The music in a horror movie sets the mood, builds tension, and drives home the scares. At their best, horror film scores stand separate from their film counterparts as albums/songs of their own merit. Here are ten of the best - most of which have been used by metal bands in some form or another.
Christopher Young - Hellraiser
While it was inevitable that Cliver Barker's blood and viscera covered Hellraiser would find a place in the hearts of heshers, its music alone was bound to strike a metal chord as well. At times oppressive, at others eerie and ethereal, Christopher Young's score may be the maestro's most accomplished work - and possibly his most metal. White Zombie, Suffocation, and Entombed have all used it, the latter going out of their way to re-record and re-assemble the score for their Hollowman EP.
John Carpenter - Halloween
If a horror theme is meant to represent the movie's villain, then the theme for John Carpenter's genre-defining Halloween is the perfect summation of Michael Meyers - creepy, unrelenting, simple but brutally effective. The theme was written and performed by the director himself, foreshadowing his future musical endeavors. Former Astro Creep Rob Zombie directed a remake of the movie in 2007, though he thankfully kept his electro-pop hands off the theme.
It speaks volumes about The Seventies that prog rock band Goblin sold millions of copies of their horror film scores. The Italians created several celebrated soundtracks during their heyday, but perhaps none more than the one for Dario Argento's Suspiria, filled with child-like singing, unconventional percussion and Moog keyboards. [Like I said: The Seventies.] Goblin would go on to influence a whole generation of instrumental bands, some of whom have released their own horror scores.
Fabio Frizzi - City of the Living Dead
Lucio Fulci is a horror fans' horror director - I doubt anyone but die hards can overlook his films' bad dubbing, crude practical effects, and nonsensical plots. But what Fulci did better than most was create atmosphere, smartly employing music to make up for his deficits in budget. Case in point: Fabio Frizzi's score for City of the Living Dead. Swedish grindcore band Regurgitate used part of the score (along with the accompanying grunts and screams) as the intro to their Effortless Regurgitation compilation.
Mike Oldfield - "Tubular Bells" (The Exorcist)
Jerry Goldsmith - "Ave Satani" (The Omen)
famously contentious about the casting of Jack Nicholson as the lead in Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, arguing it telegraphed to viewers the madness to come. But long before Nicholson utters a line, the film's introductory theme, delivered over a long helicopter shot as the family drives to the Overlook Hotel, practically blares their fate over a bullhorn: Doom, cold and inexorable.
a new golden age of horror films - and with it, a new golden age of horror film music. Disasterpiece have gained considerable acclaim for their music to the instant horror classic It Follows, which recalls John Carpenter's classic film themes (particularly Halloween) and characterizes the antagonists with the same kind of slow relentlessness as Michael Myers.
John Williams - Jaws
Bernard Herrmann - Psycho
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