SPOOKY! ▷ The 35 Best BSOs of 【Horror Movies】


The horror movie soundtracks They have changed the world silently, like a virus. They have established and maintained a great culture around analog synthesizers, they have provided generations with dissonant catwalks into intoxicating worlds of 20th-century composition and have influenced bands such as Portishead, Boards of Canada and Animal Collective.

Below you have a selection of best horror movie soundtracks. In total you have 35 that we will propose in reverse order.

Feel free to make your recommendations in the comments 🙂


  • 35. ‘Xtro’ (Harry Bromley Davenport, 1983)
  • 34. ‘Zombi 2’ (Fabio Frizzi, 1979)
  • 33. ‘C.H.U.D.’ (Martin Cooper and David Hughes, 1984)
  • 32. ‘Nightmare City’ (Stelvio Cipriani, 1980)
  • 31. “Near Dark” (Tangerine Dream, 1987)
  • 30. "Hellraiser" (Christopher Young, 1987)
  • 29. “Chopping Mall” (Chuck Cirino, 1986)
  • 28. ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’ (Sinoia Caves, 2010)
  • 27. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (Tobe Hooper and Wayne Bell, 1974)
  • 26. “Day of the Dead” (John Harrison, 1985)
  • 25. “Under the Skin” (Mica Levi, 2013)
  • 24. “The Boogeyman” (Tim Krog, 1980)
  • 23. A Clockwork Orange (Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, Ludwig von Beethoven, et al. 1972)
  • 22. “The Wicker Man” (Paul Giovanni and Magnet, 1973)
  • 21. “Exorcist II: The Heretic” (Ennio Morricone, 1977)
  • 20. “Maniac” (Jay Chattaway, 1981)
  • 19. “Maniac” (Rob, 2012)
  • 18. ‘Videodrome’ (Howard Shore, 1983)
  • 17. “Christine” (John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, 1983)
  • 16. "Kwaidan" (Toru Takemitsu, 1965)
  • 15. "Psychosis" (Bernard Herrmann, 1960)
  • 14. ‘The Keep’ (Tangerine Dream, 1983)
  • 13. "Tenebrae" (Simonetti-Pignatelli-Morante, 1982)
  • 12. "Phantasm" (Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave, 1979)
  • 11. “The Beyond” (Fabio Frizzi, 1981)
  • 10. “The Shining” (Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, Krzysztof Penderecki, et al., 1980)
  • 9. “Rosemary’s Baby” (Krzysztof Komeda, 1968)
  • 8. ‘The Omen’ (Jerry Goldsmith, 1976)
  • 7. ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ (Popul Vuh, 1979)
  • 6. ‘The Thing’ (Ennio Morricone, 1982)
  • 5. ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ (Riz Ortolani, 1980)
  • 4. ‘Suspiria’ (Goblin, 1975)
  • 3. "Candyman" (Philip Glass, 1992)
  • 2. “Halloween III: Witch's Day” (John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, 1982)

  • 1. “Halloween” (John Carpenter, 1978)

35. ‘Xtro’ (Harry Bromley Davenport, 1983)

Director Harry Bromley Davenport once described his shocking 1983 sci-fi movie Xtro as an "extraordinary disaster," an evaluation critics of the film will likely consider immodestly generous.

Much more consistent than the movie itself, is its soundtrack, which was also written and recorded by Bromleavenport. Whether motivated by budget constraints, by an admiration for the work on the soundtrack of John Carpenter or by both, Bromley Davenport, a trained classical pianist, became the minimalist route of analog synthesizers, mixing disturbing melodies with buzzing electronic effects and brave waltzes.

Soundtrack collectors and synth fans alike pay large amounts of money to obtain copies of the original.

34. ‘Zombi 2’ (Fabio Frizzi, 1979)

This kind of sequel to the Italian release of Dawn of the Dead includes what could be considered the most memorable song by Lucio Fulci's master of the horror synthesizer and frequent collaborator, Fabio Frizzi, a dark electronic group that makes Goblin look cheerful. But the soundtrack also spins in wild directions: loud electronic drinks, exotic nonsense, dull disco, Reich-ian marimba, many frenetic drums and Mellotron, which he calls "sound of the dead." "

Lucio had a special relationship with music, ”says Frizzi in the Death Waltz / Mondo reissue notes. "I had a clear idea of ​​what I wanted and an excellent way to guide me through that, something that all directors should be able to do."

33. ‘C.H.U.D.’ (Martin Cooper and David Hughes, 1984)

Composed by Martin Cooper (the keyboardist of the romantic New Wave Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark) and David Hughes (Former keyboardist of the same band).

The soundtrack brings together its "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers" with claustrophobic synthesizer sounds that are dreamy, sinister and, sometimes, a bit like Art of Noise.

The couple spent time in the early eighties preparing synthesizer instruments and soon joined Warner Bros to cover their need to work on a soundtrack of synthesizers after the Chariots of Fire landscape.

Recorded with an OMD sampler, and a Roland SH1, the sound was made at home. “David and I told him [al productor Andrew Bonime] that we had to record the movie in Liverpool with our own team, so the poor man had to endure a series of trips to the hard-to-reach areas of the city's suburbs, since the studio was located on the fringes of an urbanization notorious, "Cooper said in the Waxwork release notes." We were also working on the night shift, as New Order used to be there on the day working on some of its classics. "

32. ‘Nightmare City’ (Stelvio Cipriani, 1980)

Nothing about the city of Umberto Lenzi's nightmare makes a lot of sense, from the lack of consistent logic (his "zombies" run, wield weapons and sometimes seem quite normal), until his absurd history (men and women are exposed to radiation on an airplane and they come ready to kill), to their tendency to take the path to the plot.

The Italian composer Stelvio Cipriani, also responsible for the mysterious jazz lounge of the Blood Bay of Mario Bava, offers a score as schizophrenic as the film, including Dracula disco ("Metropolis"), a sad song ("Solitude"), and "Sustain," a combination of synthesizers and saxophones that sounds like a Mike Post television theme.

31. “Near Dark” (Tangerine Dream, 1987)

Few synthesizer artists considered Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" to reimagine the Hollywood score with Tangerine Dream's taste, beginning with William Friedkin's thriller in 1977, Sorcerer, who took a big step in the 1981 classic soundtrack for Michael Mann's thief, and probably best recognized for music other than Bob Seger from Tom Cruise's debut, Risky Business.

Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and a long list of other people created the sound landscape of the cinema noir of the time: sexy and in a bad mood, energetic but deeply controlled, contemporary and at the same time classic.

The score of this teenage vampire film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which had the commercial misfortune of being released in the stream of the Lower Lost Boys, reached the end of its highest point of the eighties (Franke retired shortly after).

Near Dark is capricious, digital, synthesized (though hardly exclusive) music, a diverse set of compositions that serve the scenes while establishing their own personalities.

A good moment that sounds like an instrumental of the period of Miami Frey ("Caleb's Blues") by Glen Frey exists near a spiny piece of music from guitar-sequence-treated film ("Rain in the Third House") and a piece melancholy slightly technified with a carpenter-like environment ("Resurrection 1")

30. "Hellraiser" (Christopher Young, 1987)

Although he had already created the soundtracks for an eighties slasher like The Dorm That Dripped Blood, Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, and Trick or Treat, Christopher Young firmly established himself as a horror composer first in 1987 with his symphonic score for the debut as director of Clive Barker.

Barker had originally hired British industrial experimentalists Coil to create the film's soundtrack, but Young intervened when the duo's work was considered too nervous by the film's sponsors.

Loaded with sinister strings, brass premonitions, great piano of great resonance and unexpected pangs of dissonance, Young's atmospheric score slowly accumulates in the tone from a romantic dark fantasy to a claustrophobic nightmare, and then concludes returning to his dreamlike beginnings .

29. “Chopping Mall” (Chuck Cirino, 1986)

Although the eighties were bleeding with the synthesizer scores without a budget for the B-series films, Chuck Cirino's disturbing neon soundtrack in a massacre at a robot-led mall, sticking out over the head and shoulders. "I wrote Chopping Mall in the basement of Shadoe Stevens' DJ recording studio," says Cirino in the Waxwork article notes. " “At that time, I worked for Shadoe directing the television commercials of Federated Group. So when [el director] Jim Wynorski asked me to write Chopping Mall, I took three weeks off and continued recording robot music. ”

28. ‘Beyond the Black Rainbow’ (Sinoia Caves, 2010)

For the sci-fi thriller set in 1983, Sinoia Caves, the solo project of Black Mountain keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt, goes back to the icons of the era: it is an elegant, sober and spacious affair, heavily influenced by John Carpenter, Giorgio Moroder and Tangerine Dream, and others.

Recorded primarily with analog synthesizers (as well as a Mellotron, which occupies a prominent place in the “flashback” of the soundtrack of the majestic band Pink Floyd “1966 – Let the New Age of Enlightenment Begin”), Schmidt's compositions are full both of the exciting promise of the future and the threat of science.

"Technically speaking, the entire BTBR company could probably have been conceived identically in the year it really takes place, in 1983," Schmidt told Noisey.

"I was using an old analog synthesizer equipment that dates back then … These tend to be the voices that simply won't abandon my psyche, whether they are, in fact, appropriate for the effort or otherwise"

27. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (Tobe Hooper and Wayne Bell, 1974)

Grimy, country music and soundtrack of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, sits together with Eraser head as a rare moment in which music, sound effects and other diagnostic sounds are indistinguishable.

Metal sounds howl like a free jazz saxophone solo, rhythmic clicks and squeaks remind of febrile percussion, and swirls of effects-laden sounds with a touch of dub reggae.

Created by Wayne Bell and director Tobe Hooper, this piece is a background noise turned into an avant-garde soundtrack, and has gone too far. A big influence on bands like Animal Collective and Wolf Eyes, is one of the many expert elements that scare The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

26. “Day of the Dead” (John Harrison, 1985)

The composer John Harrison, who by the way, played the zombie that has a screwdriver in his ear, captures the tonal chaos of the military industrial complex of George Romero, not to mention the tension between the cheerful exterior of the eighties of Reagan and his cruelty.

The Day of the Dead is a film that is not very interested in "subtlety" or "tonal consistency", and Harrison's score is as follows: there is the nervous theme, the island's vibe about melancholy and ballads puzzling Sputzy Sparacino. ”That sounds like a mix between Frank Stallone, Lou Gramm, and Luther Vandross.

"While the music on Day of the Dead closely follows the action, John takes a slight left turn and snakes down a stylistic path that is completely his," Romero says in the Waxwork reissue notes.

“His score is as emotionally evocative as one of the old classics [Turner Classic Movies], mysteriously dark when necessary, so grandiloquent when a shock is needed, but there is a hint of hope, a strange kind of happiness, a calypso voice that advises us “don't worry, be happy”, even in the face of death imminent.

25. “Under the Skin” (Mica Levi, 2013)

One of the rarest films starring Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin was made by Jonathan Glazer, who in addition to films (including Sexy Beast) had directed music videos for Radiohead, Massive Attack and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.

For the soundtrack of a piece of humor in which the extraterrestrial Johansson attracts the possible lotharios of a premature death, he addressed Mica Levi, the master mind of U.K. Indie rock, the upstart Micachu and the Shapes.

Its sound in that aspect was twisted, rhythmic and forged by hand, but in Under the Skin it showed a more industrial and less symphonic side, influenced by composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki and Iannis Xenakis. "It sounds creepy, but sexy," Levi wrote in The Guardian after the fact. In the same memory: “If your life force is being distilled by an alien, it will not necessarily sound very good. It is supposed to be physical, alarming, hot. ”

24. “The Boogeyman” (Tim Krog, 1980)

Released somewhere between Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" (as used in The Exorcist) and John Carpenter's score for Halloween, Tim Krog's strange synth soundtrack for The Boogeyman lent Ulli Lommel's funny supernatural from 1980 , a very necessary slasher element of the class. Recorded by Krog and the Synthe-Sound-Trax duo, using various analog synthesizers (and using an ingenious digital delay and inverted tape effects), Krog's minimalist but melodic soundtrack is a low-profile classic.

23. A Clockwork Orange (Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, Ludwig von Beethoven, et al. 1972)

Stanley Kubrick's revelation in 1971 of Anthony Burgess's provocative 1962 novel about a government willing to adopt mind control to rewire his gangs of ultraviolet teenagers, was anything but a conventional film; naturally, it required an adventurous soundtrack.

What Wendy Carlos, a pioneer in synthesizers, created with collaborator and producer Rachel Elkind, adapted to the super stylized film: along with excerpts from banal pop, classical music, and supporters of Burgess (mainly Beethoven and Rossini) echoed to the innovative electronic distortions and in the theme of the film (and the novel): the perversion of organic life in mechanical drills.

It is the voice of Elkind that you hear during Carlos's triumphant arrangement of the march of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony: it is said that it was the first use of the registered Vocoder keyboard.

22. “The Wicker Man” (Paul Giovanni and Magnet, 1973)

One of the rare horror movies Using songs as the main components of his narrative, The Wicker Manfeatures, the Robin Hardy classic in 1973, features a soundtrack that could easily be confused with a lovely collection of traditional British ballads, jigs, reels, children's songs and drinking songs.

Only when it was heard in the context of the film, which takes place on a fictional and populated island off the west coast of Scotland, the old sound songs, written for the film by the New York playwright and composer, Paul Giovanni, were recorded With the Magnet band, it acquires a darker and insidious tone.

"On one occasion, Paul suggested we all smoke drugs," Gary Carpenter of Magnet told The Guardian. “I never tried; We spent so much time on the floor laughing that nobody could play their instruments. ”

Almost as influential as the movie itself, the Wicker Man soundtrack has inspired many versions over the years, especially the erotic “Willow’s Song,” which has been recorded by Isobell Campell, Doves, Sneaker Pimps and many others.

21. “Exorcist II: The Heretic” (Ennio Morricone, 1977)

You probably don't remember a single scene from the sequel to William Friedkin's domestic horror classic, The Exorcist. With Friedkin or the original writer William Peter Blatty on board, and Linda Blair reprising her role as Regan MacNeil but refusing to return with demons, the new director John Boorman did his job for him.

A box office disaster that is considered one of the worst movies of all time, its only salvation is the budget for Ennio Morricone. In one of his first forays into the big Hollywood budget, the Master delivered one of his strangest soundtracks. There is the Afro-Cuban tribal thunder of “Pazuzu”, the progressive rock tread of “Magic and Ecstasy”, as well as the ethereal voice and orchestra of “Regan’s Theme (Floating Sound)”, which Morricone would visit almost 40 years later.

The Hateful Eight, by Quentin Tarantino. The "Night Flight", a mixture of ritual rhythms of Haitian drums, strings, groans and a children's choir, may sound crowded on paper, but Morricone combines it in a horror film made by itchy skin and sublime .

20. “Maniac” (Jay Chattaway, 1981)

The soundtrack to William Lustig's dazzling serial killer movie is somewhere between the genres of new age and no wave. Pleasant sounds abound, some slippery bass in the main song, flagrant flutes throughout, but are interrupted or dominated by bursts of noise, jarring strings and synthesizers.

"Hooker's heartbeat" is an exponential accumulation of electronic humming as the highest part of the Stranger Things theme that is repeated over and over again. Creepy and desperate music that scalp pickup antagonist Frank Zito could love.

19. “Maniac” (Rob, 2012)

Coming from the same French scene that spawned bands like Daft Punk and Air, of course Robin "Rob" Coudert paints with a bigger, bolder and more romantic brush than most.

For the Maniac reboot, a classic from the slasher era, in 2012, Coudert, a Phoenix keyboardist, avoided the vibrant and noisy atmosphere of the entire 1981 low-budget original theme. Instead, this soundtrack takes the synthesizers that influenced him (John Carpenter, Goblin, Giorgio Moroder) and turns them into huge outbreaks of melancholic sound.

“I love the way synthesizers [de esos artistas] they are used to make very sentimental music, not just something that is superficially techno or electronic, ”Coudert told Complex.

“I am not especially a fan of horror movies. Maniac, it didn't intrigue me because it was a horror movie, but because there was so much freedom to be creative. There were no limits on how much emotion I could add to music, they asked me for power and more emotion. Everything was more and more. ”

18. ‘Videodrome’ (Howard Shore, 1983)

As seductive as it is deep and creepy, the 1983 David Cronenberg Videodrome proposed a saturated media conspiracy in which sinister forces use exploitative television broadcasts as a means of mind control and large-scale social engineering.

From the moment that James Woods (as the president of the television station Max Renn) put his attention on the television broadcast without plot for which the film is named, essentially nothing on the screen can be interpreted as completely real.

Appropriately, the ingenious score of Howard Shore, the third for Cronenberg, blurs reality and facsimile: Shore composed capricious episodes for an acoustic and conventional string orchestra, but also programmed the music on a digital sampling keyboard, then recorded both sources in tandem and mixed them a way destined to obscure which was which.

17. “Christine” (John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, 1983)

It is a sad poetic justice that best represented Christine, John Carpenter's adaptation in 1983 of a Stephen King murder novel, and is George Thorogood's relatively recent novel, "Bad to the Bone," which is sad because the score Carpenter and his writing partner Alan Howarth is among the master synthesizer masterpieces and composer.

Even in the midst of such brilliant career achievements as the result of Assault on Precinct 13 (which in 1976 predicted the industrial techno of Sheffield and Detroit) or the most iconic Halloween theme, Christine's music stands out as a magnificent combination of fear of silicon and the emotion of the machine, a soundtrack perfectly aligned with the story.

As dark and minimalist as many of the scenes in the film, many lines of blurred and white roads of night discs, synthesizers pursue these landscapes passively. The main exceptions are “Moochie’s Theme” and “Christine Attack,” two pieces of cold-wave magic that would cause a break in a Gothic club.

16. "Kwaidan" (Toru Takemitsu, 1965)

Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi created a resume that included stories of Samurai and The Human Condition, one of the longest fiction films in history. But with his first color film, Kobayashi drew information from a book of Japanese folk tales and created four stories of stylized ghosts that appear with a hypnagogic color, a fascinating film that won a special prize in Cannes and even earned a nomination for the Prize of The academy.

The score of the avant-garde composer Toru Takemitsu It is as surprising as the color scheme. Inspired by John Cage's theories and paradigm changes, Takemitsu applied electronics and indetermination to his own sheet music and soundtracks.

For Kwaidan, there is both silence and soundtrack, but when Takemitsu signals appear using Japanese folk instruments and reconfiguring them, the atmosphere becomes electric. Shakuhachi flutes that sound like winter winds, metal that screams like a ghost ship, drums that foretell the shadows, a torn biwa lute as furious as a sword fight, the sound of splintered wood became chilling, Takemitsu twists these sounds in disturbing new bells.

"It's like hiding behind someone to scare them," Takemitsu explained in a 1994 documentary about his work. “First, you have to keep silent. Even a single sound can be movie music. ”

15. "Psychosis" (Bernard Herrmann, 1960)

There is no more formative and fundamental sound for horror movies than the squeaky strings in the shower scene in Psycho. Composer Bernard Herrmann had recorded film credits no less formidable than Citizen Kane and The Day the Earth Stood Still, but it was his work with Alfred Hitchcock that resonated the most.

He began his career in the main Hitchcock period with films such as Vertigo and North by Northwest, but Psycho was left with the greatest fame thanks to his strong intensity and his mysterious moods. It is clear that something is not right from the beginning, when the film opens in a way in no way horrible, and suggestive and unstable orchestral music is the reason. Famous, Hitchcock wanted the scene with the murder in the shower to take place without music, only the shouts of Janet Leigh and the sound of the water running down the drain. Herrmann offered something else. Those strings, played by force, which seem to sound strangely, have frightened people since then.

14. ‘The Keep’ (Tangerine Dream, 1983)

Visually, Michael Mann, despite the neon, looks like a 1983 heavy metal music video and his idea: the Nazis who occupy Romania wake up an ancient demon and only a Jewish scientist can communicate with him.

Which means that The Keep is something like a confusing mess and depends on the expansion, the elastic electronics of Tangerine Dream to keep all ideas together. Highlights include the slightly militaristic main theme, the Vice President "Dreamscape" of Manuel Gottsching-meet-Miami and the complete rumors of "Talisman."

It is an atypically sententious score of the propellant scouts of German synthesizers that sell the melodrama of this high-concept horror movie.

13. "Tenebrae" (Simonetti-Pignatelli-Morante, 1982)

Goblin had previously scored Dario Argento's Deep Red and Suspiria, dividing the difference between the over-the-top and atmospheric instrumentals, but here three Goblin members, Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli and Massimo Morante, deliver the Italo-disco of Dead eyes.

It is like the previous Goblin that was granted an edition of Todd Terje so that it can be furrowed and beaten endlessly, combining the elongated and ostentatious pieces of Argento.

"Flashing" is like an expanding Lindstrøm track that softens in just six minutes, while "Waiting Death" offers an extensive freakout of organs with many hiccups and vocoded belching.

Fizzy's French house team, Justice, tested the main theme of this flowery giallo in his songs "Phantom" and "Phantom II," which was finally sampled by Swizz Beats in Gucci Mane's "Gucci Time."

12. "Phantasm" (Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave, 1979)

Fred Myrow and Malcom Seagrave, both classical composers and rock music fans, combined their collective influences for a slow and sinister version of Prog Bombast.

Based primarily on that memorable eight-note theme, its organ, piano, Mellotron, clavinet and synthesizers covered the entire range between temperamental rock, church organ, drone and noisy atmosphere where director Don Coscarelli says they were, “using almost all the percussion to get a series of scratches and booms. ”

"We have a lot of melodic sounds that worked with the action, but only some strange sounds that were harder to recover at that time," he told IGN.

“The synthesizers we used at the time were so primitive that you couldn't repeat anything; you would program the synthesizer, which means that all these dials created a sound, you came back, you tried to get it again and you forgot it. It was impossible."

11. “The Beyond” (Fabio Frizzi, 1981)

Lucio Fulci, master of grumpy and blood-filled Italian, went from westerns and ridiculous comedies to do some of the horror movies more horrendous from the seventies and eighties: The Beyond.

The story of a portal to hell beneath a New Orleans hotel is full of blood, offset by the score of frequent contributor Fabio Frizzi. Frizzi's dramatic signals falter over the absurd, full of Mellotron lines, choirs and invisible forces.

It is a crazy mix of elastic bass, flutes and progressive orchestral ominousness, but as the film approaches its gloomy end, Frizzi's score also darkens, gaining weight, underlining the inescapable fate of the characters.

"The distinctive objective of the film's soundtrack was to achieve an old goal of mine," Frizzi said in the notes of the recent reissue of Death Waltz.

“I wanted to combine two different instrumental forms that I had always loved: the band and the orchestra. When I started writing music some years before, I had learned to combine these two sounds; But for many reasons, the roles of strings and wind instruments were created primarily by keyboards. This time I decided to get serious. ”

10. “The Shining” (Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, Krzysztof Penderecki, et al., 1980)

Lightning emerges when electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos and producer and collaborator Rachel Elkind met with director Stanley Kubrick after the success of A Clockwork Orange.

Most of the music that Carlos created, with Elkind accredited as co-composer, was not used apart from for the theme of the title (a crazy reworking of the traditional liturgical song "Dies Irae") and a second track, "Rocky Mountains" .

But you can hardly complain about the way in which Kubrick and music editor Gordon Stainforth collected the most disturbing passages from the works of a handful of Eastern European mavericks: "Lontano" by György Ligeti, the Hungarian genius with music released in 2001 : an Odyssey in space.

Krzysztof Penderecki, the Polish radical whose strangled strings, barbaric beats, strident rhythms and sibilant choirs in "Utrejna", "De Natura Sonoris", "The Awakening of Jacob" and more provided The Overlook Hotel and its inhabitants with a properly deranged atmosphere.

9. “Rosemary’s Baby” (Krzysztof Komeda, 1968)

The main theme of Rosemary’s Baby seems to be innocent enough: just some strings or slow-wound clams and the beautiful voices of la-la-la sung by a young Mia Farrow. However, innocence is not very abundant in the success of director Roman Polanski. Krzysztof Komeda, a Polish compatriot from Polanski, composed the music and became famous as a progressive mind in Eastern European jazz. Some of that is evident in Rosemary’s Baby, including the melodious saxophone ballad “Making Love in the Apartment,” but the subtle other world is the main record, as Komeda mixes styles with imagination and control.

8. ‘The Omen’ (Jerry Goldsmith, 1976)

Much of the reputation of the Jerry Goldsmith Academy Award winning soundtrack to this 1976 blockbuster can be attributed to its main theme, “Ave Satani,” as well as to Gregorian and coral songs that are the column vertebral oscura de esta banda sonora: convertirse en uno de los éxitos más grandes de todos los tiempos de la cultura popular del satanismo.

Goldsmith, cuyo trabajo en Hollywood abarcó cinco décadas (e incluyó partituras clásicas y tensas como El planeta de los simios, Chinatown y Alien, entre otras más), escribió un puñado de frases en latín que pervierten las de la misa católica, las unió a un malvado el coro y las sembró debajo de chirriantes, cuerdas de sautillé llenas de tensión y fanfarria de latón. Aún así, el abridor ascendente “Ave Satani” (naturalmente, “Hail Satan” y nominado a Mejor Canción) es la pieza central incuestionable, en donde la Orquesta Filarmónica Nacional y el coro, armados con una gramática latina cuestionable y una pompa wagneriana, ostentan la capital a la tierra.

Dijo Goldsmith, quien fue nominado al Oscar a la Mejor Partitura original ocho veces anteriormente con cero victorias, “me sorprendió mucho cuando gané para The Omen porque no creía que fuera el tipo de película que los votantes de la Academia elegirían”.

7. ‘Nosferatu the Vampyre’ (Popul Vuh, 1979)

Mientras que el director Werner Herzog más tarde buscaría el horror inherente a la naturaleza y la condición humana, en 1979 reformuló el clásico vampírico expresionista de F.W. Murnau como Nosferatu the Vampyre, presentando al maníaco Klaus Kinski como el demonio de sangre de dientes de rata.

Algunas de las tomas de la película son homenajes explícitos a Murnau, pero la partitura de la película es una ruptura distinta. Conocido por su sereno y elegante trabajo en el álbum, Florian Fricke y sus compañeros de banda de Popul Vuh contribuyen con una partitura más sombría y evocadora que funciona con lecturas siniestras de Das Rheingold y canciones populares georgianas de Wagner.

Para los fans de la banda sonora de horror, Nosferatu es atípico: guirnaldas de guitarra acústica, sitar y piano de Fricke forman una pieza meditativa y cíclica que anticipa su avance hacia la placidez de la nueva era para fines de la década. Sin embargo, como un estudio de contrastes, es un clásico, un hermoso trazado alrededor del vampiro grotesco de Kinski que proporciona simpatía y patetismo para los más monstruosos.

6. ‘The Thing’ (Ennio Morricone, 1982)

Con su intensa película de ciencia ficción de 1982 sobre investigadores en Alaska sucumbiendo al ADN alienígena parásito, el director John Carpenter rompió con la tradición de anotar sus propias películas. Para capturar la paranoia que sentían los investigadores, contrató a uno de sus héroes para escribir la banda sonora: el rey de los westerns de espaguetis y el veterano Ennio Morricone.

El tema principal, “Humanidad (Parte 1)”, comienza con las cuerdas y los cuernos y discretos que tocan melodías que se abren hacia arriba, lo que aumenta la ansiedad. En otras partes de la partitura, las melodías dulces tocan los acordes discordantes, los violinistas tocan sus instrumentos de forma caótica y más que unos pocos avances desde notas silenciosas a sonidos espeluznantes y funerarios.

Morricone, quien más tarde ganó un Oscar por su música para The Hateful Eight al reutilizar las sobras de The Thing, le dijo a Rolling Stone que Carpenter le había hecho la película, pero se fue antes de que pudieran discutirlo, por lo que tuvo que resolverlo él mismo.

Carpenter ha dicho que lo único que pidió fue “menos notas”, y es el minimalismo y la tensión de movimiento lento lo que hizo que tanto la banda sonora como su efecto en la película fueran magistrales.

5. ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ (Riz Ortolani, 1980)

El soñador y romántico compositor italiano Riz Ortolani juega en un marcado contraste con el sangriento Holocausto Canibal , una película que hizo estallar el aspecto de su “metraje encontrado” en los años previos a Cloverfield.

No fue la primera vez que Ortolani utilizó este truco: al director Ruggero Deodato le encantó la forma en que sus canciones anclaron los documentos de choque de los años sesenta, pero la implacable sangre de Cannibal Holocaust, confundida por las autoridades italianas con una película de asesinato real, creó una yuxtaposición.

De lo más inquietante en la historia de terror. Tampoco hay escasez de porno-funk, siniestros pulsos de sintetizador y golpes errantes aquí, pero la belleza agridulce de oleadas orquestales y guitarra acústica sigue siendo la parte más icónica.

“La banda sonora de Holocausto Canibal supera la película en sí misma”, dice Deodato en las notas de la reedición de Death Waltz / One Way Static. “Muchos de mis fans me dicen que estaban comprometidos o casados con la música que Ortolani creó”.

4. ‘Suspiria’ (Goblin, 1975)

Antes de que el cineasta Darío Argento comenzara a trabajar en Suspiria, su pesadilla y sangrienta interpretación de una escuela de danza en 1977 que esconde un secreto siniestro, necesitaba una música que pudiera crear el ambiente adecuado.

Anteriormente había trabajado con rockeros progresivos italianos en Profondo Rosso, así que les leyó su guión de Suspiria y les dio tres meses para escribir una banda sonora que haría que el tema de la película perdurara en el público y pudiera ser utilizado en el set para establecer el tono correcto para la película.

Experimentaron con instrumentos atípicos de bandas sonoras en ese momento (tabla, bouzouki, sintetizador Moog) y crearon el tema principal icónico y escalofriante de la caja de música de la película, así como también ejercicios tensos de ritmo, disonancia y un extraño programa funky antes de terminando en el LP original con su espeluznante “Death Valzer”. A lo largo de los años, la música se ha convertido en el canon del terror y le daría su nombre al sello Death Waltz de la banda sonora de horror.

3. “Candyman” (Philip Glass, 1992)

La música del compositor clásico Philip Glass se ha utilizado en tantas películas que es sorprendente que Candyman y la franquicia que generó ha sido su único trabajo serio con el terror contemporáneo.

Las repeticiones y el impulso implacable se sienten especialmente bien adaptados a un género que prospera en persecuciones, giros equivocados y trampas.

Glass informó en las notas del CD del Candyman que inauguró su propio sello de Orange Mountain Music, se sintió decepcionado por la película: lo que había supuesto que sería una versión ingeniosa de la historia corta de Clive Barker, “The Forbidden”, ya había terminado.

En su opinión, un slasher de bajo presupuesto. Aún así, no hay duda de que su banda sonora – una mezcla inusualmente espeluznante de órgano huffy, canto coral, piano melancólico y glockenspiel frío – es potente y apropiado … y, con un característico pragmatismo, Glass reconoce que incluso ahora en las entrevistas que han marcado a Candyman sigue rindiendo beneficios fiscales.

2. “Halloween III: El día de la bruja” (John Carpenter y Alan Howarth, 1982)

Es posible rastrear la sofisticación del sintetizador a principios de los años ochenta por la forma en que los temas de Halloween de John Carpenter y Alan Howarth cambiaron con cada secuela.

Para Halloween II de 1981, el tema icónico se hizo barroco con un poco más de sintetizador, y para Halloween III: Season of the Witch de 1982, el tema es una exploración  de terror que ni siquiera toca la famosa melodía original.

Es apropiado para una instalación que no presenta a Michael Myers y fue originalmente escrito por el fatalista de ciencia ficción Nigel Kneale (escritor de Quatermass y The Stone Tape, una película de terror sobre acústica) que involucra rituales celtas, Stonehenge y el espacio.

Otras pistas de manera similar reinventan el estilo escaso de Carpenter y Howarth: ráfagas de ruido electrónico en “Starker and Marge”; murmullo metal sobre metal en “Robots at the Factory”; y eructos ambientales en “The Rock”. Y la familiar melodía de Halloween se contorsiona en el subgrupo de Vangelis, una versión nerviosa que convierte el tema en un ataque de ansiedad irregular.

1. “Halloween” (John Carpenter, 1978)

En 1978, cuando el “maestro de terror” naciente John Carpenter creó Halloween, la película slasher que cambió el género durante la próxima década, tenía 30 años, pero aún mantenía todo bajo control como si fuese un estudiante universitario, haciendo todo por sí mismo.

Él coescribió el guión, dirigió a los actores y escribió una de las bandas sonoras más escalofriantes y mínimas de todo el horror. Inspirándose en la música misteriosa de Suspiria de Goblin y en la expresionista partitura Psycho de Bernard Herrmann, acumuló la tensión desde el inicio con una melodía de piano para el tema principal, tocó 5/4, un ritmo que aprendió de su padre de profesor de música cuando era adolescente.

“En thrillers o películas de terror, estás tratando de crear suspenso”, dijo a Rolling Stone sobre su enfoque mínimo. “Piensa en el tema de “Tiburón”. Son dos notas. Te mantiene en suspenso”.

Otras secciones de la partitura contienen lo que él llama “golpes de ganado”: punzantes perforantes para hacer saltar a los espectadores, así como líneas de piano descendentes y dispersas, melodías contemplativas y discordias confusas y descabelladas.

El tema principal obtendría renovaciones drásticas a lo largo de la serie y sería adoptado por artistas de hip-hop como el Dr. Dre y Notorious B.I.G. pero siempre ha mantenido un malestar arraigado en su aterradora simplicidad. “Tiene que ser porque lo estoy jugando”, dijo Carpenter una vez.

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