Psycho tops list as best horror music score

The Bates home from PsychoI watched Psycho last night as part of my 31 days of Halloween movie binge. Bernard Herrmann, who composed the music for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film, probably didn’t realize he was writing what would become the most famous film score for a horror movie. The dissonant, shrieking violins that accompany the shower scene may be the most identifiable music passage in film history. As Marion Crane sits at her motel room desk writing figures, the strings play slow, brooding music. She tears up the paper to flush it down the toilet. (By the way, this was the first time a toilet was pictured in any movie.) The music stops. She gets in the shower. We watch as a shadowy figure enters the bathroom and rips open the shower curtain. The biting music launches in tandem with her screams and the knife thrusts. But the entire score exhibits genius. Continue reading →

Your ultimate Halloween haunt playlist

Image for Dark Soundscape of Fear playlistYesterday I shared my playlist for Halloween parties. Today’s playlist is geared toward a Halloween haunt. This “Dark Soundscape of Fear” playlist features dark, ambient tracks interspersed with subtly creepy rhythms and strange sounds. A surprising amount of dark, ambient music exists, much of it rather effective. But to save you the trouble of wading through so much music, I created this playlist for Halloween haunts or wherever there is a need for a spooky atmosphere. Continue reading →

Your ultimate Halloween party playlist

Image for Halloween Party PlaylistAre you dissatisfied with the Halloween party playlists you come across? I certainly am. Too short, or too many songs that are only marginally appropriate. That’s why I created a playlist on Spotify that includes well-known favorites (like “Thriller,” of course) and lesser-known gems (“Burn the Witch” by Radiohead). The compilation currently fills just under 3 hours of music. Most are popular songs but I’ve thrown in a few TV and movie themes as well. Continue reading →

“Ghost Story” brings nightmares to life

Ghost Story album coverJust in time for Halloween, my new album Ghost Story seems to spring straight out of a horror movie. Haunting piano passages, strange sounds, and diabolical rhythms create an unsettling mood. The music draws on styles from electronic collage to solo piano to symphonic to evoke the ghostly as well as the macabre. My inspiration came from films and series such as American Horror Story, Carrie, Saw, Onibaba, The Devil’s Backbone, and The Others. As a huge fan of horror movies and ghost stories, I’ve written eerie songs for some of my past albums. This time I wanted all of the music to focus specifically on horror. Ghost Story repackages some music from previous albums with newly released material. Continue reading →