Horror Movies and Electronic Music

Alex Calhoun —  October 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

the screaming skull It’s October, so I have been watching a ton of horror movies. One of the best things about the horror genre, both older and newer films, is the random electronic music soundtracks that often accompany them or serve as backing soundtracks. I think some of my earliest exposure to electronic music was while watching cheap 70s and 80s horror flicks as a kid. The music tends to be all over the electronic music spectrum, but it’s always an added bonus to watching some much-needed Halloween movie classics.

Zombie movies tend to have a commonality of synth filled housey/disco soundtracks. One of the classics, Dawn of the Dead, had a lot of creeping, ambient keyboard jams accompanying the scenes of the dead rising.  Many of the Italian zombie movies of in the late 70s, like Burial Ground and the series of Zombi films, had some of the most epic synthesizer filled tracks that could be at times both spaced out and alarming.

Easily one of my favorite movies, C.H.U.D., a story about the homeless living under New York that get mutated into cannibalistic terrors, sported a soundtrack that has a very synthesizer heavy theme song and utilizes the stock “Choir” voice from a toy 80s keyboard to accentuate the scenes or horror and carnage.

One of the most prevalent and notable horror producers, John Carpenter, was the king of producing his own music for his movies, and using a heavy amount of keyboard and synth in the production. Movies like The Thing and The Fog, sport ominous electronic ambiance as backing music. And who can forget the seasonal favorite Halloween, which has had its theme song remixed into an unfathomable amount of bootleg house and techno tracks.

Even more modern movies like the Hellraiser series, and horror-crime movies like Se7en, have soundtracks that are heavy on industrial techno that adds to their overall evil vibe. So, regardless of what scary movies you find yourself viewing this Halloween, old or new, keep your ears open and you just might be surprised by the electronic music accompanying the horror.

Alex Calhoun


Alex Calhoun is a writer, vinyl collector, and lover of all things odd and electronic. He currently lives in the Detroit Metro area.
October 2013
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