We Value Your Privacy

This site uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies and other technologies.


7 Horror Film Soundtracks to Haunt Your Nightmares

Put on these tracks to set the mood for horror. 

horror soundtracks featured photo
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Horror and music are such a perfect combination. In fact, scary movies rely so heavily on their music that it’s almost impossible to imagine some films without their soundtracks. So in honor of those catchy tunes that get under your skin and stay there, here are six horror film soundtracks that are worth checking out.

The Return of the Living Dead

return of the living dead
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Orion Studios

There was this unique and fleeting moment in the 1980s and 1990s when up-and-coming (and sometimes even established) bands would lend their talents for a song or two on horror soundtracks. Every once in a while, that still happens, but it was a full-blown epidemic back then, and horror films were all the better for it. 

Case in point: the fabulous soundtrack for The Return of the Living Dead, which includes The Cramps and The Damned along with a litany of other punk bands of the era. This rollicking good time of a zombie film certainly exudes the same kind of fun as its soundtrack, so if you haven’t seen the movie (or heard the music), then definitely check this one out as soon as you can. It will do your horror heart good.

The Lost Boys

the lost boys
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The humdinger of 1980s horror soundtracks, this one has it all, especially for fans of the Aquanet era. You’ve got INXS, Roger Daltrey, and Lou Gramm, and that’s just for starters. The intensely earnest theme song of the film, “Cry Little Sister,” is absolutely iconic in such an indelible 80s way, and The Lost Boys also holds the distinction of being the film that introduced me to The Doors, albeit tangentially through Echo & the Bunnymen’s cover of “People Are Strange.” Plus, you can’t forget that inexplicably shirtless man playing the saxophone. The soundtrack might be horror cheese to some, but even if it’s dated, it’s still a load of fun and most definitely 1980s to the max. 

American Psycho

american psycho
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Lions Gate Films

Full disclosure: I’m not a particular fan of this movie overall. Truth be told, I could just never quite get into the character of Patrick Bateman. That being said, the ingenious use of 1980s music in American Psycho deserves its due. After all, once you see Christian Bale chopping up a body to the tune, “Hip to Be Square,” by Huey Lewis and the News, you can’t ever hear the song—or visualize a sterile yuppie apartment—quite the same way again. Add David Bowie, The Cure, and New Order to the lineup, and you’ve got a soundtrack that’s impossible to forget.

Jennifer's Body

jennifer's body
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

This list has mostly focused on films from or about the twentieth century, so let’s do at least one semi-modern entry, shall we? Jennifer’s Body was polarizing when it first came out, but now almost a decade and a half later, it’s a bonafide horror cult classic with an absolutely spot-on soundtrack to match. 

The music in the film feels like a who’s who of popular acts from the late 2000s, including Florence + the Machine, Hayley Williams, and Panic! At the Disco. And of course, there’s always the sad-boy rock of evil fictional band Low Shoulder, which parodies an entire style of emo music that was popular fifteen years ago. The soundtrack is clever, creepy, and catchy, and certainly worth listening to again soon.

The Monster Club

the monster club
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Chips Productions

The most unsung film on this list, The Monster Club remains one of my very favorite horror movies of all time. An anthology film featuring Donald Pleasence, Vincent Price, Britt Ekland, John Carradine, and more, it’s a truly remarkable piece of horror film history. And its soundtrack isn’t too shabby either, featuring an eclectic blend ranging from reggae-pop band UB40 to the psychedelic-New Wave group Pretty Things. Alas, most of the featured bands didn’t skyrocket to instant fame, but even so, the songs are fun, weird, and indie, a perfect combination for horror fans.

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare

freddy's dead
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

The Nightmare on Elm Street series not only excelled when it came to score—the theme from the original film still lingers in my dreams—but the soundtracks often included a bevy of well-known rock bands. The Dream Warriors soundtrack featured a theme song by Dokken, which might be the most 80s sentence ever. A few years later, for the release of Freddy’s Dead, the Goo Goo Dolls had one of their earliest singles on the soundtrack alongside Iggy Pop and Chubb Rock, among others. One thing’s for sure: when it came to Freddy Krueger and soundtracks, you didn’t know what unexpected bands were going to appear next.  

Pet Sematary

poorly reviewed horror movies
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

All right, I’ll admit it: I’m mostly including this one just for that fabulous theme song by The Ramones. As a longtime fan of the band, this is quite possibly my favorite song of theirs, and that’s really saying something. Another Ramones classic, “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” appears in the film as well, and if that’s not enough, the rest of the soundtrack—while not at all punk—maintains an eerie vibe that can’t help but keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s a downright spooky track list for a film that more than lives up to the book it’s based on.