Let's face it, we all love lists. We want great lists of top movies, books, albums, and so on that we can check and compare to what we love and help us discover hidden gems that we may have never uncovered on our own. The other thing about these lists is that they are based on opinion and of course we all have them and sometimes you agree and completely disagree with the choices. What I'm hoping not to do with this list is give you the obvious choices. We all know about John Carpenter's Halloween score, the score to the Exorcist (Tubular Bells), and the theme music to Friday the 13th and how iconic they are and yes they are amazing and I love them dearly. But I don't want to give you the obvious, I'm hoping to open your ears to something perfect for not only the Halloween season, but those times when you may want to listen to something that truly holds up as music on its own. And they are five scores that I can't live without...
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN - JOHAN S DERQVIST
Not only is this one of my favorite horror films, it also ranks up there in my favorite films of all time. It is a great and beautiful movie. It is a love story, coming of age story and a horror story. It combines so many wonderful things that I can stand it. It is beautifully shot and what really makes it so amazing is the score. The composer, Johan S derqvist, manages to capture such gut wrenching beauty in this music it elevates the movie (as if it needed the help). It takes you on the journey through its dark soundscape and melodies that transcend the average horror score. I listen to this one over and over and it inspires my writing.
DRAG ME TO HELL - CHRISTOPHER YOUNG
Christopher Young, in my opinion, constantly delivers some of the best horror scores around. His Hellraiser score is a work of art. And if you listen to scores and collect them like I do, you better have Hellraiser in your collection or we can longer be friends. DMTH is one of those scores that comes at you like heavy dark ocean waves. It crashes down with great scope and then pulls back to subtle moments of haunting voices over a single droning note of violin. It is grand and haunting and one great aural ride.
HOUSE OF THE DEVIL - JEFF GRACE
I'm not even sure where to start with my love for Jeff Grace and his scores. They are doomy gloomy raining days bottled into musical notes. When I saw Ti West's House of the Devil one thing that pulled me in to its deathly grip was the score. This IS a dark and brooding score and may not be something that most of you want on repeat. But I guarantee that it will creep you out and take you to some wonderful dark places of imagination for the love of your art (writing, painting, sewing... whatever it is you do). Perfect for Halloween night when you want to bring the goosebumps.
LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2005) - JOHN MURPHY
This score is on such heavy rotation in my listening queue that, if it was on vinyl, I would have worn a hole right through the thing. I've written more spooky goodness to this album than I can possibly explain in this writing. It is creepy and subtle and so completely underrated as a horror score that I almost want to keep it to myself for obvious selfish reasons. I still haven't seen this remake to the great Wes Craven's original and I don't know if I will simply because the music holds so many of my own visions that the movie could visually ruin them! I realize that is a bit dramatic... but it is true.
FRIGHT NIGHT (2011) - RAMIN DJAWADI
First of all let me say that I have a great love for the original Brad Fiedel Fright Night score, it is moody and sexy and quite perfect for the Tom Holland movie. In 2011 the remake of Mr. Holland's movie was hitting theaters and I went kicking and screaming into the theater with my friend Dory (who knows how much I did not want to see it). Then something happened. As the movie started, the opening track Welcome to Fright Night kicked into high gear and I was hooked. The music dug in and I was ready for the ride. The music made me like this movie more than I wanted to and that it deserved to be liked. Djawadi's score is chill inducing and terrifying. My ears feel like they are ingesting the most indulgent chocolate and wine wrapped in cello notes. I'm not even really sure what that means but that is how my ears feel. Crank this one up, scare the neighbors, and welcome them to... Fright Night.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
D.M. currently works in Hollyweird writing screenplays, producing television and writes a column for Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine called (go get your copies!). @literaryasylum (Twitter)