The horror movies authors try their best to bring fear and terror to the viewer. Mostly they do it by bringing out something demonic. By doing so, you will feel as if you are in your worst nightmare. The sounds can be so real if they are well-pitched on your sound system that you do not notice their effect on your adrenaline or nerves.

Ever wondered what makes a horror movie scary? Although we get frightened by what we see in horror films, the main frightening part is the sound you hear that goes with the scene of the particular part. The one that makes your body shiver and hairs on your arms rise.

Some of the movies known to give you the creeps include Malevolent (2018) and Oxygen (2018). They are some of the best horror movies to stream on Netflix because they consist of that scary sound that will for sure give you the expected thrill. But, what really makes this soundtrack in horror films?

Theremin in Horror Movies

Created in the year 1920 by a Russian called Leon Theremin, many horror movies relied on this instrument to cause fear. In many cases, Theremin still gets used in scenes that involve aliens/ ghosts. In addition, it is famous for creating creepy sounds that come in handy in horror films.

It works relatively simply as one could play the instrument without making any physical contact with it. All one does is move your hands, and the antenna on the instrument catches the signal. The signals cause it to react by generating eerie sounds. Picking notes with one of your hands can give the sounds slow or fast turns.

Blaster Beam in Horror Movies

You may not have heard about the name, but I’m sure you have experienced the unnerving sounds caused by it if you are a fan of the horror genre. It’s a musical instrument made up of 24 piano strings and consists of a frightening bass tone.

It is responsible for the sounds you may have heard in Halloween audios and horror movies. In addition, it’s known to create dark and sinister sounds. The many strings’ blaster beam is played by plucking and striking strings with a pipe, stick, or with fingers.

Waterphone Sounds in Horror Scenes.

If you want to give someone a good scare, especially in an abandoned house, then this should be your to-go-to tool. The waterphone sound got used in many horror films. Among them is the 2008 “Let the Right One In” and many others. It makes the sound like that of dolphins and whales common in an area off Canada’s western coast.

The waterphone was created by Richard Waters and thus named after him. The waterphone is one of the successful instruments known to create creepy sounds, which is why it gets used in horror films. It can generate merciless spooky sounds to the viewer. For one to play the waterphone, mallets get used as well as a bow.

Ondes Martenot Scary Sound in Horror movies

In the horror movies, Ghostbusters and There Will Be Blood, an Ondes Martenot was behind the haunting sounds heard. Ondes Martenot is an old musical instrument electrically powered that was invented during the first world war.

This musical instrument was created by Maurice Martenot, and hence where it draws its name. Organ and Theremin inspired the creation of Ondes Martenot. To play it, you can use a keyboard or drive a ring along a wire. The scary sounds get generated from oscillators. Over the years it has been used to create most of the haunting sounds heard in Halloween-themed movies or audios.

Pipe Organ Horrific Sound

The Pipe Organ’s sound is inherently haunting but gets widely used in churches. This, however, does not mean it does not create some of the spookiest sounds enough to give you shivers. Its history ages back to Ancient Greece. It is therefore popular in its use in medieval movies, one of them being Pirates of the Caribbean.

The Pipe Organ has organ pipes designated with the help of keys. The pipes are then arranged in rank groups as every organ generates one pitch. Each rank group then has a joint volume and resonance. With that design, you pass pressurized air through the organ pipes to generate sound.

Apprehension Engine in Horror Movies

Tony Duggan-Smith is the man behind creating this horror movie instrument. He said he intentionally built it to annoy people rather than get a pleasing sound like a guitar. Instead, he built it to make inharmonious scratches, drones, and screeches that would get people on their nerves. That way, it would serve its purpose.

The music instrument has a set of suspended flat metal bars or different lengths with strings running across the metal bars. It also has a spring and an enclosed EBow. Finally, it has a revolving knob on one side to adjust the pitch the strings make. Moving anything along or across the bars or strings produces various unharmonious sounds.


Music directors in horror movies are keen on the outcome the music associated with a given part in the movie has on the viewers. They look to provide a specific thrill, either tension, fear, or sudden scare. Thus, the instruments created over time have played a significant role in the success of this genre.

The instruments take up low frequencies, just like natural disasters or hostile weather conditions. The human brain associates these sounds with danger. Now we know the instruments behind the scary tunes in horror movies and why they affect us.

Written by Stop The Breaks
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.