Some good horror music can be excellent for getting into either a Halloween mood or writing that perfect horror/dark fantasy story. Today, I’m going to split my discussion into two categories: Lyrical songs vs. songs absent of lyrics. I will give 5 for each category, and explain why I like them. I’m hoping to offer a mixture of songs, both popular and not-so-popular, for a bit of rich variety.
Music in general can inspire creativity, and my own muse relies upon it quite a bit. I often choose theme songs for my characters, for example, or for my books. Often, I will be inspired to write when listening to music either while driving or at work, which stinks because I can’t bring that writing to life in any way at the time. Hopefully you don’t run into that yourself!
Without further ado, however, let’s get on with the lyrical music.
(5) Chase Holfelder: Major to Minor: Every Breath you Take
Chase is an extremely talented vocal artist, and I actually wrote most of Hunstsmaster City listening to his songs. His covers inspired quite a few of my scenes, to be honest. The way he sings is super eerie in these pieces, and I wanted to feature this cover in particular. The original song is already super stalkerish and eerie, though it sounds a little bit upbeat, at least compared to this.
In this version, he does sound like some killer or monster going after the protagonist in a story. It makes for a good horror feel, touching on the “you’re being watched in the dark” trope that makes me shudder. Imagine a pair of eyes upon you in the dead of the night, waiting to pounce when you least expect it. Now imaging them singing you this song in this fashion. You’re sure to feel at least a little bit off put.
(4) Hush – Ashley Serena
This is an underrated gem for sure. This mixes Japanese lyrics with English Lyrics to tell of a monster watching you in the dark. The singer’s voice is perfect for this and strikes a decent amount of concern within me. This reminds me of my kitsune character, Aki, for sure. Kitsune are my third favorite mythical creature of all time, behind dragons and vampires.
I think this properly captures the horror behind such fox demons, or yokai. Just look at the visuals in the video as well. Her expressions are perfect, as is the face paint. I was super happy when stumbling upon this because of how eerie and beautiful it is. It’s excellent in its depiction of one of my favorite mythical monsters, and that’s a huge win for me.
(3) Lullaby of Woe – Ashley Serena
I know she was featured on my last number, but I couldn’t prevent myself from including this! Just listen to her voice, it’s gorgeously eerie for this piece. It’s rumors against The Witcher, who is rumored in lore to be cold and unfeeling. The song tells a tale of how horrifying these people are, which is ironic considering they butcher monsters for coin, leading to people being helped.
“He’ll eat you up whole…” is the most shudder-inducing line in the song, in my opinion. It reminds me of my vampires, and how terrifying they can be. Sure, my protagonists can be good people, but even they have their extremely dark and violent sides. Songs like this really bring monster characters into perspective. No matter how many morals they have, they’re still monsters. This very much applies to every human, too, as we all have our dark sides.
(2) The Hearse Song – Rusty Cage
“Don’t ever laugh as a hearse goes by, for you may be the next to die….” Yeah, this song tells a rather graphic tale of decomposition, and is creepy both vocally and lyrically. I listened to this song on repeat one year, leading to it being my most listened to on Spotify. I wonder what that says about me…
Anyway, this is a great horror piece because of all the grisly descriptions. The idea of bugs eating you inside out is just disgusting, which fits some horror themes. This is especially true for any rotting undead like zombies or nosferatu-like vampires. This inspired a lot of my rather graphic death scenes, though I don’t tend to describe decomposition. Perhaps I should, given I now have context with this song. Or I could just ask a former-gravedigger as well.
(1) “Can’t Be Erased” SFM by JT Music – Bendy and the Ink Machine Rap
WAIT BEFORE YOU JUDGE, LISTEN TO THE SONG! Seriously, I wasn’t a fan of Bendy, nor did I know the game at all prior to hearing this. This song was the first time I was exposed to it. I was in awe because it sounds so neat! I included this not only because this beat is BADASS, but the concept in general of your own creatures turning evil and hunting you down or something is super eerie.
“We never harm the hand that draws… imagination cursed us all with life.” If you’re a creator, with art or writing, or more, can you imagine your creations emerging from the paper or screen to maul you? Or a machine that takes your concepts, brings them to life, but in such a twisted way? I love this idea and lore, so I had to include this for sure. Plus, again, the sound sounds super neat. I also usually don’t like rap, so this is even more of an unusual choice for me.
(5) Slenderman Theme (Yes Really)
In my defense, the music that goes along with these (in my personal opinion) bad creepypastas are way better than the stories themselves and should be given a chance. Here’s why. The soft high tones of this in the beginning are fairly creepy on their own, but the rumbling in the background adds to it quite a bit. I think what really makes the song though is the buzzing added to it. The random noises that play when we approach mid-song aren’t that necessary though, I feel like.
This song would be great with just the rumbling, buzzing, and high-toned music. I actually think it would be more creepy without the added effects. I heard this song often on the horror picture compilations I liked watching for things like Liminal spaces.
(4) Jason’s Theme Song
This is one many people have probably heard already! As of writing this article, though, I have not seen the movie. I can appreciate the music related to it, however. Unlike on the last number, I feel the random sounds actually work in this song’s favor. The music isn’t the centerpiece in the beginning, it’s more of a softer hum, whereas on the last one, the higher pitches were the centerpiece, meaning the added sounds aside from the low buzz and hums didn’t work for me.
This one puts those sounds in the proper spot, not over the music itself when the music needs to be heard. I feel this one flows much better than the last one, and while I feel the last one could be creepier without the added sounds than even this one, the added random effects did not work in it. For Jason’s theme, however.
(3) Diablo 1 – Catacombs
Here is one from my childhood! I was a young one, probably around 8-10, when first diving into the game. Suffice to say, I wasn’t very good. But I do remember my first imaginary friend was an entirely faceless rogue (Graphics weren’t great back then) called “Sally”. Perhaps I should make her an official character in my books to pay homage? With a face, of course. Anyway, the song itself always freaked me out when I got to that level in Diablo 1.
Particularly, one part: 4:12, where the distorted cries of a baby or goat can be heard. For some reason that always scared me, and to this day, I think it sounds creepy. There is distorted laughter mid-song too that’s also scary, it probably freaked me out as well. I think it has a lot of good horror elements and buildups, but those sounds in particular is what sells it.
(2) Half Life 2 Distorted Trumpets
This deserves a number 2 spot, and while I do not normally ‘rank’, I feel this is top tier. When I watch liminal space image compilations, this music often comes up. It instills deep unease, and I think it’s because of the distortion. There is also an auditory illusion involved, where it sounds like there are people talking through some radio, but no words can be made out.
I’ve never played this game, Half Life 2, because I don’t usually stray from MMORPGs and don’t like first person shooters, and it’s now outdated in terms of graphics. However, I have heard extremely good things about it, and the horror aspects are done well, at least for this tiny fragment of the game via the song.
(1) Mephisto’s Lullaby
I love this song. It has a ton of suspense following the eerie “La-la-la-la” music in the beginning… until you get to the climax. There sounds to be something dragging against stone, perhaps a blade. It’s mysterious and we don’t quite know what it is. But the feeling of raw fear is instilled as the heavy breathing accompanied by it is paired with even more dramatic music…. like they’re getting closer.
Usually there is no order to my things, but that is incorrect in my case. This has to be my favorite non-lyrical horror music, it just instills the fear of running from something trying to rip you to pieces. This music would be perfect for the horror muse, I feel, and I hope you love it as much as I do.
Well, there you have it folks! I hope you enjoyed this article! As a reminder, my magical college book came out this month. I am a dystopic dark fantasy writer, so you might like it if you like horror themes! My monsters certainly are horrifying…
Leave a comment on your thoughts on this article, or @ me on Twitter via TheRealDesastr!