11 Songs In Scary Movies You’ll Never Hear The Same Way


When it comes to making a truly scary horror movie, every element counts — including a killer (no pun intended) soundtrack.

Sometimes, a well-placed song in a horror movie can change the way you hear it forever. Here are 11 songs that we can’t help but associate with films that give you the heebie-jeebies.

1. Nick Cave, “Red Right Hand” (Scream)

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Goth-rock icon Nick Cave’s 1994 single perfectly sets the ominous mood in Wes Craven’s 1996 horror classic. (And, not to spoil anything, but this won’t be the only time Scream pops up on this list.)

2. Luniz, “I Got 5 on It” (Us)

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Jordan Peele’s 2019 fright fest flipped Oakland duo Luniz’s 1995 hit on its head— drawing out the beat to a creep and perfectly soundtracking the film’s terrifying trailer (as well as its thrilling climax).

3. XTC, “Dear God” (It Chapter One)

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Sometimes, the song in question doesn’t even have to be associated with scary images within the movie — it can just set the tone for the according scene perfectly, so you’ll never think of it the same way again.

4. Gary Jules, “Mad World” (Donnie Darko)

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Donnie Darko might not be a traditional horror film, but it’s plenty chilling —and Gary Jules’ cover of Tears for Fears’ classic song serves as a haunting ending to the film.

5. John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High” (Final Destination)

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Once you hear John Denver’s breezy, easygoing song soundtrack several deaths in the Final Destination franchise’s inaugural 2000 installment, you’ll never feel relaxed by the late singer-songwriter’s voice again.

6. Q Lazzarus, “Goodbye Horses” (Silence of the Lambs)


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Synth-pop singer Q Lazzarus’ 1988 single found new life three years later in this pivotal and utterly unforgettable scene from Jonathan Demme’s horror classic.

7. Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Freebird” (The Devil’s Rejects)

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“Freebird” is the kind of song that’s been overused in popular culture to the point where even touching it is a risk. And yet, Rob Zombie’s 2005 blood-soaked cult favorite managed to give the tune a new twist, soundtracking its road-weary and unbelievably gory finale.

8. Sam Cooke, “Blue Moon” (An American Werewolf in London)

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A lovely version of Sam Cooke’s “Blue Moon” (get it?) hovers just over the horrifying werewolf transformation scene in John Landis’ 1981 horror-comedy classic.

9. Donovan, “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (Zodiac)

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David Fincher’s 2007 masterpiece isn’t exactly horror, but its chronicle of the Zodiac Killer’s persistence is terrifying in its own right. Psych-pop icon Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man” provides the soundtrack for one of the film’s most chillingly murderous moments.

10. Harvey Danger, “Flagpole Sitta” (Disturbing Behavior)

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Not only did Harvey Danger’s karaoke classic soundtrack this 1998 teen horror film’s trailer, but it popped up in a key montage near its thrilling climax, too.

11. Alice Cooper, “School’s Out” (Scream)

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It only makes sense that one of the best horror films of the last several decades appears twice on this list and closes it out. Shock-rock icon Alice Cooper’s booming tune comes in right at the end of this typically gory scene.

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