Monday, October 29, 2012

13 Days of Halloween: Matt Cunningham's Top 10 Picks of Horror Movie Scores

When Billy asked me to do a guest post I was extremely excited to ramble on about several things Halloweenie. I was going to tell the world about the history of Trick-or-Treating but then Wikipedia had that in spades - along with several other websites. I couldn't rehash the same old knowledge on this wonderful blog. It's much more deserving of that. Then I thought, what about a brief history of a few famous scary monsters? Unfortunately that became a research intensive monster itself. I found I wanted to tell way too much while hoping to keep your attention (if I haven't lost you already).

But then it dawned on me as I was listening to the movie score of Cabin in the Woods by David Julyan. Why not write about something I love with all my monsterly being! Movie scores. But not just any movie scores, my top 10 picks of horror movie scores that really fit into the frame work of Halloween and what I listen to every year around this time. Honestly, I listen to them all the time but this is for those of you that might want something spooky to listen to while carving pumpkins, or writing that short horror story you always meant to get to, or play in your haunted house or while you're driving to work in your Michael Myers costume.

So dim the lights and open your mind to a realm of frightening sounds...

10.I had way too many scores in this range to narrow it down to one so I'm going to name a few of my favorites as of late - all based on the creep factor and repeat listenings - Insidious, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, Woman in Black, Wolfman (Elfman version), Monster House, Nightmare on Elm Street (original) and Friday the 13th (original).

9. Van Helsing - Alan Silvestri - First of all, this movie was one of the biggest let downs of all time to me. The premise, Hugh Jackman, and well, the premise should have made this one a gem. But alas, they let that guy who did the Mummy remakes get behind the wheel of this stinkfest and ruin it. BUT, Alan Silvestri comes in and delivers a powerhouse score that knocks some of the stink off. Burn the movie, keep the score!

8. The Omen - Jerry Goldsmith - Do I have to say any more than Omen and Jerry Goldsmith in the same sentence for you to understand this choice?

7. Let The Right One In - Johna Soderqvist - Not only is this one of my favorite movies in all genres but the music lives up to the beauty of the film in so many ways. It is sublime opera when the visual and music compliment each other like it does here.

6. The Last House on the Left - John Murphy - I bought this score on a whim and I am so glad that I did. I still haven't seen the movie (remake version) and I probably won't because there is no way the movie will be as good as this score! I've written more stories than I can think of to this gem. At first listen you will be like, what is he talking about, but then it creeps up on you and you get hooked.

5. House of the Devil - Jeff Grace - Holy cow does this one deliver on pure haunting dread melody. I loved the movie but when I isolated the score I was just floored. Listening to this alone at night makes you want to look over your shoulder. You've been warned.

4. Fright Night - Ramin Djawadi - This score is just plain awesome. From the first 40 seconds of the title track Welcome to Fright Night you know exactly what you are in for. You may not like this remade version of the film, but the music will rip your heart out and stomp all over it. It's that good.

3. Dracula - John Williams - If you've never watched the version of Dracula with Frank Langella as the count, then you are missing a great treat. Watch the movie without the music for a few minutes then listen to the score by one of the best in the world, JW. His music takes an already beautiful movie to amazing heights. Majestic and timeless.

2. The Fog - John Carpenter - May be far one of Carpenter's best scores. It's eerie, powerful, clean and most of all, haunting. It is one of my all time go to scores when writing the creepy.

1. Halloween - John Carpenter - This may seem like an obvious choice because of the title. But this is hands down my favorite horror score to my favorite horror movie. Everything Carpenter did here was solid. To me the theme alone should be listed as one of the most powerful and well known pieces of movie music ever created. The first time I heard it I was mesmerized and hooked ever since. There really aren't many that can hold a candle to this. Although I keep looking.

For the most part 1 and 2 have held those spots for a long time and will most likely stay there. I hope this has opened you up to some new possibilities and you give some of them a chance. They will certainly enhance any Halloween party and bring the chills. Happy Halloween!

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