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The Use of Music in Horror Films

September 19th, 2018

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Music has always been actively engaged in multifunctional dimensions especially in the world of art and the entertainment industry at large. Music scales high as an important area of filmmaking and film production. Music alone doesn’t complete the picture but without music, the picture isn’t entirely complete too.


Music is used most times in an accompanist role in filmmaking. Movies only make sense and resonate with humans when they are real in every sense. Music is therefore used to trigger emotions that will inadvertently communicate the movie’s theme. It is hard to get attracted to an emotional scene in any movie without music, and that’s the reason why filmmakers have generally relied on music and soundtracks to create an atmosphere that connects viewers’ emotion to the movie. The kind of power music wields in horror movies cannot be compared to other movies genres. Apart from musical movies, no other film genre relies more on music than horror movies because it is the essence of any scary movie. Horror movie directors heavily on musical effects to make the scary scenes in their movies realistic and especially to communicate the fear factor to the audience.


Research and studies have proved that the terrifying, discordant and unpredictable sounds used in horror movies imitate, frightened animal screams. Music is a great tool for creating realistic horror scenes because it gets viewers adrenaline pumped through suspense-filled tones played with time signatures that match the scene or lead to the scene. Horror movie directors also apply the use of altered human voices and computer-generated infra-sound which collectively works on the human mind and leads the viewer to a scary moment.


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Music can trigger emotions and feelings that the human brain may not be conscious of. For instance, if you listen to music depicting sadness, the human brain conditions the listener in a sad mood, and when such music is switched to describe jubilation the listener becomes lively and joyful.


In a horror movie, the scenes are not what makes the movie scary; it is the musical effect and soundtrack that creates the full gory experience in the minds of viewers. A large percentage of people who view horror movies do not believe any of the scenes that appear on their screen but what creates the realistic feel is the music. Horror movie producers use music to take viewers from their comfort zone to a zone where they lose control by inducing fear in them. Music is also used to create a mood that increases viewer’s fright level and stimulates thoughts of fear. In many cases, the music used in horror movies can be more frightening than the scene they depict. Horror film producers don’t just want you to view see the scary scenes, they want you to cover your ear in fright too.


It is important that you acquire rights to the music you use for your horror movies. Most horror movie writers and composers are suspect of using music without acquiring rights from the owners of the music. That is a bad practice which we at Ligar Music Library can help you work around perfectly.

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