[Editorial] 9 Great Horror Soundtracks

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It’s nearly Halloween. Outside, the wind is howling. The trees are bare, the branches looking like skeleton limbs crudely stuck together. Leaves cover the ground, causing each step to elicit a satisfying crunch. The sky is steel grey, threatening rain, thunder, and lightning. In a simpler way of putting it, it’s the best time of the year.

For me, one of the best ways to celebrate this time of year is by putting on some of the creepiest, eeriest, scariest music that I can get my hands on. There is something deliciously fun about scaring myself with shrieking violins, out-of-tune pianos, otherworldly choirs, and bizarre ambient tones.

And since this time of year is something special to a great many people, I wanted to share some of my favorite horror soundtracks, the ones that make me want to curl up under a blanket and play one horror movie after another, until the saving grace of the sunrise saves me. Join me below for 9 Great Horror Soundtracks!

Note: This list is in no particular order


The Fog
John Carpenter has created many classic scores throughout the years, with the theme to Halloween becoming quite possibly one of the most famous horror themes of all time. But it’s the score for The Fog that always unsettled me more. It’s one of Carpenter’s most atmospheric films and the score had to match that feeling. And it does, with more added on for good effect.
Note: You should definitely get the extended remastered edition here. Very much worth it!


The Shining
C’mon, did you really think this wasn’t going to make it on the list? I’d add this to any similar list simply for the works of Krzysztof Penderecki. But even without them, this soundtrack is quite possibly one of the easiest ways to scare the absolute crap out of me. Put it on and there’s a good chance that I’m going to start looking over my shoulder every few minutes. Scratch that, every few seconds.


Silent Hill 2
While the soundtrack to Silent Hill 1 is more evil, Akira Yamaoka’s score to Silent Hill 2 is far more phantasmagoric, mixing beauty with horror. The end result is one of the most famous and beloved horror video game soundtracks ever released.


Lord Of Illusions
I’m such a fan of this movie to the point that I think it might actually be my favorite Clive Barker film. I know that’s a bold statement but it’s so much fun and has such a unique feel about it. The score by Simon Boswell has this incredible mix of noir jazz and horror that is both erotic and eerie. Probably one of the most under appreciated horror soundtracks.


Suspiria
Another obvious choice, this soundtrack, composed by Goblin has been lauded ever since the film came out in 1977. The electronic score has some of the eeriest tones and patches used on a synthesizer and then laid down on celluloid.


American McGee’s Alice
The second video game to make this list, American McGee’s Alice came out to critical acclaim for its dark, inventive imagery and the twisted take on the Alice In Wonderland mythos. But what might be the most popular aspect of the game is the soundtrack, composed by ex-Nine Inch Nails member Chris Vrenna.


The Omen
“AVE SATANI! SANGUIS BIBIMUS!” The most demonic entry into this list, I can’t help but feel shivers run up and down my spine during this soundtrack. Truly one of Jerry Goldsmith’s crowning achievements, The Omen will always be one of the great classics.


Twin Peaks
Much like Lord Of Illusions, Twin Peaks had a mix of erotic jazz with this eerie atmosphere. The difference is that Twin Peaks had a far more lighthearted approach, making this the perfect entry for those you who can’t stand to be too scared.


The 7th Guest
The final entry into this list is yet another video game. Taking place in a haunted mansion where every horrifying puzzle could leave you stumped for days, the music took the stylings of the 1930′s and mixed it with horror to create a delightfully terrifying soundtrack that haunted me for years as a child.

Alright readers, now that I’ve shared mine, what are some of your favorite horror soundtracks? Let me know in the comments below!

Got any thoughts/questions/concerns for Jonathan Barkan? Shoot him a message on Twitter or on Bloody-Disgusting!

 
  • sweett8er

    I can appreciate that you didn’t go with some of the more obvious choices (Psycho, Phantom of the Opera, Halloween, etc), but the only one that you listed above that I can really recall is The Omen. Well, thanks for giving me some to actually pay attention to the next time I watch them.

    • JonathanBarkan

      Glad to help out!

      • doomas10

        The fog!!!!!!! What a soundtrack!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • thaphantom

    Where’s PHANTASM. That theme is legendary…

    • Trixxxster

      My thoughts exactly, that movie had an awesome soundtrack!

  • divisionbell

    Good list. Suspiria hands down.

  • peepjerky

    I thought The Woman In Black had one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard from a modern horror movie.

  • Jadama

    Good list. Phantasm is a great soundtrack, as well as many others.

  • ShallopNewf

    I was about to comment with a stark raving mad comment filled with accusations of blasphemy… until I turned off my little kid brain and used my big boy one and saw that the title of this is 9 Great Soundtracks, not The 9 Greatest Soundtracks.

    The “Best Of” soundtracks list are all pretty predictable, you’ll get your Halloween, Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s like you can predict the entire list just don’t know the order the writer is going to put them in.

    I, like sweett8ter, appreciate that you picked less obvious choices. I truly forgot 7th Guest even existed, so thank you for the reminder.

    I enjoy the choices, any real horror fan should take the time to check them out. Silent Hill 2 especially is a great experience if your a horror-fan and a gamer.

    Great read. It’s probably another of the choices that may be a bit too obvious to have made it into a list like this but I would have to give a nod to Tales From The Crypt, aside from the iconic theme I always felt the episodes were complimented incredibly well by it’s musical scores.

  • doomas10

    I was impressed with the work of Christopher Young in Raimi’s “Drug me to hell”. It is so atmospheric and the use of choir mixed with weird musical instruments makes it almost perfect. That violin solo in “Concerto to Hell” creeps me a lot. Additionally, am I the only one who thinks the music in “Brotherhood of the wolves” is fantastic and matches exactly the mood of the film?

    • JonathanBarkan

      I was seriously considering adding that soundtrack. Love that movie!

  • lucie-with-a-gun

    alien 3 by elliot goldenthal
    coppola’s dracula by wojciech kilar

    2 of my favorites.

  • Dr_Loomis

    The original Resident Evil video game has an amazing soundtrack.

  • pentagraham

    Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman’s score for Ravenous is incredible (as is the movie itself). At times it is very, very eerie, and has a great Dario-Argento-film-as-scored-by-Goblin-or-Morricone vibe overall (with prominent usage of a banjo, of all instruments). I don’t really know if Ravenous is widely considered to be a horror movie, but I think it’s close enough.

    Speaking of the Argento/Morricone relationship, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage’s score is creepy as fuck.

    • JonathanBarkan

      I’d definitely classify Ravenous as a horror film. Funny enough, I just watched that movie for the first time in AGES a few days ago. Weak third act, but fantastic first and second. Very fun movie!