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Top 10: Horror Soundtracks #2

08.24.2007by: Matt Withers
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There are many aspects of an effective horror movie, but near the top of the list, more so than in almost any other genre, is the almighty soundtrack. A legitimately creepy mood is all about atmosphere, and the soundtrack sets the tone, for better or for worse.

The right soundtrack can instill terror with just a few notes for years after you see the film. The wrong soundtrack can kill a flick. Don't believe me? Imagine PSYCHO with a jazz score. WTF, right? Well that's how Hitchcock wanted it originally. The soundtrack is so important, in fact, that the top four entries on the list are instantly recognizable when spelled out phonetically!

So let's get to some genius music that has caused most of us to foul our pantalones at some point or another in our lives.

READ PART 1 OF THIS LIST HERE

WARNING - SOME KICK ASS MUSIC AHEAD!

5. The Omen


Sound Clip

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith
To paraphrase Worm in ROUNDERS, "Y'know what Mr. Goldsmith, f@ck you and your never-ending stream of nightmare inducing music." I seriously can't listen to any part of the this score without feeling like Satan is gonna pop out of my basement and say "Howdy". I wonder if devil-worshippers ever creep each other out? Because that crap scares the shite out of me.

4. Friday the 13th


Sound Clip

Composer: Harry Manfredini
Ki, Ki, Ki, Ma, Ma, Ma
Let's be honest. There is plenty of better music earlier on this list. But you can't get past the fact that Manfredini, with two syllables repeated three times each, created an aural classic that will most likely be with us until the end of mankind (even if we do get it together and survive the next 50 years). It's just so perfect and permeating that the rest of the soundtrack doesn't matter.

3. Halloween


Sound Clip

Composer: John Carpenter
Dee, Doo, Doo, Dee, Doo, Doo, Dee
Carpenter's main theme is as relentless as Michael Myers and perfectly matches his pace. There's no hurry because it is pre-ordained that both WILL get you. While I am less impressed with the C-man's overall work as a composer than some give him credit for, there is no question that with this effort he hit it straight out of the f@cking park.

2. Psycho


Sound Clip

Composer: Bernard Herrmann
Ee, Ee, Ee
We can all thank our lucky stars that Herrmann talked Alfred Hitchcock out of going with a jazz score for PSYCHO. It would have been a far different movie, and considering PSYCHO basically birthed the slasher genre, who knows what alternate horror universe we'd be stuck in. Perhaps more than any other score except for #1, the music here IS a character in the film. Just brilliant. Ever been scared to take a shower? Thank Bernard Herrmann.

1. Jaws


Sound Clip

Composer: John Williams
Duh, dUH
What can be said about John Williams work here that doesn't fall short of praising the most genius horror score of all time. Is there anyone in the world who can enter a body of water without THAT music going through their head? I doubt it. Want to see people walk on water? Play the JAWS theme at the beach and watch abject fear cause people to rise up out of the water and sprint like f@cking gazelles to the beach. Then prepare to get your ass kicked, so you probably shouldn't do it. But this score is the scariest, most effective music I have ever heard.

READ PART 1 OF THIS LIST HERE
Source: AITH

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7:53PM on 08/24/2007

Solid List

Although I would have liked to see some soundtracks make this (Hellraiser, etc.), I thought that having the top horror soundtracks was a great idea for a top ten list. Well Done.
Although I would have liked to see some soundtracks make this (Hellraiser, etc.), I thought that having the top horror soundtracks was a great idea for a top ten list. Well Done.
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3:34PM on 08/24/2007

Taking into account...

... that its a Top 10 list and not a Top 20 list (I would've had Poltergeist, The Thing, SAW, They Live if it was...) good list bra! Every soundtrack deserves to be there!
... that its a Top 10 list and not a Top 20 list (I would've had Poltergeist, The Thing, SAW, They Live if it was...) good list bra! Every soundtrack deserves to be there!
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12:30PM on 08/24/2007

I would have liked...

to have seen Clouser's score from the first Saw. Say what you will about the movies, but the score was fantastic and probably the best horror score of recent years.
to have seen Clouser's score from the first Saw. Say what you will about the movies, but the score was fantastic and probably the best horror score of recent years.
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10:47AM on 08/24/2007

Ok list

Its' an okay list but it's missing some serious classics here. Where is the original Wicker Man score? And come on, making a horror score list and not including Hellraiser II... weak sauce.
Its' an okay list but it's missing some serious classics here. Where is the original Wicker Man score? And come on, making a horror score list and not including Hellraiser II... weak sauce.
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