Frightfest 2015: Scary Soundtrack #4

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Here it is, two days before Hallowe’en! We are fully into our second annual Hallowe’ek and boy do what better way to celebrate than with a bonus post!

I honestly believed that we wouldn’t have the time or the room for another scary soundtrack, but this is a song that is so terrifying, it would not be frightfest without it. I couldn’t in good conscience have a celebration of horror without this song, so as always prepare yourself correctly, remember to follow my steps for maximum fear factor and don’t just hit play willy-nilly!

  1. turn off the lights
  2. headphones on
  3. close your eyes and sit back
  4. be terrified

Now that you’ve done that, we will begin.

‘Silent Hill’ is one of my favourite games of all time – I have some amazing memories playing it and some absolutely terrifying ones (one of which is incoming in a post). The game itself was the perfect antithesis to ‘Resident Evil’ and formed a beautiful symbiotic relationship with it. Where ‘Resident Evil’ was about scaring the living daylights out of the player with its monster and set piece design, ‘Silent Hill’ was all about the experience and how atmosphere can be more terrifying than monster “money shots”.

The musical score by Akira Yamaoka plays a pivotal role in the establishment of this atmosphere, and perhaps the best work on the OST is the track entitled “My Heaven”.

The entire soundtrack to ‘Silent hill’ is encapsulated in this track, it is not so much a musical score as much as an expression of the horror of the environment the player finds themselves in the game. With audacious use of heavy percussion and sirens that sound like they are some distance away the effect is truly terrifying.

This extends throughout the entire game, but it is here that Yamaoka embraces randomness and allows it to dictate the musical direction. Every sound in this song is always audible but barely identifiable, what is that sound throughout?

A radio tuning?

A garbled scream from beyond the physical dimension?

WHAT?

And the mirroring of the beginning and the end, the way they are untelegraphed is frightening! Where is this sound coming from and where does it go? The use of silence is an incredibly powerful tool in horror and Yamaoka utilises it expertly here.

The name of the track is also important here, to what fragile or demented mind is this a vision of heaven? It is my idea of hell!

So disturbing and unorthodox is the entirety of the game’s soundtrack Konami executives reportedly believed that it was bugged when they first heard it – it took Yamaoka to explain his musical direction to green light the album; I’m glad he did! I think.

We have come to the end of our exploration of scary soundtracks for this year.

Which was your favourite/least favourite?

Which one scared you the most?

Let me know in the comments

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