The 10 Best Horror Synth Scores of the 80's

This summer the nostalgic juggernaut Stranger Things kicked us all soundly in the teeth. It was able to achieve this through great storytelling, some fantastic child performers and with a killer synth 80s style soundtrack. The last piece is not to be overlooked. Those pulsing synthesizers are a huge part of the 80s horror flick experience for viewers and is currently racking up sales on iTunes. In honor of this occasion, let’s take a look back at some of the best of the 80 Synth Scores.


10. Maniac- Jay Chattaway

If you are in the mood for something menacing yet surprisingly melancholy you can’t do much better than the score of the 1980 version of Maniac. This score does a great job of representing its film making you feel the emotion of Frank Zito.

9. The Beyond -Fabio Frizzi

This won’t be the last time you see Fabio Frizzi on this list. This score is ethereal and drags you into a strange and terrifying realm that you can’t escape from. It’s simply a magnificent example of how music can send you down a rabbit hole of its own making.

8. Unhinged -Johnathan Newtown

The Unhinged score isn’t one that you are going to be able to just find laying around. Mostly because this 1982 film isn’t particularly memorable or really all that good. That is of course except for the spooky, looming score that will stick with you for days after you hear it.

7. The Fog - John Carpenter

Whenever anyone thinks of a John Carpenter score they immediately think of Halloween and understandably so. But The Fog soundtrack is more subtle and as a result you get an even more immersive and haunting experience.

6. Creepshow - John Harrison

When I think of 80s horror one of the first things that pops into my head is Creepshow and although probably the soundtrack isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, the score is just pure 80s bedlam. From the way that John Harrison ties the tracks to their respective clips like the waves crashing on Something to Tide you Over to the mystery and suspense in The Crate, this is just an incredibly well arranged score.

5. The Entity - Charles Bernstein

The Entity score evokes nothing short of pure power and authority and when you consider what this film is about it simply adds another layer to the horror of the film. Both elegant and dominant this is a score that grows on you the more you hear it because of how simplistic and poignant it is.

4. Troll - Richard H Band

It’s hard to think of a score that better illustrates its film. Just listen to the chaos in the switching of the tempo, the madness, the confusion the nearly incoherent chanting. It’s a score, while not as terrifying or refined as the other entries leaves you with an undeniable understanding of the heart of the film.

3. Xtro - Harry Bromley Davenport

As bizarre and insane as the film that it scores, this is a magnificent sci-fi synth extravaganza. The Xtro score perfectly hits all the beats required of an alien film score so well that it often feels familiar yet never derivative.

2.The Keep - Tangerine Dream

The brilliant Tangerine Dream pulled out all the stops when it put together the score for The Keep. The main title’s pulsing drum beats, the awe and enigmatic South Camora, this score has it all. Endlessly listenable and evocative this is an 80s synth score masterpiece.

1.City of the Living Dead – Fabio Frizzi

The second entry by Fabio Frizzi on this list takes the cake. He really outdid himself on this one. It’s not only one the best synth score of the 80s but a fantastic example of the power and movement you can get with a synth score. It’s a demonstration of what a master of the craft can produce.


Staff Writer

At the age of 9, Jayson saw a child's head get crushed under a tire in the Toxic Avenger and has never been the same. He spent nearly his entire childhood riding his bike to the local video store to secretly renting every scary movie with his friends and reading his way through the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books and all the works of Stephen King. A writer, drinker, and lover of Boston sports he spends most of his time living out his dreams and wishing fall would never end in Connecticut.

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