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5 modern horror films with great retro soundtracks

To me, a good soundtrack is 50 percent of a film’s success. In horror films, music is especially important to help invoke a sense of dread, fear, and anticipation. Recently, filmmakers have found that going retro seems to make the mood the most creepy. Part of it is that electronic music has a more otherwordly sound; plus it’s an homage to the horror films of the eighties.

Here are my five modern horror films with the best retro soundtracks:

Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)

This rarely seen film has its flaws, but the ambition on display is astounding. The plot is loosely based around a young girl trying to escape the facilities of the Aboria Institute, where she is subjected to tests and torture by an evil doctor. The plot runs second to the look and feel of the film, which is mostly in shades of red and blue, and is a direct homage to eighties sci-fi movies. The soundtrack by Jeremy Schmidt adds to the doom and danger of the place, and is very effective at making you feel like you’re in a nightmare.

House of the Devil (2009)

House of the Devil is purposely set in the eighties. If the clothes and the hairstyles don’t tell you so, the soundtrack, an homage the music of John Carpenter films, will. In a film that relies on one character mostly alone in an empty home, the music is essential in building the suspense.

It Follows (2014)

It Follows has been called the scariest film in years—not because of what you see, but because of what you are waiting to see. There’s a sense of inescapable panic throughout the film, and the soundtrack, composed by Disasterpiece, certainly creates the tension. Even though it’s been out for quite some time, I still don’t want to say anything about this movie, as anyone watching it should experience it knowing as little as possible. The soundtrack will certainly make you feel like you are in a nightmare you can’t wake up from.

You’re Next (2011)

This is the first of two films on this list by talented horror director Adam Wingard, whose films so far have understood how a situation that may seem ordinary can be terrifying with the right electronic music. The film depicts a family gathering in a remote house and being terrorized by masked killers, so the limited and claustrophobic location can only do so much. That’s where a cleverly composed soundtrack comes in. In addition to the score, there’s the clever contrast against the featured, upbeat 1977 song “Looking for the Magic” by Dwight Twilley Band, which recently had a resurgence thanks to this film.

The Guest (2014)

The Guest is Adam Wingard follow-up to You’re Next. To me, it is one of the scariest, most stylish, and underrated films of the last decade. A family grieving over their son who died in military service gets a surprise visit from a man (a wonderfully creepy Dan Stevens) who claims to be their son’s friend. The friend wreaks havoc on the small New Mexico town, all set to wonderfully retro electronic music. The soundtrack includes Clan of Xymox, Love and Rockets, and the obscure eighties German band DAF. The deliberate use of this music makes you feel like you are in a goth club in 1984, while adding an element of style that makes the main villain even more threatening.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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