Album: The Conjuring
Composer: Joseph Bishara
Description: Let me be completely up-front with you: the soundtrack to The Conjuring is as unsettling a listening experience as the movie is frightening If you write with your back to a door, I’ll warn you that the music may cause you to repeatedly look over your shoulder at every sound you hear. It may also cause you to write with the lights on or play the music through speakers rather than your headphones. This preface is being given because the soundtrack may turn off some listeners. With that said, if you’ve struggled to find the best piece of music to help you write a scene of great tension and supernatural terror, you’ve found it.
This soundtrack is perfect, for instance, for a scene where your protagonist walks up the steps of a dark house with a candle or flashlight in hand, ascending to inspect the footsteps they heard on the second floor; or your protagonist, or some other scared party, climbs down the steps of their basement in the dark and hears a child’s giggle; or multitudinous similar scenes of ghostly horror, be it in an abandoned insane asylum, a hospital with flickering lights, a mist-covered country road, a shack hidden deep within the woods, or perhaps the classic setting of the cemetery.
The music is performed by a mix of strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, electronic instruments, vocals, and some effects. These instruments are not used to create thematic melodies but rather thematic sounds or mood-setters. In their dissonant and atonal way, with their sudden attacks (think of it like jump-scares), wobbling pitches, their unmetered structure and, perhaps most effectively, the music’s imitation of shrieking, it sums up to a hair-raising experience that is consistent for its 46-minute length. 46 minutes is enough time to churn out the more terrifying moments of your story, and if you are stuck on what is going to happen when your protagonist gets to the second floor, or what your protagonist will see in the beam of their light as they reach the basement, pop on The Conjuring‘s soundtrack and soon the scene in your head will turn into that terrifying nightmare you want it to be.