Top 15 Horror Themes

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Top 15 Horror Themes

Unread post by Krappy » 1 year ago

Top 15 Horror Themes

01. Phantasm


Phantasm theme is the work of Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave, the composers of the 1979 horror film Phantasm by director Don Coscarelli. It’s recognizable and simple like the Halloween or The Exorcist themes, but it also has this big and epic feel to it. It’s beautiful and scary at the same time. A theme you won’t forget that easily.






02. Halloween


There just isn’t a theme so iconic, so memorable, so inspiring as the simple yet magnificent theme of the 1978 film Halloween. Just hearing those first notes and you know exactly what you are in for! Halloween was directed by John Carpenter, who also wrote and produced it and played the part of Paul, Annie’s boyfriend. And if that weren’t enough, he also did the soundtrack for most of his films, with Halloween probably being the most famous one.






03. Poltergeist


How would the combination of your most beautiful dream and your worst and scariest nightmare sound? Well, probably a little something like this. The 1982 Poltergeist by director Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg, features one of those themes that on the one hand is pure beauty and has a very soft and tender feel to it. But on the other hand is frightening as hell. Who knew girls singing ‘lalala’ could be so memorable and scary. Jerry Goldsmith was already on this list with Ave Santani, the theme for The Omen. And even though that score and song got him nominated for an Academy Award, it’s this chilling soundtrack and theme from Poltergeist that leaves the most impression. As a composer Goldsmith has done some other great work on films, such as Patton, Chinatown, Gremlins and Planet of the Apes.






04. Candyman


We know what happens when you say his name five times in the mirror. But what would happen if you listen to his theme five times? This beautiful theme was composed by Philip Glass, who is considered one of the most influential music makers of the late 20th century. Which becomes perfectly clear when listening to the theme from the 1992 horror film Candyman by director Bernard Rose, which was based on the short story ‘The Forbidden’ by Clive Barker.






05. A Nightmare on Elm Street


A Nightmare on Elm Street theme by composer Charles Bernstein is very recognizable, has a very eerie feel to it and just fits perfect to the dark dreamworld Wes Craven created in his 1984 classic. Charles Bernstein has been a composer for film and television for many years and he has worked on many projects. Some of his work, for example, is used in Inglorious Bastards and Kill Bill, films from Quentin Tarantino. But his most famous work is the soundtrack of the original Nightmare on Elm Street. Including that simple theme that appears in most of the sequels and that legendary jump rope song.






06. The Burning


Ok, so Cropsy didn’t become an icon like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers. But let’s not forget he had a pretty awesome film back in 1981. Directed by Tony Maylam, The Burning was the first film produced by Bob and Harvey Weinstein and featured Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter in their motion picture debut. And then there is Rick Wakeman. Wakeman is best known as the keyboardist for the progressive rock band Yes. And it’s this legend who was responsible for the music in this 1981 slasher film. And so a wonderful theme was created. On the one hand the theme doesn’t sound like your typical horror soundtrack, but if you listen closely you can hear that the song isn’t just beautiful, but it has a very eerie sound to it.






07. The Omen


Sanguis bibimus. Corpus edimus. Yeah, you know you’re in trouble when you hear those words being sung. It’s the lyrics for Ave Satani (which is Latin for ‘Hail Satan’), the main theme for the 1976 movie The Omen. Most people will remember this film by director Richard Donner for the little devil called Damien and the theme that you hear when he’s around. The soundtrack for The Omen, including Ave Santani, were created by Jerry Goldsmith. The Omen won the Academy Award for Best Original Score and Ave Satani was nominated for Best Original Song. The legendary Goldsmith has done some other great work on films, such as Patton, Chinatown, Gremlins and Planet of the Apes.






08. Suspiria


The Italian progressive rock band Goblin is known for their work on soundtracks like the European version of Dawn of the Dead by George A. Romero and films by Dario Argento such as the 1975 film Profondo Rosso (also known as Deep Red). And in 1977 they worked on the incredible soundtrack for the film Suspiria, which turned out to be one of Dario Argento’s biggest hits. And one of the reasons for this is without a doubt their awesome soundtrack. And very memorable theme.






09. Saw


A popular franchise with seven films, a main character that pops up in many top lists of favorite horror villains and a theme song everyone knows and remembers. It almost sounds like Saw is with us for as long as the classic franchises. But Saw by director James Wan is relatively new to the genre, but already achieved a lot. And next to the legendary character of the Jigsaw killer (played by Tobin Bell), the film contains a wonderful theme. The theme, created by composer Charlie Clouser, appears in all the Saw films. Clouser used to be a member to the famous band Nine Inch Nails and later on started doing soundtracks for films. Next to the Saw franchise, Charlie did the soundtrack for films such as Dead Silence, Resident Evil: Extinction and The Stepfather.






10. The Fog


John Carpenter isn’t just a great director, he is also responsible for some of the best themes in horror cinema history. As a composer, John Carpenter did the soundtracks for many of his own films, including Escape From New York, Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween and .. The Fog! The Fog is a 1980 horror film, which stars Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh and Tom Atkins. The film tells the story of a mysterious fog that appears in a little town. And in this fog strange zombie like creatures with glowing eyes appear. Not only is this little 1980 horror film one of John Carpenter’s best works as a director, it also features one of his best and most recognizable scores. A true work of art!






11. Jaws


It’s hard to imagine there are people out there who don’t recognize this film if they just hear the first few seconds. Those short and small sounds from the start of this theme are probably the most familiar pieces of film music in the history of cinema. Everyone who hears it can only think about one thing; that giant white from Steven Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece Jaws coming at you. Composer John Williams is probably the most famous film composer of all time. Who doesn’t remember the themes from films such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park of Harry Potter? Williams has won 5 Academy Awards and one of them was for Best Original Score for this 1975 classic. And it’s not hard to figure out why.






12. Hellraiser


Without footage (just listening to the music) the main theme of the 1987 horror film Hellraiser doesn’t even sound like your typical horror soundtrack. And yet everyone can only think about Cenobites, chains and flesh when hearing these beautiful and peaceful sounds created by composer Christopher Young. Especially in his early career Young made many soundtracks for horror films. One of his first films was The Dorm That Dripped Blood and he went on doing films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Urban Legend and The Grudge. Other films he worked on are Spider-Man 3, Rounders and The Rum Diary. For horror fans he is probably best known for his work on Clive Barker’s classic Hellraiser and its sequel Hellbound: Hellraiser 2.






13. Psycho


Citizen Kane. Taxi Driver. Alfred Hitchcock. Academy Awards. There is no denying that composer Bernard Herrmann isn’t one of the best and most famous film composers out there. He has done some legendary work in his career, but he’s probably most famous for his score of Psycho. Who doesn’t remember that simple, but very effective sound when the shower curtain is being pulled open! Psycho is a 1960 horror film and probably the most famous work by director Alfred Hitchcock. The film was based on the novel by Robert Bloch, who got his inspiration from the true story of serial killer Ed Gein (also an inspiration for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs). The film became a huge success and is still known as one of the best and most legendary horror films ever made.






14. The Return of the Living Dead


Let’s visit 1985. It’s the year that the late Dan O’Bannon gave us The Return of the Living Dead, a horror comedy featuring zombies, blood and lots of fun. And a kickass theme by composer Matt Clifford. So just turn up those speakers and let this song run through your brain… Brain… BRAIN! While George A. Romero went to make Dawn of the Dead, screenwriter John Russo went on and wrote a novel to their popular film Night of the Living Dead, called Return of the Living Dead. And in 1985 writer and director Dan O’Bannon brought this novel to the big screen, although he made something completely different, using elements like comedy and slapstick. The film nonetheless became a big cult hit.






15. Idle Hands


Idle Hands is a very entertaining film. The soundtrack was done by the great composer Graeme Revell, who has done the soundtrack for films such as The Crow, Child’s Play 2, Freddy vs Jason and Sin City. And, like most of his soundtracks, the one for Idle Hands is top notch. Especially the catchy and entertaining opening theme of the movie. Idle Hands is a 1999 horror comedy by director Rodman Flender, starring Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Jessica Alba and Elden Hanson. The film tells the story of Anton, a guy who is so lazy, the devil decides to take over his hand. And then his hand is starting to kill people.



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