Sometimes when I watch a new horror film, I think to myself...the score here really isn't anything to brag about. It hardly stands out as creepy or mood-setting, usually, and a lot of artists seem to have completely abandon orchestral works in favor of licensing popular pop songs or even covers of them. So today I'm going to take a moment to remind all of you about a few epic horror soundtracks from awesome movies that helped to make them so incredible.
1. The Mephisto Waltz
When I get a copy of this movie, I'll probably tell you a bit more about it. I've only read the book, though, so there's not much I can say about the film. HOWEVER, the soundtrack. Is. Incredible. I'd expect nothing less from Jerry Goldsmith, who is absolutely one of the most incredible composers of the last century in my opinion. Here's a quick sample of some songs from the soundtrack, and if you like it...I urge you to buy it.
2. The Fog (1980)
Any of you who may have watched John Carpenter's earlier films may remember that he generally did most of the composing for them. In fact, any time you hear heavy synths in a Carpenter film...that was probably his doing. While I'm not a major fan of synth music, I'll give Carpenter credit that he knew how to work those babies. Often I don't thing his movies would have been the same without them. It was difficult to settle on a sountrack in particular, but ultimately I decided on The Fog. (They Live gets honorable mention.) I'm not going to post one of the full videos of the soundtrack, but I will post my favorite iconic song from it.
With the recent passing of Antonia Bird, I was saddened to realize there would never again be another wonderful film made by that woman. But this one will always live on, and the music? Incredible. Composed by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman, this soundtrack takes folk music to a whole new level beyond the disturbing quality of Deliverance. Each song becomes darker and darker, and so to does the story, tying the music and film together flawlessly. Here's an example of one of the darker songs.
4. High Spirits
Toning it down a little and bringing you one of the lighter hearted horror comedies, which really is less horror and more comedy. I mean...there are some ghosts. That's what classifies it as horror, but I say anything supernatural goes. There's really kind of just one song in this movie, with a few variations. But it stands out enough to set the mood pretty damned well, so it's going on the list. I'll give you guys the overture, which is generally a sampling of every song. For the sake of continuity and giving credit where credit is due, this was composed by George Fenton.
5. The Exorcist
So in a debate between films like Jaws, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, it all came down to Tubular Bells. I mean The Exorcist. Yes, I said I don't like much synth music, but there's no denying that it's done pretty good in this movie. Besides, it was the 70s, people were all about synths. Believe it or not, this isn't the full song. Tubular Bells runs 50 minutes in total. It's a damn long song. Steve Boeddeker does not do anything halfway.
I find that the most surreal and experimental films tend to carry some sense of dread, whether the storyline makes sense or not. Good horror can often go hand-in-hand with experimental cinema. It makes sense, when you think about it. You can't really scare the same audience with the same trick twice. The following are a few classic shorts in the surreal genre I think every film buff (and especially horror fan) needs to watch at least once...if not dozens of times.
So here's a funny little web series I watched a few years ago and figured was worth sharing with you guys today. As some of you may know, I'm from Texas. This was filmed in Austin. That's not really important, but I thought it was cool.
The story follows one really bad new vampire and his friend, pretty reluctant to become one himself...but surprisingly good at it, comparably. It's a silly little show with some decent acting, mostly bad...and it's all fun. A good way to spend an afternoon, I think.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's any humanly possible way to link the 2nd episode as a video here on Wordpress, so here's the link to their channel for you to view everything by Bleedonlineseries if the first episode has caught your fancy.
We continue our long-awaited return to this vintage issue, the first story I'll show you today tries it's best to be strongly patriotic towards American spirit, yet...every time the heroine learns something or thinks of something important, she looks more like a scheming villain. The second story focuses on angels and kidnapping. Neither are very spooky, but hey...the way they draw ghosts is interesting.
For some reason, I didn't think this one would be good. Even considering it was directed by Joel Schumacher. So what happened? I was proven horribly wrong in the best way possible. This. Movie. Is. Awesome. It's one of those rare newer pictures that just kind of drags you in within the first five minutes. It's perfect alone at night or in the middle of the day with friends, because it is just that good.
I suppose you're wondering why it's so amazing, though, so I won't keep you in suspense. It's like a combination of Warlock and Evil Dead with maybe just a taste of Nazis. I think we all know there's really no more despicable living villain than a Nazi. So when a Nazi 'doctor'/'scientist'/'nutjob'/'occultist'/whatever comes to a small farm in America, I was only left wondering 'what the hell is this guy going to do?'
Of course the only real ties the family that live there even have to the dude is the fact that they're German, which apparently means you can let Nazis come crash on your couch whenever the want. I don't know about you, but I think I'd start pretending I was from Austria-Hungary when this dude came to call.
There's a gigantic stone hidden on the property of the family with ancient script (runes) scrawled all around it. That wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the guy staying with them and investigating the stone is...well...like I said, a Nazi. This doesn't bode well for the family, and even 80+ years on they're still feeling the effects of their unwelcome house guest, long after Hitler called it a night with Eva in their bunker.
Evan is a young man trying his best to help care for his missing brother's family, and ceaselessly trying to find out what happened to him. You'd think this would just be your run-of-the-mill mystery, wherein there's some kind of German Nazi cult worshiping Hitler trees or some shit, but then his brother shoes up and drags Evan on a strange trip out into the middle of nowhere. And we're re-introduced to the farmhouse. But...it looks like...could it be...the elder brother from the beginning of the movie is still the same age? WHAT?! I'll stop here, because I can't trust myself not to reveal more. But this is...god this is a good movie. Watch it IMMEDIATELY when you get the chance. Ignore the title. Ignore the massive disappointments horror has been generally coming up with for the past 15 years...just enjoy.