Black Sabbath's Born Again album freaked me out the first time I laid eyes on it in a Dayton, Ohio record store.
Ozzy had long since left the band by the time this album was released in 1983. On tour to promote Born Again, Sabbath used a Stonehenge setup which was later wonderfully parodied in This Is Spinal Tap.
Black Sabbath online is a great resource, and on the site I discovered the baby on the cover originated from a magazine cover.
Much like clowns, there's something about children that can be so innocent and at the same time so horrifying. The thought of the ghost of a child (like the twins in The Shining) scares me a lot more than the thought of an adult ghost. The Antichrist is a lot creepier as a child (i.e. The Omen) than as an adult. I'm not sure why that is, but it's an interesting thought.
What did leadsinger Ian Gillan think of the album cover? Gillian has said that "I looked at the cover and puked!"... I guess that means he didn't like it.
And speaking of Sabbath, their debut album called Black Sabbath, is my all time scariest cover. The sinister figure of a evil looking woman amid a darkened wood is a truly haunting image.
The picture is from Mapledurham Watermill on the River Thames (seen here). This album had a lot of horrific things going for it:
1. The album is recorded by a band called Black Sabbath, the album is called Black Sabbath, and it contains a song called Black Sabbath - thus inspiring the legend that this album was cursed with an unholy trinity.
2. The band and album were named after a Mario Bava horror film (before, they were called Earth)
3. The album is based almost entirely on a tritone interval played at slow tempo on the electric guitar. Due to the "oppressive" or "scary" sound it produces, the tritone had in the Middle Ages come to be associated with "evil" in Western music. (from Wikipedia)
4. The album's original gatefold had an inverted cross. This was the idea of the record company, and the band was supposedly upset by it.
5. It was released on Friday the 13th.
The AV Club has a great list of 13 scary album covers which not only includes the infamous "butcher cover" for the Beatles album Yesterday and Today, but also Barbara Streisand's Superman LP.
IGN.com has another great list: The Top 10 Scary Album Covers, which includes a personal fave - Uriah Heep's 1970 LP Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble.
This being Retrospace, however, you know I'm prone to things a bit more off the beaten path. Sure the Sabbath and Uriah Heep covers are creepy, but what about some lesser known stuff? Here's a few odd birds that give me the heebee-jeebees. Click on the images to enlarge.
I think I'd rather run across Jason Voorhees in the woods than a couple of creepy clowns. This Jimmy Campbell LP gives me the willies.
Think clowns are creepy? Go here to view a few really horrifying album covers featuring those demonic minstrels of the underworld (otherwise known as "clowns").
You're thinking: Iron Maiden's albums don't scare him, but a chick with a doll does?
Hell, yes. There's something profoundly creepy about that dummy. The thought of Geraldine conversing with Ricky gives me the chills, especially if his voice sounded all whispery and raspy.
here to see a video by Jon & Robin.
What's so scary about this cover you ask? How about if I told you Jon Abnor was actually committed to an insane asylum, had an affair with one of the nurses and then brutally murdered her? Now that's creepy!