Music to Haunt By and Sounds to Scare By: An Introduction

Reader’s of last year’s “Music to Haunt By” will remember that my review of Sonic Realm’s debut album noted that a change was scheduled for all future versions of the review series. That change? Adding reviews of sound effects albums to the mix. Although this decision was originally inspired by the seeming lack of other musical spooky atmosphere albums (something I’ve since found not to be the case), I’ve since come across another reason to embrace sound effects. While reading a now-offline (for now) writeup at the official Facebook page for the Thornhill Woods Haunted House. The basic gist of it was that the owner preferred using only sound effects instead of music, as he found that other haunts using the same Midnight Syndicate albums detracted from the overall experience at his fault. Why should they be scared? After all, they’ve already heard this music before on countless occasions. He also feels that it’s more realistic if the guests only hear the sorts of things they would hear if they were actually in such a scenario, which helps guests further immerse themselves into the haunt. Although I think both methods are valid (in fact, you could play music and sound effects at the same time if you wanted), he does have some excellent points. Sometime you don’t need music to enhance a scare. The chestburster scene in Alien is proof of that. And no matter if you use music or sound effects, you want to use material that the general public hasn’t been exposed to numerous times. And isn’t that what I’ve been showing you how to do all this time?

Although both formats will be discussed in this installment of the review series (along with all future installments), reviews focusing on music will be tagged “Music to Haunt By” and ones about sound effects will be tagged “Sounds to Scare By.” And what better way to get ready for this year than by looking back over last year’s reviews:

Music to Haunt By: The Return
Music to Haunt By: Prelude to a Nightmare
Music to Haunt By: Alex Otterlei
Music to Haunt By: Darkmood
Music to Haunt By: Dead Rose Symphony
Music to Haunt By: The Dark Tower
Music to Haunt By: Sonic Realm

On top of that, the non-story sections in Tales of the Frightened also offer some great spooky music that could work wonders that your Halloween display or haunted house.

As is tradition, I also have some bonus tips and free downloads for you. The Google Books preview for The Halloween Propmaker’s Handbook by Ken Pitek has some excellent tips on using sound in scary displays. If that isn’t enough for you, rest assured that the upcoming reviews will have plenty more. Incompetech has enough free spooky music available to let you create the perfect musical mix for whatever display you have planned, while the National Weather Service’s JetStream page has some free public domain storm sound files under the “Teacher Preparation” section. How do I know that? Besides being creations of US Federal government employees, I also played it safe and asked before posting the link!

Please enjoy the most recent episode of our podcast as a final treat, which contains spine-tingling selections from all of the groups I’ll be covering (along with some material that was specially selected for this episode).

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  1. […] Music to Haunt By and Sounds to Scare By: An Introduction has tips on music music and sound effects to scare people (along with some free downloads). […]

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