Genuinely terrifying, well-made horror flicks can stay with us long. Be it the story, the directing, or the acting; every fan can list something different about their favorite. But nothing evokes memories of a great movie as well as its soundtrack. Horror movies especially place great importance on their scores, as sound and ambiance are a big part of their scare factors.



Redditors in the r/horror thread discussed their favorite and most iconic horror soundtracks. While some are more classic and recognizable, like Halloween, Candyman, and Psycho, there are others that users found worthy of mentioning. They’re often cult classics, but some are more modern and catchy; these soundtracks sent chills down many horror fans’ spines.

18 ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ (1992)

Composed by Wojciech Kilar

17 Gary Oldman as Count Dracula licking a razorblade with blood in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is legendary for numerous things. It was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Eiko Ishioka created iconic costumes that won her an Oscar, and the musical score composed by Wojciech Kilar is often cited as one of the most iconic horror soundtracks. Redditors agree, as many listed Kilar’s compositions among their favorites.

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Indeed, the Dracula soundtrack is horrifying. The whispered chanting in the composition titled “The Beginning” evokes the feeling of something genuinely ungodly being awakened, pulling the viewers in. Fwithananchor from Reddit agrees: “Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) has an amazing soundtrack. The Beginning track sets an ominous tone for the movie immediately…”

16 ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ (1980)

Composed by Riz Ortolani

15 Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

The Italian horror Cannibal Holocaust is highly controversial, but many still talk about it. The director, Ruggero Deodato, was suspected of murder, as various experts tried to interpret whether some of the film’s death scenes were real or staged. Deodato proved his work was purely fictional, making the controversy around this movie an even more appealing factor for some horror fans.

Yet, the film’s musical theme, “Ti guarderò nel cuore,” composed by Riz Ortolani, doesn’t evoke fear but resembles classic Italian tunes of the 1980s. The stark contrast of the theme with the movie’s topic makes the score more ominous; as Redditor Godzilla0senpai said: “Cannibal Holocaust has a beautiful soundtrack. Makes the film feel even more brutal and nihilistic.”

14 ‘Under the Skin’ (2013)

Composed by Mica Levi

13 a woman driving a truck

A tremendous indie favorite of many horror fans, Under the Skin finds itself on numerous best-of lists – and its musical score is no different. Composed by Mica Levi, many have placed their work for this movie among the best movie soundtracks of all time. The Scarlett Johansson-led feature is also considered an existential horror movie, as it delves into what it means to be human and belong.

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Levi’s musical score for Under the Skin is emotional and eerie; the sound effects and melodies evoke a sense of dread and bear emotional weight, causing unease. The Redditor lexuh analyzed it well: “Levi uses so many techniques like pitch changes to make you feel uncomfortable with a really pared-down instrumentation.”

12 ‘Mandy’ (2018)

Composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson

11 Nicolas Cage in 'Mandy'

The late Jóhann Jóhannsson created well-known original soundtracks; the scores for Sicario, Arrival, and The Theory of Everything are just some of his most mentioned works. However, horror fans don’t think twice when saying his chilling score for Mandy is one of the greatest horror soundtracks. Panos Cosmatos directed this Nicolas Cage revenge action horror and dedicated it to Jóhannsson after his passing in February 2018.

As one of Jóhannsson’s final scores, the Mandy soundtrack feels even heavier. The most outstanding track must be “Mandy Love Theme” – its haunting emotional tone precisely depicts the story’s mood, showing how and why Mandy and Red belong together. The Redditor GodFlintstone described this score as “both ominous and hauntingly beautiful.

10 ‘Annihilation’ (2018)

Composed by Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow

9 Annihilation

Annihilation isn’t classified as a horror feature but finds its way onto numerous horror movie lists. Its terrifying creatures, depictions of eerie natural phenomena, and a heavy existence-questioning story deserve one of the best musical scores. Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow were in charge of creating a haunting soundtrack.

Redditors ranked this soundtrack high on their favorites lists. The user LaPuissanceDuYaourt described parts of it: “The lighthouse scenes, that immense string swell during the cave part, the crazy synth noises paired with the mimic’s movements, the eerie, dissonant vocals during the grenade part, all of it is just so good.” The most intense track on the score is undoubtedly “The Alien.”

8 ‘The Exorcist’ (1973)

Composed by William Friedkin

Regan, floating in the air, possessed

The Exorcist soundtrack is unique as it was carefully curated by the movie’s director, William Friedkin. The most famous song that came out of the film is Mike Oldfield’s eerie instrumental tune “Tubular Bells.” Friedkin curated the soundtrack to his preference, taking a long time to perfect it.

The set of The Exorcist was considered cursed, as many of the cast and crew got injured during filming, and the exorcism scenes were extremely tough to achieve. This made it an iconic cult horror with an even more iconic musical score. The user BlahBoo_34 described the opening song for the movie, “Iraq“: “Slow build to a shrill sound of the violin summons a primal fear in me that no other horror movie ever has.”

7 ‘The Thing’ (1982)

Composed by Ennio Morricone

6 Jed in 'The Thing'

No good horror movie list goes without the iconic John Carpenter flick – The Thing. This cult classic starring Kurt Russell epitomizes cabin fever horror; freezing temperatures and isolation are the perfect setting for ominous creatures to lurk and take victims. That premise needs nothing less than an iconic soundtrack – preferably done by the irreplaceable Ennio Morricone.

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The signature Morricone style shines throughout the entire score, though the movie’s main theme causes feelings of paranoia and fear. Redditor mykitchenromance gave a pretty straightforward and accurate description of The Thing’s score, saying: “Moody and paranoid. But also grand and sweeping and horrifying.

5 ‘It Follows’ (2014)

Composed by Rich Vreeland

4 'It Follows'

It Follows is great, though impressions of it are often mixed – people don’t find it scary enough, yet it’s a great example of a well-made horror. Love it or not, the one thing many agree on is that It Follows has a fantastic soundtrack. The composer Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace) perfectly tapped into the 1980s vibes.

The title song is filled with creepy synth buildups, while the rest of the soundtrack evokes a retro vibe reminiscent of Carpenter’s classics. It Follows is an obvious homage to 1980s horror, and whether folks find it scary or not, it’s undeniably iconic. Redditor Kazuko_Kitsune had only words of praise: “It Follows has an incredible soundtrack (also the cinematography is gorgeous, just a great movie in my opinion).”

3 ‘Hereditary’ (2018)

Composed by Colin Stetson and Rob Kleiner

2 Toni Collette with a scared expression in Hereditary

Ari Aster‘s first feature, Hereditary, is a masterclass of emotional and psychological horror. Undoubtedly one of Toni Collette‘s best leading performances, Hereditary also has a uniquely heavy soundtrack. The musical score carries the film, and many agree it’s unlike anything they’ve heard.

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Colin Stetson and Rob Kleiner were in charge of composing thescore, while the buildup of the track “Party, Crash” excellently mimics the movie’s pacing. The Redditor -OtherworldWayfarer- gave a great analysis of the score: “The soundtrack makes heavy use of bells and trumpets, which makes a lot of sense when you consider they are both instruments associated with King Paimon in Grimoire traditions.”

1 ‘Suspiria’ (1977)

Composed by Goblin


Horror soundtracks should support their terrifying feature films. However, with Suspiria, Goblin’s musical score seems to go hand in hand with it. This Italian prog-rock band created a dreamlike (well, mostly nightmarish) musical score, relying heavily on vocals and synth effects. Goblin’s style fits right into Suspiria’s witchy theme.

One of Dario Argento‘s best feature films, Suspiria, leans on color and sounds to emphasize the scares it wants to represent. The track “Sighs” is a well-made rock song on its own; when added into context, it’s one of the most terrifying additions to the score. Redditor Get_Jiggy41 said: “It’s easily one of the creepiest and most unique scores I’ve heard, and the movie wouldn’t be nearly as scary or dreamlike without it.”

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