Sound of Fear: The Musical Universe of Horror

Saturday 3 September 2011
South Bank Centre, London
Produced by: 
Sound and Music

This event is part of the Vision Sound Music festival 2011.

Sound of Fear is an epic two-part event featuring an international cast of artists, critics and composers brought together in a celebration of the music and sound design of the horror film. Through live performance and discussion, Sound of Fear explores the musical universe of horror, with its supernatural soundscapes and shrieking string arrangements, and pays homage to the masters of musical menace who have made the horror movie soundtrack a melting pot of opposing musical cultures.

Tracing the historical developments and cultural significance of music set to horror films, Sound of Fear looks at the introduction of the European avant garde into popular culture via the Hammer pictures of the 50s, Bernard Herrmann’s redefinition of how horror was heard with his revolutionary score for Hitchcock’s Psycho and the influence of cult director John Carpenter’s atmospheric genre scores of the late 70s and early 80s on a new wave of musicians working today.

Sound of Fear: Part 1

People Like Us - "Horror Collage"
Live a/v performance from Vicki Bennett (aka People Like Us)
Sourcing from over 100 horror movies, People Like Us reflect upon narratives that occur and repeat within the horror genre.  By grouping common concepts, and creating contextually related sample music compositions, entirely new stories emerge.

Lee Hangjun, Hong Chulki and Choi Joonyong - “After Psycho Shower”
Three of South Korea’s most exciting young contemporary artists present “After Psycho Shower” - A deeply immersive and stunningly beautiful deconstruction of one of the most enduring and iconic movie scene’s, Hitchcock’s Psycho shower scene. Hangjun utilises 16mm multi-projection as Joonyong and Chulki distort Bernard Hermann’s original score through processed electronics to conjure multiple layers of sound and image delay that dissolve colour, time and space.

Alan Howarth
Epic soundtrack set from Director, John Carpenter’s closest musical collaborator Alan Howarth, performing selections from the soundtracks of Escape From New York, They Live, The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing and Halloween (including the much maligned Halloween 3: Season of The Witch.) Howarth’s live performance will be accompanied artist Jade Boyd's visual montage of these Carpenter classics.

Sound of Fear: Part 2

Sound of Fear: Part 2 begins with an onstage panel discussion between horror composers, artists and critics, who will take the audience on a visual, aural and anecdotal journey through their favourite horror movie music moments. Featuring Friday 13th and Swamp Thing composer Harry Manfredini, former member of Coil and author of Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of The Exploitation Independents Stephen Thrower and reigning overlord of Horror film critique and author of Nightmare Movies Kim Newman. As well as celebrating the familiar sounds of iconic blockbusters such as The Omen, Hellraiser and Friday the 13th, our panel will also pay homage to the lesser known soundtracks of movies like The Beyond, Cannibal Holocaust and The Return of The Living Dead.


Followed immediately by “A Musical Compendium of Horror” – a new arrangement created exclusively for Sound of Fear by the acclaimed international ensemble of soloists zeitkratzer. The 12-strong group will draw on the entire musical gamut of traditional horror film-score techniques, combining carefully crafted theatrical lighting and sound design, to plunge the audience into a chilling sound world of tension, fear and unease.

Sound of Fear Part I and Part II are unsuitable for any persons under the age of 15 due the graphic nature of the horror scenes accompanying the live performances and referenced in the “From Hammer to Halloween” panel discussion.

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