Top Ten Unappreciated Horror Themes

Posted: October 9, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

Originally, I wanted to make a list of the top ten greatest horror themes of all-time, but very quickly realized that my list was going to be the exact same as everybody elses. Psycho, Halloween, Jaws, The Exorcist, etc. We all know what the best horror themes are and there really isn’t much point in me repeating them. Instead, I’m going to be looking at the lesser-celebrated horror themes that I really dig. The movies themselves are not exactly deep cuts, but the music, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough love.

10. The Orphanage, “Reunión y final”

I had some reservations about placing this song in the list. It’s not a very scary piece of music, in fact if you heard it out of context you might not even know it’s from a horror film. Ultimately though, I like the piece too much to exclude it. It’s a beautiful piece of music from a horror gem more people should see.

9. Eraserhead, “In Heaven”

This is essentially the opposite of my last choice. This piece of music is very simple lyrically and instrumentally, but what it lacks in technical precision it makes up for in sheer creepiness. The song almost feels like a lullaby, and while it does have a slow pace, it’s anything but soothing.

8. Creepshow, “Main Theme”

This is a great little atmospheric piece that slowly builds into something good. It’s definitely a creepy bit of music, but it’s also fun, which is the perfect tone for a film like Creepshow. The piano bits are especially great.

7. Halloween III: Season of the Witch, “Chariots of Pumpkins”

John Carpenter’s Halloween is the essential slasher film and its score (also composed by Carpenter) is rightly considered to be one of the best themes in horror history. But it wasn’t the only awesome piece of music to be composed by Carpenter from the series. This intense synthesizer piece has a high energy, a level of dread, and is really infectious.

6. Dawn of the Dead (1978), “Main Theme”

This song is basically a perfect embodiment of Romero’s zombies. It’s slow, simple, and repetitive, but eventually overwhelming. It’s also a really nice atmospheric piece that just sounds awesome.

5. Phantasm, “Main Theme”

This was the theme that made me want to focus the list on the lesser appreciated horror scores. I think this is a really great piece of music. It starts slow and simple, but gradually adds more elements to build a sense of mystery. The song eventually fades out similar to how it started, simple and quiet, but chilling all the same.

4. The Fly (1986), “Finale”

While most of the music I’ve highlighted is subtle, atmospheric music, this is very much the opposite. This is a big and theatrical song which fully fits the operatic tragedy of The Fly. It’s a really strong piece of music in isolation, and it’s used to great effect in the film. After an extremely tense climax, this piece of music comes blaring in like a gut-punch.

3. The Night of the Hunter, “Main Theme”

This starts out really loud and intense, then moves into a softer lullaby with some creepy overtones. It’s the first bit of this that I really like. It’s very memorable and just sounds awesome. However the whole thing captures the film’s bizarre tone of half dream, half nightmare.

2. Carrie (1976), “For the Last Time We’ll Pray”

Not all of the music in Carrie works, but this short piece really excels. There’s something dreadfully creepy about this work, but also an underlying sadness, which is of course perfectly appropriate. Carrie is part horror story, but tragedy, and that really comes through here. I will say the last minute or so isn’t as great, but the first part is so powerful that it ultimately doesn’t matter.

1. Suspiria, “Main Theme”

I have no idea why this theme isn’t more highly regarded. It has a great dream-like tone which captures the film perfectly, it has atmospheric and slow moments, along with moments of speed and high intensity. Even if you haven’t seen Suspiria, Goblin’s score just drips of horror.

  1. robbinsrealm says:

    Interesting idea for a post. Thanks for sharing.

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