There are a handful of things that can turn a memorable horror movie into an iconic one: a thrilling and original conceit, a franchise-worthy serial killer, and jaw-dropping effects come to mind. But an all-important element of a successful horror movie is one that can’t be gleaned from posters and casting reports, or even most trailers. The score of a horror movie, from a memorable theme, to an atmospheric enhancement of scenes, right down to the closing credits, can elevate a good film to a great one, with the best standing the test of time.
With that in mind, the Collider staff has put together 20 of the best horror movie soundtracks of all time. Composer names range from James Horner, Danny Elfman, and Philip Glass, to the one-word monikers of Goblin, Magnet, and Disasterpeace. While we’ve covered quite a few decades here, there’s a good chance we missed your favorite horror movie score, but there’s an even better chance that we’ve covered some you’ve never even heard of. You might even want to add a few to your Halloween party soundtrack! Check them all out below (in no particular order).