Sometimes when I watch a new horror film, I think to myself…the score here really isn’t anything to brag about. It hardly stands out as creepy or mood-setting, usually, and a lot of artists seem to have completely abandon orchestral works in favor of licensing popular pop songs or even covers of them. So today I’m going to take a moment to remind all of you about a few epic horror soundtracks from awesome movies that helped to make them so incredible.
1. The Mephisto Waltz
When I get a copy of this movie, I’ll probably tell you a bit more about it. I’ve only read the book, though, so there’s not much I can say about the film. HOWEVER, the soundtrack. Is. Incredible. I’d expect nothing less from Jerry Goldsmith, who is absolutely one of the most incredible composers of the last century in my opinion. Here’s a quick sample of some songs from the soundtrack, and if you like it…I urge you to buy it.
2. The Fog (1980)
Any of you who may have watched John Carpenter’s earlier films may remember that he generally did most of the composing for them. In fact, any time you hear heavy synths in a Carpenter film…that was probably his doing. While I’m not a major fan of synth music, I’ll give Carpenter credit that he knew how to work those babies. Often I don’t thing his movies would have been the same without them. It was difficult to settle on a sountrack in particular, but ultimately I decided on The Fog. (They Live gets honorable mention.) I’m not going to post one of the full videos of the soundtrack, but I will post my favorite iconic song from it.
With the recent passing of Antonia Bird, I was saddened to realize there would never again be another wonderful film made by that woman. But this one will always live on, and the music? Incredible. Composed by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman, this soundtrack takes folk music to a whole new level beyond the disturbing quality of Deliverance. Each song becomes darker and darker, and so to does the story, tying the music and film together flawlessly. Here’s an example of one of the darker songs.
4. High Spirits
Toning it down a little and bringing you one of the lighter hearted horror comedies, which really is less horror and more comedy. I mean…there are some ghosts. That’s what classifies it as horror, but I say anything supernatural goes. There’s really kind of just one song in this movie, with a few variations. But it stands out enough to set the mood pretty damned well, so it’s going on the list. I’ll give you guys the overture, which is generally a sampling of every song. For the sake of continuity and giving credit where credit is due, this was composed by George Fenton.
5. The Exorcist
So in a debate between films like Jaws, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, it all came down to Tubular Bells. I mean The Exorcist. Yes, I said I don’t like much synth music, but there’s no denying that it’s done pretty good in this movie. Besides, it was the 70s, people were all about synths. Believe it or not, this isn’t the full song. Tubular Bells runs 50 minutes in total. It’s a damn long song. Steve Boeddeker does not do anything halfway.