Scariest Horror Movie Theme Songs...?

Scariest Horror Movie Theme Songs...?
"Turn that crap down!"

October makes a giant push for best month of the year when AMC network begins its Fear Fest celebration.

You can turn on the TV at various points during the day to find something as hilariously strange as Flight of the Living Dead, as strangely compelling as all those Friday the 13th flicks or stuff like Child's Play that is just downright confusing (were we ever really scared by that?).

{ Random trivia moment: in which movie does Jason Voorhees finally don the now-iconic hockey mask during his killing spree? }

While the aforementioned Friday.. films and their fellow cult favorite Nightmare on Elm Street are menacingly-scored classics, the tunes are somewhat unmemorable. Even The Shining abounds with troubling music to which I can't quite recall the melody. This isn't necessarily a knock. The earliest horror films (like the original Nosferatu) had subtle mood music moving throughout. Nightmare.. also has that creepy nursery rhyme.

But I don't think it's a coincidence that many of my all-time favorite horror flicks also rock the creepiest theme music (tunes played at the credits and revisited throughout).

In a few of these films the score gets as cheesy as the kills. But in many, the music has grown into such iconic representation of fear or foreboding that it's hard to imagine anything else soundtracking our horror.

Which are the best?

Here's a rundown of the creepiest, most memorable and possibly most effective tunes:

#9. Re-Animator .. This hilarious super-gore film kind of intentionally ripped-off previous soundtracks like Psycho as an homage. Either way, it does its job. No wonder it's the first thing Lester Burnham talks to Ricky Fitts about when he gets his groove back.

#8. The Fog .. This is some John Carpenter-penned music (who we'll revisit in a moment). It's got a bit of an '80s-synth-vibe to it, but depicts no less impending doom.

#7. Phantasm .. Tense and atmospheric music scores a really (really) weird film (seriously -- like the weirdest). One of many soundtracks marked by minimally-played piano in some sort of minor key.

#6. Night of the Living Dead .. You know they mean business when they bring the orchestra. George Romero's original zombie movie (1968) is backed by sparse, tremelo-laden music that makes cause for wonder. What are these things? Why are they eating me?

#5. The Exorcist .. The bells ringing over this track give the feeling that something un-Earthly is definitely going down (or up, out of her stomach and all over the room).

#4. Psycho .. An alarming tune. Intense violins convey the REE! REE! REE! of downright stabby psychosis. Also: why are so many lunatics severe mamma's boys?

#3. Jaws .. Can you possibly write better music for a shark? Or, for that matter, anything that lurks? The building pace perfectly hides what we can't see, but know is there...

#2. Saw .. Anything beyond the third or fourth installment of this series gets a little convoluted as far as storyline goes, but the first few -- especially the original -- are groundbreaking horror. This theme -- often aided by raspy, taped narration from the killer -- builds into a nervous, mounting crescendo that makes a resounding statement: this is happening. YOU are screwed. Freaky!

#1. Halloween .. John Carpenter himself (whose father was a composer) wrote the theme to his horror classic. The unique 5/4 beat throws you off just a little bit as the pace quickens your heartbeat. Grim reality slowly dawns. The track's minimalist perfection hides behind the bushes, barely out of sight... But, like Michael Myers, it just keeps coming.


Now, to close: the remarkably frightening dance moves of Crispin Glover in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (IV):


{ Trivia Answer: The hockey mask was not found by young Voorhees until halfway through the third movie! SPOILER: Jason wasn't the killer in the first installment, and he covered his face with something else during the second (a bag). }

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    Dan Bradley

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