In 2021, OcTerror returned to its roots with an eclectic mix of music from inside and outside horror films. This year we’ll be continuing our celebration of diegetic and non-diegetic sound mixing, soundtracks, and scores with another list of amazing musical moments from some of our favorite movies. In the past 20 years, we have become almost spoiled with soundtracks featuring popular artists, new and old composers elevating the on-screen tension, and more than a few memorable trailers heightened by music. While this may be a niche, it’s one of my favorites and I love giving recommendations and shout-outs.
In order to save some words and avoid too many spoilers, I won’t be describing the music or their scenes, but I will include a favorite lyric. These songs can stand on their own as noteworthy, but how they’re used to terrify or thrill makes them more than that. Next time you watch one of these films, keep an ear out for any of these familiar tunes.
- “Hell’s Bells” by AC/DC as featured in a trailer for Overlord (2018). I won’t take no prisoners, won’t spare no lives.
- “Cry Little Sister” by Aiden from The Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010). Thou shall not die.
- “Obsession” by Animotion from Fresh (2022). I will collect you and capture you.
- “Love Theme” by Asei Kobayashi feat. Godiego from House (1977). (I cannot find the lyrics, but the Japanese is beautiful).
- “The Dance of Death” by Audiomachine as featured in a trailer for Midsommar (2019).
- “Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?” by Bing Crosby from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985). Something that I feared, somehow is now endeared to me.
- “Redbone” by Childish Gambino from Get Out (2017). Now don’t you close your eyes.
- “Join Hands / With the Angels” by Craig Wedren, Anna Waronker, and Theodore Shapiro from Yellowjackets (2021).
- “Burn” by The Cure from The Crow (1994). “Just paint your face” the shadows smile.
- “Bunsen Burner” by Cuts from Ex Machina (2015).
- “Heels” by Disasterpiece from It Follows (2014).
- “I Just Want to Make Love to You” by Foghat as featured in a trailer for X (2022). I don’t want you to be sad and blue.
- “Sola, Perduta, Abbadonata” by Giacomo Puccini from I Spit On Your Grave (1978). No! non voglio morir!
- “Casper’s Lullaby” by James Horner from Casper (1995).
- “Main Title” by John Debney from Hocus Pocus (1993).
- “Both Sides Now” by Judy Collins from Hereditary (2018). They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed.
- “Stayin’ Alive” by Lizzo from Happy Death Day 2U (2019). Life goin’ nowhere, somebody, help me (Somebody, help me).
- “Deck the Halls/Main Title” by Marc Shaiman from The Addams Family (1993).
- “Master of Puppets” by Metallica from Stranger Things “Chapter Nine: The Piggyback” (2022). Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams.
- “Burning Men” by Nate Wonder and Roman GianArthur from Antebellum (2020).
- “Nearer My God to Thee” by The Newton Brother from Midnight Mass “Book VII: Revelation” (2021). The sun gone down / Darkness be over me.
- “Closer (Precursor) by Nine Inch Nails from Se7en (1995). You can have my absence of faith.
- “The Kids Aren’t Alright” by The Offspring from The Faculty (1998). How can one little street swallow so many lives?
- “Love Rollercoaster” by Ohio Players from Final Destination 3 (2006). Your love is like a rollercoaster baby, baby.
- “Sussudio” by Phil Collins from American Psycho (2000). Ah! I’ve just got to have her, have her now.
- “Running Up That Hill” by Placebo as featured in a trailer for Daybreakers (2009). Tell me, we both matter, don’t we?
- “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus from The Silence of the Lambs (1991). He say, “All things pass into the night”.
- “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen from Shaun of the Dead (2004). I’m having such a good time.
- “Music Box” by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe from Candyman (2021).
- “Fingertips – Pt. 2” by Stevie Wonder as featured in a trailer for Nope (2022). Clap your hands, just a little bit louder.
- “867-5309 / Jenny” by Tommy Tutone as featured in Jennifer’s Body (2009). I tried my imagination but I was disturbed.
Every year, new horror films, TV shows, and trailers are released; many of these use popular music or original scores to take their concepts to the next level. Whether it’s by slowing down an old 80s ballad, re-contextualizing a ditty from the 40s, or throwing in plenty of stingers, we can always count on music to bring another layer of terror to the experience. They’re definitely worth paying attention to.
If you feel like there’s a song missing, it’s most likely on a previous Pumpkin Songs list. You can find an updated playlist with all available songs on Spotify. This year I included more deep cuts than usual, but those can usually be found on YouTube or Soundcloud and are still worth the listen. This playlist is great for Halloween parties, getting into the vibe of the season, or for horror film trivia. Put it on shuffle and scroll through the decades of horror!
Welcome to OcTerror.
If you appreciated this playlist, please consider donating to Reading Malone’s Ko-fi.