Big thanks to Uri Nous for recommending I do this top five list. Before I get started, I’d like to point out that I don’t listen to movie soundtracks too often, and more specifically, they aren’t all horror movies. I would say that the soundtracks to movies like TRON: Legacy, Sunshine, and There Will Be Blood are what I have listened to most often, but none of those are horror movie. Also something for you guys to keep in mind is that three of the soundtracks on my list are movies from my top five horror movie list so I apologize for you having to see them again. However, I’d like you to keep in mind that with my favorite horror movies is that music plays a huge part of why I enjoy them, so you shouldn’t be too surprised with the results. In alphabetical order, they are:
The reason I love this movie so much is the fact that it’s quite surreal to me and is never meant to be too creepy. In its attempts to not be too creepy, George Romero succeeded in making it feel extra creepy. The tones of all the different segments in the movie are all different so they all give you a sense of unease, and as important it is to have different contextual tones, its also important to have different musical tones. From the opening credits to the closing credits, you journey through all sorts of different ominous, creepy, and sometimes playful sounds of John Harrison‘s synthesizer. To me, this film is the epitome of 80’s horror movie soundtracks.
Phantom of the Paradise
I always recommend this movie to people who like Rocky Horror Picture Show, despite the fact that I don’t really like the Rocky Horror Picture Show. This movie reminds me of what it would be like for Phantom of the Opera were to fuck Jesus Christ Superstar and this is the baby that came out. There’s definitely a “rock opera” vibe throughout the whole soundtrack, but it once again ties back into the diversity of the songs. From ballads to surf rock to disco-ish and back to ballads, this soundtrack covers it all. Added bonus is that the soundtrack was written by one of the stars of the movie, Paul Williams. I also love when the last song in the soundtrack is my favorite, so make sure you check out the song “The Hell of It”.
I suppose I could debate with someone whether or not this is a horror movie, but there’s quite a bit of violence and it’s about cannibals, so I think it makes the cut. I first listened to this soundtrack back when this movie came out after having seen the movie once and being immediately hooked. Okay, fine, you caught me, I generally skip past the first track so I can listen to the song “Boyd’s Journey” on repeat, but that still counts! Damon Albarn was involved and that made me feel pretty cool because that’s around the time Blur was popular…maybe? It had a contemporary vibe to it with roots in old time music with more traditional instruments.
Fuuuuck this is another one of those albums where you are totally satisfied with only listening to the first track. This is just one of the multiple albums that the band Goblin did for a Dario Argento movie, and I also really like their music in Dawn of the Dead, but I prefer this one and didn’t want Goblin to get two spots. The eerie opening chimes of the song named after the movie really set the tone of innocence being corrupted as you can hear the vocals, guitars, and drums being slowly incorporated. Man, it still creeps me out every time I hear it.
Not only were people impressed with John Carpenter for his directorial skills with his movie Halloween, but also the fact that he was involved in the soundtrack, and more importantly, creating one of the most well-known theme songs in all of cinema. The reason I didn’t choose that one wasn’t just because it was too obvious, but it is so ingrained in everyone’s minds, I feel as though it’s hard to judge it on its own merit. The music in this film, composed by Ennio Morricone, really fits the tone of isolation of everyone in the movie as well as the paranoia felt throughout. Right from the opening credit sequence, you can’t really tell when the music has stopped or when it has just temporarily subsided. Right when you think that sequence is over and you are done being introduced to characters, a different name pops up on screen and another subtle segment of Morricone’s soundtrack. Plus, if I was choosing a Carpenter soundtrack, it would totally be the one from Big Trouble in Little China.
I got pretty excited doing this post and couldn’t help but pull up some of the songs I was talking about as I was talking about them. Rather than make it a huge clusterfuck looking post where you saw a picture of the soundtrack and then had to deal with a YouTube video, I’m just going to leave them here at the bottom. Thanks again to Uri Nous for recommending this topic! It was a lot of fun, and hope more people can recommend some top five lists you would be interested in.
“Prologue/Welcome to Creepshow” by John Harrison
“The Hell of It” by Paul Williams
“Boyd’s Journey” by Damon Albarn/Michael Nyman
“Suspiria” by Goblin
“Humanity (Part I)” by Ennio Morricone