You hear a tune and then some words. It creates a feeling unable to be fought with swords. It foretells your fate throughout the film you view. You can do nothing but sit and wait for what awaits you. Warnings and fear these words may bring. Prepare yourself for support to cling. The words may prepare you for what’s to come, but will you be alive for when all is said and done? The following list is a way to prepare for the terror that will linger in the air. In the end, we hope that you are there for when the credits appear, and all danger seems to be clear. But, dear friend, remember to turn and look behind you for these lullabies and rhymes in horror are here to prepare you for the ultimate boo.

 

Hush, Little Baby
The Hills Run Red (2009)

The Hills Run Red opens with one of the most well known nursery rhymes, but remade in a slow numetal sort of fashion in the way that horror films from the aughts were known to do. The tone that the numetal lullaby exudes sets the tone for the dark and twisted film that is to follow. The scene that it plays over sets that tone as well as we watch a young Babyface, the film’s slasher, slicing off his face while the lullaby plays.

 

Possessed Linda’s Rhyme
The Evil Dead (1981)

In The Evil Dead, Ash’s girlfriend, Linda, gives her own version of Ring Around the Rosie once the Deadites take over her soul. Sitting cross legged on the floor and twirling her hair, she giggles a bit before heading into her rhyme using a childlike voice to add to the creepiness and defiling of innocence that the Deadites are known for.

We’re gonna get you,
We’re gonna get you.
Not another peep,
Time to go to sleep.

Ash becomes fed up with the giggling possessed individual that was once his girlfriend. It seems that rhyme has driven him over the edge. He pulls her by her feet outside of the cabin, but her rhyming continues. The childlike voice becomes a guttural growl as she finishes her rhyme.

Useless,
Useless.
In time we’ll come for him,
And then we’ll come for you.

 

The Gentlemen’s Rhyme
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 
Season 4,  Episode 10, Hush (1999)

In one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s creepiest episodes, the show opens with a rhyme spoken by a little girl that warns Buffy in a dream of a coming baddie of the week. This baddie came in the form of The Gentlemen, a group of floating ghouls who must steal seven hearts to continue their lives. The little girl spouting the rhyme about The Gentlemen interrupted a perfect dream that Buffy was having about season 4 heartthrob, Riley, but it’s for good reason. The Gentlemen were about to embark on their journey for seven hearts in Sunnydale, California.

Can’t even shout, can’t even cry,
The Gentlemen are coming by.
Looking in windows, knocking on doors,
They need to take seven and they might take yours.
Can’t call to mom, can’t say a word,
You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.

 

Tiptoe Through the Tulips – Tiny Tim
Insidious (2010)

Tiptoe Through the Tulips is a classic song that has no terrifying meaning, but its inclusion in Insidious created a new void for this song. Showcased throughout multiple scenes in the film, it raises the innocence of the lyrics to one of an ominous affair. The Lipstick-Face Demon uses this tune to its creepiest advantage to let the family under its wrath be aware that it’s near.

Tiptoe through the window.
By the window, that is where I’ll be.
Come tiptoe through the tulips with me.

 

The Mother’s Whistle
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

This lullaby’s words were never given. It’s simply a whistle that the titular sisters in A Tale of Two Sisters’ mother would whistle for them. The sisters reminisce over their mother’s whistled lullaby in the film. One of the sisters, Su-Mi (Soo-jung Lim), is able to whistle it while the other sister, Su-yeon (Moon Geun-young) isn’t able to whistle at all. Later in the film, this whistled lullaby is used to clarify a sort of closure for one of the sisters, and brings the events in the film all together.

 

O Willow Waly
The Innocents (1961)
The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

O Willow Waly was created for the 1961 adaption of Henry James’ The Turning of the Screw, The Innocents. It’s a haunting lullaby used throughout the black and white classic, but it’s brought to life in 2020’s The Haunting of Bly Manor. The lyrics within the lullaby encapsulate the story in many different ways in the second season of Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of … anthology series. If listened to carefully, it reveals the heartbreaking ending of the story of the season.

We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow
But now alone I lie and weep beside the tree
Singing “O willow waly” by the tree that weeps with me
Singing “O willow waly” till my lover returns to me
We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow
But now alone I lie. O willow, I die
Singing “O willow waly” till my lover returns to me
We lay my love and I beneath the weeping willow
A broken heart have I. O willow, I die. O willow, I die

 

Beware the Stare of Mary Shaw
Dead Silence (2007)

In Dead Silence, a town is possessed with the legend of Mary Shaw, a woman who preferred to make dolls out of humans. A rhyme accompanies Mary Shaw’s legend. A rhyme that the inhabitants of Ravens Fair should have taken a little more seriously as the rhyme reveals the fate that some of them would endure.

Beware the stare of Mary Shaw.
She had no children, only dolls,
And if you see her in your dreams
Make sure you never ever scream . . .
Or she’ll rip your tongue out at the seam.

 

1 … 2 … Freddy’s Coming for You
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

The jump rope rhyme from A Nightmare on Elm Street is the most infamous rhyme from a horror film. As a kid, you may not have seen the films from which it was sprung, but you knew exactly what that rhyme was. Like Heather Langenkamp said in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994), “Everyone knows who Freddy is. He’s like Santa Claus…” Exactly, Heather. If you heard Santa Claus is Coming to Town, you knew it invoked the spirit of ol’ St. Nick. If you heard “1 … 2 …” in the rhythmic manner of the classic Buckle Your Shoe rhyme, you knew it invoked the spirit of Freddy Krueger.

One, two … Freddy’s coming for you.
Three, four … Better lock your door.
Five, six … grab your crucifix.
Seven, eight … better stay up late.
Nine, ten … never sleep again.

A tune, a whistle, a rhyme. If you hear any of these, you may just have some time. Treasure that time that is given before you’re on your way to Heaven. Or if hell is where you will end then what you hear may forever be your friend. An eternity of hearing what you should have heeded, and not taking the time that you needed. So tell us your favorite your horror movie rhyme or lullaby over on our Twitter, reddit, Instagram, or at The Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook. Don’t be shy.