It’s not often you need a spoiler alert when you’re discussing a new tune, but this new Nine Inch Nails rework of John Carpenter’s Halloween is better when you don’t know what happens at the end.
NIN frontman Trent Reznor and now-established synth co-pilot Atticus Ross have been commissioned by the Master of Horror for the 2017 reboot, and as an added arched eyebrow it’s emerged on Friday the 13th, a nod to another slasher video nasty from our childhood.
Halloween is the greatest horror theme of all time so there’s a load at stake here, but Reznor and Ross grab the poisoned chalice and down it in one go. Their version is ushered in on desolate wind effects, a faint bass pulse and some abstract minor key piano – a familiar set-up to their movie soundtracks. This gives way to a fairly reverential homage, with the clipped keys, the faint 4/4 thud and nightmare synth chords in the exact right place for your hesitant brain. It feels like a little hat-tip, a tribute to an iconic piece of music that can’t be improved.
It’s a false sense of security though, as after a nervy interlude of grotesque gurgles and other-dimension scraping, the final act turns into some mangled EBM kick drum drilling mission, with the piano motif gradually buried under industrial rubble over the final two minutes. You definitely didn’t see that coming, unless you’re reading this before listening and I’ve spoiled it for you like a dick.