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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