Horror and Music

pet sematary

Horror movies produce the best music. That is if you are a hard rock fan. Most of the tunes are put out by deep, dark artists because their sound represents the theme of the action on screen. Who could forget “Pet Sematary” by the Ramones. It took a very scary movie and finished it with an energetic punch that left the audience tingling with excitement even after they left the theater.

In the early days of horror films, most of the music was produced by an organ, similar to one you would find in a church. Most of the sounds that were used were on the lower end of the spectrum which produced a very dark mood that accompanied what was going on in the film. It got to a point, where you could almost tell what was can happen by the music that was playing. For example, when the young starlet in the Dracula movies was desperately trying to escape the castle, everything was quiet. Then when you heard the ominous music, you knew that our villain was close at hand.


Even came to a point, where spooky characters had their own symbolic music that always played when there are present. Michael Meyers had the creepy keyboard notation immerse from the speakers every time he was near. It was the same tones played throughout all of his movies. It became symbolic of his character. One of the first films to do this was the Exorcist. Those chilling keys brought fear to people long after the movie was over. You could literally play on a piano and it would give goose pimples to everyone would seen the film. So set the stage for character references portrayed by the same music.

It wasn’t just limited to people. The infamous shark in Jaws had his own music. This was even more brilliant. The music would start really really slow, and slowly build to a point where the shark would attack. Building up the fear and anxiety in the audience with every note the played. More modern movies sort of got away from that type of label. Many of them took on the genre of heavy metal to emphasize the drama on the screen. Killers would be bathed in heavy music while they did their deed on the big screen. This music was not just generic, these were recognize songs by famous artists. Which invoked many such artists to write music just for this purpose. Marilyn Manson, White Zombie, and Nine Inch Nails were known for doing entire music scores for films. Even studio musicians like Kois known for teaching a Beginner drum Lesson class for kids, took a break and started composing music for film.

With the implementation of CGI, I think there’s going to be a greater number of musicians needed to compose new music for the movies. I believe there will stray away from writing entire songs complete with lyrics to address the films, but instead will compose primarily soundtracks that will be utilized throughout the film as well is the credit phase. This gives them more of a creative feel, because the music won’t be quite as identifiable, and I think that anonymity will be a humbling act for these rock stars.

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Types of Movie Monster

First there is the monster that became the way he is for no fault of his own. Like Dracula, who was cursed after he rebelled after God for taking his wife from him. Or Frankenstein, who was just animated dead tissue created in a laboratory. They didn’t ask to become what they were, so we can of feel sorry for them; even pulling for them times when the villagers are gathering. We find through various portrayals that they have a soft side, and we pity their monstrosity.

Then there is the human monster, who kills because of some injustice brought on him/her through childhood or adolescence. They take out their pain on others by picking them off one by one. Norman Bates was abused by his mother, until he killed her. He then felt such guilt, that he took on her persona and killed through her so called outlook at the world. When he was himself, he felt shame for what had happened and did what he could to remedy the situation. At least he had a good side, Michael Meyers and Jason Voorhees just took their anger out cold heartedly on every one of their victims.

They were purely sociopaths, and didn’t utter a word through their entire reign of terror. When attacked, they never seemed to flinch or even feel any pain. That was what made them so scary. They just kept coming and coming; no matter what. What made them truly amazing was that they could completely disappear after their spree, and no one could find them. What did they do, got out and get jobs?

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Next, just like my previous post, comes the supernatural serial killer. These animals share the same cruelty of their human counterparts, only they exist in another realm. Freddy Krueger and Pinhead lived in the world of the mind and dreams, away from normal human perception. They attacked their prey through their minds, which proved just as deadly as did their human counterparts. They were even harder to kill, and escaped more easily in other “dimensions”. The latter versions were on a mystical quest to change humanity because of their sins, but the cruelty was the same.

Next, just plain old ghosts. Enter the age of demons and spirits who are restless in their realm, and wish to mess with us people. Their narratives get weaker though, and we lose track of their true aim with their taunts. Some are conjured through incantations, and others just seem to follow certain life forces around trying to have a connection with us humans. With the latest advances in CGI, the need for a true story has gone out the window in lieu of flash and shock.



I would like to see the old characters come back more often. They did do a Frankenstein with Robert de Niro that was pretty good, but there needs to be a true story behind the creature. So we can join the two sides of loving him or hating him. When we get back to true story, and away from the effects a little more, there will be room for new forms of monsters and creatures that develop and warm their way into the dark side of our hearts.

How Horror Movies Have Evolved

I was watching TV the other day, and the Sci-Fi channel was playing the original version of “The Blob”. It was meant to be funnyish. Now it seems silly, but there was a time when that was considered a real horror movie. So how did things that used to be‎ scary before, become stupid now?

I think our range of experience and beliefs have drastically changed. The concept of a Dracula, or a werewolf was terrifying to audiences of old, but we know these are myths now. It was unknown and new in the past, so it intrigued moviegoers to be titillated by monsters that preyed on innocent victims. They didn’t even question why these victims were in these predicaments anyway.

As years progressed, most story lines had been exhausted, and screenwriters needed new material to explore. Sometimes they revisited old haunts, but most looked for new creatures to ply audiences with.

Enter the Era of the psycho killer. Spawned by the movie “Psycho”, these were ordinary people who suddenly snapped, and felt the need to prey upon other humans. There was usually some back story about trauma or abuse which set them off, but the majority of screen time was spent spilling the blood of hapless victims. While the characters were simplified, the story needed to be broader to explain how people came into the realm of these Villains.

Sleep-away camps became a popular haven for these maniacs.They would lurk in the woods all year until the summer’s visitors would arrive. Then they would slowly and systematically kill them once each one was alone. It was two hours of thrilling cat and mouse games for the audience, who would always yell at the screen characters, “turn around, he’s right behind you!!”. At the end there was always one last victim to report these horrible crimes to the authorities who only show up after most everyone is dead. If crowds are lucky, the villain will get away and they can look forward to a sequel.


How do you top that one? Well, you introduce a supernatural character who has the same killing instincts as well. Such as Freddie Krueger, who can only get you while you sleep, or the Leprechaun, who only targets those who has disturbed his gold. Those are trickier to fight against since normal human methods of defense don’t work. And, only the victims can see them, so the cops would never be able to get them into a lineup.

On to today. Most disturbing entities are completely supernatural, and can’t seem to be vanquished by any of the prior methods. They are mostly ghosts and demons who for some reason can’t stay dead, and wish to make our life miserable. We as humans(in the movies anyway), always seem to get our gumption together and do battle with them in the end. The hero has had quite enough, and is no longer afraid and ready to kick but.

Every time we think the themes are over, and there is nothing new to scare people with, Hollywood always comes up with something. When I see all those older horror movies, I try to imagine that kind of imagery frightening people, but remember that that was a time long ago

What Makes a Horror Movie So Scary?

What Makes a Horror Movie So Scary

What is the scariest horror movie you have ever watched? I don’t have one movie that scares the bejesus out of me; I have a whole list of them. From “Exorcist” to Steven King’s very recent “It”, every good horror movie has given me sleepless nights. It doesn’t matter really whether it’s a demon possessing a little boy or a maniacal clown abducting children, all the best horror flicks have a few common elements that sets your adrenaline flowing and your pulse racing.

Bring Your Nightmares Along

Do you know that there are nightmares already living inside you? You have populated your psyche with nightmares from stories you have heard in your childhood. Or maybe it’s a cultural construct like the Bogeyman. Or there is the fear of clowns or the fear of demons. Or maybe just your fear of the dark! All are nightmares already living inside you. The good horror movies, plainly tap into your fears and make you live your nightmares. You are a puppet of your fears, in the grip of a good horror movie.

We Have You Anticipating!

Haven’t you noticed the construct of the good horror movies? They build up the suspense, makes the climatic conditions ready for the next best scare. But even before the scare comes, your pulse is racing. That’s because you were made to anticipate for the metaphorical sword to fall; for the clown to appear or the demon to surface. This is basic physiology 101. When you anticipate danger, adrenaline is released into your blood and your heart rate shoots through the roof. Flight or fight! Gets you worked up pretty good!

Do You Like the Ambience?

I don’t! This is a no brainer. Set the ambience in the dingiest of places like a dark attic or a scary graveyard, the darkest of hours and the creepiest of music, each in itself capable of putting you on the edge. The best horror movies also have the best background score that captures the tempo of the scenes to perfection. Your subconscious will respond to these cues pretty nicely. It is hardwired to respond to these surroundings and sounds even without your realizing it! Horror movies tap into your subconscious to pull you into the atmosphere that the movie maker creates. They are setting you up for the next big scare and till then flood your system with an overdose of adrenaline.

What Is It that Stands Before Me?

The worst fear known to man – the fear of death! We are all hardwired for survival. None of us will willfully walk towards death, unless under extraordinary circumstances. So what would set you more on the edge than the fear of death itself? The best horror movies, always plays with your head and makes you fight death alongside the characters in the movie. Then what should set you up for a better scare than when the Scythe wielding Grimm Reaper suddenly stands before you? That’s why anyone would say, what’s a horror movie without some death?

Horror to Scare

The best horror movies have a healthy mix of psychology sprinkled with good direction, to make you sit on the edge! And it sure as hell, works.