Halloween is nearing, and when it comes to frightening music and chilling stage theatrics, rock and metal have it covered. From the originators to those whom they inspired, these performers share a sense of rebellion, drama and the desire to craft something new. Read below for 10 killer makeup-ed and masked rock and metal greats who bring together shock, thrills and, of course, rock and roll.

10. Murderdolls

Murderdolls bring together Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, now on guitar, and Static-X six-stringer Tripp Eisen, and the look is goth with a touch of zombie. Musically, Murderdolls bring together the force of rap-metal and the vigor of lively, hardcore punk, and while they’re likely the smallest name on this list, their cult fans would insist Murderdolls should be recognized as purpose-made for a Halloween mix.


9. Mudvayne

While post-2005 Mudvayne is largely makeup-free, when the Peoria, Illinois, metal band first started playing shows and gaining notoriety, Mudvayne were known for their powerful visual appearance. They went through phases, from colorful face paint to dressing up as aliens. Even though they’ve moved past the strong dramatics, their most loyal fans still associate them with that style.



If GWAR didn’t originate rock music rooted in theatrical stance, they certainly did it bigger than any before them. When the members of GWAR hit the stage, they look nothing like human beings, enclosed in full-bodied latex costumes and taking on alien-inspired characters. They’re onstage presentation mixes dark humor, taboo subject matter and the most gory of showings, as audience members often leave covered in “blood.”


7. Marilyn Manson

Perhaps no artist on this list has been met with more controversy and disdain than Marilyn Manson. Throughout the 1990s, Manson was championed as an advocate for free speech, denounced as an Alice Cooper rip-off and labeled as the proponent of all things frightening. Along the way, Manson defined and popularized goth, bringing to the mainstream of rock and metal music.


6. Slipknot

Known for pulsating percussion, chunky riffs and intense theatrics a la nightmare-inducing masks, Slipknot quickly rose to the top of the alt-metal landscape in the late ’90s, and soon after broke into the mainstream. While the future of Slipknot is currently in question, with lead singer Corey Taylor’s new book and work Stone Sour, there’s little point at denying Slipknot’s influence in the masked metal world, especially for the next generation of metallers.


5. Misfits

Misfits are often championed as the forgers of the horror punk subgenre, mixing punk rock, metal and pop into a musical blender and adding a dash of horror film motifs. Originated in 1977 in New Jersey by now-legendary singer and songwriter Glenn Danzig, Misfits defined campy fun, with a fondness for catchy, big melodies, many times spit out at lightning-fast speed. Add to that creepy punk rock-meets-horror flick costumes, and Misfits certainly deserve a spot in this catalog.


4. Twisted Sister

A creation of New York City’s ’70s glam rock bubble, Twisted Sister took from the pioneers of glam and theatrical rock, such as KISS and Alice Cooper. Frontman Dee Snider proved the heart and soul of Twisted Sister, writing a cornucopia of original songs for the band and bringing high-energy, hard rock performances to every blasted gig, drawing oodles of cult fans.


3. Rob Zombie

With a legacy of creepy, gruesome horror movies, Rob Zombie is the king of all things scary. Head to a Zombie concert, and you’ll witness clips from his famous flicks and jaw-droppingly chilling animation. The longtime frontman for metal superstars White Zombie, Rob Zombie was the next creation of Robert Cummings after moving to New York City in the mid-’80s. With a career that packs Halloween-appropriate songs such as “Living Dead Girl” and gruesome flicks like House of 1000 Corpses, Rob Zombie deserves a high spot on this list.



Kiss may sport flamboyant stage outfits and face paint live in concert, but with 24 gold albums and over 100 million records sold worldwide, KISS aren’t just an shockingly costumed band, they’re the guys that have, through theatrics, crafted a brand that’s as recognizable as Pepsi or Chrysler. The group’s performances are famed for everything from fire-breathing to blood-spitting to lavish pyrotechnics, and it’s that kind of outrageousness that helped secure KISS’s reputation as the quintessential glam-rock band.


1. Alice Cooper

When it comes to rock bands who take the stage in outrageous costume, it almost always can be traced back to Alice Cooper. Hailing from the ’60s Detroit music scene, Alice Cooper (the band and the person) experimented with the idea of turning a rock show into a brutal and bloody opera, bringing spine-curdling theatrics such as snakes, electric chairs, foot-long syringes, nooses and more bloody fare, all coupled with trademark black eye makeup and leather attire. Without the Coop, it’s possible this list wouldn’t even exist.