Ever wondered what makes a horror soundtrack truly great? First, there is the ever-present tension-mostly between seemingly simple melodies and the ominous sounds that gradually supplant them. Secondly, the abundance of esoteric instruments (the theremin has never sounded so convincing). The clumsy sound is the basis of most tracks. Derived from these chords the whole song is not so easy — perhaps that is why so many “raw” soundtracks to horror films. Fortunately, none of them are on this list.
The concept of lightness and ambiguity plays an important role here. Do you know that feeling that something is wrong? The very best horror movie soundtracks do it in an unusually subtle, slow, gradual way, moving away from your sense of security. Many melodies fade, being separated from their film, or at least lose the effect of their impact. Continue reading