By Scott Taysom,
Horror and metal have always gone hand in hand. That being said, I avidly got into horror films before I delved deep into the obscure universe of heavy metal. What makes these worlds so alike is that they are enveloped by two things: visual atmosphere and sonic atmosphere. These two senses combined create the perfect concoction of darkness, anxiety, and at times pure pandemonium. When I write music for Cloak, the horror soundtracks that have haunted me from a young age still ring in the back of my head as if they are guiding me from one note to the next. I’ve chosen five soundtracks, in no particular order, that have influenced me throughout my youth and adult life.
5. Halloween (1978) Music by John Carpenter
Anytime someone asks me what my all-time favorite movie is I never hesitate to say Halloween. This is what started it all for me. I remember seeing a blank white masked figure stalking the streets of a quiet Haddonfield neighborhood when I was too young to be watching. I was scared shitless but I couldn’t turn it off. This film haunted me for the longest time, but what frightened me the most was the music. Carpenter created what I believe to be the scariest soundtrack of all time. It’s simple, impactful, and a flawless model of what horror scores should be. I can’t listen to it without getting chills to this day.
4. Phantasm (1979) Music by Fredric Myrow
Another cult classic. This is one of the weirdest horror movies ever created, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I think without the soundtrack, this movie would possibly become throwaway horror trash. Myrow’s main theme for the film makes it stand out because it’s so memorable and eerie. And let’s be honest, if you’re a true metal head and you haven’t seen the film, it’s more than likely you’ve heard the main theme in a song entitled “Left Hand Path” by the Swedish legends Entombed. Just as the theme made the movie, this part makes that song.
3. Suspiria (1977) Music by Goblin
I guess I have a thing for late 70’s horror. Moving on to one of the more recently worshipped films of the genre, Suspiria. Another movie I think the score really helped to improve. The haunting “witch, witch, witch” chants subtly buried within the main melody really works wonders for disturbing the senses of the audience. I was lucky enough to catch Goblin perform this soundtrack to the movie on Halloween night in 2018.
2. The VVitch (2015) Music by Mark Korven
I don’t even know if you could call this music. It’s more of a primal ritual orchestrated perfectly to create a sense of sinister energies swelling to the surface. I personally like this soundtrack more than the film itself. It’s the blend of anxiety and 17th century Devilry that really makes it captivating. If you’ve seen Cloak live, you may recognize parts of this soundtrack serving as our intro music and various interludes throughout the set.
1. The Fog (1980) Music by John Carpenter
I could have made a horror score list with only John Carpenter soundtracks, but I decided to at least be fair. The Fog is one of those movies that needs the slow paced, brooding, and atmospheric drenched music to play alongside the gloomy beachside town of Antonia Bay. When I listen to this soundtrack I can hear the ghost ship slowly moving out of the fog towards the shore. I love this one and feel like it’s definitely one of Carpenter’s best.
** Cloak’s new album, The Burning Dawn, is out now on Season of Mist. Get it directly from Cloak by ordering from their Bandcamp (HERE) or from Season of Mist (HERE). CDs, LPs, and bundles abound in the all-encompassing darkness!