Halloween 2023: See How APM Music Defined the Horror Genre
Welcome to the spine-chilling world where melodies meet nightmares, where every note sends shivers down your spine. In the dimly lit corridors of classic horror films, music emerges as an unsung hero, crafting an eerie atmosphere that haunts your dreams. This infographic dives into APM Music's role in providing the heart-pounding symphonies and haunting harmonies that have etched themselves into the very fabric of cinematic horror.
Join us on a journey where the sinister marriage of sound and storytelling transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary as we unravel the secrets behind the music that has echoed through the corridors of classic horror cinema.
Get ready to explore the notes that linger long after the credits roll and discover the symphonic sorcery that leaves us both terrified and entranced.
Check out the music below!
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite style of horror movie: the truly horror-ble, terror-ble movies. These are the films that were either created to blend comedy and horror or accidentally became comedic through low budget effects and questionable acting. Here are some APM highlights:
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957) – This Sci-Fi creature feature starring Bela Lugosi (posthumous credit) and Vampira has such a “so bad, it’s good” cult following that Tim Burton directed a comedy dedicated to the film’s history (Ed Wood). APM has the whole score, here are some highlights:
Horror of Party Beach (1964) - When a horror movie is described as "a take-off on beach parties and musicals," what could go wrong? This movie features an aquatic beast created from a skeleton and radioactive waste that descends on a beach party with murderous consequences. Here is a frightening track from this film which has been said to be one of the worst movies of all-time:
Ghoulies II (1989) - The campy comedic horror Ghoulies franchise had 4 installments spanning the 1980s through the 1990s. These pint-sized little beasts wreak havoc in various settings, Ghoulies II takes place in an amusement park as well as in a toilet or two. Check out this Middle Eastern track that was in the movie:
Notable mentions that feature APM in their soundtracks: Mutiny in Outer Space (1964), The Phantom Planet (1961), The Abominable Dr. Phibes (starring Vincent Price, 1971), Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989), The Gate (1986)
Horror films can push the boundaries and find themselves filed in the notorious category. Here are films that may have gone a little too far:
Cannibal Ferrox (1981) - This Italian shocker claims to have been banned in 31 countries and was described as “the most violent movie ever made” by its American distributer. Any movie whose main theme centers around cannibalism is bound to stir up controversy. Here are some soundtrack highlights from the Octopus Records catalog:
The Ring (2002) - This horror classic (adapted from the Japanese film Ringu) is based on the premise that watching a video cassette tape can seal your doom. The controversy is attached to the ending (spoiler alert!) which depicts the lead character Rachel (played by Naomi Watts) saving her cursed son from death by passing it on to someone else. Harsh! Here are some tracks from the KPM catalog licensed in the film:
Some horror films transcend the stigma against the genre and break into legendary status. These films have truly made the horror hall of fame:
The Sixth Sense (1999) - “I see dead people.” This line is the climax of a truly frightening film. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, this movie blends suspense and true fear to create a horror masterpiece. Listen to this ethereal groove from the Kosinus catalog featured in the film:
Se7en (1995) - Who could forget this haunting thriller about a deranged serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motive for murder? This David Fincher film stays with you long after the curtain closes, even Morgan Freeman can’t save you from the aftermath. Here are a couple of comedic Bruton cues that made the cut:
American Werewolf in London (1981) - John Landis has earned a spot as one of the most historic horror movie directors of all-time. This comedic horror film could fit in all 3 categories within this article, but his work with Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video as well as Twilight Zone: The Movie puts this film in the legendary category. Here are some swaggering APM jams in the movie:
Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990) - While this film did not make waves on its own, the Psycho franchise is a horror movie staple. The first Psycho movie from Alfred Hitchcock made history with its depiction of murder and racy content. Anthony Perkins never disappoints as playing the eternally disturbed Norman Bates. Here are some KPM throwbacks that fueled the story:
Masters of Horror (album) - The 1980s were the heyday for some of the best horror movies ever made. The composers from this era were trailblazers that continued the tradition of blood-curdling film scores that are soundtracks to your nightmares. Two of the most famous composers from that golden era of horror are Charles Bernstein (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cujo, The Entity, Kill Bill) and Alan Howarth (Halloween II, III, IV, V, Christine, They Live, Escape From New York). This album from Inside Tracks features tracks written by both composers and is a celebration of everything we know and love about retro horror film scores. Here are some highlights:
Whether a horror film fits into the campy, controversial, or legendary categories, there will always be an audience that adores every frightful minute. APM is bursting at the seams with classic horror film scores from yesterday and today, we look forward to scoring many more terrifying films to come!