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Movie Soundtracks of the Month (October): Horror Soundtracks

Oct. 31, 2011by: Paul Huffman

Tis the season to watch Horror movies, fa la la la la la la. Freddy, Jason, Michael, and some boobies fa la la la la la la la la. BUT the kills arent all that matters na na na na na na na na, music accompanies the blood splatters na na na na na na na na. Thats all the rhyming you get out of me. Horror films personify perfectly how a score can add to the affect a film has on our minds. What would Michael Myers slicing and dicing have been if John Carpenter havent given us that iconic piano track? How creepy would that shark have been if John Williams didnt let us know he was coming about ten miles away? You picking up what Im putting down? Check out some selected horror soundtracks below as I elaborate furthur. Oh and Merry Halloween.

1. HALLOWEEN - JOHN CARPENTER

An obvious choice for number 1? Sure. Well deserved? You bet your last breath. Right from the opening credits we get treated to this creepy theme by the man John Carpenter himself. Talk about setting up the mood early. We get this nifty piano track sprinkled throughout the movie as our favorite man in mask Michael Myers stalks high school girlsin broad daylight. In plain sight. Nobody ever said he was intelligent. But hey when youre wielding a knife that size you dont have to be. Anyone who loves these films would agree that this iconic score is just as if not more memorable as the franchise it keeps company? Agreed? Thought so. John Carpenter has composed the scores for such films as Big Trouble in Little China, Prince of Darkness, In the Mouth of Madness, They Live, and Village of the Damned. Purchase the soundtrack here

2. JAWS - JOHN WILLIAMS

As above, this memorable score for one of Steven Spielbergs greatest hits has become as associated with the film itself as Linsday Lohan is associated with cocaine. From a composer like John Williams we expect nothing less. The idea of the very possible scenario of a man eating shark deciding youre breakfast is scary in itself, add in the key ingredient of the music below and you have yourself one hardcore fear of the big blue. John Williams has such an impressive resume its difficult to share. He has also assisted Steven Spielberg on such classics as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T, The Indiana Jones Franchise, Schindlers List, and Saving Private Ryan. Purchase the soundtrack here

3. THE OMEN - JERRY GOLDSMITH

This 1976 classic is the king of films that stray away from the kids are cute and cuddly theory.The Lost Boys is the film to go to if you think your brother is a vampire. Mommy and daddy, if you have a suspicion that your son or daughter is the anti-christ here is the film to reference. The selected track Ave Satani perfectly captures the flawless creepiness or our little pal Damien who is a good kid other than his fear of churches, his less than cordial relationship with zoo animals, and the fact that hes satans kid. But hey did he ask for that? Jerry Goldsmith has scored other classics like Alien, Poltergeist, the Planet of the Apes films, the Rambo franchise, and Star Trek films. Purchase the soundtrack here

4. 28 DAYS/28 WEEKS LATER - JOHN MURPHY

This particular track is featured in 28 Days Later and its sequel. Personally for me, the opening scene of the sequel found the best use for it. One of the best and most intense opening sequences Ive seen in a film, horror or not. Picture broad daylight getting run down by agile anti George Romero zombies and see if you dont soil your pants. The title of the track on the sequel is entitled Don Abandons Alice. Right there you know what you are in for. John Murphy has also scored such films as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Sunshine, and The Last House on the Left remake. Purchase the soundtrack here

5. SAW - CHARLIE CLOUSER

This film spawned a whole genre of torture porn films, some good, some not. Including six sequels, now while the sequels werent able to capture the magic the original threw our way there is no denying that for the majority of us the first film knocked us on our asses. We hadnt seen anything quite like it before. The ending of the film that started it all left me with my mouth gaped open for a good hour and yes, the iconic score from Charlie Clouser contributed heavily to that. If I were Jigsaw and I wanted to add insult to injury I would put this score on tape and play it in the last moments of my victims lives. Yup, that hardcore. Clouser has also scored the films Natural Born Killers, Escape from L.A, Lost Highway, The Matrix & Matrix Reloaded, Underworld, and Resident Evil: Extinction. Purchase the soundtrack here

Extra Tidbit: * Jigsaw Voice* I wanna play a game. Give me a scene in any horror film where the soundtrack perfectly compliments what is going on in said scene. If you don't, you will have more thumbs downs then you've ever seen in your life. Good luck.
Source: JoBlo
Tags: soundtracks

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3:42AM on 11/01/2011

ANOTHER FEW

HANNIBAL and DIRT HARRY works brilliantly as a horror scores. It's very eerie. While both not horror films the soundtracks alone sounds scary.
HANNIBAL and DIRT HARRY works brilliantly as a horror scores. It's very eerie. While both not horror films the soundtracks alone sounds scary.
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11:00PM on 10/31/2011

Pleasantly Surprised

When I read the headline, I was instantly thinking SAW and Clouser. I was a bit surprised to see it on the list. That movie really turned me on to horror (I have a habit of not seeing the classics), and that theme, at the end of the movie... I just got goosebumps again thinking about it. Blew my mind. Thanks for including it.
When I read the headline, I was instantly thinking SAW and Clouser. I was a bit surprised to see it on the list. That movie really turned me on to horror (I have a habit of not seeing the classics), and that theme, at the end of the movie... I just got goosebumps again thinking about it. Blew my mind. Thanks for including it.
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9:21PM on 10/31/2011

No Nightmare?

I absolutely love the original score to the Nightmare on Elm Street. It definitely should have been on this list, it suited the film perfectly.
I absolutely love the original score to the Nightmare on Elm Street. It definitely should have been on this list, it suited the film perfectly.
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+2
9:12PM on 10/31/2011
2 of my favs
coppola's dracula by wojciech kilar
alien 3 by elliot goldenthal
2 of my favs
coppola's dracula by wojciech kilar
alien 3 by elliot goldenthal
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7:45PM on 10/31/2011

HarkonnenAmongYou

Fair enough HarkonnenAmongYou, which Saw do you think was best? To be fair I really dug the second entry and the third was good enough. By the fourth one they sort of went downhill for me though.
Fair enough HarkonnenAmongYou, which Saw do you think was best? To be fair I really dug the second entry and the third was good enough. By the fourth one they sort of went downhill for me though.
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7:42PM on 10/31/2011
Great tunes, 1, 2, & 3 are must haves I think. On a side note though, I disagree highly that the original Saw is the best.
Great tunes, 1, 2, & 3 are must haves I think. On a side note though, I disagree highly that the original Saw is the best.
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6:52PM on 10/31/2011
Don Davis scored the Matrix movies, not Clouser. As for my favorite Horror score, its hard to beat The Omen.
Don Davis scored the Matrix movies, not Clouser. As for my favorite Horror score, its hard to beat The Omen.
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7:03PM on 10/31/2011
You are right. To clarify, Clouser remixed Rob Zombie songs that appeared on the soundtracks for Matrix and Matrix Reloaded. "Dragula" and "Reloaded" I believe they were. My mistake for wording his contribution to those soundtracks wrong.
You are right. To clarify, Clouser remixed Rob Zombie songs that appeared on the soundtracks for Matrix and Matrix Reloaded. "Dragula" and "Reloaded" I believe they were. My mistake for wording his contribution to those soundtracks wrong.
6:41PM on 10/31/2011

Danny Boyle

I'm glad you included 28 DAYS LATER, I really love it. Danny Boyle films always seem to have fantastic soundtracks
I'm glad you included 28 DAYS LATER, I really love it. Danny Boyle films always seem to have fantastic soundtracks
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6:04PM on 10/31/2011
Love the saw theme & Halloween theme as well but I think Poltergeist is the scariest of all time & I also appreciate the Scream theme as well because it starts how so ominous & then slows down in the end.
Love the saw theme & Halloween theme as well but I think Poltergeist is the scariest of all time & I also appreciate the Scream theme as well because it starts how so ominous & then slows down in the end.
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6:31PM on 10/31/2011
You know I haven't seen much appreciation for the Scream score. Glad to see it get some love. And of course the score for Poltergeist is a gem.
You know I haven't seen much appreciation for the Scream score. Glad to see it get some love. And of course the score for Poltergeist is a gem.
5:36PM on 10/31/2011
Very good list, not surprised that Halloween was number one. One of personal favorites is the Bram Stoker's Dracula score by Wojciech Kilar from Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film.
Very good list, not surprised that Halloween was number one. One of personal favorites is the Bram Stoker's Dracula score by Wojciech Kilar from Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film.
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4:14PM on 10/31/2011

Great Choices!

I am a huge fan of all of these scores, except I wasn't too familiar with the Omen's score until a few minutes ago. I think the entire Halloween score works so well (much like the original movie itself) because it's so understated. It makes you feel so isolated and on edge. I've always been a huge fan of that score though.

I also like how they used some of John Murphy's score for Kick Ass as well as The Walking Dead.
I am a huge fan of all of these scores, except I wasn't too familiar with the Omen's score until a few minutes ago. I think the entire Halloween score works so well (much like the original movie itself) because it's so understated. It makes you feel so isolated and on edge. I've always been a huge fan of that score though.

I also like how they used some of John Murphy's score for Kick Ass as well as The Walking Dead.
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3:25PM on 10/31/2011

Good list, but c'mon

How do you forget "Tubular Bells" from The Exorcist?!
How do you forget "Tubular Bells" from The Exorcist?!
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3:44PM on 10/31/2011
I love the Exorcist soundtrack as well. In future articles I'm going to have to post some honorable mentions.
I love the Exorcist soundtrack as well. In future articles I'm going to have to post some honorable mentions.
2:22PM on 10/31/2011
Psycho is easily my favorite.
Psycho is easily my favorite.
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6:05PM on 10/31/2011
agreed
agreed
2:16PM on 10/31/2011
Candyman is probably my favorite horror film soundtrack. Near Dark and The Hitcher and Ravenous are up there as well.
Candyman is probably my favorite horror film soundtrack. Near Dark and The Hitcher and Ravenous are up there as well.
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1:34PM on 10/31/2011

How could you miss this?

To not include a single soundtrack from Goblin (Suspiria, Deep Red, Dawn of the Dead) makes me question the subjectivity of this entire list.
To not include a single soundtrack from Goblin (Suspiria, Deep Red, Dawn of the Dead) makes me question the subjectivity of this entire list.
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1:49PM on 10/31/2011
Funnily enough Suspiria almost made the list. But the 28 days later soundtrack won out.
Funnily enough Suspiria almost made the list. But the 28 days later soundtrack won out.
12:03PM on 10/31/2011
Each on has its own uniqueness though I gotta confess I prefer the full orchestra version of halloween h20 over the original. As for the rest, I think each has its own uniqueness whether it be the growing menace of jaws or that realization moment in saw as the soundtrack plays and you realize what is about to happen. Each in its own way is a great soundtrack which is great to hear during this time of the year.
Each on has its own uniqueness though I gotta confess I prefer the full orchestra version of halloween h20 over the original. As for the rest, I think each has its own uniqueness whether it be the growing menace of jaws or that realization moment in saw as the soundtrack plays and you realize what is about to happen. Each in its own way is a great soundtrack which is great to hear during this time of the year.
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12:12PM on 10/31/2011
That's orchestral version is quite epic!
That's orchestral version is quite epic!
11:18AM on 10/31/2011
Can't beat Halloween for sure. I would also add the theme to the original Nightmare on Elm Street. Very creepy.
Can't beat Halloween for sure. I would also add the theme to the original Nightmare on Elm Street. Very creepy.
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10:10AM on 10/31/2011
The end of High Tension - the chase through the forest. [link]
The end of High Tension - the chase through the forest. [link]
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9:40AM on 10/31/2011
Good list. Theme from Halloween and John Carpenter's The Thing always give me the creep. Imagine running away from monsters with those two theme songs in your head - Nightmare!
Good list. Theme from Halloween and John Carpenter's The Thing always give me the creep. Imagine running away from monsters with those two theme songs in your head - Nightmare!
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9:24AM on 10/31/2011

28 Days/Weeks

I love the soundtrack to both 28 films, In The House is my favourite but I recently rewatched Weeks and that opening scene is fuckin intense.
I love the soundtrack to both 28 films, In The House is my favourite but I recently rewatched Weeks and that opening scene is fuckin intense.
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8:56AM on 10/31/2011
It's not part of the score, but "Sweet Dreams" during the Werewolf scene in Trick 'r Treat just freaking gets me every time.
It's not part of the score, but "Sweet Dreams" during the Werewolf scene in Trick 'r Treat just freaking gets me every time.
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8:33AM on 10/31/2011
It's not part of the score, but "Sweet Dreams" during the Werewolf scene in Trick 'r Treat just freaking gets me every time.
It's not part of the score, but "Sweet Dreams" during the Werewolf scene in Trick 'r Treat just freaking gets me every time.
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