The 10 best songs about ghosts

ghost imageFace it: we’re fascinated by ghosts. Especially this time of year, during the season of Halloween and the Day of the Dead. Whether as metaphors or as intimations of our mortality, you don’t need to necessarily believe in ghosts to appreciate them. These ten songs and CDs represent a variety of styles, from somber to playful, from traditional to experimental. But they all share a sure sense of artistry that deals with the dead, the dying, or things departed. Continue reading →

Charlie Clouser, master of horror music

Charlie ClouserTo celebrate the Halloween season, I’m profiling a variety of musical takes on the holiday. Of the many composers who have scored soundtracks for horror films, Charlie Clouser is one of the masters of the genre. He produced scores for Resident Evil: Extinction and the four Saw movies, in addition to contributions outside the genre for The Matrix and Collateral. A former keyboardist with Nine Inch Niles, he has also worked with David Bowie, Rod Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Helmet. Continue reading →

The 13 best horror movies for Halloween

Scene from OnibabaIt’s not easy to create a horror movie that doesn’t rely solely on sudden loud noises or gore to shock viewers — which is perhaps why so few films in the horror genre rise above mediocre. A movie like Carrie has some wonderful scenes, but the overall mood is ruined by shifts in tone as if it can’t make up its mind what kind of movie to be. Hellraiser has its share of frightening scenes, but the overabundance of gore makes it difficult to watch. And movies like Portergeist suffer from being too absurd, concocting elaborate explanations for the supernatural. What I admire are movies that create a sense of horror with more subtlety and artistry. While the following movies are not all completely in the “horror” genre, they all thematically deal with horror. In alphabetical order, here are my top 13 picks to put you in the Halloween spirit. Continue reading →