When Worlds Collide – spooky TV cameos by famous musicians
With Halloween right around the corner, we’ve been revisiting our favorite spooky TV cameos by some legendary musicians. WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE!
Sigur Ros on Game of Thrones
With the immense popularity of Game of Thrones, it’s no surprise the show has attracted the attention of high profile bands and musicians. Ed Sheeran is probably the most well-known musician to be featured on the HBO show, and his scene serenading Arya Stark is certainly a fan favorite, but members of bands like Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Of Monsters and Men and Mastodon have all appeared on the show in various roles. The creepiest cameo, however, was by Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros. The band appeared as minstrels playing the most ominous rendition of “The Rains of Castamere” before the royal court assembled for the marriage of Joffrey and Margaery. Fans of the show know “The Rains of Castamere” only plays before horrific events unfold, and this is easily the most haunting interpretation of the song to appear on Game of Thrones – at least the 30 seconds we hear of it before everyone’s favorite teenage tyrant threw a handful of coins at them to shut them up. But I think we all know what happened to him next…
Motörhead on The Young Ones
This is likely to be considered the greatest TV cameo by any band ever. Of course, we are referring to the mighty Motörhead and their 1984 performance on the seminal British alternative sitcom The Young Ones. The Young Ones was a groundbreaking British comedy about four degenerate punks boozing their way through Scumbag College and causing general chaos and anarchy. To pad the budget, these enterprising young Brits decided to include musical performances in each episode to technically classify the sitcom as a variety show, thus getting more funding from the BBC. So, on the episode entitled “Bambi,” the boys are invited to take part in a competition show called “University Challenge” and Lemmy and the Motörhead crew show up to play their anthemic “Ace of Spades” as the soundtrack for their calamitous train ride. Sure, maybe this on isn’t strictly Halloween-spooky, but it’s Motörhead.
Korn and Radiohead on South Park
Up next we’ve got a spooktacular double feature for you. After more than two decades on the air, South Park should need no introduction. The transgressive cartoon has risen far beyond its humble roots and featured countless cameos from famous actors and musicians. First up, we’ve got “Korn’s Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery.” This spooky episode features the legendary nu-metal band Korn in a goofy parody of the classic Scooby-Doo cartoon. The band takes up the role of the Mystery, Inc. gang to help figure out what is causing pirate ghosts (or ghost pirates? It’s debatable.) to terrorize South Park’s Halloween Haunt festival. In classic Scooby-Doo style, the boys of Korn get into some shenanigans but –spoiler– eventually unmask Father Maxi as the villain behind the attacks; revealing that he used nothing more than simple light tricks and sounds to conjure up ghosts capable of killing the citizens of South Park.
Two seasons later, Radiohead makes an appearance as themselves in the considerably darker episode “Scott Tenorman must Die.” At the episode’s climax, Cartman reveals his true sadistic endgame was not simply to humiliate Scott, who was bullying him, but to actually murder Scott’s parents in retaliation, then cook them into chili and serve it to him in front of the entire town and his favorite band, Radiohead. As Scott begins to breakdown in anguish over the realization that he has in fact eaten his own parents, Radiohead show up just in time to witness his ultimate downfall and ridicule him as a crybaby, adding devastating insult to his horrific emotional injuries. Classic South Park.
Iggy Pop on The Adventures of Pete and Pete
Hey ’90s kids – remember The Adventures of Pete and Pete? Of course you do. This Nickelodeon sitcom followed two redheaded brothers in their mundane adventures through surrealist suburbia, and featured a surprising number of cameos from interesting and talented musicians. Iggy Pop actually had a recurring role on the show as James “Pop” Mecklenberg, the father of Little Pete’s best friend Nona. The episode “Dance Fever” has a particularly spooky bent to it, in which Nona and Little Pete attend a school dance and “Pop” Mecklenberg is a chaperone. The scary part? Pop takes the stage to sing to his daughter, Nona, humiliating her beyond repair in the process. The embarrassment Nona felt gives us goosebumps. Seeing Iggy Pop in a suit crooning a cheesy love song to a room full of cackling tweens was a bit creepy, too.
Violent Femmes on Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Still got your attention, ’90s kids? Good – here’s another. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, while campy and undeniably witchy, was hardly a series you’d readily describe as creepy. Or you might think that until you see the Violent Femmes make a cameo appearance in the 1997 episode “Hilda and Zelda: The Teenage Years.” The scene in question features Sabrina, her friend Libby, and her aunts Hilda and Zelda at a Violent Femmes in-store signing event. The Spellman witches put an infatuation spell on Gordon Gano (lead singer and guitarist of the band) to compel him to sing to Libby. There’s a lot of creepy stuff going on in this scene to unpack. Ignoring the ethical implications of something like an “infatuation spell,” we could discuss the regrettable interaction in which Gano pleads with Libby to bring all her teenage friends to come party at their hotel suite. Or we could look at the abysmal acting on display from the band and the embarrassing excuses for jokes that got passed off in ’90s sitcoms. But what makes this cameo truly horrifying is the impossibly awkward dancing that takes place while the band sings to Libby. No amount of flowery prose can accurately describe the discomfort that exudes from these few seconds of gangly, rhythmless flailing. It doesn’t get more awfully ’90s than this. Spooky!