Five Favorite Horror Movie Theme Songs – The Music Makes It

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What element can make an average film great? The musical score. Music can add many things to a movie. The right piece of music can make an action scene that much more exciting. A beautiful score can make the most tender moment that much more heartbreaking. A song or theme can forever be attached to a movie, and make it part of popular culture. Everyone can identify the Star Wars theme. Think of any Quentin Tarantino film, and you could probably name one song that has become part of the films lore, When it comes to horror movies, music is absolutely important. The soundtrack builds tension, and it can also be placed to make the audience aware that danger is imminent. If you want to test that theory, next time you watch a scary movie, plug your ears when the tension builds. The visuals alone are not enough to frighten you. There are a handful of themes that have made their respective fright films that much better. I would like to share with you, my five favorite horror movie themes. I am sure I have left a couple out, but these are the five for me. In no particular order, here they are.

Halloween (Theme composed by John Carpenter, 1978) John Carpenter is the master of atmosphere, and the master of his own soundtrack. Carpenter composes the music for many of his films. Halloween is his best work, creating an instant classic. His other brilliant scores include The Fog, Escape From New York and They Live.

Suspiria (Theme composed and Performed by Goblin, 1977) Italian band Goblin bring Dario Argento’s Susperia to life with their beautiful, eerie, and psychedelic soundtrack. The film requires a soundtrack as equally atmospheric, and Goblin provides it wonderfully. Goblin is frequent collaborators with Argento, most notably in his other films Deep Red and Tenebre.

Exorcist (Tubular Bells – composed and performed by Mike Oldfield, 1973) The theme for The Exorcist, Tubular Bells, was not written for the movie. It was written and recorded for the Mike Oldfield’s 1973 album Tubular Bells. After being selected for The Exorcist, the song became a top ten hit, not to mention help scare the hell out of a lot of cinema goers. The theme is simple, but intense. A great fit with an all-time horror classic.

Phantasm (Theme composed by Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrove. 1979) After recently watching Phantasm again, I realize that the theme and music score are the best parts of this film, along with the “Tall Man” played by Angus Scrimm. The film has some creepy elements, but really is not as frightening as I thought 25 years ago, although it is very original.

Jaws (Theme composed by John Williams, 1975) In case you are familiar with John Williams film scores, he is the man responsible for the themes to Fiddler on the Roof, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. The Extraterrestrial and a little space epic called Star Wars. His soundtrack scores are incredible, and appear in many amazing films. The Jaws theme is perfect. If a great white shark needed an entrance theme, this intense piece of music is it. When I see people splashing around at the beach, this theme gets stuck in my head. Now that is an effective theme song!


Kill of the Day – August 23, 2015

Let me take this opportunity to welcome you all to my newest segment here on How Heavy This Axe, aptly titled KILL OF THE DAY. (Hopefully) each day I will bring you one of my favorite death scenes from film or television. Be it one of the most bloody, violent, clever, or funny deaths (or a combination), I will do my best to satisfy your lust for murder and mayhem. I may do weekly themes, or it may be completely random, but it will be fun regardless. Let’s kick it off…here is the first Kill of the Day!

“Here’s to swimmin’ with bow-legged women.”

Quint, Captain of The Orca

Quint Goes Down With The Ship (Jaws, 1975) – Quint (played by Robert Shaw, was the salty old veteran of the sea that entertained Brody (Roy Scheider) and Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) with drunken song and tales of nautical adventure, while leading them on a hunt for the shark that had been terrorizing their Amity Island beaches. Is it ironic then, that Quint is eaten alive on his own boat, while hunting his greatest foe, while two men who barely have their sea legs watch in horror? I suspect it is more of a case of man dying while doing what he loved to do. Also, you may notice that while Quint is being bitten in half, he is still bad ass enough to be driving a hunting knife into the side of the sharks face. Jaws is great because instead of relying on ghosts and masked killers, it uses the real life fear of what unknown terror lurks beneath the ocean’s surface. Quint came face to face with the unknown, and unfortunately it was the greatest of the Great Whites. May his headband rest in peace.

Cool fact: Quint’s boat, The Orca, is named after the sharks only natural predator, the Killer Whale.