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The sound of fear always plays with shocking contrasts; it pulls you in, and pushes you away – Mica Levi’s monstrously seductive score for Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013) is another modern classic. Horror movies and music have forged an unholy alliance over many decades – even before cinema’s demons and scream queens actually had their own voices. 17 Fear-Filled Songs Inspired by Scary Movies The Ramones, Talking Heads, Kate Bush and more make great music for creeps When a horror movie theme song is used as a cultural reference outside of its film, it becomes part of popular expression, and we realize its greatness. “You’re trying to create suspense, this sense of ‘What’s coming?’. Blood goes everywhere. Making a list of songs based on horror movies is dead easy. Nowadays, vinyl reissues of classic horror soundtracks sell out on labels such as Death Waltz Recording Co, and the original artists are packing out international tours; both Carpenter and Italian horror music maestro Fabio Frizzi have performed London concerts over the Halloween weekend. Hi, my name is Scott and I’m a recovering metalhead. While filmmakers use spooky songs to arouse a frisson of horror in the viewers and support the grotesque graphics, these songs make sure they are … Songfacts category - Songs used in movies. Obviously horror movies lend themselves to some iconic classical scores like O Fortuna from The Omen and Bernard Herrmann's score for Psycho. ... Once again he’s fit into a horror film that isn’t really that well known, but is the perfect venue for his music. Nightmare on Elm Street’s original score featured tunes so warped, hazy and chill-inspiring, you’d think you were in one of Freddy’s dreams on the spot. Hands-down, John Carpenter’s terrifyingly minimal composition for the original Halloween is more than enough to strike fear into my heart after a few tinkering notes. It’s two notes. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, the Universal Monsters – Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy et al – were summoning personalised soundtracks as the age of ‘the talkies’ dawned. “That clearly taps into adrenalin building, and our fight or flight instinct. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Earth, Culture, Capital, Travel and Autos, delivered to your inbox every Friday. Plus, who hasn’t re-created that “ki-ki-ki, ma-ma-ma” while alone with some friends in the woods? But that’s only half of it: not all great songs featured in horror flicks were written specifically for the movie. We looked into the tactics used by audio experts … If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter. The song is cool on its own, and here, used in the sights of the Beverly Hills Hotel circa ’79, the title defines the scene. As we reflect on the history of cinema, it’s easy to pinpoint other songs that are used on a consistent basis by movie and TV studios. Using an upbeat song to craft a creepy mood in a horror movie is not a new technique—but it rarely fails to freak us out. Frizzi mentions that his music for Olga Karlatos’s grisly demise in Zombie Flesh Eaterswas actually inspired by the crescendo at the end of The Beatles’ track A Day in the Life. Halloween is coming, and that means costumes, trick or treat, parties, decorations and horror movies galore. Tom 3 years ago. “Music has always helped horror movies to establish a mood, build tension and atmosphere – but the demand for these soundtracks has been mind-boggling,” says Death Waltz label manager Spencer Hickman. The way composers make the most out of their musical tools to induce fear is both an art form and a science. The scores still stand out as really strong pieces of work and musicianship.”, Hickman makes a point of championing new music alongside vintage scores; his label will release Pierre Takal’s ultra-tense synth score for Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary, Rats. Nothing in the musical dictionary quite says demonic possession like Mike Oldfield’s haunting “Tubular Bells,” taken from his debut album of the same name in 1973. The top five rock 'n' roll songs featured in horror movies, including Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and more. 13 Scary Awesome Hard Rock + Heavy Metal Songs Based On Horror Movies Bang your pumpkin head to this horn-raising Halloween playlist. Club Here are seven songs we avoid listening to in the dark. Marilyn Manson is easily one of the more iconic artists to be used in movie soundtracks these days. Just as important as any brutal horror stab scene is the music building tension behind it. When used in movies an TV shows, the songs are often sung be a creepy child and are slightly distorted, which gives them that eerie feel. Sure, maybe the height of the film’s intensity only features a few notes of music, but the piercing strings echoing throughout Psycho’s shower scene held more power than most movie music would for decades to come. While some horror films feature blood-curdling scores (Jaws, Halloween, It Follows, etc. And for those arguing that Jaws isn’t a horror movie—people are chewed to death by a giant (real-life) monster. One of the most unsettling scores of recent times has come from the British composer Mica Levi for Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (Credit: Alamy). “That’s when your brain fills in the gaps – building up to the scare moment,” says Hooper. What makes horror movie music so scary? The Strange Potency of Old Songs in Horror Movies Bing Crosby in A Nightmare On Elm Street 2? “Non-linear sounds like Psycho’s violin ‘stingers’ mimic the sound of animals in distress; they trigger our fear of being chased by dangerous predators. Here are the 20 Most Overused Songs in Movies … Finely-timed silence speaks volumes, too. Horror movie soundtracks – or any soundtrack for that matter – can make or break a film. An academic study led by Professor Daniel Blumstein at the University of California investigated “non-linear” sounds in movies, and reported that horror soundtracks tapped into our primal fears. “Each time you score a horror movie, you must become an actor involved in the story. The alluringly eerie original score for the show, created by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon (of Austin outfit SURVIVE), also evokes pioneers like director/composer John Carpenter (who soundtracked many of his own films including 1978’s Halloween, and 1987’s Prince of Darkness, as well as enlisting composer Ennio Morricone for 1982’s The Thing). The decision was made to use modern classical compositions, the most famous being Mike Oldfield’s 1973 … 35 Greatest Horror Soundtracks: Modern Masters, Gatekeepers Choose Composers, reissue-labels and synth-savvy musicians pick best in fright In Stranger Things, there is also an almost sensual melody; it smuggles in the fear under this beautiful wrapping.”. “Musicians took chances more, and improvised more. 1. "Gangsters of Rock" Film: Graduation Day In 1981, slasher movies were in full swing, and anyone with a movie camera and a few gallons of fake blood could churn out a bad horror film and make money. Screams are had. Just as important as any brutal horror stab scene is the music building tension behind it. by Mike McPadden 10/27/2015. Things that feel harsh and unfamiliar manipulate us emotionally.”, Netflix’s Stranger Things has revived the stylings of ‘80s horror movies, including a synth-heavy soundtrack (Credit: Netflix), “Everybody has the same basic fear response, regardless of culture; the interesting thing is how you can trigger it in different audiences. Music, Film, TV and Political News Coverage. The 1970s and ‘80s, and the rise of the synthesiser, brought fresh blood to the scene; this phase has also fuelled a recent resurgent passion for horror music. And the original pioneers’ appetites haven’t waned: Frizzi professes a mutual respect for contemporary horror composers such as Joseph Bishara (who uses experimental instruments to score films including The Conjuring and Insidious) and Marco Beltrami (who soundtracked Wes Craven’s Scream movies, as well as Halloween H20). With the introduction of our Jigsaw villain (and his tricycled representative), the creators paired equally nail-biting, signature tones for its first theme. Try driving home from the theater without hearing those dreadful low notes after a viewing of this one. “There is a kind of magic happening. This is my top ten horror movies /soundtracks hope you like it. I'd Like To Teach The World To SingThe New Seekers. However I'm trying to put a list together of pop/rock songs that have been used in horror or scary movies. Frizzi explains further: “If you keep up a hard sound from beginning to end, you don’t surprise anybody. Take Bernard Herrmann’s Hitchcock soundtracks, especially his sleek, highly-strung score for Psycho (1960); its ‘stingers’ (those slashing violins, designed to shred your nerves each time you hear them) defined a device that has been echoed in countless other films. These awesome tracks by well-known and not-so-well-known bands/artists either added some emotional gravitas to the scene or were simply … Think of the Jaws theme. I could do a top twenty just based on The Misfits, Anthrax and Rob Zombie. This hardened horror fan has no doubt about his most fearful favourite soundtrack, however: it’s Italian outfit Goblin’s haunted lullaby for Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977): “Suspiria has all these weird old instruments and chanting; if you listen to it in the dark, you’re definitely not going to sleep.”, John Carpenter has also credited Suspiria as an influence on his unforgettable Halloweenscore – though his motif for a stalking Michael Myers also goes back further: “My father taught me how to play the bongos. Lord of Illusions – “Magic Moments” by Erasure The underworld of magic is a disturbing, dangerous place. Band wove the symphonic with the electronic, creating a theme befitting of the wonder, magic, and horror of the movie. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Songs like the Jaws and Mission: Impossible themes provide an immediate expectation within the minds of viewers about what’s happening on screen. It’s also a great ringtone for fielding calls from the in-laws. Although the track appears on Brain Drain, “Pet Sematary” was written specifically for the film. Such is the power of exceptional music. Renowned horror author Stephen King is a genuine Ramones fan. “But creating horror music feels like a privilege.”. The modern horror soundtrack can be traced back to the silent film era. Top 10 Horror Movie Soundtracks of All Time. Here’s a look at ten awesome uses of his music in horror movies. Modern hits such as the Netflix series Stranger Thingspay homage to the era right through to their pulsing electronic sounds. The Jaws theme, written and conducted by Hollywood legend John Williams, is (and will remain) one of the most recognizable, horrifying clips of music for decades to come. Last week, I covered twelve of the best horror film themes. In the last decade, this love for horror music has experienced a rebirth – maybe it makes reality sound better!” the jovial Frizzi tells BBC Culture. The sound of fear can’t be constrained by a single genre or instrument, but at its best, this music is as gripping as the scariest visual, and it is timelessly evocative. As you’ll notice in the list below, a great horror flick isn’t only helped massively by a skin-crawling soundtrack—it requires it. Read about our approach to external linking. At these extreme points, there is always space for a catchy surprise. “The music in horror movies reminds us subconsciously of primordial times,” says Rowan Hooper, managing editor of New Scientist. The sparse piano solo invites as many uneasy feelings as you let it, drumming up innocent tones of piano, and later buzzing guitar, to draw you in before spitting green pea-soup-flavored terror all over the listener. Music is intrinsic to horror films, more so than any genre other than perhaps musicals. You're probably thinking of Carmina Burana by the composer Carl Orff, although the work is actually a vocal cantata, not an opera. In 1922, FW Murnau’s vampire movie Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror premiered with a darkly romantic live orchestral score by Hans Erdmann. Horror movies and music have forged an unholy alliance over many decades – even before cinema’s demons and scream queens actually had their own voices. Frizzi’s prolific catalogue is especially noted for his gore-drenched collaborations with director Lucio Fulci, including Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) and The Beyond (1981). You have to create something attractive; your experience of fear could actually be a sweet moment. The synth-enhanced tune, played in 5/4 time, was famously performed by the director—and turned Halloween from a eerie, oddly brutal horror flick to something so much more nightmare-inducing. Take it from me, the aural representation of devil-child Damien’s ties to Hell is scary enough when Gregory Peck is dealing with it on-screen, but it’s even worse to be rattled from a nap when you’re 10 years old, or to hear as you enter your empty house after trick-or-treating. John Carpenter is one of the undisputed kings of horror cinema, and his self-made synth scores are amongst the genre’s eeriest. You’re also trying to create a melody that summons the entire film in a few notes. Both the Halloween and Stranger Things themes have a really strong heartbeat sound in them,” Hooper points out. One suspects that he had a part in enlisting The Ramones for the movie adaption of his classic novel, Pet Sematary. For this list I will be counting down the top 5 songs used in horror movies. There is an art to a killer horror soundtrack – and arguably, a science, too. The 12 Best Heavy Metal Songs From Horror Movies. The Best Uses of Alice Cooper Songs in Movies. They are either sung too slowly or slightly out of key, it's jarring and psychologically gives us a feeling similar to that of the "uncanny valley effect" which we sometimes … Alfred Hitchcock had originally intended the shower scene in Psycho to run without music (Credit: Getty Images). The A.V. He taught me 5/4 time when I was about 13 years old,” Carpenter told Rolling Stone. The song was used rightly in the film because Argo is really a dark comedy in some ways, and the showing of how big everything is for a fake film in the scene is a nice prod to Hollywood. Here are ten examples of happy songs used to great effect in horror movies. And although we have shuddered our way through countless horror movies over at Paste, we’ve selected only the most identifiable, iconic horror themes for the list below. But there were plenty of horror films in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that helped push his name into the public mainstream. Through out time and time again, both have merged well together and created memorable moments for the songs and the movies that used them. This is where you all say “Hi Scott!” I spent close to a decade playing in metal bands, but my earliest experiences with the genre were thanks to 80s horror movies. Effective horror film music is not just about using a spooky film score that plays when the villain comes on screen. It keeps you in suspense.”. While Halloween stirred up an amazing set of eerie notes that set itself aside from its slasher peers, Friday the 13th defined the palette the modern slasher soundtrack would draw from with hushed whispers, drilling strings and heart-rattling low horns. “Working on comedy movies is enjoyable, giallothrillers have blood and tension,” Frizzi says. It’s a horror movie. Although no original recordings of Erdmann’s music survive, Nosferatu’s musical spirit lingers on in modern revivals. And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly features newsletter, called “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week”. :) subscribe Music, Film, TV and Political News Coverage. The devilish Omen theme was one that got plenty of mileage in the Kane household when I was younger, shortly after my dad discovered the tune on a compilation album. A scary soundtrack or song helps to work up tension in horror movies as well as it serves as a harbinger of the imminent unease that is just waiting to turn you 50 shades of pale. Spawn – Long Hard Road … What this tune lacks in ambient creepiness it makes up for with its pure, horrifying attack mode. That’s the Halloween theme,” he explained. “All I did was sit down at a piano and play octaves and went up half a step. The first hit song that was used in a commercial before it was released as a single was "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing," which was written for a … 6. What makes a great horror movie soundtrack? Say what you will about its sequels, but for an original horror film, the first Saw did most things just right—soundtrack included. Much like the Halloween theme, Saw‘s composers paired clicking electronics with a simple piano melody to create the best musical representation of what it’s like to sever an appendage. Two single notes never did as much work as it did when queueing up the intro of the ocean’s scariest predator. All Rights Reserved. To … “I have minimal chops as a musician.”, Italian prog-rock band Goblin contributed the soundtrack to many of Dario Argento’s films, including Suspiria from 1977 (Credit: Alamy), Even as Carpenter’s film budgets increased, he maintained a minimal approach to musical shocks. Menu. I come from an old school symphonic background, and I always had good musicians; it was normal for us to experiment and find new sounds.” Although, Frizzi admits: “The very first time you face a scene with an eye being gouged out, it’s not so easy.”. ... Lalo Schifrin’s score was originally rejected by director William Friedkin due to pressure on the studio to tone the music down, after audiences were left overly scared.

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