8 Oct 2020

The Sonic World of Horror

From Appointment, 3:00 pm on 8 October 2020

The birth of the horror genre in the early 1930s and the birth of sound in movies went hand in hand. Since the first Universal Studios monster movies, sounds and music have been integral in giving willing audiences a scare - a loud crash or piano hit out of silence, an unexplained noise off-screen, the whir of a chainsaw being wielded by a masked maniac.

As Poltergeist composer John Williams said, "it’s a successful blending of sound and image that forms memorable film moments."

Still from Nosteratu (1922)

Still from Nosteratu (1922) Photo: Creative Commons

Ryan Smith explores the music, atmospheres and sounds that inhabit the shadowy world of horror films. From the scores of early silent German expressionist cinema to 21st century Hollywood and Japanese horror.

And internationally recognised New Zealand film expert Harriet Margolis chimes in to discuss what she calls "the sounds of terror" in homegrown horror cinema.