Who is the only person frightening enough to top the alien Lady Gaga in our Scariest Musicians Poll? Marilyn Manson squeaked into the number one spot by a margin of less than one percent. Named after a combination of Marilyn Monroe and serial killer Charles Manson, he clearly studied KISS, Alice Cooper and Ozzy, then out-scared them all with a combination of threatening, gravel-voiced industrial rock, distressed bondage gear, mangled dental appliances, videos full of vaguely human beasties creeping through dead warehouses, worms, straight-jackets, mad-scientist labs, and dark side Kabuki makeup. Congratulations Marilyn Manson! If there were a musical human embodiment of the word "nightmare," it would be you.
The queen of bizarre-pop's Little Monsters landed their Mother Monster at No. 2 on the list, with a whopping 35% of the vote. Think Lady Gaga isn't scary? Think again. She opened a wound onstage at the 2009 MTV VMAs and "bled" on her piano, and just this year she was literally hatched ( from an egg at the Grammys) as an alien, complete with spiny facial and body prosthetics. Why? She was "Born This Way," of course.
Never seen without mortifying masks and orange jumpsuits that would scare the wits out of Hannibal Lecter, the members of Slipknot -- itself named for the rope-tie used in wild west hangman's nooses -- long went only by numbers. With the look down pat, the Iowa band's pitch-black metal scared up fans (who are lovingly called "maggots") all through the early '00s -- and remained enough of a memorable nightmare to this day to beat scary elders Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne in this poll.
What would this list be without music's Prince of Darkness himself? Your many votes cast the infamous Black Sabbath singer and sinister solo artist fourth on the list as much for classic metal creepouts like "Iron Man" and "Bark At The Moon" as the crazy stories that have become Ozzy lore. The most famous tale, of course, being the time he supposedly bit off a bat's head at a 1982 gig. In later days, Ozzy's rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" proved similarly terrifying.
Long before there was a Rob Zombie or a Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper unleashed "School's Out" onto the sunshine-filled early '70s. And between his "school's out forEVER" snarl, his sinister dripping eyeliner, and his snakes-as-apparel, the term "shock rocker" was practically coined just for him.
Who doesn't like a little undead action come October? Rob Zombie came to the forefront back in the '90s leading the fierce White Zombie, whose hits ("More Human Than Human") and his own ("Dragula") boasted industrial riffs from guitars drop-tuned down to the pits of hell. Since then he's added "horror movie auteur" to his resume, directing truly scary flicks like "House of 1000 Corpses" and "Halloween" remakes.
On the surface he may look like a nice, normal, young guy, but the de facto leader of Odd Future can be as chilling as a Radiohead song. Anyone cold and creepy enough to devour a giant, live cockroach (nevermind the "kill" scrawled in marker on his hand, the noose he hangs himself with, or the black contact lenses) in his "Yonkers" video gets our vote, and clearly, yours too.
Sure, they're a little bit funny (the guitarist is named Flattus Maximus), but GWAR is every bit as horrifying as humorous. For over a quarter century, the Virginia thrashers have been pounding on stage in spiky reptilian costumes, dousing the crowd in unidentified wet stuff that resembles assorted bodily fluids, and bellowing lewd tunes from albums titled things like "Violence Has Arrived" and "This Toilet Earth." Yikes. Eww. And haha.
With their garish, painted-on grimaces, in the right light clowns are the scariest kiddie entertainment in the world. Insane Clown Posse ups the ante on the "evil clown" trope by adding in menacing raps, videos full of trashed stores and unsuspecting carnivalgoers on rides from hell, and an army of done-up fans ready to back them up. Think ICP doesn't know scary? They're from Detroit, where Halloween time is an arson-inflamed crime spree. What's scarier than that?
KISS touched down in the '70s in platform boots, codpieces and creepy make-up tailor-made for Halloween, but Gene Simmons has always been the Halloweeniest of them all. Long before he came into the living rooms of the masses as the reality TV star showing off his "Family Jewels," the KISS bassist elicited delighted screams around the world as the band's resident tongue-waggling, blood-spitting, fire-breathing "demon."