Top 6 Horror Movie Theme Music
Editor’s Note: Greetings folks. So HUGE Redmangoreviews news. Our regular guest writer Sommerleigh Pollonais from Moviejunkies is now a Senior Writer. You will notice this article and all future articles will now have the name of the writer at the top with a link to the About page; no more long, drawn out introductions. So show Sommerleigh a very warm official welcome by sharing this list, checking out her other lists (mostly in the brand new Horror category) and hitting up her Moviejunkies YouTube and Facebook page (links in the About page).
This list was inspired by a much larger one I came across while browsing one of my favorite horror sites, Bloody Disgusting.
Have you ever stopped to think about, how a scene would play out in a movie, WITHOUT the musical score to accompany it? No? Well think about it now. NOW I SAY!
All kidding aside, without the score, most scenes just wouldn’t pack that emotional punch.
For example, remember that scene in Footloose, when Kevin Bacon is dancing through the old warehouse? Remove the music and he’d look like a mental patient, grunting and sweating while he bounced around like a maniac. So you’re too young to know what Footloose is? Okay then, how about the moment in Infinity War that turned fan boys and girls into emotional mush. Would that scene be as gut wrenching without the score playing, as your favorite heroes reenacted Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust? No, no it wouldn’t.
So we know how important an awesome score is to a movie and no movie genre, in my opinion, has more iconic scores than horror. Even if you’ve never watched a horror movie, when that theme song kicks in, I’m 99% sure people will know what horror movie it relates to.
There are SO MANY awe inspiring scores to choose from, I couldn’t cut it down to my usual five, so let’s take a look at my TOP 6 FAVORITE HORROR MOVIE THEME SONGS.
#6 Bram Stoker’s Dracula
If you’ve read any of my previous Tops lists, first of all, thank you! And second, you’ll know how much I adore Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Dracula.
The story, the visuals, the gorgeous costumes and of course, the score. Wojciech Kilar’s theme takes this Gothic love story and elevates it to another level. Even if you’ve never seen this movie (please go watch this movie), that theme song was so beautiful, it was actually used in a lot of other horror and thriller movie trailers, in the 90’s, after it came out.
This is a great example of a theme that most people instantly recognize, even if they’ve never seen the masterful film it’s taken from. It also has the distinction of playing during a moment that has now become iconic.
When poor Marion Crane gets stabbed in the shower composer Bernard Herrmann’s use of screeching violin strings is jarring especially considering the scene was devoid of any music before it kicks in. Both that scene and the score has gone down in history as one of the greatest ever put to film.
Another film theme song that has become so recognisable, it’s ingrained not only in pop culture, but in everyday life as well.
Who hasn’t hummed it while messing with a family member or friend who’s swimming in the ocean. Hell, even in a pool! I’ve heard people hum this Academy Award-winning score, composed by John Williams himself, when someone they don’t like is approaching. And to think the theme is just a simple altering between two notes played with a tuba. Outstanding!
#3 Friday the 13th
So here’s a fun bit of trivia you can use to show off your horror knowledge to your friends. Did you know, composer Harry Manfredini drew inspiration from Jaws when he created this now iconic theme song? Manfedini recorded himself speaking the “ki” and “ma” you hear, whenever Jason is nearby, into the microphone and then looped them to create the echo effect.
Who would’ve guessed one of the scariest sounds you would come to recognize as the approach of an unstoppable killing machine, would be “ki ki ki ma ma ma.” That’s some artistic genius for you right there.
Speaking of genius, it took John Carpenter only three days to compose the entire score to what would become arguably the greatest slasher movie of all time. There’s a documentary called Halloween: The Inside Story that I highly recommend if you’re a fan of Halloween and when you realise how limited the budget was for this movie, like me, you’ll come to admire Carpenter even more.
The simplicity of this theme lends perfectly to the intimate, yet terrifying nature of what has become a monumental slasher film.
#1 The Omen
I know that a lot of people would’ve put other theme songs as their Number One. You could argue that films like Jaws, Halloween and yes, Psycho have much more memorable scores. But this list is my own, based on my experiences with these films and because of that, The Omen’s theme song lands solidly as my top most terrifying.
To get a little personal for a moment, I was a kid who suffered with night terrors. Really bad night terrors. Yet ironically, my discovery of horror movies actually helped a lot. Partly the reason for these terrors, was going to Church and hearing the priest talk about Hell. Basically he scared the bejesus out of me every Sunday. So with that said, anything to do with the scary man from way down south would leave me in a mess. Then one day, I saw The Omen and not only did it have an ending where the good guys don’t win, but THAT SCORE was the stuff of nightmares!
It honestly took me years to re-watch it again and it’s one of two horror movies, which actually, really scared me to my core. (The other one is Child’s Play, but that’s a story for another time)
Composer Jerry Goldsmith (another seminal movie score composer) won an Oscar for Best Original Song with this little biddy, perfectly named Ave Satani (Hail Satan in Latin), with the idea to make it sound like a Catholic hymn that would be sung at Mass. The result is chilling, macabre and the type of theme song that will stick with you long after the credits have stopped scrolling. Trust me, I know.
And there you have it folks, the music that makes the terror that much more terrifying, and this horror lover wouldn’t have it any other way!
For the Top 5 Horror Movies for the Post-Valentine’s Day Blues you can click here.