While watching a horror movie what makes your heart beat fast the most? Of course the unseen terror that’s chasing our protagonists is scary as hell, but is that all? The background score is the key factor that makes the whole atmosphere all the more scary, makes our palms sweat, our heart beat faster as if wasn’t already beating fast enough!
A good background score in a horror movie can essentially make it or break it. When the predator is hiding somewhere in the darkness and our unknowing heroes approaches to unavoidable trauma, the combination of violin, piano, guitar along with a few beats of drums here and there, set up the stage for a perfect horror movie.
Having Halloween right around the corner, here’s our pick for 7 most horrifying background scores from world’s best music composers!
The Exorcist (2001)
The original work by Lalo Schifrin was rejected by director William Friedkin for being a bit too scary. Well, that says it all. Then Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’ composition came along and wasn’t less spooky than the original one.
The pain, pleasure, the terror and trauma, everything was bound up nicely with Christopher Young’s sweeping background score in this peculiar horror flick. Even if you are able to escape the gore attack you may not be able to fight nightmares caused by this music.
Coming right from the hallways of the occult ballet school, 70’s cult classic Suspiria probably has the most terrifying music what has been performed live in concerts! Italian progressive rock band Goblin created a gothic anthem filled with chants of witches and unheard whisperings scattered throughout the composition.
A slow paced poetic take in the horror movie genre blended with history, romance and gothic urban legend, Candyman had Philip Glass as the composer. And the result is as creepy as it can get. The dreadful yet hypnotic background score has the classic combination of dramatic piano and monastic choirs.
The Shining (1980)
“Here’s Johnny!” Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining has an original masterpiece as the background music unlike Kubrick’s many other films where he has reused the already existing instrumental pieces. Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind did the composition for this movie taking influences from Krzystof Penderecki’s previously existing compositions.
Think about Halloween and tell us John Carpenter’s repetitive, minimalist, unassuming background score for the movie doesn’t come to your mind? With this movie, he didn’t only created good music, he created personalities in form of music. This score is still the most recognizable work of Mr. Carpenter.
In Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho has seen the Master of Suspense’s most masterful work. When the mother comes to make the iconic shower kill scene in the background we hear Bernard Herrmann most epic work and automatically the scene becomes more seat gripping, more suspenseful. That’s what a good musical score can do a particular shot.
And with that our list is done. Have a spooky Halloween with all these brilliant horror classics and don’t blame us for the mental trauma you go through afterwards. Cheers!