(Modulate This) Halloween Music Horror & Gothic Theme Music

Horror & Gothic Music Themes from the Past: Dark Shadows + Saint-Saëns – Danse Macabre Halloween Film Strip (That One That Scared You in Third Grade) + Outer Limits + Night Gallery

One more Halloween post (I love Halloween).  As we my clock nears midnight on here, I started reminiscing about some of the first pieces of “scary” music I was exposed to as a child.I did some digging on YouTube and found some recordings. In listening back, I can see how this early exposure to Gothic and horror themes has influenced me. I’ll list my selections in the order in which I was exposed to the music. In

Theme to Dark Shadows

This the first scary piece of music I can recall. I was way too young to be watching the show and heard it when a neighbor’s older sibling had the show on as I walked by their living room. Yikes!

Of particular note is Robert Cobert‘s music score, which broke new ground for a television program. The original soundtrack cracked the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard national albums chart in 1969 and still ranks as one of the top-selling TV soundtracks ever. [more…]

Here is a video.  I’m pretty sure I had nightmares for weeks.

Saint-Saëns – Danse Macabre Halloween Film Strip

For you more seasoned folks out there – this IS that film strip that scared you in third grade – haha. I was so happy to find this video on YouTube. Lost Media Archive says this about the restoration:

The following film strip was donated to The Lost Media Archive by Provost Elementary School (without a soundtrack). 3 years layer, the soundtrack was found on vinyl at Deseret Industries by BC Sterrett.

Here is the video transfer – slideshow beeps and all!

Outer Limits Theme

I watched this show over and over in reruns. I always enjoyed how they baked sound design elements into the arrangement and the called some of them back throughout the show. The theme was composed by Dominic Frontiere.

He scored several iconic themes of the ’60’s such as The Rat Patrol, Branded, The Flying Nun and for producer Quinn Martin The Invaders, The Fugitive and Twelve O’Clock High.

After scoring for TV shows, he went on to compose the music for the Clint Eastwood film Hang ‘Em High. The title theme for that movie became a top-10 hit for the group Booker T. & the M.G.’s. He also composed the soundtrack to the 1971 motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday, which featured Steve McQueen and was directed by Bruce Brown. [more…]

Watch video here.

Night Gallery Theme – Seasons 1 & 2

Gil Mellé (who also scored The Andromeda Strain) was the composer for the theme for the first two seasons. This theme seriously makes my skin crawl – and I love it.

“…noted for being one of the first television openings to use electronic instruments.” [more…]

Video of the theme here.

Pleasant dreams,

Mark Mosher
Composer, Synthesist, Electronic Musician, Multimedia Artist
Boulder, CO


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