We all know that the music in a horror movie is crucial to creating the tension and atmosphere – but what about the music inspired by the films themselves? The Misfits made horror-punk famous (among horror and punk fans at least), but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scary films influencing musicians. Of course horror’s influence can be felt across rock and metal history – but what about some of the lesser known genres? Here’s seven weird horror music genres which you probably haven’t heard of, but should probably check out.
After horror-punk, horrorcore is perhaps the best known spooky sub-genre. It’s hip-hop based, with lyrical content that is more similar to black metal – often touching on themes of death, psychosis, necrophilia, murder and suicide. It’s relatively underground, but Insane Clown Posse have managed to bring mainstream attention to the genre. The songs often have graphic depictions of violence in the lyrics, usually so cartoony that they become rapped low-budget slasher flicks. Rapper Mars describes his style as, “If you take Stephen King or Wes Craven and you throw them on a rap beat, that’s who I am.”
Artists: Insane Clown Posse, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Gravediggaz.
4. Witch House (aka Haunted House)
How can you not be intrigued by something known as ‘Haunted House’? It’s electronic music, with dark and occult themes, characterized by obscure samples, droning repetition and distorted, ethereal, otherworldly vocals. Apparently many of the artists use Unicode symbols like stars and crosses in their track names to make the genre harder to search for and this more exclusive. Blatant hipster nonsense aside, the music is said to embody the atmosphere of Twin Peaks, and visual horror such as Suspiria. In what world ‘†‡†’ is pronounced ‘Ritualz’ is anybody’s guess however.
Artists: GL▲SS †33†H, Crystal Castles, oOoOO.
Rising to popularity in the 90s in The Netherlands, terrorcore is a derivative of hardcore techno – with some added horror. Samples from horror films are common, as are heavy metal influences. Frantic/dark synths, faster than normal beat, and quick choppy edits make this genre a horror-y twist on the more recognized styles in this genre.
Artists: Bonehead, Dr. Eppo, ScreamerClauz.
2. Southern Gothic (aka Gothic Americana)
Southern Gothic isn’t new in terms of fiction, even Disney have based some of their haunted house style rides on ghost and murder stories of the old American South. Decaying plantations, hoodoo, vengeful spirits and a blend of alternative rock and classic country/folk mark the musical genre inspired by Southern Gothic film and literature.
Artists: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Handsome Family.
It’s hard to say if danger artists are inspired by horror films such as Saw, or are just into bizarre publicity stunts. First off, most of it isn’t actually music. Not because it’s made up of odd noises, but because it’s not meant to exist at all. Most performances are cancelled before they can go ahead, since they involve stunts like playing sounds at a frequency which damage hearing, driving a truck into a crowd or gouging your own eyes out. On the rare occasions shows proceed, we’re not sure if anyone would actually want to attend – since past ‘entertainment’ has included a musician almost severing a leg and sawing a dead cat in half.
Artists: Hanatarash, Nam June Paik.