the water supply for the nearby town) has been infected with a disease that turns sufferers into rashy, bloody, flesh-dripping time bombs. The protagonist, Paul, tries in vain to save his friends and, ultimately, himself. This line is in reference to the end of the movie (so, spoiler alert) where a truck full of bottled, infected river water is driving away to be sold, potentially infecting countless others with this terrible disease. The perfect not-so-happy ending for an early 2000’s horror classic.
3 ) The World in My Hands (The Silver Scream, 2018)
“He made the cut but she deserves a better man / I won’t rust like the liars and letterman / hedge my bets ’cause it can’t hurt to pretend / until the end”
This track is inspired by my favorite Tim Burton movie, Edward Scissorhands (1990). The film is a tragedy at its core – a man who can feel but not touch, an unreachable girl who can never be with him, a town that just doesn’t understand the struggle of being different (having scissors for hands). This song picks apart Edward’s pain, how he feels like he’ll never measure up to Kim’s letterman jacket-wearing boyfriend. Also evidenced here: “It cuts deep ’cause our hearts are still attached / a deadly touch spreads an itch that can’t be scratched”. The yearning, the pain, the horror! I’m not going to explain why “hedge my bets” is so perfect but it really, really is.
2 ) The Plot Sickens (Every Trick in the Book, 2015)
“Sixteen souls left in the cold / to be alive is a miracle / it all comes down to flesh and bone / it’s hard to swallow the unthinkable”
Okay – judging by this line alone, you might think this song is alluding to the horrors of The Donner Party (book review of Alma Katsu’s The Hunger, coming soon!). It’s actually based on Piers Paul Read’s 1974 book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (or rather, it’s based on the true events that inspired the book). The true horror story, not unlike that of The Donner Party, follows the survivors of a plane crash. Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the middle of the Andes mountains on October 13th, 1972. The flight was chartered by an Uruguayan rugby team. Those who managed to survive the two month ordeal did so by… well, you read the lyric. It’s a fascinating and horrific story of brotherhood and survival, a true terror of the real world. If this type of story interests you, check out Showtime’s original series Yellowjackets (Season One review coming soon!), about a field hockey team that meets a very similar fate.
1 ) IT is the End (The Silver Scream, 2018)
“You know what makes me smile? / Devoured juveniles / Their innards tangled in my twisted grin / chuckled so hard I choked / call it an inside joke / they say that laughter’s the best medicine”
I mean, come ON. This track is based on Stephen King’s It and the subsequent films. Pennywise, a killer alien that takes the form of a clown, lives in the sewers of Derry, Maine. He terrorizes a group of childhood friends by preying on their greatest fears. 27 years later, guess who’s back, back again? It’s Pennywise, come to scare the (now grown-up) kids all over again. The song itself is a masterpiece of theatrical, big-band metal (which is definitely a thing) that showcases Pennywise the Dancing Clown’s penchant for eating children, piece by piece. “Just like Georgie / it’s all out of hand”. Groovy.
“Left to die under the sun / the hive never spared anyone / how ’bout a hand for the honey bees? / hooked on the creed of their colony” Farewell II Flesh (The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, 2021). The urban legend of Candyman (1992) follows the story of the son of a slave left to die by a lynch mob, right hand cut off and body smeared with honey that led to his death by bees. This whole track is depressing, lyrical genius.
“Now you’ll choke on your words / swallow this” Ex Mørtis (The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, 2021). Ash Williams of The Evil Dead (1981) is known for his killer one-liners, and “swallow this” is no exception.
“‘Cause on this trip there are no survivors / and in this club your life don’t mean Scheiße” Würst Vacation (The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, 2021). We can thank Eli Roth for the Hostel franchise that inspired this gruesome track. A sadistic club of killers who purchase tourists to maim and kill. Upon first listen I thought it was about Human Centipede because of the line “kiss your ass goodbye”… if you know, you know.
“Bitch I’ll leave your body on the cutting room floor / all bets are off / I just buried Drew Barrymore” Your Number’s Up (The Silver Scream, 2018) A gracious nod to Barrymore’s brutal slaying in Wes Craven’s 1996 classic Scream. The line really speaks for itself.
Movies/Shows I Want Ice Nine Kills to Write Songs About
The Blair Witch Project, Apostle, The Haunting of Hill House, Corpse Bride, & Midnight Mass
Where to Find More Ice Nine Kills
Well, there you have it. This piece was so fun to put together and I hope you enjoyed the puns and lyrical mastery of Ice Nine Kills. I’m stoked to be back to blogging and excited to share what’s next!
And, as always… Reader beware, you’re in for a scare! Or, not. Trick-or-treat, after all.
All images are used Pursuant to 17 U.S. Code § 107 under the “fair use” defense.
All other images are certified public domain.