10 Soundtracks to get you in the Halloween Mood
I love Halloween. More than love it. Lurve it. I love watching scary movies involving hauntings or exorcisms. I playing spooky games. I love candy. Sure, it all leaves me in a fetal position of terror. But I still love it to bits.
Naturally, when October rolls around my playlist becomes populated with spooky instrumental soundtracks to help get me in the mood even more. My original plan was to post a song every day on Facebook, but then I thought…why not just do it all in one post?!
So I am sharing them here in no particular order! Because most of these come from video games and movies, I am going to post a mild spoiler warning here as I might discuss the context in which the song appears. Enjoy! And comment with your favourite Halloween soundtracks as well!
Silent Hill 2- Promise (Reprise)
When it comes to the survival horror genre, Silent Hill 2, about a man who travels to a town looking for his dead wife, remains a classic. Part of what makes it so is the melancholy and oppressive soundtrack. There are so many tracks I could choose from this, but the one that always sticks with me and gets me into the mood for uncovering ghosts of the past is Promise (Reprise).
This track is played after encountering a character named Angela, who has also been drawn to Silent Hill looking for answers. There were many moments in the game when I knew I was experiencing something unique, but the moment this song played was one of the first.
Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs- Mandus
This is a game I have yet to actually play. By chance I was listening to songs on Youtube and it cued up after another soundtrack I was listening to. It immediately grabbed my attention and has never made me more curious to play a game.
I HAVE played the original Amnesia, which was full of scares and tension. If this soundtrack promises anything, it’s that A Machine For Pigs promises to be just as creepy and mysterious as its predecessor.
28 Days Later: In the House, In a Heartbeat
I think I mentioned this one before in a previous list, but it bears mentioning again. I am not normally a fan of zombies. To be honest, I find them dull and not actually all that scary. But there are two titles that had even me gripping my seat wanting more: Telltale’s Walking Dead game and the movie 28 Days Later.
This song plays during what I have to say is one of the best movie climaxes I have ever seen. I continue listening to it when I need to write something tense and creepy and it has not let me down yet. Of course it also causes me to become super paranoid when wandering outside, but eh, it’s a small price to play.
Stranger Things- Kids
Of course Stranger Things was going to make it on here. It’s hugely popular and with good reason. The moment the soundtrack became available, my credit card was being typed into my keyboard and it was well worth the money.
This soundtrack is great if you want feel like spooky AND 80’s for your Halloween. I wanted to share a singular track that basically had me the moment in played five minutes into the first episode, buuuut it seems that no singular video exists with it. So here’s the entirety of Volume 1.
The Last Door Chapter One: Crows Over the City
The Last Door, a point and click horror adventure, is a game I only discovered recently and boy am I glad I did. My commutes to work became punctuated with small screams and jumps in my seat which certainly disturbed my fellow commuters to no end.
The game is a bare bones affair graphic wise with small 8-bit characters walking around a blocky 8-bit mansion full of unsettling horrors. But while the developer may have skimped on the graphics budget, they understood that what makes a great horror game is the soundscape.
Again, I was going to share a singular track, but that does not seem to exist. So I am sharing the entirety of the Chapter One soundtrack here. My favourite track is the opening title sequence (1:13) but it’s all worth a listen.
Bioshock- Going up/going down
If you haven’t noticed from this incredibly subjective list, I loves me some violins. It is an instrument that can at one moment be melancholic then joyful then creeptacular all in one song. I can never get enough when strings pop out in a song.
The makers of Bioshock also evidently loved violins. The entire soundtrack is riddled with them. Sometimes they reflect the majesty and wonder of Rapture. Sometimes they capture the mental instability of the splicers. Whatever the mood, it’s always effective.
The opening sequence of the game does a wonderful job introducing the player to the city both through its visuals and audio, and it always gets me in the right mindset to experience a spooky story (skip to 2:45 as the first bit is just Beyond the Sea…which could also be spooky in the right context). It only made sense to pick this one.
Nancy Drew: Ghost of Thornton Hall- Sweet Charlotte.
Yeah, I’m including Nancy Drew on this. WHAT OF IT?! It’s okay. When I first heard there were Nancy Drew video games, I expected them to be…not so great. But to my surprise they are some of the better adventure games I’ve played.
Not only are they great adventure games, but they can also be quite spooky. And I’m not talking friendly kid spooky either where the adults sit bored. I’m talking it had me, my friend Errol and his kids screaming at the screen at times.
I wrestled between choosing Ghost of Thornton Hall or the other truly scary one, Shadow at Water’s Edge (which is Japanese themed, so you can imagine the horror which came out of that one), but I opted for the former because it has this stupid creepy song in it which was difficult for me to listen to alone on a Saturday night.
Carnivale: Justin Calls Iris
Carnivale is one of those wonderfully weird and underrated shows that sadly got too expensive for HBO to justify continuing funding it given its smaller viewership. Its second season ended on a huge cliffhanger that never got resolved and all its fans cried out in despair at all of the unanswered questions in this historical fantasy/horror show.
But that’s another story for another time. Its unsettling and ominous soundtrack has stuck with me over the years. It’s not an outright horror show, but there are some downright creepy scenes throughout. The entire soundtrack is great, but I’m sharing one that came midseries. At the time I saw the episode and the moment this scene played, I was barely breathing. The song was most of the reason that was happening. Yes, it’s violins again. But there are other elements of the show’s soundtrack in there and besides, I don’t care. Violins rock.
Layers of Fear
We break with the violins to bring you…more piano. Okay, look, horror loves piano and violin and so do I.
Layers of Fear just came out this year. It’s not a long game, but it was good enough to have me huddling on the couch while I made my friend Dan progress through the story. The soundtrack is appropriately dark and macabre and is great to play at a Halloween party if you are at home alone and want to feel unsettled. Not that I am speaking from experience or anything.
Upon reflection, writing this list while at home alone in dim lighting was not a great idea. So I’m going to end it on a goofier note:
Nightmare Before Christmas- This is Halloween
Is it a Christmas movie? Is it a Halloween movie? Who cares. Nightmare Before Christmas has become such a spooky classic that it’s watched during both holidays. Myself, I enjoy it more around Halloween for this song alone. Everyone hail to the pumpkin song!