Now considered the blueprint for modern slasher movies, Halloween was off to a rocky start when a 20th Century-Fox executive told the film’s director John Carpenter that “it wasn’t scary at all.” During a two week period, Carpenter and his team programmed synthesizers and performed the “seemingly never ending process of overdubbing one instrument at a time” to create the rhythm inspired score.
Working in “double-blind” mode, the music was composed on the spot without any synchronization to the picture – with Halloween’s main title theme the first to go down on tape. The spooky rhythm was inspired by “an exercise my father taught me on the bongos, the beating out of 5/4 time”, these short percussive sounds known as “stingers”, would be placed at opportune moments to startle the audience. Carpenter’s plan to save the film with music ultimately worked, paving the way for future horror films. Carpenter seems to put it best stating, “Someone once told me that music, or the lack of it, can make you see better. I believe it.”
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