The single was released three times as a single before it gained the attention of Mike Judge and its video was aired on Beavis and Butt-head in 1993. The popularity of the single resulted in White Zombie's first Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance later that year. In May 2006, the song was ranked #32 on VH1's list, '40 Greatest Metal Songs'.
The support MTV provided by playing the "Thunder Kiss '65" music video increased the band's popularity greatly (especially after having been played during the MTV animated series Beavis and Butthead on the episode "Yogurt's Cool"). The video was directed by Juliet Cuming and features the band playing the song out somewhere in a desert with Go-Go Dancers and "monsters". According to Rob, it is the lowest budgeted music video released by the band.
In the CSI: Miami season 10 episode "A Few Dead Men", the song appears in the opening while an acoustic version appears at the end of the episode.
It was the song playing during the introduction of bike messenger Puck aka David Rainey during the first episode of The Real World: San Francisco. Subsequent airings of this and other Real World seasons have replaced the original music.