Horror film has a way of having a lasting impact on its viewers. A jump scare. The Atmosphere. The memorable creature. But nothing is as frightening in a horror than its score. A music motif, theme, or tone adds as much to a horror film as any of the things mentioned above. Music is like a character itself. The best films are those that can be told strictly through the score. Below are some of HipsterZOMBIEJoint’s 10 favorite horrors theme.
Composer Bernard Herrman’s frantic score to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is pure tension building horror. It perfectly encapsulates the split personality of the film ’s antagonist, Norman Bates.
The score for Insidious is straight up nightmare fuel. The music creepily surrounds you with a sense of eerie-ness and then descends into a flurry of squealing violins before ending with a dramatic flair.
I have to be honest, when I originally watch Robert Eggers The Witch I was bored out of my mind. It’s a slow burn of a film. However, the score by composer Mark Korven stuck with me. The blood-curdling strings accompanied by operatic moans created a haunting ambiance for the film that is frightening all by itself.
Goblin’s Suspiria has a beautiful theme with an undercurrent of dread. The music box-like music is met with a creepy chant and a ritualistic drum that adds to the eerieness of the music. It’s repetitiveness builds tension and anxiety.
A horror music list would not be complete without John Carpenter’s iconic Halloween theme. The music resonates with its viewer as much as the themes for Star Wars or Jaws. Carpenter stated it only took him an hour to come out with the theme that would send chills up moviegoers spines for decades.
It’s a toss-up between Halloween & Tubular Bells from the Exorcist as the scariest music in a movie. The Exorcist is a film that still holds up as the scariest film of all time. It’s score is a big factor.
28 Days Later
Composer John Murphy‘s In The House, In A Heartbeat from 28 Days Later is like hipster zombie rock for the soul. The slow build up with the piano that morphs into a slow guitar strum spirals into a haunting flurry of rock guitar riffs. It’s scary but also an incredibly badass track.
Brad Fiedel who is known for his music in the Terminator series, created the best vampire music ever in 1980’s Fright Night. The music might be dated by today’s standards, but its seductive alluring qualities create a hypnotic sound that is capped off by its menacing undertones and 80’s electric violins.
Under The Skin
Composer Mica Levi‘s score for Under The Skin sounds like the soundtrack to a missing Hitchcock film. Its seductive violins are followed by a quiet drum and repetitive beat that sounds like someone slowly succumbing to a hypnotic spell. Its minimalist suspenseful music at its finest.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Composer Wojciech Kilar’s score for director Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula has an old world, Universal Monsters, flair to it that is classic but still scary. But at the heart of the soundtrack is a haunting love theme that makes it one of the most memorable horror soundtracks of all time.
Did I leave any out? What do you think? Which is your favorite horror film score? Let us know in the comments below.