Jon Fuchs, Music Director: The Fog by John Carpenter
There’s no denying that John Carpenter is one of the masters of horror (just look at his own Twitter handle). He’s also an underrated pioneer of both film scores and the electronic genre as a whole, with several excellent horror film scores under his belt, from Halloween to The Thing. The Fog has a score that remains just as powerful without the actual film.
Filled with rich synths, strange sounds, and terrifying atmospheres, the score to The Fog is a heart-racing album from start to finish – making it a perfect soundtrack for such a suspenseful film.It’s a creepy, atmospheric fun time, with plenty of fascinating textures and haunting sounds throughout the entire track-list. The Fog is one of the several scores that has made John Carpenter the genius of a filmmaker and composer that he’s always gotten recognition for being.
Devon Hannan, Editorial Director: The Twin Peaks Original Soundtrack, Angelo Badalamenti
Twin Peaks is the town which is known as “both beautiful and strange.” To capture the essence of the spooky 90s soap opera, the music had to match – and what better man for the job than Angelo Badalamenti? The deep, low woodwinds paralleled with windy sax create an atmosphere that can only be understood in the town of Twin Peaks as well as the community that fell in love with it.
The personification of each character in Twin Peaks is embedded in the tunes from the series. Sure, “Audrey’s Dance” is dreamy and seductive, but then you have to remind yourself that Badalamenti’s score radiated the likes of other key characters – Some more sinister than others, such as Killer Bob and Laura (“Laura Palmer’s Theme”), two of the most tragic and inexplicably horrific characters on the show (not to mention – every creepy character in the Black Lodge). Julee Cruise’s eerie vocals lightly lay over Badalamenti’s instrumentation in such a way that can only be described as utterly haunting. This can be seen in tracks such as “Into The Night” and “Falling.” Whatever track it may be, every sound from Twin Peaks is enough to send shivers up your spine.
Justin Cudhay, Columns Editor: The Shining by Various Artists
What do you get when you combine one of the best directors of all-time, with one of the most talented actors on this planet and make a movie based on a book by one of the greatest authors to ever write?
The Shining is a masterpiece of modern horror… At least that’s what it says on the movie’s theatrical release poster, yet I would have to agree with that statement. The film focuses on the audiovisual side of things, which boils down to the spine-chilling score predominately from Wendy Carlos, along with Stanley Kubrick’s amazing cinematography. Every frame in that movie could pass as a painting, from its memorable shots inside The Overlook’s rooms, hallways, and bar, to its scenes outside in the maze.
Jack Nicholson’s performance is also downright horrifying. Seeing his character deteriorate from a reformed father to a murder frenzy maniac is tough to watch. It doesn’t have to rely on jump scares to get you shaking, but rather eats away at your mental capacity, up to the point where you’ll feel like you’re the vulnerable one.
Not only is The Shining my favorite “Halloween” movie, it ranks up there as one of my all-time favorites. It may be over 35 years old, but like fine wine, its only gotten better with age.
Eli Schoop, Copy Editor: Silent Hill Original Soundtracks by Akira Yamoaka
The feeling of trepidation that occurs when you hear that familiar radio noise in Silent Hill is second to none when it comes to the genre of horror games. This is an experience that shakes to the core, dread spiraling throughout the catacombs and hallways of the fog-covered city.
The sound design in the series has always been a shining light in the medium, however, it wouldn’t the industry legend that it is without Akira Yamaoka’s soundtrack. Not only did it establish a new trend in gaming wherein catchy earworms were replaced by atmospheric set-pieces, but the tonality and sheer terror of the music bring it in line with some of the best ambient albums of all time. Yamaoka crafted singular horror genius, and as a pit drops in your stomach when Pyramid Head appears another godforsaken time, so much credit has to go to the maestro who beautifully engineered an enduring Halloween touchstone for all of us to piss our pants over.
By Marvin Dotiyal, Staff Writer: String Quartet No. 2: I. Allegro Nevosoby György Ligeti
This is not a horror movie soundtrack nor a Halloween-themed song, but it’s one of the eeriest yet most innovative compositions out there. I don’t know what was going in the mind of György Ligeti (I don’t think I want to know), but everything about the song is unsettling because of its lack of musical structure and just pure dissonance.
It marvels me that there’s an actual score for this. Like seriously, how do you synchronize these arbitrary string sound effects? I hardly listen to classical music or any avant-garde works, but his works are pretty intriguing, and this is just one of his compositions. Try listening to this (or the whole entire piece) alone in the dark and report back if you make it.
Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer: I Put a Spell On You by Bette Midler
The best Halloween track of all time has to be I Put a Spell On You. Not the original version by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (which is also awesome), but the version that Bette Midler sings as she plays Winifred Sanderson in Hocus Pocus.
The soundtrack for the rest of the movie is delightfully fun and spooky, but those three minutes of the movie slaps. Winifred PERFORMS! The other witches back her up as well as a band that is magically ready to go along for the ride. Bette Midler is a legend and probably an actual god, and her performance in this movie along with the other two witches cements Hocus Pocus as the Halloween movie that defines many of our childhoods. This film is so perfect for its time, and there is no way that this sequel/remake deal Disney is toying with will ever be as good as the original. Unless the original Sanderson sisters return, there will be hell to pay, and probably not with nearly enough virgin jokes.