The music matters.

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Music is important in any genre, but in horror it’s especially crucial – probably because it’s a genre that relies very heavily on evoking emotions (fear, dread, etc), and music excels at that. A great soundtrack can make a bad movie tolerable, and a tolerable movie good. And a great movie with a great theme? Sounds like perfection to me.

Alright, that’s enough talk. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Saw

The first Saw movie really hinges on the power of that plot twist, and the music that accompanies it really sells it, injecting energy into the film, and making it more than an exercise in torture porn. I mean, the movie is still about torture and all, but my point is the twist is what makes it a good movie about torture.

Anyway yeah, I like this theme.

28 Days Later

A crucial part of what makes a movie theme work is how fitting it is. In this one, you can really feel the intensity as it builds from slow and labored to energetic and, dare I say, angry. Needless to say, that really matches the subject matter.

Jaws

The Jaws theme isn’t that amazing by itself, but boy is it ever perfect for a shark movie. I mean, it’s the Jaws theme. Enough said.

Ginger Snaps

I love this theme. It really gets stuck in your brain. And it’s gothic and mournful, just like the movie.

Orca

Orca is about a killer whale that’s out for revenge after his pregnant mate is murdered. It might not be a great movie, but one thing it succeeds at is humanizing the whale, and at least half of the reason is because of the music. Ennio Morricone perfectly embodies the whale’s emotional life in the music, and that’s seriously impressive.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Is it even possible to have theme that could better match the creepy, surreal tone of this movie? If I had to describe it in a word, I’d say “hypnotizing” – which is perfect, when you think about it.

Phantasm

This is dramatic, epic stuff. It’s hard not to start nodding your head to the rhythm.

Psycho / Reanimator


Obviously, Bernard Hermann’s Psycho theme had to be here. It’s overshadowed by that iconic shower scene music, but this is still excellent. And I can’t resist the Reanimator version (either a ripoff or an homage depending on your point of view) for how well it works with the mad scientist zaniness.

Suspiria


I love the instrumentation in this theme. It’s not only unique, but it really puts you in the head space of a creepy fairy tale. It’s just as weird as the movie.

Halloween


This theme is the Halloween music – and I don’t mean the film or franchise, I mean the holiday. It is literally the perfect music for what it’s trying to accomplish.

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