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Friday, 28 October 2011

Scary Tunes

Halloween approaches like a horde of zombies outside a makeshift survivors' camp and the usual lists of Scariest Films/ Books/ Stories/ Urban Legends rear their disembodied heads.

However, here is a list of scary music that may help when you are writing horror by setting an apt mood for your session. Scary tunes will keep you awake so think of the money you'll save on coffee and Red Bull. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.

1. Atmospheres Gyorgy Legiti (1963)
Part of movements "Kyrie" and "Dies irae" from "Requiem" by Gyorgy Ligeti. Atmospheres is famously used in Stanley Kubrick's "2001 - A Space Odyssey whenever the black alien monolith appears.

Sounds like?
The beautiful disembodied wails of dead souls swirling in the void outside a derelict spaceship as a swarm of nanobots eat away at the lining of your spacesuit (and that is just the introduction!)

2. Imperial March John Williams (1982)
Don't laugh at the familiarity of this piece. Yes, now you can hum it but remember the first time you heard it during The Empire Strikes Back? You thought the Empire was going to destroy your home planet, right?

Sounds like?
Darth Vader and legions of Stormtroopers marching into your home. What? Uh-huh these aren't the droids you're looking for muh lord....

3. Dead Souls Joy Division (1979)
The title is based on Nikolai Gogol's incomplete 1842 novel although you can't really tell from the lyrics and Ian Curtis' doom-laden vocals.

Sounds like?
Icy desolation punctuated by dissonant guitars and a regimented drumbeat. The atmosphere from Manchester circa 1979 seeps through the ages to genuinely chill your bones.

4. Doctor Who Theme. Composed by Ron Grainer at the BBC Radiophonic workshop (1963)
The original was cut and spliced together on segments of analogue tape - no digital jiggery-pokery here.

Sounds like?
Sinister swoops, electronic 'stings' and pulsating bassline. Imagine your radio suddenly tuning into an alien signal from from another dimension.

5. Tubular Bells (Introduction) Mike Oldfield (1973)
Famously used on The Exorcist soundtrack although I did not watch it until I was much older. All I knew was that this was a rather sinister piece of prog-rock and was impressed by how well it sustained its mood.

Sounds like?
Leaves stirred up by an ill wind as you hurry past that 'bad' house in your neighbourhood.

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