Music for the October Mood
October is almost upon us. For a lot of people October is just another month, one that happens to end with Halloween. For the rest of us, it’s a month that we dedicate to the full on celebration of all things spooky. Posts about the Skeleton War will be abound. Things will be #2Spooky, and people will begin their obsession with Pumpkin Spice (an obsession I don’t share in or get, but whatever – it takes all types) with great fervor.
Ah, October. It’s a great month, really. TV stations will start airing their Halloween specials. Netflix and Hulu will roll out some new horror movies. SyFy will do their infamous month of Halloween. I’ll be watching all the horror movies I can stand, and then some. But what about some good Halloween music? I’ve collected my favorite October music together just for you. Now, a lot of it is classical. Classical music has a long standing tradition of creepiness. If you’ve always been timid of the genre, now is the time to delve in.
Camille Saint-Saëns – Danse Macabre
This is one of my go-to Halloween mood pieces. It’s based on a poem by Henri Cazalis on an old French superstition that at midnight on Halloween the Devil plays his fiddle for the dead who will all come out to dance, but must get back to their graves at daybreak. I guess it’s pretty obvious why this is my go-to piece.
Mussorgsky – Night On Bald Mountain
This piece is based on a Russian legend of a witch’s sabbath on St. John’s Eve. It also recalls memories of watching Disney’s Fantasia (1940) as a child.
Marschner – Overture: Der Vampyr
Der Vampyr (1828) was Marshner’s grand opera based on a fragment of a book written by Byron about a newly turned vampire who asks the vampire master for one more year on Earth before his soul is taken to Hell.
Tartini – The Devil’s Trill
My love affair with this song is well known. It is one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces that I know of that doesn’t give me weird dreams. Legend says that Tartini sold his soul to the Devil in order to compose this song.
Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata
When I’m feeling my creative, horror juices are running thin I use this song to fix that. Some of my creepiest dreams have come to pass because I fell asleep listening to this song. It’s somber and elicits feelings of hidden fear and loneliness. It’s magnificent, really. I want this to play at my funeral.
Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor
This song is well known. Everyone, literally everyone, has heard it at least once in their life. It’s been used in classic horror, and even in Doctor Who. It is a horror classic.
Carl Orff – O Fortuna ~ Carmina Burana
I’m pretty sure most people have heard this song at least once in their life. It reminds me of cults and black rituals. It’s one of my favorite pieces, in general.
Giuseppe Verdi – Dies Irae from Messa da Requiem
Verdi’s musical depiction of the day of Judgement is a work of wonder.
Liszt – Inferno from Dante Symphony
What is more Halloweeny than Dante’s Inferno in music form?
E.S. Posthumus – Pompeii
Okay. This one is modern rock, classical music fusion. E.S. Posthumus is amazing, okay? And this song is both exciting and haunting because of the subject matter.
Jen Titus – O Death
If you watch Supernatural, you’ll recognize this song as Death’s introduction song. It’s from an old Irish dirge.
Akira Yamaoka – Room of Angel from Silent Hill 4: The Room
This also plays in the second Silent Hill movie (musical version). It has the perfect mixture of vocals and music to make it perfect for Halloween.
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (Part One)
You’ll recognize this song as the song from The Exorcist.
Fantômas – Rosemary’s Baby
It takes the creepy lullaby from Rosemary’s Baby, gives it a modern feel, and just works. Happy Halloween.
Dir en grey – Sa Bir
It’s only 2 minutes long, and there are no proper vocals, but the music and the sounds provide an adequately creepy atmosphere. It’s the song I’d want played during the opening credits of a horror movie if I ever made one.
The GazettE – Dim Scene
This song has a creepy quality to it that just digs deep in me and pulls out scenes of the apocalypse, zombies, and and death. Everything comes together in a way that’s just spooky.
Jerry Goldsmith – Ave Satani
The theme song to The Omen is one of those songs that make you feel leery about the children traipsing up to your door on Halloween.
Ligeti – Volumina
Okay, I don’t know what it is about organ music, but a lot of it is just downright unsettling.
Chopin – Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op 35 (III Marche funebre)
You’ll probably know this better as The Funeral March.
Christopher Young – Hellraiser Theme
Much like Tubular Bells and Ave Satani, the Hellraiser theme is pretty much a staple of the holiday season.
These are just a few of my favorite October songs. They get me in the mood to curl up on my bed and read horror stories, play horror video games, and watch horror movies.
**The drawing is “Tartini’s Dream” by Louis-Léopold Boilly (1824)