The soundtrack to any horror movie is key to its success. No horror movie has ever topped the box office, scared the audience, or gained critical acclaim, without a great accompanying soundtrack. By "soundtrack" I don't mean rock songs (such as the redundant Twilight Movies), but I mean the musical score. Whether it's orchestra driven or electronic, the sounds we hear during any good horror film are important; they magnify our goosebumps. Here are the 10 best horror movie soundtracks.
1/tie - John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) The original movie was scored by the talented John Carpenter together with Alan Howarth. The result was brilliant. They start the movie with just a single piano key, the film and suspense grow, and the music grows along with it. By the end, with full Michael Myers mayhem in play, the piano and synthesizers are in full swing. It's taken from Styx "Castle Walls" (1977) from the Grand Illusion, but we love it's use here. The Halloween II soundtrack, much more synthesized, was equally smart. (Note: the clumsy Rob Zombie remake had a weak score. Do not confuse the two).
1/tie - Creepshow (1982) "The Crate" piano-driven piece is a classic horror movie soundtrack. John Harrison is the genius pianist here. The stories were written by Stephen King.
2 - The Fog (1980) John Carpenter composed the music and directed the film (co-produced with Debra Hill). The synthesized music was the highlight of this ghost story, and the banging sound, recurring in the soundtrack, was creepy... and brilliant.
3 - Psycho (1960) Bernard Herman orchestrated a creepy soundtrack for Alfred Hitchcock's Pscyho. The shower scene is probably one of the most famous soundtrack pieces in movie history. That part of the sound effects/music score is said to be due to Alfred Hitchcock's input.
4 - Pumpkinhead (1988) Stan Winston's masterpiece was scored by Richard Stone. The acoustic guitar blended with strings brought out the eerie quality of the backwoods mountains.
5 - The Lost Boys (1987) The vampires vs. the Frog brothers (and Corey Haim). Yes, this one had some cool songs as well, but the Thomas Newman musical score was a brilliant mix of organ and orchestra. Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMann was also very effective.
6 - The Thing (1982) Ennio Morricone composed the icy soundtrack. He used a cello/bass and a keyboard to create a very creepy mood in the Arctic sci-fi horror movie (directed by John Carpenter).
8 - The Exorcist (1973) The music of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" made the Exorcist as famous as the pea soup young Regan would later spit out. Piano and chimes.
9 - The Omen (1976-1981) chanting, voice and cello collaborate here to bring a holy-war feel to all 3 Omen movies. The deep chime of the heavy bell fits perfectly. The "Ave Satani" theme is chanted in all three, penned by Jerry Goldsmith.
10 - Hellraiser (1987) Pinhead was the centerpiece, but it was Christoper Young's musical score that drove the films. The Gothic feel, piano, horns and strings, all bring life to the puzzle box.
Special Mention: Netherworld (1992) music by David Bryan and Edgar Winter. The Netherworld Waltz is very sad and eerie at the same time.
At Top2040, see also: Top 40 Songs for Halloween
Horror movie soundtracks take skill and finesse to create. Their composers should be given a special nod of thanks for making some of the best horror movies a success, so Thank You from Top2040. Thanks for all the chills.
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