SHOCK picks a Baker’s Dozen of terrific horror film soundtrack albums.
As a follow up to our 15 Influential Horror Movie Composers piece, we decided to unleash 13 soundtracks that may have found their way into your own private music collection. Albums that cover a wide spectrum of musical genres and styles that have been featured in some great horror flicks and have carved a permanent imprint on our auditory memories.
SCREAM (1996) – Dir. Wes Craven
From horror master Craven, SCREAM and its accompanying soundtrack were huge hits with audiences, encompassing recording artists that were relevant during the 90s and using themes featured in film. The soundtrack had a little something for everyone: Moby, Sister Machine Gun, Julie Cruise (of TWIN PEAKS fame) and even Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Red Right Hand) make their mark.
HIDEAWAY (1995) Dir. Brett Leonard
The HIDEAWAY soundtrack was a rare thing in the 90s (or now for that matter) as it has predominately industrial blood flowing through it. What rivet-head could resist a compilation distributed by TVT records? The soundtrack for the film based on a Dean Koontz novel sports bands like: KMFDM, Sister Machine Gun, Fear Factory and even Front Line Assembly.
BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2 (2000) – Dir. Joe Berlinger
Not the most well received follow up to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, but hey, loathe it or love it there is no denying the accompanying soundtrack is rock gold. Many genres are embraced, everything from Rob Zombie’s “Dragula”, to “Hum” by Elastica, to Marilyn Manson’s riff on “Suicide is Painless”, the theme from M*A*S*H. Sadly the soundtrack also features, we hate to say this, “Old Enough” by Nickelback – yikes!
DARK SHADOWS (2012) – Dir. Tim Burton
In the tradition of classic rock soundtracks like FOREST GUMP and APOCALYPSE NOW, Tim Burton’s DARK SHADOWS features some of the most beloved rock tunes of our time, or at least the time in which the film is primarily set, the 1970s. A nice range of anthems like the mesmerizing “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues, the monster hit “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, “No More Mister Nice Guy” by Alice Cooper, and several original pieces by maestro Danny Elfman. I mean, it couldn’t be a Tim Burton soundtrack without some Elfman injected into the mix.
RESIDENT EVIL (2002) – Dir: Paul W.S. Anderson
Spawned from the series of video games and followed by countless sequels, RESIDENT EVIL the film also has a vicious musical counterpart. The soundtrack was designed to match the hyper-kinetic film in ferocity, with acts like Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, and Slipknot, and believe it or not, Depeche Mode gets some love as well (And the score itself, by Marco Beltrami and Manson is pure gold!- Ed).
THE DEVIL’S REJECTS (2005) – Dir. Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie is like Quentin Tarantino’s evil brother and like Tarantino, his soundtracks are very memorable.The Devil’s Rejects is an excellent example. Just check out the nasty, bloody rock n’ roll line up: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird, Joel Walsh’s Rocky Mountain Way, The Allman Brother’s Midnight Rider and some classic Three Dog Night with their track Shambala.
THE LOST BOYS (1987) – Dir. Joel Schumacher
Pretty sure every teenager went out and immediately bought this album after seeing THE LOST BOYS, it was sort of the John Hughes soundtrack for horror films. The album is a favorite of many, boasting great acts like Echo and The Bunnymen (covering The Door’s People Are Strange), INXS with Jimmy Barnes, and who could forget the decade’s Goth anthem Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMann. Fun stuff.
MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986) – Dir. Stephen King
When Stephen King reigns over the director’s chair, the accompanying soundtrack better be just as impressive. Unlike our previous entries, this soundtrack is completely done by one act – the lads from down under, and we are not talking about INXS or Midnight Oil. Rock Gods AC/DC solely command this soundtrack with their timeless hits Who Made Who?, Hell’s Bells, For Those About to Rock (We Salute You…), and that’s only mentioning a few. There’s even a Bon Scott track as well! Oh yeah!
TRICK OR TREAT (1986) – Dir. Charles Martin Smith
It’s like TRICK OR TREAT was deliberately geared toward metal heads (insert swirling hair here!) Another example of a soundtrack exclusively forged by one artist, in this case heavy metal act Fastway, and like AC/DC on MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, Fastway delivers the shit! If metal’s your thing, grab this album and crank it to 11! If that weren’t enough, TRICK OR TREAT stars Gene Simmons of KISS and Ozzy Osbourne in key roles!
BLADE (1998) – Dir. Stephen Norrington
Stephen Norrington’s incredible take on Marvel’s famous day walker, BLADE is an awesome example of how stylish direction can flawlessly mesh with a fabulous soundtrack – both aspects deliver. Jam packed with pulse-pounding beats from Junkie XL, DJ Krush, and old-school hip-hop legends EPMD and Mobb Deep; the BLADE soundtrack was playing at all the clubs. Oh, and New Order’s “Confusion” (Reconstruction Mix) during the brilliantly unexpected but thoroughly loved Blood-Rave scene was utterly original.
LOST HIGHWAY (1997) – Dir. David Lynch
The LOST HIGHWAY soundtrack is a surreal plunge into the nightmare realm of Lynch’s twisted and sinister head trip flick. Being a musician himself, David Lynch pays a great deal of attention to the scoring of his films and their soundtracks as well (read our review of the WILD AT HEART soundtrack album here). LOST HIGHWAY is no exception. LOST HIGHWAY even employs dark knight Trent Reznor to help inject some of his own flare; featuring creepy tunes by Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and the late David Bowie, The Smashing Pumpkins and even the playfully weird track “This Magic Moment” by the Legendary Lou Reed.
BLADE II (2002) – Dir. Guillermo del Toro
We couldn’t deny BLADE II its own separate entry. As this del Toro flick upped the ante for the BLADE series, it is only logical that its soundtrack follow suit, and it most certainly does. Taking its cues from mash-up soundtracks like SPAWN and MORTAL KOMBAT, BLADE II doubles down and goes for a genre mashup of hip-hop vs. electronica: crazy beats from Fatboy Slim & Eve, Roni Size & Cypress Hill, Paul Oakenfold & Ice Cube, and last but not the least, the sensational “I Against I” by Massive Attack and Mos Def.
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) – Dir. Dan O’Bannon
For horror fanatics this is the Hoy Grail of soundtracks. A treasure trove for sure. Folks are so fanatical about this soundtrack that they cling to their vinyl copies like a mother to her child. So many memorable tracks by The Cramps, The Damned, T.S.O.L, Roky Erickson, and of course the unforgettable 45 Grave and their Partytime anthem that kicks the film’s mayhem into overdrive – send more paramedics!
Did we miss anything? Care to share some of your thoughts or your faves? Some honorable mentions go out to: SE7EN, REPO MAN, DONNIE DARKO, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (theatrical version of course), and REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA.