The best horror movie music is scary music. It evokes feelings of terror, fright, or dread. The best horror movie soundtrack enhances the effectiveness of the scene that it accompanies. Without the music, the best scary scenes might only be half as effective, or not at all. Great horror movie soundtracks are those that give you an unsettling feeling when you listen to them, even if you have not seen the movies where they came from. You can listen to these music as background for your Halloween parties, or if you are just in the mood for creepiness.
Here is a list of 50 of the best horror movie soundtracks. The top 10 below are a must have for scary music fans:
50. Ghost Story Soundtrack
49. Phantasm Soundtrack
48. Saw Soundtrack
47. The Others: Original Motion Picture Score
46. The Crow Soundtrack
45. The Village Soundtrack
44. City of the Living Dead Soundtrack
43. Eraserhead Soundtrack
42. Return of the Living Dead Soundtrack
41. Cannibal Holocaust Soundtrack
40. Hellraiser: Chronicles Soundtrack
39. The Silence Of The Lambs: The Original Motion Picture Score
38. Sleepwalkers Soundtrack
37. Insidious Soundtrack
36. Tales from the Crypt
35. Candyman Soundtrack
34. Drag Me to Hell Soundtrack
33. Dreamscape Soundtrack
32. Hellbound Hellraiser II Soundtrack
31. House/House 2 Soundtrack
30. In the Mouth of Madness Soundtrack
29. Interview with the Vampire Soundtrack
28. Night of the Living Dead Soundtrack
27. Nosferatu Soundtrack
26. Pet Sematary Soundtrack
25. Poltergest II Soundtrack
24. Rosemary's Baby Soundtrack
23. Session 9 Soundtrack
22. Something Wicked This way comes Soundtrack
21. Tales from the Darkside Soundtrack
20. The Devil's Rejects Soundtrack
19. The Horror of Dracula Soundtrack
18. Vampyros Lesbos Soundtrack
17. 28 Days Later Soundtrack
16. Creepshow Soundtrack Soundtrack
15. Dawn of the Dead Soundtrack
14. Sleepy Hollow: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
13. The Lost Boys Soundtrack
12. The Ninth Gate (1999 Film Soundtrack)
11. The Shining Soundtrack
The top 10:
10. Bram Stoker's Dracula: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Wojceich Kilar’s masterpiece score for this Francis Ford Coppola’s movie based on the classic vampire story is dark and haunting, yet reveals a hint of the romantic. It does not depend on melody for its effect. Rather, the repetitive, minimalistic style produced by a blend of choral and instrumental music effectively gives the score a subtle gothic atmosphere. It is film music that you listen to not so much for scares, but for a sense of mystery and romance.
9. Amityville Horror
Lalo Schifrin's score for the haunted house story, The Amityville Horror, is really very creepy. It sucks you into a dark and disturbing world of the possessed house. Listening to the music is like walking inside a strange, foreboding place. The sound of a children’s choir is the sound of innocence emanating from a dark world.
8. A Nightmare On Elm Street I & II
Charles Bernstein’s score for A Nightmare on Elm Street I is what nightmarish music is about. It is produced by synthesizers and sound effect that convey the horror of a state of mind caught in a hellish world you need to escape from. The Nightmare on Elm Street II, composed by Christopher Young, is not any less creepy. In particular, the slow, simple chant of jump roping young girls on the street is fantastically horrifying.
7. Suspiria: Complete Version
The score to Dario Argento’s film about a school that is actually a coven of witches is tense, spooky, and darkly melodic . Performed by Italian rockers Goblin in drum and synth, this mostly instrumental album takes you to a world of insanity and terror. If you listen hard, you can hear demons, ghosts, and unearthly musical instruments.
6. The Omen: Original Motion Picture Score (Deluxe Edition)
This soundtrack from Jerry Goldsmith from a film about a couple who unwittingly adopted the Antichrist can be more terrifying than the film itself. The composer achieves this effect with the effective use of malevolent choral chants, sudden twists and turns of dynamics, bending pitches and bursts of atonality in the orchestra. This soundtrack deservedly won the Oscar for Best Original Score in 1976.
5. Friday the 13th
Harry Manfredini's amazing score captures the tension of being pursued by evil. The music uses eerie whispers, and even makes use of Manfredini's own voice, with his now-famous "Ki ki ki, ma ma ma." When you listen to this music, you can actually hear Jason the killer coming after you to slash you with his bloody blade.
4. Psycho: The Complete Original Motion Picture Score
Bernard Herrmann's score for "Psycho", the classic Alfred Hitchcock horror film about a deadly motel, is composed for strings and high violins. Hermann’s makes use of this orchestration to create effects that are utterly chilling, with music that evokes dread and tension. Even the great Hitchcock attributes a large part of the effectiveness of this film to the music. The slashing strings that accompanies the shower scene is one of the most popular horror themes.
3. The Exorcist: Music Excerpts From (1973 Film)
The music for one of the scariest movie of all time about demon possession consists of unsettling and strange sounds from Krzysztof Panderecki, Jack Nitzche, and various other artists. It uses Mike Oldfield’s mystic, relentless-sounding “Tubular Bells” to great effect. The album also contains dissonant and disturbing music that produces an unsettling effect on the listener.
2. Jaws: Anniversary Collector's Edition
John William’s fantastic score for Jaws features the simplicity and primal power of the shark’s theme. It is hard to think of being in the water that might be inhabited by sharks without thinking of the deep, probing notes of the music. What makes this film music such a powerful accompaniment to the movie is its power to evoke tension. What the listeners and viewers are imagining is more powerful than the actual sighting of the killer shark.
1. Halloween: 20th Anniversary Edition - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Halloween’s score is written by John Carpenter, also the director of the slasher film. Borrowing from the staccato rhythmic devices of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells cum Exorcist score, and overlaying it with a few simple Grand Guignol-esque synth chords, it is music of utter simplicity, yet is amazingly creepy. Listening to the music gives you an almost subconscious sense of dread, fear, evil presence, and impending doom. It never fails to send chills to listeners, even those who have not seen the movie.