IAB’s Favorite Film Composers Vol.3 IAB’s Favorite Film Composers Vol.3
As it is the season, IAB goes through some of his favorite film composers who are deeply rooted in the horror genre. IAB’s Favorite Film Composers Vol.3

Hi. It’s time for one of those “IAB’s awesome mix tape”-articles again. To fit the season, it being October and the time of Halloween and all, this time I’ll be covering composers that either got started or are most known for their work in the horror genre. It is a genre that is VERY dependent on music, after all – many horror directors have said, that the moment you can really tell if your movie is working is when the music is placed in. And it’s a genre that also gives a composer a chance to….well – go totally nuts. So here’s my selections this time:



Goblin, the progressive rock band from Italy, goes pretty much hand in hand with what one could call the “Golden Years” of the Italian horror director Dario Argento. “Deep Red“, “Suspiria“, “Tenebre” – that’s what i would call a perfect trilogy of eerie music. And of course they also provided the score for George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead“(which can or cant be heard – depending on which version of the film you see) and Argento’s “Phenomena“. The founding member of Goblin, Claudio Simonetti, has continued to work with Argento even after the band itself broke up(although they have since been reunited/broken many times in different groupings).

Deep Red(Profondo Rosso)



Dawn of the Dead


Harry Manfredini

I don’t think the “Friday the 13th“-franchise would have had the longevity it had or been as memorable, if composer Harry Manfredini hadn’t been there from the start. He had such a brilliant masterstroke, when he created the iconic “ki,ki,ki….ma, ma, ma“-riff that’s been forever associated with the series since. And the way he did it, too – sampling two words from a crazed monologue of Pamela Voorhees from the end of the first movie; “kill” and “mommy”. And the rest is history.

Friday the 13th


Charles Bernstein

And the same could be said about Charles Bernstein’s work on the “Nightmare on Elm Street“-franchise; he created the iconic theme of Freddy Krueger, and it’s been used by every composer working on the franchise since. A very simple melody – a bit off-key, as is the entire world in the movie anyway. And despite the score being mostly electronic, as is the case with many 80’s horror scores, it has not aged one bit.

Nighmare on Elm Street

The Entity

Deadly Friend


Christopher Young

A nice segue from the previous selection, as Young was the man who scored the controversial “Nightmare 2”, as well as many other low-budget horror pictures, until he got his big break: “Hellraiser“. That movie, with it’s sequel “Hellbound: Hellraiser 2” pretty much cemented Young’s reputation as a horror maestro extraordinaire. Of course, in the years since he’s been scoring movies of all genres – but I feel that his first love and where he still likes to take the opportunity to go totally nuts, is horror.


The Fly 2

Urban Legend

Drag Me To Hell


Marco Beltrami

Beltrami was a complete unknown in 1996, when the late Wes Craven picked him as the composer of the first “Scream“-movie. He had been an understudy of the great Jerry Goldsmith at USC Thornton in Los Angeles and had scored some short films and a TV movie, but he sure stepped to the challenge. His combination of eerie voices, electronics and hard-hitting orchestra was definitely a breath of fresh air – the approx. 10 minute opening cue is enough proof of that. It’s titled in some releases as “The cue from hell” – probably because of it’s violent changes of tempo and because it was always recorded as one long take. And how is Beltrami nowadays? Hell – he’s a two time Academy Award nominee with his scores to “3:10 To Yuma” and “The Hurt Locker“. But it all started in the horror genre for him, as well.



The Faculty

Scream 2


Well, that’s all at this time. Have a good listen, everyone!

Previous two music columns here: part 1, part 2


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I Am Better

Coming from the frozen wastelands of Finnish tundra. Mr. Better seeks warmth from his television & home theater and all the wonders they provide. He occasionally dabbles in the arts of drawing and photography.

  • Young’s Hellraiser scores are up there with the Carmina Burana. Bernstein also did some really great work. Justice did a great “Tenebre” cover:

  • Stalkeye

    Loved Goblin’s Suspiria and especially the intro theme to DOTD.
    Hellraiser 2 had the best score out of most Horror Films I have seen. I proudly own the digital album of that Mutha!

  • Jen B&T’s girl

    Gosh that was amasing AB…I have now heard progressive rock :)…and each piece does its job to the bone and holds hands with each movie separately…..loved it

  • Thanks 🙂
    I always try to educate.

  • Cool track!

  • Oh, crap – I was supposed to have put DOTD there. Fixed it now. Thanks, mang!

  • KilliK

    yeah, that’s why Elfman ripped it off for his Batman score..

  • Jen B&T’s girl

    *grin…thanks teach!

  • Stalkeye

    Correction, he actually ripped it off during a scene from Spiderman 2.

  • Stalkeye

  • cheeky

  • Stalkeye

  • That’s a bold rip-off, that’s what I meant

  • KilliK

    which one?

  • Stalkeye

    My bad. I never heard of that expression/term before. (;’

  • Stalkeye

    Seee below video as Doc Ock activates the Trivinium.

  • Maybe I am using it incorrectly.

  • Stalkeye

    Stalks: “When you siad “Cheeky” there’s one thing that came to mind”.


    Dee: “Must you always think vith your Dick”?

  • Stalkeye

    OMG LOL! well, at least its not K-Pop.
    That’s right Peach, I said it! 😛

  • Tarmac492.1

    Romero’s DIrector’s Cut of Dawn is way diminished without the Goblin score. I have mentioned before, that the score really helps Romero be able to change the tone and fuck with audience’s emotions. This is best displayed when they are using the trucks to block entrances of the mall. At the beginning everyone is having a good time(kind of like in Jaws on the boat before shit hits the fan) and Goblin’;s music is finger snapping happy. Then once Roger gets a zombies brains blown all over him and leaves the reservation for a while, just listen to how awesome the music gets dark and shit.

    Perfect, baby. Just perfect.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Love these mofo articles, IAB.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Goblin’s work is usually stellar. I think it sometimes help divert the fact that the scripts for most Argento film’s seem like they were pieced together by blind monkeys with homicidal tendencies. “ducks as sharp throwing objects come at him”

  • Tarmac492.1

    The music in the first 2 Hellraisers was excellent, as well.

  • Tarmac492.1

    Dana Plato. An early Tarmac boner taken from us way too soon.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I loved the music in Bram Stoker’s Dracula–a movie I am unashamed to love with all my heart. “Do not put such faith into these trinkets of deceit.”

  • Thanks, man

  • Stalkeye

    That idiot! If only she would learn how to “Just say no”.
    Yeah, riigght…


  • I don’t like Marco Beltrami’s work much. He’s pretty generic.

    The score for Hellraiser is magnificent. Such a romantic score for such a horrific movie but it works perfectly.

  • I think Beltrami’s problem later on in his career has been that he works too much. He has had like close to 5-6 pictures per year to score now. That becomes generic easily. But once in a while he still makes something a little bit “outside the box”.

  • Tarmac492.1

    It does work perfectly. The movie is kind of about a mad, sinister love or lusting. Even though some of the actors deliver their lines like animated mannequins adds to the nightmare quality of the whole thing. I love it!!!

  • That’s one of the best scores ever.

  • boo

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Agreed about that scene. I once recall reading a review of DOTD where the reviewer claimed that particular music was stock and out of place. It isn’t, for the reason you mentioned. It really lulls the viewer into a false sense of security and thus, complacency.

    This is also mirrored in the characters’ attitude to the slow-moving zombies once they get used to them – but one small slip-up, and you’re fucked! Part of the reason why I always preferred slow zombies to fast ones.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    The moon is full.

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    What about Howard Shore’s early work with Cronenberg? Very dramatic, gothic, early 20th century-influenced classical stuff, full of mystery and even wonder, that fits its parent movies perfectly.

  • Oh, another one I forgot. I had such a rush writing this, as I had to get some work done outside before the sun went away. I might put a sequel out before the month is over?

  • Turd Has Escaped The Gravy

    Disco fever!

  • My favorite track from Argento’s Phenomena is not actually a Goblin track at all. It’s this opening track by Bill Wyman & Terry Taylor:

  • Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhj

  • Tarmac492.1

    I also love the opening scene in the tv station. Perfect depiction of chaos and the Goblin music really amps it up. And I love the music buildup and the electric guitar blast with the cameraman saying solemnly “Our responsibility is finished.” If you watch the theatrical version of that scene and then the directors cut of the same scene you can really see how music and editing changes things.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Great article, man! I really love Halloween. All the other holidays after are anti climactic as far as I’m concerned. I have to make honorable mention of my favorite composer, Jerry Goldsmith and his scores for Alien, Poltergeist and Outland. I know the last is technically a thriller but you wouldn’t know it to listen to the soundtrack…

  • I covered Jerry somewhat in the first part of this series. He does deserve more, I agree – like a book or something

  • Coupon: The Movie

    Oh cool. How did I miss that or did I just forget? Yeah, Jerry probably needs a book considering he started in the 50’s and went all the way up to somewhere in the 2000’s. Crazy. Man, those Goblin scores really unnerved me as a kid. As if Dario Argento films aren’t disturbing enough, that music really cranked things up to 11.

  • I agree. The movie is extremely sensuous and makes no bones about disguising it, quite the contrary, sex is front and center in the story it tells. So, as you said, it fits as a glove. I can’t get enough of that score.

  • Wel, i haven’t been savvy about his best work, then. Because everything i heard from him is genereic as generic goes. I even roll my eyes whenever i see his name on the film’s posters.

  • Bop

    I really need to try to recreate the ki ki ki ma ma ma. I love the effect.

  • Tarmac492.1

    before the sun goes away for six months?

  • Tarmac492.1

    Love Shore’s work with Cronenberg.

  • Stalkeye

    Well, you can’t outrun a Fast Zombie.

  • Hahah, not that north, man. But in the shortest days, there’s about 7 hours of sun

  • Tarmac492.1

    I think our least amount is 9 hours of sun. Brutal

  • Sagamanus

    Listening to all this now.

  • Sagamanus

    The beginning of Profondo Rosso sounds like a tingling version of Carpenter’s Halloween theme.

  • Captain Genius

    i love that movie poster

  • I was tempted to include Donaggio. Maybe in the sequel

  • MissyLT

    Very nice.

  • booknovelist


  • booknovelist

    wow good call

  • Moonriver

    I’m so glad I was linked to this! Excellent music for while I read. I love your writing to go with it. You’re so great at researching and reporting, I really love that about you!

  • Could you unban me on the dojo? I literally said “Hi” and got banned for being part of MW.