I continue on the exploration of Halloween via music and this time it’s iconic horror films. You can start from the beginning here. We all have that one film or maybe a couple of films that really sends shivers up our spines. Part of what makes horror films so effective is the music. Almost anyone can watch a horror film on silent (when a person has that option) and it changes the atmosphere, almost completely. I know I have made a point of using the mute button on occasion. It’s just needed sometimes.
The music can really capture the eerie feeling of a movie. It helps build that intensity and suspense so at just the right moment, the really scary moment in the movie happens. With “Jaws” its exactly how to expect to see the villain. I believe Jack Black’s character (in “Holiday” a non-horror film) pointed out that just two notes really freaked the hell out of audiences. It doesn’t take much but it does take the right note combination.
While the music is certainly a key factor in any good horror film, clearly the way a movie is filmed and the story play parts. It would be silly to think otherwise. I just can’t help but feel the music is the tie that binds. When we think of horror films, we generally first think of a specific part or character, but a close second is almost always the theme song. The above movie poster is definitely what most think of when “The Exorcist” is mentioned, but next, is “Tubular Bells.” Bells have never sounded so creepy but that’s the point. The idea is to get audiences chilled to the bone and that tune does it so well. That’s where I start this set.
In very similar fashion is the “Halloween” theme song, which is really Michael Meyers’ song. If you didn’t know, Meyers is the villain in the “Halloween” series. Notice it’s similar to Tubular Bells? I think it’s the piano and quick notes that’s so creepy. It’s effective. You can’t hear those first few notes and not instantly think of Michael Meyers and his mask.
Thirdly, we have the “Nightmare on Elm Street” theme song. Okay so where’s the “Friday the 13th” song? Well, I was going to do that but the only super recognizable part of that song is the “ki ki ki, ah ah ah,” which it is, but that part isn’t really music. The rest could be from any film if you ask me. I decided that the song introducing Freddy is much more eerie and still very recognizable. It has a personal extra side of creepy because I’ve had numerous dreams with Freddy (fortunately not all were all that scary and even better yet I woke up after all of them). My first dream with Freddy really scared the tar out of me. All I could think to myself is “that’s the whole point of the movie” is have a dream and never wake up – very scary.
Jason’s theme of course gets honorable mention. Again, it is recognizable but mostly for that one part. I do have a bonus tune for you all though, and that’s the song sung by little girls in “Nightmare on Elm Street.” First, it’s little girls – there’s just something always super spooky about little girls (i.e., “The Shining”). Second, the lyrics run shivers up your spine.