By: Kim Batchelor
I usually have a soundtrack to my homework that is quiet enough to keep from distracting me from what I am reading or writing. Recently thought I realized that for this class I have to be really careful about what I put on while I’m reading our horror texts. How I discovered this was by letting my iTunes play on shuffle and forgetting that I owned this song.
I challenge you to listen to this song “Skin” without thinking about the scene in Black Hole that involves a similar skin shedding scene.
This got me thinking about music and the genre of horror. Was it only the overlap of topics that makes this song unsettling for me or was it something intrinsic about the song? Clearly, the music used in a movie can affect the horror in it. But I became interested in the idea that, when you look on iTunes, there should be a genre entitled “Horror.”
The first music that came to mind when I thought about artists who reside in the horror genre were groups like Evanescence that are clearly Gothic. Anyone who has ever heard their style of music will most likely agree with me when I describe it as slightly creepy and fairly haunting. But what makes a song elicit this response? This led me to a Google search of “Unsettling music” which proved surprisingly lucrative. I’ve picked a few that really, really freaked me out and I’m going to attempt to explain just what about them is so creepy by using one as an example.
The song is “I Know Where You Sleep” by Emilie Autumn. Listen to it here. The video is especially creepy because it uses clips from the Marble Hornets series we watched.
For me, video aside, this song is unsettling for many reasons. One of them is the changes in tempo. It keeps you on your toes and does not follow the traditional patterns of music. It get’s faster and faster and louder and louder but there is no loud finale that is expected. There is instead a whisper, and one that tells the listeners that someone is watching them sleep. The first time I heard this song I had earbuds in and it made it more personal. I feel like the person was whispering in my ear, in my bedroom where I actually do sleep. That is another reason this song is creepy. It addresses the listener. Like how we have talked about in class, with Marble Hornets and the Dionaea House, things are scarier when it seems like we are able to fall victim to the horror ourselves. This song skips the middle man and takes the threat right to us and makes us lock our windows.
Though different songs use different techniques to play up their horror. Those two seem to, for me, be the most effective at unnerving the listener. I’d be curious to hear what songs freak you guys out and why you think they do so. Here are some that I’ve found:
30kft by Assemblage 23
Beheaded by The Offspring
Come to Daddy By Apex Twin (Warning. The music video for this song is nightmare fuel.)