A monster is always scarier when they look human. This is the main point underlying films such as: Psycho, Interview with the Vampire, Dorian Gray and Red Eye. There's something about familiarity that disassociates us from guessing that they'd do any harm. But has this become overused? Have we forgotten the basic notion of being a monster is to look scary? Or are we moving away from Freddy vs. Jason and into The People vs. OJ Simpson?
(This article is intended to teach. Before reading, make sure you have seen the film The Woman in Black as it will feature as a prominent part of the article).
I'm going to show you that pretty much any song can fit into a horror film if used properly. Experimental horror is becoming more popular now and with the rise of this genre, I want to have a look at some oddly chosen but workable soundtracks you could use for your next project. Hopefully, these will inspire you and give you a sense of direction if you're struggling. In my last article entitled "Horror Film: Soundtracks for the Modern Age" we looked at some of these new and experimental horror film tracks that were shifting away from our usual high-pitched strings and moving towards more rock, dance and folk tunes. I want to explore how you can use these sounds to your advantage and how normal songs and music can actually have a bigger effect as it normalises the situation in question — making it subconsciously familiar to the audience and therefore, more frightening. So here comes song choices and how they could be used in your next experimental horror film:
It is unfortunate that the truth is "the more you talk about sleep paralysis, the worse it gets" and I am fully aware that mine will not go away. I am here to talk about my experiences with the strange phenomenon and offer my own incentive for those suffering to come forward and also talk about theirs. I'll go through it from start to finish and be completely open with you — my hands are empty and I have nothing to hide.
As you know, there are common "popular beliefs" about film and then there are popular beliefs that are challenged and, like religion, wannabe-film-buffs run to the aid and scream down your throat about how you're wrong and can't possibly think that. They tell you that you know nothing about true filmmaking and the art behind it all—even though you (and not them) have been studying it for most of your life. For example: I once made a short horror/experimental film and showed it at a small showing at a bar with a group. Personally, I thought it was utter shite but it was somewhere to start—when someone asked me what I thought, I said "it was pretty crap to be fair." The other person then went for me, telling me it expressed new art and was a brilliant example of how the world is changing with metaphor-this and conceit-for-that. I told them that I made the film and then they shut up. This should show people that you can have any opinion about film you want and not care about what anyone else says to you. If you don't like something, you don't like it. It's your opinion—there's no film-bible. It's not a dictatorship run by James Cameron or Steven Spielberg—it's art and is supposed to be free-thought.
As we in the filmmaking/film student sector have known for a while, there are many ways to make a film stand out. For example: Wes Anderson's great use of palette and colour scheme in the film The Grand Budapest Hotel is one way to make your work pull the attention of the audience, another would be Kubrick's use of madness and those very, very slow camera pans that we are so accustomed to from The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut. But, in horror film, we tend to get the same violin-stricken music every single time. Whether it be the orchestra masterpiece from Nosferatu or whether it be the scratchy violins in The Exorcist to the Tiny Tim song "Tiptoe through the Tulips" (which gives every kid nightmares) in the film Insidious Chapter 2 - it is always pretty much the same violin style. Today, I'm going to show you some strange songs you could use in your horror film - or even simply sample, providing examples of similar sounds from other horror films and how effective being different actually is in this collection of striking modern horror (which is making its resurgence).