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Ranking the top five horror scores of all time

Ranking the top five horror scores of all time

Ranking the top five horror scores of all time
October 28
12:00 2021

The number one thing separating good horror movies from the bad ones is an effective score. Music can make or break any movie, but it can be especially necessary for the music in a horror film to pack a special punch. Whether it be iconic themes or underrated gems, here are my nominations for top five best horror scores.

5. “Theme from Friday the 13th, Pt. III” by Harry Manfredini and Michael Zager

Coming from the film “Friday the 13th Part III,” we get a funk-filled twist on a classic theme. While the name of the song may lack creativity, the song itself is actually one of the greatest scores I have ever heard. It takes the original theme from the “Friday the 13th” franchise and puts an all-out disco spin on it. You may be asking yourself, “Does the third movie in this franchise have something to do with disco?” and the answer would be absolutely not. I am not sure what the reasoning was behind this creative decision, but I do know this song lives in a regularly used playlist of mine. The truth is, the scariest thing about the song is the number of times I shamelessly play it on a daily basis.

4. “Hello Zepp” by Charlie Clouser

The theme song from “Saw” will always have a lasting effect on me. I will never forget seeing “Saw” for the first time, absolutely baffled by the twist, while this powerful score played as the film closed. Clouser knew exactly what he was doing while putting this piece together, and it helped create one of the best moments in horror movie history. The song starts off relatively slow, but it ends in a percussion-heavy crescendo, matching the viewer’s emotions into music as the film ends.

3. “Pas De Deux” by Michael Abels

When the trailer for “Us” dropped, we were gifted with a horror version of Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It.” This version of the song was be heavily used throughout the film, and it created one of the most chilling scores in horror history. This is still one of my favorite scores from a horror movie in recent memory because I will never forget the chills running down my spine as it played during the big finale of the film. The music in this film made a great movie even better, and it just goes to show how important music is in a movie.

2. “Helen’s Theme” by Phillip Glass

The entire soundtrack for the first “Candyman” film is absolute perfection, but I always find myself going back to this song the most. “Candyman” is still one of the most horrifying movies I have ever seen, and it arguably still holds up today is because of its music. There is this gothic coating covering every song in the film, and this song really emphasizes the tone of the film. The song is to be taken seriously, just like the film is, and the only feelings present during this song are fear and uncertainty. The choir in the background also adds so much, taking the chills to another level.

1. “Halloween Theme” by John Carpenter

It is the most iconic horror score of all time, and it’s no close contest. “Halloween” is arguably the greatest horror movie ever made, so it makes sense it’s also the greatest horror score ever composed. Carpenter directed the movie and created the theme, and I am so glad he is sticking around to write the score for the next slate of “Halloween” movies with his son Cody Carpenter. This theme is not just the most iconic horror theme, it is arguably the most iconic theme for any movie, which is why it is rightfully ranked number one on this list.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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