Composing : What makes a great horror movie soundtrack? Via BBC by Lucia Cascioli

Lucia Cascioli

What makes a great horror movie soundtrack? Via BBC

What makes a great horror movie soundtrack?
What makes a great horror movie soundtrack?
Horror movies and music have forged an unholy alliance over many decades - even before cinema's demons and scream queens actually had their own voices. The modern horror soundtrack can be traced back…
Joel Irwin

When someone asks for an example of horror music, I refer them to one of the most unlikely places. A soundtrack composed by the late & great Elmer Bernstein (credited as "Scary music by"_ and narrated by the great horror film actor - Vincent Price. Yes, I am referring to "Thriller". Yes, we know it for Michael Jackson's music and the great choreography of the late Michael Peters (who also choreographed "Beat It" and Pat Benatar's "Love Is A Battlefield"). But the whole beginning section is 'classic American horror' (imho) with Benrstein's classic horror score. And if you watch this video again, remember how film music is supposed to blend in so well, you forget about it? Well how many remember the music in the section where the circle of zombies and goons tightens (between the two verses and the chorus) or even more the section at the end where she is in the house and they all break in? Yes Bernstein scored that - its not Michael Jackson music.

Aron Future

I find horror music easy to compose. When it comes to soundrack music it's my fav to compose.

Ken Gregory

Hi, Folks -

I'm a composer in Atlanta, and new to the site. Is there a place to post examples our music?

Joel Irwin

Ken, I am not a moderator but I suspect it is based on your 'intentions'. If your intention is promotion - you are want us to listen to your music or watch a film with your music in order to find someone who will use your musical talents, then there is another lounge for that such as "introduce yourself" or "promotion". You can also go to the 'jobs' pull down and apply for posting looking for composers. On the other hand, if you are posting here information to help educate those who come to the lounge in such a way that you are using parts of your music as examples or for in-depth analysis, then I would assume that is OK. For example, if you were trying to discuss how to best score a zombie attack scene and provided one or two musical clips to support your comments/views, then I would think you are more interested in teaching than promotion. But again, that is a decision made by the moderators, not me.

Colin Hussey

Not mentioned in this article is the influence of certain orchestral composers taking music in new directions in the early 20th Century. Arnold Schoenberg, who came up with the 12-tone system of writing music, taught at USC and UCLA during the 1930s, influencing composers of movies and TV, who made use of his atonal style of composition to convey angst, horror, suspense. Schoenberg was the forefather of "Don't go in the basement!" music.

Another influential composer, Igor Stravinsky, whose specialty was polytonality and eventually 12-tone, too, spent most of his life in L.A. While he and Schoenberg, among the many European refugees fleeing from Nazi persecution and war, never themselves got to the contract stage of writing for movies or TV, they still managed to leave an impact.

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