Dear Friday the 13th,
Why are you so terrifying? Why do countless people gather on this day to watch movies filled with twisted plots and horrifying killers? Why do children intentionally watch things that give them nightmare? I think the answer lies in the thrill, the goosebumps, and the rush we get from seeing things we could not imagine in our own minds.
So now the important question is: what is it that makes scary movies so terrifying? Is it the blood and gore? Is it that high-pitched scream that alerts us to danger? What in the world could it be?
I dare you to watch this video clip with your volume turned off.
Now, watch it again, but this time turn the volume up.
What did you notice?
Beyond the shadows, blood, and screams, there is this thing we call music. Those simple few notes that warn us of the foreshadowed kill that is about to take place; the notes that make the hair on the back of our necks stand with anticipation. In this case it is the movie soundtrack that we hear. And it is terrifying. Now I’m not giving all the credit to the composers who write the scores for movies, nor am I saying that only scary movies have this quality.
I’m saying, “MUSICIS CRUCIAL.”
Movies weren’t always the way they are now. If you recall, movies started out as silent films, which had only music and subtitles to tell the story. So how did movies evolve to incorporate music, sounds, and conversation? The Power of Film Music has great insight to the importance of music in films. But more importantly than reading this article, watch some scary movies this Friday the 13th and pay close attention to what the music provides for the film.