He Did The Mash, He Did The Monster Mash . . .

Music, of course, is an important ingredient in any movie—but in a horror movie? Man. A great original score can multiply a movie’s creepiness by a thousandfold. It won’t save a film that’s fatally flawed across the board, but by God, it will do its damndest to try.

For this week’s poll, I have themes from ten different horror movies I’d like you to listen to. Then you can decide which is your favorite.


The Exorcist



Friday the 13th


The Omen


Rosemary’s Baby

28 Days Later

Some of your favorite horror movie themes may not be on this list. Sorry. There are seriously a lot to choose from. It may be that I have disregarded your favorite theme because I didn’t think it was as good as the other nominees. I might not have not known about or forgotten your favorite theme. Or your favorite theme may have come from a movie outside the horror genre. The music from Jaws may be the most iconic music in the history of the planet, but I don’t care what you or anyone else says: Jaws is not a horror movie, and that’s that.

With all that mind, all I guess there is left to do is vote.

Poll is up for one week. Results will be posted—probably—on Halloween.

9 thoughts on “He Did The Mash, He Did The Monster Mash . . .

  1. There are some good picks here (except for 28 Days Later…what a hum-drum, run-of-the-mill, bland soundtrack). The Omen was Goldsmith’s only Oscar win (which is a crime against humanity, but that’s another issue entirely), though I actually prefer his theme to Poltergeist, which is a wonderful bit of compositional juxtaposition.

    But the clear winner here is “Psycho”. It has to be. Hermann all but defined the horror “sound” with this score. Ask any composer who wrote the definitive horror score, and they will answer “Bernard Hermann. Psycho”. The iconic screeching violins have been copied again and again. and the tension Hermann evokes with such a minimalist approach to his theme (being comprised only of the string section of the orchestra) is a genius simply unmatched by the rest of the field.

    Every single one of the other entries owes something to Hermann’s “Psycho”, and thus it is the only one that can truly be considered the winner, IMO.

  2. Wow, some of those are great and some are… uh… odd. I had to turn off Suspiria, it was driving me crazy.

    I’m for Halloween all the way. Such a classic. Hearing it tells you, with no doubt, that trouble is on the way.

    I just wanted to leave you with the Hellraiser theme, which totally gives me the creeps: http://youtu.be/wxIFzdwrzek

    • The Hellraiser theme is cool. The movie itself didn’t do much for me—although I’ve been told to give the sequel a chance—but I definitely like the music. I actually like the Suspiria music too, though. I’m sort of happy I don’t have to vote on this one. (Unless there’s a tie, obviously.) I think I might have to do some iTunes shopping 🙂

  3. I must say that the 28 days later theme is just incredible and it’s been re-used or closely copied in a number of other places, including most notably the movie Kick-Ass.

    Asides from that the first three themes Psycho, Halloween and Exorcist strike me as the best. Heck, I’d say the theme to Exorcist used in all the adverts was a really big draw in making me want to watch it. (Felt kind of let down by the actual film.)

  4. If you hadn’t had posted Rosemary’s Baby, this comment would have said something like, “WHAT?! No Rosemary’s Baby?!” But since you did, I have no outrage to share!

    But what I did want to mention, and since Brandon brought it up above, is that 28 Days Later is a very awesome soundtrack but it’s not a very good horror movie soundtrack. And, of course, the best part of its soundtrack is not its score but the piece that inspired it, “East Hastings” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, which is not even included on the album sold separately. Post-rock is its own thing, but real horrorshow it is not–just post-cataclysmic.


    • Well, I am very glad that you were not forced into a spectacular rant. I may not be a fan of the movie, but I’m a sucker for a good la-la-la song 🙂

      I actually love the 28 Days Later music, and I think it fits the movie perfectly, but if I was voting on this particular poll, I probably wouldn’t pick it, myself. For the film, I love it, but when compared to other iconic horror movie themes . . . it just doesn’t have that inherent creepiness that some of these other choices embody. Still have it on my iPod, though.

      I don’t think I know “East Hastings,” so I’ll have to go check that out 🙂

  5. these are some of my favs. the interview/vampire deserves a listen, it is super creepy.

    i think the candyman theme is good, I’m glad you included that even though I didn’t vote for it.

  6. oh and those are the mighty Gremlins, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Interview with the Vampire, which are all awesome. Gremlins is creepy, but not scary but it kind of makes you want to party!

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