Tag Archives: Horror Movie Music

Top 10 Tuesday: Original Horror Soundtracks

What’s Top 10 Tuesday? It’s a new Top 10 List every Tuesday!

With so many memorable horror soundtracks that have stuck with me over the years, this is easily the hardest Top 10 List I’ve put together. To narrow things down a bit i’m only including original soundtracks which will explain the absence of some amazing compilations like The Return of the Living Dead, The Exorcist & The Shining. I’m also only including one album per composer/performer (otherwise half this list would be John Carpenter).

Honorable Mention, It Follows (2014)
Disasterpeace

The most recent soundtrack on this list by far is from video game composer Richard Vreeland (known as Disasterpeace). This eerie soundtrack gives you a tense uneasy feeling delivered through a retro-feeling synth-heavy score.

10. The Wicker Man (1973)
Paul Giovanni & Magnet

If you listened to The Wicker Man Soundtrack without watching the movie first you probably wouldn’t know it was for a horror movie. Composed by Paul Giovanni and performed by Magnet, it’s a weird mix of folk and children’s music that somehow is perfect for the film and makes it that much creepier.

9. Videodrome (1983)
Howard Shore

Would it really be a Cronenberg movie without a Howard Shore composed soundtrack? For as strange of a film as Videodrome is, the soundtrack was created in an even stranger manner. Everything was composed for an orchestra but played through a synthesizer and then combined with the same score played by a string section. You weren’t able to tell which source was which and it didn’t matter, the end result is one of the creepiest soundtracks of all time.

8. The Beyond (1981)
Fabio Frizzi

The Italian partnership between composer Fabio Frizzi and director Lucio Fulci was a beautiful one that gave us fantastic soundtracks like City of the Living Dead, Zombi 2 & Manhattan Baby. But it’s The Beyond which features a masterful atmospheric blend of synth-filled prog rock and with orchestral pieces eerie chanting.

7. The Keep (1983)
Tangerine Dream

German Prog Rock legends Tangerine Dream were no strangers to film soundtracks but the only horror film they scored besides Near Dark was The Keep. Even rarer was finding a copy of the soundtrack. Only 300 official copies were originally released which caused a flood of bootlegs.

Tangerine Dream fills this strange film with wailing guitars, disco beats, vocoders and overall synth mastery. It’s also a case of a soundtrack being better than the film itself.

6. Psycho (1960)
Bernard Herrmann

While Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is one of the most iconic movies of all time, it’s orchestral soundtrack is even more memorable. As soon as you hear the rough violins of “The Murder” you’re immediately transported to the bathroom in Marion Crane’s room at the Bates Motel.

5. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Kryzsztof Komeda

It’s not often you get a jazz legend like Krzysztof Komeda to score a movie, let alone a horror film. Komeda skilfully manages to blend jazz, orchestras and lullaby (sung by Mia Farrow) into a subtle yet eerily effective score for Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.

4. Nosferatu (1978)
Popol Vuh

Werner Herzog’s remake of Nosferatu features one of the stranger soundtracks in horror with German “Krautrock” band Popol Vuh. Popol Vuh gives the film an unique sound that ranges from acoustic folk to synth that ranges from dark and dreary to light and hopeful. There’s nothing else that really sounds like it and somehow it fits the film perfectly.

3. Halloween (1978)
John Carpenter

With masterpiece soundtracks like The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13 and his collaboration with Alan Howarth on Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, choosing only one John Carpenter soundtrack was the hardest part of making this list.

A chilling blend of piano and synths, it made for the perfect slow-burn soundtrack for the suburban terror of Michael Myers. It’s mind boggling considering Carpenter was self-taught and didn’t know how to read or write music and the entire soundtrack for Halloween was written in 3 days.

2. The Thing (1982)
Ennio Morricone

Sometimes less really is more, especially in the case of Ennio Morricone’s minimalist score for John Carpenter’s big budget debut of The Thing. The partnership of Morricone, Carpenter and composer Alan Howarth made for a eerie mix of synths and orchestral strings that give you a near-constant feeling of paranoia.

1. Suspiria (1977)
Goblin

Clearly Dario Argento had a lot of faith in Italian Synth rock band Goblin’s Claudio Simonetti who wrote and recorded the soundtrack to Suspiria in only one day. It was definitely the right decision considering it became one of the best horror soundtracks of all-time.

This creepy mix of synths, pianos, bells and voices makes the film an immersive experience as it follows you throughout the prestigious dance academy. Some other great Goblin soundtracks that I didn’t include on the list are Profondo Rosso, Phenomena and Dawn of the Dead.

What’s YOUR favorite horror movie soundtrack? Be sure to let us know by commenting on Facebook or Instagram!

As a special bonus i’d like to share with you some of my personal vinyl movie soundtracks that I’ve had signed over the years.

Who is Graveyard Boy?

So Many Questions: Who is Graveyard Boy?

Hold up. So it’s finally Halloween night and, you mean to tell me, the only thing you have in the fridge is some leftover Chinese take-out? Hey, what do you wanna watch or listen to? How do you want to bag up this candy? Wait, since we’re not wearing costumes, wanna pretend to be drug-dealers? Imagine a drug-dealer dressed up as a ghost knocking on our door, wouldn’t that be—was that the doorbell I just heard, or am I hearing things now? Babe? Baby?? Hello0o0o0o??? Did you die in the basement again? Is that why you aren’t answering me!? *Cell phone rings.* Why are you calling me, I just saw you a minute ago. *Answers her call.* *Voice scrambler static.* “…What’s your favorite scary music?” Nice try, c’mon. *Doorbell rings.* Oh, come on, Clarice, you know better than me that we wouldn’t even get any trick’r’treaters… *Doorbell rings.* Alright, now you’re just being obnoxious! We’re out here IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME… *Voice scrambler static.* “….So you thought you and your little g/f could have a nice, romantic Halloween night together, isn’t that cute?” *Awkward silence.* …Wanna play games, huh? Okay, I’ll play along. What, you really thought I was coming over just to watch the first Scream movie with you? *Goes to answer the door.* Clarice? Look, you’re taking this too far now. *Clarice’s voice.* “Look behind you!” *Phone call ends.* Seeeee, I knew it was you! *Slowly turns around.* Wha— *Her decapitated head is next to a cassette deck/player tape/recording of her ‘look-behind-you!’ on loop.* *Doorbell rings again* …Uh-oh…

Hello, reader 👻. Let me introduce myself here. Hi! I’m Graveyard Boy! There, I said it. Okay, so. With that said, Morbid Movies was looking for writers… And here I am in the flesh. Well, actually, not really. I dug myself up out from the local graveyard. Decided to start fresh again! Granted, typing with these dumb clumsy skeleton fingers, has proven to be vedy, vedy, uhhh. *Clears throat.* Sorry, had to cut myself off. Not to mention the Dracula impersonator in the grave next door kept mumbling really loud in his casket. Supposedly he was a ventriloquist in his time. Now he’s just thirsty for attention!!! *Audience booing.*

Speaking of death, you’re probably wondering what happened to me. Who said anything about death? I don’t know. Might as well create a little background story.

I was a little boy running around with my imaginary ghost-friends in a graveyard one Autumn afternoon. Friday the 13th, 2006, to be oddly specific. It was my birthday and my parents were both preoccupied working overtime and the babysitter had to cancel last minute. What luck. I like to leave out the part that I was more than unpopular at school. No birthday party. Sometimes it felt like I didn’t exist. So, yeah. What’s a lonely, only-child to do? Always loved October—my birthday presents were always some cute spooky bullshit. I’m not kidding. My parents gave me Halloween decorations for presents. No wonder everyone thought I was weird. That’s the boy who goes to graveyards by himself, what a weirdo. A graveyard was a place of solitude for me. Before I knew it it was dark and raining, and I fell into an open grave that was so deep and quiet that I kept falling for what seemed like an eternity, and because there wasn’t any sound, that somehow made it go by quicker.

Eleven years later, on the same day of Oct. 13th, 2017, I woke up, coughing in a coffin. I was scary. I mean, it was scary. It was scary and I was scary. Not that I was dead, but I was old! How I dug myself out of that one isn’t clear. I couldn’t see at first without eyes, plus it was only complete blackness inside of my coffin. I guess I had to rely on my imagination—something I was already good at—to escape, to see again. (“I can see clearly now my eyes are gone!”) I didn’t like what I saw myself as. How could I transition into a functioning member of society again as a ghoul or zombie? People have this misconception that zombies eat brains. Well, I have brains. What I could use is some spare flesh, but I’m too nice to chase someone down for that. Which means I’m hungry a lot, like any other starving writer. I almost want to say nice zombies finish last, but I’m not necessarily a zombie. Then am I a ghoul? No. I’m still a boy at heart. Don’t get me started on how I don’t quite have a beating heart. I’ve seen a few graveyard ghouls manage to fake their way back to life.

This one ghoul I know has a boyfriend who hasn’t figured out yet that she’s dead… She must be really good at faking it 😉 *Crickets.* Ah, who needs a ghoulfriend anyway when you can hide and watch horror movies? Hence, the whole point of this goofy introduction. Therefore, I like to watch horror movies; could have just said that instead… But yeah, emailed the editor of Morbid Movies and proposed the idea of doing an article on horror movie music.

Without further digression, welcome to Graveyard Boy’s Secret Notes on Either Iconic Horror Movie Soundtracks or Peculiar Horror-Themed Music Stuff. In no particular order,

1. Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and The Church’s “Under The Milky Way” iconicism as featured in the Donnie Darko Halloween party bedroom scene, before-&-after. Skeleton boy brings a ghoul upstairs, can I get an OW YEAHHH!? Wait. What’s this? Honorable mention to a relatively unknown song called “Donnie Darko’s House Party” by Sigh Gone, which presented itself to me in a dream on the 2nd of October, 1985?

2. “Silver Shamrock Commercial Jingle” satire in Halloween III: Season of the Witch (John Carpenter did the soundtrack also). A cool song to sing in the shower.

3. Only Lovers Left Alive soundtrack. The movie is about a reclusive vampire musician, so naturally I likey. I’m a reclusive graveyard musician. Click link for free pick-up lines, imareclusivegraveyardmusician.net (lol, I’m such a troll).

4. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night soundtrack. I think I like the soundtrack more than the movie. I said I think. Listen to “Yarom Bia” by Kiosk, please.

5. WTF is up with Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond soundtrack? Listened to it in my car once. Not gonna lie, it’s a guilty pleasure.

6. The Guest soundtrack. Can we talk about the haunted house scene in this movie? “The word that would best describe this feeling would be ‘haunted.’”

7. Suspiria theme/soundtrack > John Carpenter’s Halloween, because the Halloween theme today sounds like everyone in 7th grade learning to play piano ↔ Suspiria theme at least would be more interesting to consider in a Hardcore Rap song.

8. “Love Under Will” by Jet Black Berries, if I had to pick one song to play at your Halloween party. Found on the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack.

9. Audio production-value of I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, the way her narrative is manipulated into sounding ephemeral like a ghost. Haunting. Listen to it late at night with the lights off, volume loud or on headphones.

10. Night of the Demons (1988) opening title animation and music, iconic ‘80s camp, for sure.

11. Why is the outro song of Hausu (1977) during the credits sung by a Japanese band in English? Genius.

12. Bonus track—check out Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack! My personal fave is “Audrey’s Dance,” or “Dance of The Dream Man.” Time to strut some morbid dance moves… *Dances inappropriately.*

So there you have it. We have so much information at our disposal today that if you see anything worth your attention you’ll do a Google (or (may I recommend) DuckDuckGo)) search. Hopefully you saw something at first glance here that stimulated the thought-process you had prior to reading this. Go ahead, reach your hand toward the screen, so to speak. I’m in there on Instagram @johnwilliamvl my poltergeist friends.

Yes, this was actually a letter,
–Graveyard Boy