7 Songs Made Infinitely Creepier by Horror Movies

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Neve Campbell and Rose Mcgowan in Scream

A great horror movie without a great soundtrack simply does not exist. Every sense has to be enveloped with fear, and a huge part of that isn’t just the creaks and screams, it’s the music that sets the unsettling mood.

While some horror films feature blood-curdling scores (Jaws, Halloween, It Follows, etc.), there are certain songs that will forever be associated with the movies they helped make all the more terrifying.

“Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Donovan

This psychedelic 1968 track went roughly 40 years without being totally terrifying, but its use in David Fincher’s bone-chilling 2007 film Zodiac changed that for good. Listening to it now you’ll be transported right back to that horrifying (albeit) brilliant film and you’ll have nightmares all over again. Damn you, lake scene. Damn you straight to hell.

“Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

“Red Right Hand” has earned its place in horror movie history thanks to its use in the Scream saga, but even when it’s not in the background as a masked killer wreaks havoc, it’s totally goddamn creepy on its own. Never trust a man in a dusty black coat with a red right hand. No good can come of that.  

“Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus

This is a legitimately great new wave track, but there’s no way you’re listening to this song and not picturing Buffalo Bill doing some truly weird shit in Silence of the Lambs. You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?

“Hip to Be Square” by Huey Lewis & the News

Do you like Huey Lewis & the News? You won’t anymore. Thanks, American Psycho!

“Looking for the Magic” by Dwight Twilley

If you can hear your neighbor blasting this track on repeat like the poor bastards in You’re Next, you may wanna run for the hills.

“The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash

The 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake was one helluva fun horror show, and it didn’t hurt that it had killer opening credits with the accompaniment of Cash’s haunting ode.

“The hairs on your arm will stand up.” That’s for sure, Johnny.

“Tiptoe Through the Tulips” by Tiny Tim

Using quaint music for scary settings is nothing new to the horror genre (see: Jeepers Creepers) but it’s especially effective when the song is already unnerving in its own right. “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” already sounds like a journey to hell, so it feels oddly perfect in the Insidious world.