Favourite Songs & Themes From Horror Movies
by Dylan Blight (Bevan Beats #13)
Welcome to Bevan Beats! This is a fortnightly article and accompanying playlist from us at the Explosion Network. It aims to enable us the ability to share the music we love, discuss a certain theme, or share what we are simply listening to in our everyday lives. You’ll be able to find the playlist on Youtube and on Spotify.
This week I’ve made a list of some of my favourite pieces of original music or songs used in horror movies. Ranging from classics theme songs to songs used in horror movies you might not be aware of. Enjoy and I hope you had a spooky Halloween.
Prelude by Bernard Herrmann – Psycho
The opening of Psycho accompanied with Bernard Herrmann’s ‘Prelude’ piece sets such a tone for the movie that follows and the song, most importantly, puts you on the edge of your seat for what follows; one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Nothing is happening on-screen other than credits, but as you sit waiting, the piece unnerves you and the piece also stands out as one of the great songs in horror movie history.
The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash – Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of the George A. Romero classic features a really fantastic use of a Johnny Cash song (not the last time Snyder does this by-the-way.) After the opening scene with Sarah Polley’s character Anna escaping her home as the zombie apocalypse begins, a montage showing the world collapsing begins with zombie madness across the world to Cash’s ‘The Man Comes Around.’
The Final Zepp by Charlie Clouser – SAW Franchise
There are many different variations of the ‘Zepp’ theme and its use in the Saw franchise, but the main piece would be easily recognizable to anyone as ‘the Saw music.’ The dun-dun-dun and heavy strings and percussion always make me think of the shocking final moments of the original Saw film and this piece of music is so integral to the whole franchise as a whole, but also one of the key elements that brings that first film together so well in the final scene.
Halloween Theme by John Carpenter – Halloween Franchise
Easily one of the most famous and easily recognisable horror theme songs of all time. John Carpenter’s monumental budget horror film, Halloween is backed up by Carpenter’s work on the soundtrack showing that sometimes simplicity is key and an unnerving few key presses within the context of a film could forever become haunting.
This is Halloween by Danny Elfman – The Nightmare Before Christmas
“This is Halloween, This is Halloween — Halloween, Halloween” It’s kinda hard not to sing along anytime this song from The Nightmare Before Christmas comes on. Although The Nightmare Before Christmas has plenty of great songs, this is the most memorable. You may also be wondering if this counts as a horror movie, but it scared me as a kid so the answer is yes, yes it does.
Title/Theme Song by (Disasterpeace) Rich Vreeland – It Follows
It Follows is one of the greatest horror films from the last 10 years and it also happens to feature one of the greatest soundtracks. A very 70’s inspired synth-wave by Disasterpeace includes many standout tracks, but the ‘Title’ song is probably the one that will stand out the most from It Follows unless you prefer the creepy waves of ‘Anyone.’
The Exorcist Theme (Tubular Bells) by Lalo Schifrin and Mike Oldfield – The Exorcist
‘The Exorcist Theme’, or as it was titled on the original soundtrack ‘Tubular Bells’ is one of the most recognisable themes of the 70’s and one of the most notable pieces of horror music. It wasn’t used in the films most tense moments, instead being introduced to build upon the arrival of the Priests and it more suits a thriller tone, but it builds the upcoming movie so well.
Tip Toe Thru’ The Tulips With Me by Tiny Tim – Insidious
There are two scenes in Insidious featuring ‘Tip Toe Thru’ The Tulips With Me’ by Tiny Tim in Insidious but the first stands out as the creepiest. Anyone who has watched the film has presumably had their skin crawl somewhat when Rose Byrne’s character walked outside only to hear her record skip and the new song ‘Tip Toe Thru’ The Tulips With Me‘ start playing as Byrne looks into her house to see a young boy dancing.
We’ve Only Just Begun by the Carpenters – 1408
The song ‘We’ve Only Just Begun‘ is used throughout 1408 as John Cusack’s character stays in his hotel room and the terror begins in this film based on the short story by Stephen King. 1408 is what I consider one of the scariest movies of all time, it just ruins me, and the use of the Carpenters song in the film has also ruined that song for me — but maybe in a good way (I think.)
Goodbye Horses by Q Lazzarus – The Silence of The Lambs
You either think of The Silence of the Lambs or Clerks 2… or both. ‘Goodbye Horses’ is ingrained in pop culture history with many parodies and homages to the classic scene in which Ted Levine as serial killer Buffalo Bill dances in a corner oddly to this song, forever cementing it as a somewhat weird song to listen to.
Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMann – The Lost Boys
The Lost Boys is the movie that made me wish I had been brought up in the 80’s. When I first watched it I was getting into a lot of glam-rock, horror movies and wanted to live in the world of The Lost Boys (minus the actual killer vampires.) ‘Cry Little Sister’ serves as the theme for the late 80’s classic film and it’s a very 80’s song featuring a killer chorus that’s impossible not to sing along to. Picture mullets, picture Corey Feldman, pictures Kiefer Sutherland as a vampire riding a motorbike along a beach. Picture, The Lost Boys.
Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd – The Devils Rejects
Lots of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs have been used in many movies but the use of Free Bird in The Devil’s Rejects will always stand out as the best use of one of their songs. I’m an admitted huge fan of Rob Zombie’s 2005 film and a lot of that does come down to the way it’s shot and edited at times, which is like a music video. Particularly in the films final act where the entirety of Free Bird is used wonderfully to build up and end the film in a glorious fashion, you probably didn’t see coming.
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