10 Classic Album Covers Influenced by Pop Horror & Sci-Fi Culture

The recent cover art for the DHP’s Beast of Love was painted by well known artist James O’Barr, famous for creating The Crow back in the late 80′s.

The cover continues an interesting, and fun, legacy of artists inspired by the horror genre while designing cover art for albums. So, we thought we’d put together a collection of artists that have had horror related album covers of their own.

This doesn’t include some artwork that will haunt you at night. We’re talking about covers that are fun and paying homage to one of pop culture’s greatest genres.

Osaka Popstar – Rock’em O-Sock ‘em Live! (2008)

This supergroup consisting of John Cafiero , Jerry Only (The Misfits), Dez Cadena (Black Flag, The Misfits), Ivan Julian (The Voidoids) and Marky Ramone (Ramones, The Voidoids, Dust, The Misfits) were clearly enjoying themselves for the art on their 2008 live album.

The band was formed by Cafiero to combine his love of music and cartoons which is apparent with the Garbage Pail Kids as an influence here. If you’re not familiar, Garbage Pail Kids were popular trading cards/stickers in the 1980′s that featured characters in gorey or disgusting situations, usually with some play on their name, and were banned in schools due to their somewhat graphic illustrations.

The Misfits – “Die, Die My Darling” (1984)

Speaking of The Misfits, how could this list not include any artwork by them? They have a lot of great covers but we dig the one from the “Die, Die My Darling” single, which was influenced by a 1953 issue of the comic book Chamber of Chills.

The Misfits classic icon is actually taken from a old 1940′s serial called The Crimson Ghost, about a creepy skeleton ghost villain and his quest to find an atomic device know as “cyclotride x”. Classic atomic era sci-fi/horror hi-jinks ensue.

The Mothers of Invention – Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970)

For this album Frank Zappa teamed up with poster artist Neon Park (real name Martin Muller) for a controversial cover that mocked a 1956 “Man’s Life” cover.

After showing the album’s artist a copy of the magazine, Zappa inquired, “This is it. What can you do that’s worse than this?” His answer was to craft a parody of an advertisement for Schick brand electric razor based on the “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” theme; the record company released the album despite its reservations about the album cover.

Junkyard – The Birthday Party (1982)

What else would you expect from Nick Cave’s earliest of projects? The Austrailian post-puck rockers released this puppy back in ’82.

The cover art is by “Big Daddy” Ed Roth and Dave Christensen. Roth, a fixture of the so-cal “kustom kulture” movement of the late 50′s, has his famous character Rat Fink making a cameo atop the quad headlights next to the Edsel grille of the hot rod.

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (1980)

There could be better Iron Maiden album covers listed, but their 1980 debut was also the first to feature their mascot “Eddie the Head”. Eddie was created by contemporary British artist Derek Riggs and did album covers for the band until 1990.

Eddie assumes a different look for each album the band issues, depending on the themes of individual albums and their corresponding world tours. He and has appeared as a cyborg, an Egyptian mummy and a lobotomised mental patient amongst others.

Devin Townsend – Ziltoid the Omniscient (2007)

Townsend is one of the most interesting and talented names in metal. The artwork for his concept album is an excellent nod to the campy world of alien horror tales.

The album is a concept album about a fictional extraterrestrial being named Ziltoid from the planet Ziltoidia 9. Ziltoid travels to Earth in search of “the ultimate cup of coffee”

White Zombie – Nightcrawlers: The KMFDM Remixes (1992)

Why wouldn’t a band named after a arguably the first full length zombie flick, 1932’s White Zombie, not be included?

Rob Zombie is not gun-shy about his live for horror, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, has gone from horror-rocker to horror-director, most notably for the films like House of a Thousand Corpses, The Devils Rejects, and the Halloween reboot

Motorhead – Orgasmatron (1986)

If this cover was on another artist’s album it would be either scary or tacky, but because it’s Motorhead it is by default badass.

If you’re wondering what a train has to do with anything, the album’s original title was Ridin’ with the Driver; it was too late for artist Joe Petagno to change the cover art and the train design was used even though the name was changed.

Alice Cooper – Killer (1971)

For a lot of people snakes are terrifying, which is why this simple album cover works to perfection. Besides, Cooper was a trendsetter for any and every band or musical artist that wanted to incorporate horror, fantasy and alter egos.

The album is praised by many in the punk rock community (Johnny Rotten apparently thinks it’s the best rock and roll album of all time), with the single Under My Wheels charting a notable single.

A Shout-Out to Basil Gogos

While not a musician, Basil Gogos is an illustrator known for creating the covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland throughout the 60s and 70s. He’s also done the artwork for The Misfits 1999 album Famous Monsters (pictured above) and Rob Zombie’s 1998 solo debut Hellbilly Deluxe.

If the names Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi or Vincent Price ring a bell, you’ve likely seen Gogos’ work as it’s just as iconic as the actors his work represented. If you’re looking for a killer read and gallery of the bulk his work, pick up The Famous Monster Movie Art of Basil Gogos, featuring an introduction of none other then Mr. Rob Zombie himself.

Here’s the wonderful artwork that O’Barr put together for the album. What do you think? Does it stand up to the other classic albums mentioned on the list?

Any albums we forgot? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments!

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