Let me say this right off the bat, this is not a list of the best horror movie soundtracks.... that honor would go to the funky beats of Phantasm, Deep Red and Vampyros Lesbos. We're talkin' scares here
The chilling, screeching repetition fit perfectly with Hitchcock's classic; however, like the Jaws theme, it's been so overused that it's lost a lot of its original impact. Intrinsically, it should be ranked nearer the top of his list, but, in reality, it's lost a lot of its punch over the years as a by-product of its greatness.
9. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Synthesizers don't usually creep me out (unless its John Tesh); however, this one managed to deliver the goods.
8. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This one is almost too sparse and minimalist to qualify; however, the haunting twangs turns my stomach into knots.
7. Cannibal Holocaust
You'll notice I didn't include any Goblin or other Italian scores on this list. IMHO they're just a little too jazzy, funky, and often cheesy. That being said, ths similarly cheesy sdtrk manages to press a button in my psyche that sends chills up and down my spine. This sample is from the opening theme... things take a dark turn from there.
6. The Exorcist
Sets a chilling mood, to be sure. However, "Tubular Bells" may be just a little too prog to top the list.
5. The Fog
Everyone always points to Carpenter's Halloween score as one of the greatest. While this may be true, his other works often get overlooked. The Fog soundtrack is effing brilliant and deserves similar respect.
4. The Wicker Man
Ancient, pagan, haunting.... would've even made the Nicholas Cage remake scary.
3. Friday the 13th
I'm a sucker for eerie whispers. Whenever I'm in the woods and it's dark, I can't help but think of this score.
Carpenter tapped into our primal fears with this one; it's like he made contact with our primitive brain, and ancient terrors came alive once more.
1. The Omen
Dear God, this soundtrack scares the living shit out of me. Maybe it's a predictable choice, but nothing tops it in my book.