The Invisible Evil of Horror Film Music

Coffee and cigarettes, gin and juice, a Denny’s Grand slam and company of raffish knuckle tattooed waitress out on probation, some things are just meant to be enjoyed together.  Film and music are as entangled as the original Siamese twins Chang and Eng. This is especially true in the franchise world of horror film.  A successful horror flick can hatch spinoffs faster than a gremlin in a shower, and nothing reels a viewer back to the original they fell in love with like a proper theme song. The score is an ever present aural character as integral as the villain behind the blade. 

Psycho director Alfred Hitchcock once stated, “33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music.” He even put his money where his mouth was by doubling composer Bernard Herrmann’s usual commission. Herrmann has since been credited as the father of “slasher music.” His methods imitated by films like Friday the 13th, Jaws and the Shining raise your hairs and wind tension taught in your chest until SNAP! A simple pounce of an unexpected cat can shock you out of your seat. 

When I was a kid the only thing that could give me the willies more than Robert Stack’s face and gruff lifetime smoker’s rasp, was the theme song to Unsolved Mysteries. You might say, “Why bring up an early reality TV serial?” The Unsolved Mysteries theme could be the B-side to the Friday the 13th score.  It’s also a great excuse to drop the raw power of an Unsolved Mysteries rap “remix” on you. 

But enough about scary things. Not all horror films have the goal of inspiring terror. The 80’s brought an explosion of horror comedies fueled by hair spray, acid wash jeans and a divorce doubled teen allowance. The lighter side of death and destruction needed a new sound track and with the emerging phenomena of the music video it made sense for movie producers and record labels to trade favors. It’s called synergy kids. All of a sudden Freddy is in a Nightmare on Elm Street -Dokken music video and Ozzie Osborne is a preacher in Trick or Treat. …and we can’t complain. As an unrepentant lover of Xena: Warrior Princess I’m always down for a good farcical crossover.  Leprechaun in the Hood doing a rap jam and messing with Ice-T? I’m in. 

Finally, in perhaps the most unholy union of music and horror the film Killer Klowns from Outer Space may have actually spawned the Insane Clown Posse. Say what you want about I.C.P. but can 100,000 Juggalo’s be wrong? 

….probably, but decide for your self. You’re a grown up.

Nightmare on elm street Dream Warriors Dokken

Leprechaun in the hood

Killer Party Movie

Scary Mary Poppins

Scream

Unsolved mysteries

Halloween

Unsolved Mysteries Rap

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