10 Fantastic Horror Movie Scores

Halloween Horror Movie Scores!

In honour of Halloween and my love of movie soundtracks, here’s a list of some of my favourite horror movie scores. And a picture of me looking all toothy and scary. Rahh.


1.  Saw (2004)

The Saw movies have an extremely solid main score which is weirdly called ‘Hello Zepp’. Written by Charlie Clouser (who was in Nine Inch Nails) it’s not particularly ‘scary’, but very dramatic and ear catching. And definitely better than the entire film franchise put together.

2. Hellraiser (1987)

I love this creepy and mystical sounding theme song written by horror score regular Christopher Young. And it achieves that rare thing of being both lovely and scary at the same time. Always been a favourite.

3. Drag Me to Hell (2009)

The main theme – also written by Christopher Young  – is dark and twisted but ever so slightly playful as well. It suits the movie wonderfully and though the film itself isn’t the MOST memorable, I still enjoy listening to this main score on a pretty regular basis.

4. Insidious (2010)

From the moment the title flashes onto the screen, the terrifying music is evident. Joseph Bishara (who also played that lipstick demon guy) did a truly excellent job of creating a modern day – yet classic sounding – horror score. Read my entire soundtrack review here.

5. Halloween (1978)

OBVS!!!!! Written by John Carpenter himself, one could not have a horror film score list without including this classic (said just like the Sean Bean meme from Lord of the Rings).

6. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

The least scariest (and actually kind of lovely) music on here belongs ironically to the nastiest movie. Riz Ortolani’s original score is pretty beautiful, kind of sad and very haunting. As far as the film goes, meh.

7. 28 Days Later (2002)

‘In the House / In a Heartbeat’ – a really atmospheric and vivid score written by the genius John Murphy, who really should be counted as one of the best modern composers around right now. Super effective and super memorable – this is a fantastic piece of music in its own right and still leaves me with goose bumps. Read my entire soundtrack review here.

8. Creepshow (1982)

Creepy and humorous (and a little bit chilling), this old and typically 80s score (complete with thunder claps, jabbery piano playing and whispering voices!!!) is JUST PURE DELIGHT. I’ve always really liked Creepshow (and Creepshow 2) because they’re fun, different and still a little bit crazy.

9. Jaws (1975)

Yep. Time for THE legendary music and much like the Halloween score, I couldn’t have a list without adding this absolute gem from John Williams. Now this is genuinely scary I’m sure everyone would agree. I wouldn’t go in a swimming pool (or indeed even a bathtub) if it were playing loudly somewhere.

10. The Fly (1986)

Another fantastic David Cronenberg / Howard Shore collaboration. The whole soundtrack is brilliant, deep and dramatic but ‘Plasma Pool’ is my most favourite track. I actually listen to this while I’m cleaning. I’m weird I know.


About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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41 Responses to 10 Fantastic Horror Movie Scores

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  4. sportsattitudes says:

    I’m partial to John Carpenter’s “Halloween” not only because it remains my all-time favorite horror film but he takes as much care and interest in all his directing as in all the music within his films.

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  6. Great article. Some really memorable classics here. A few bars from Jaws or Halloween can evoke soooo much. I like your cult classic picks, the Fly and Cannibal Holocaust… Although both movies mess me up.

    Ever see Suspiria? Hauntingly beautiful theme. Or Under the Skin? It has really spooky and strange score.

    • emmakwall says:

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment – especially such a lovely one!!!

      The Jaws theme is bloody terrifying isn’t it!!! I wouldn’t even want it playing if I was in the bath haha.

      The Cannibal Holocaust theme has always struck me as so ironic. It’s kind of beautiful really, the film – not so much!

      The Fly is my all time favourite horror. It’s gross but I love it. Howard Shore worked with Cronenberg a lot on soundtracks and I love his dramatic scores!

      I’ve NEVER seen Suspiria, how bad is that?!!! I’ve seen so many horror films (honestly) and that’s one I missed the boat on and never caught up. I will do though. But I’ll need someone to watch it with me as it looks like my kind of scary. The kind of film to mess me up 🙂

      Under the Skin – another I need to watch!!

      • Heh, you’re welcome… Shore + Cronenberg = Canadian Cult Cinema Legends, so mos def agree on that one… Suspiria is slow, brooding, and stylish. It’s the rare cinematic horror. The score influenced John Carpenter’s musical stylings. The movie follows a new student at an old fashioned boarding school run by… witches (ie: black magick). Give it a shot, you can handle Saw 😉

        As for Skin, that’s art. I have a super nerdy deconstruction review at my site… just don’t read through spoilers. So worth it. Indie arthouse Belfast scifi horror. Yeah. I just said that.

  7. Victor De Leon says:

    Awesome List! Halloween, Jaws and The Fly are incredible scores but the one I was most pleased to see was Creepshow! So under-rated. Amazing job on this list 🙂 (I have to give Insidious a listen one day)

  8. alfredsalmanac says:

    You have a great taste in horror movies and music, love it. I also have the zombie app on my phone, its brilliant. Great post.

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