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The Best Horror Movie Soundtracks: Our Top 5 List

October is the month that ends with Halloween, which means many of our minds will turn to all things scary. For many of us there is no better way to enjoy Halloween than with horror movies, and while the most memorable aspects of most horror movies are the terrifying visuals of gruesome deaths at the hands of famous movie monsters, of course, we like to focus on the sounds.

Music creates atmosphere, which means that a great horror movie soundtrack can scare the hell out of you before a single drop of blood is ever shed on screen. Whether you’re listening to these by themselves, or pumping them through your home theater on scary movie night, here are five horror movie soundtracks you should check out this Halloween.


While there are a couple of notes from this soundtrack that we all know, the shower scene soundtrack is only a slim part of a great sounding movie. Bernard Herrmann’s score for Psycho is chilling and brilliant from beginning to end. It’s what makes Psycho a horror movie from the start, even though the violence doesn’t start for quite some time. And the shower scene music is brilliant. Herrmann created it without direction from Alfred Hitchcock, because the director wasn’t planning on the scene having music at all. We can’t even conceive of such a thing.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

So, this one may not be a traditional “horror” movie, but there needed to be at least one scary movie the whole family could enjoy on this list, and the soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas is just too good to ignore. Danny Elfman is one of the greatest modern composers and he’s in top form here. From “This is Halloween” to “Oogie Boogie’s Song” there’s plenty here to give you a legitimate fright. The music hits all the great notes of dread and tension that a true horror movie will give you, even if nobody actually dies.

It Follows

It Follows is the most modern film on this list and the man who scored the film, who goes by the name Disasterpiece, had never written music for a movie before. Some people just get it right the first time. The music feels like it’s a throwback to a 1980’s slasher movie, while being better than the music for most of those. The old school sound does its job of transporting you into the world of the film, which itself takes a lot of cues from classic horror movies. If you missed It Follows last year, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.


If there’s a single piece of music that instantly evokes Halloween, it is likely the theme from the movie of the same name. It’s repetitive piano is one of the most iconic sounds in all of movie music. Even if you had never seen Halloween we bet hearing those notes would instantly give you a sense of underlying dread. The fact that the music was actually written by John Carpenter, the same man who wrote and directed the film, just makes it all the more perfect. We know that music makes you feel exactly how the director wanted you to feel.


Suspiria is a film you may not be familiar with, but you owe it to yourself to fix that immediately. From the legendary horror director Dario Argento, it’s a 1977 Italian horror film that is one of the master’s best works. The soundtrack, from an artist known only as Goblin, is an equally great creation. This soundtrack was written in and recorded in a single day which is only one of the amazing things about it. The music absolutely drips with atmosphere. There’s literally no way to listen to it, even outside of the film, without beginning to feel somewhat scared.

Top 10 Dolby Atmos Movies of 2015

In 2015, we saw a slew of new speakers that could bring Dolby Atmos sound into the home. Even better, we saw a ton of Dolby Atmos-enabled Blu-rays that you could actually enjoy on those new equipment purchases.

If you aren’t familiar with Dolby Atmos, know that it’s an “object-based” sound format that can deliver a whole new dimension to your movie-watching. Most audio formats assign sound to channels in your system, but with Dolby Atmos, content creators can actually assign it to objects on-screen. That means spaceships will sound like they are flying overhead, from one end of the room to the other. You know, like actual spaceships. Of course, it works on birds, helicopters, explosions, and so much more. Dolby Atmos movies provide the most immersive viewing experience you can have at home, with sound coming from every angle—including above.

To experience Dolby Atmos movies, you will need an AV receiver that can decode the format, as well as additional speakers. Dolby recommends several different options to set up an Atmos system, including the installation in-ceiling speakers; however, there are also Atmos-enabled models that can process the format, without having to be placed on the ceiling. For instance, the Klipsch RP-140SA elevation channel speaker can sit atop any flat speaker (or surface) and project the audio to make it sound like it’s overhead, without having speakers that are actually over your head. There are also speakers like the Klipsch RP-280FA floorstanding speaker, which features a built-in elevation channel.

While your old Blu-ray player will work fine with Dolby Atmos, not every Blu-ray comes packing that type of format. There are so many good ones, though.

It should be noted that some Dolby Atmos-enabled receivers have the capability to improve ALL of your content, not just specifically encoded materials, thanks to “upmixing.” Upmixing allows you to hear height/elevation effects, creating a much more immersive, true-to-life experience versus traditional surround sound. This isn’t gimmicky technology. You will notice the benefits immediately. It will reinvigorate your existing movie collection, television programs, video games, and music collection.  

Need a reason to upgrade? Take a peek at some of the best Dolby Atmos movies from 2015.


If you haven’t experienced Dolby Atmos movies at home, this should be the first disc that you purchase. After all, the blockbuster took home multiple Oscars, including ones for Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Music (Original Score). In other words, you should know that it’s going to be one that will blow you away, from an audio standpoint. That’s a good thing too, since Sandra Bullock and an immersive audio track are basically the main focus of the movie. Released in 2015, the Gravity: Diamond Luxe Edition is gripping from beginning to end. That opening scene alone should be enough to hook you, but the aforementioned score, the explosions, and plenty of other atmospheric effects are pretty cool as well.

Mad Max: Fury Road

This isn’t just your average reboot. This one was helmed by George Miller, the same guy who directed Mel Gibson in the first three installments of the Mad Max saga. The faces may look a little different here, but this movie shows that the franchise hasn’t missed one maniacal beat. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron fight across a post-apocalyptic wasteland to stay alive and protect some precious cargo. All the while, the Dolby Atmos track is assaulting you (in a good way!) with crazy cars, flying motorcycles, explosions, gunfire, and flailing guitar solos. It’s not just one of the best Dolby Atmos movies out there, but it’s one of the best films of 2015—and has an Oscar nomination to prove it!

American Sniper

Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-nominated look at the life of Chris Kyle is an emotional rollercoaster ride. Some of that is due to Bradley Cooper, who perfectly plays the late U.S. Navy SEAL. Of course, it also has to do with the suspense and action in the film, which is backed up by an awesome, demo-worthy Dolby Atmos track. Rolling tanks, gunshots, and explosions come from every angle, but that climactic sandstorm scene is the one that will get your adrenaline (and your AV system) pumping.

Enchanted Kingdom

From the people who gave us BBC Earth and Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, this BBC joint probably isn’t too well known to U.S. audiences—at least the ones without Dolby Atmos. That said, it features Idris Elba narrating an up-close peek at seven realms of Africa. The film also has some incredible AV, which includes eye-popping 3D effects. Of course, the Dolby Atmos track is the icing on the cake here, with spewing volcanoes, rumbling thunderstorms, crashing waterfalls, and immersive wildlife. It just may be closest you’ll ever get to the African jungle (and in some cases, the closest you’ll ever want to be).

Game of Thrones

Did you know that TV shows can benefit from Dolby Atmos as well? Well, not just any TV shows. To date, this is the only show that features a Dolby Atmos track—and it will completely spoil you. The action, the sights, the sounds, and the acting are all very elaborate on this show, so it makes sense that it would get the best-of-the-best when it comes to the sound. In 2015, HBO re-released the first two seasons as Steelbook Collector’s Sets, each with a new Dolby Atmos track. Whipping winds, bloody battles, blood-curdling screams, the occasional dragon swooping in, and even the show’s theme song all sound stellar, thanks to the addition of that extra dimension.


Believe it or not, a movie about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster is exactly the type of movie you want getting the Dolby Atmos treatment. It’s filled with famous faces, emotion, and action. Even better, it’s filled with tons of overhead sound effects. There are helicopters flying around, howling winds, thunder, and even falling snow that seems a bit too close for comfort. The big storm is definitely the highlight here. It’s sad, scary, and exactly the type of scene you want to have on hand for showing off just how awesome it is to have a Dolby Atmos system.


It’s nice to see Emily Blunt in such a kick-ass role, especially when backed by a cast that includes both Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. This critically acclaimed drama finds the three fighting in the war against drugs, but all is not what it seems to be. There are plenty of interesting twists and turns, but even better, a lot of great Dolby Atmos sound. It may not be as immersive as the last one on our list, but Sicario definitely has plenty of explosive moments and atmospheric sounds to immerse the listener. Heck, even some of the quieter, suspenseful scenes make this one a real standout for our list.

San Andreas

This may not be a great movie, but it’s a great example of how Dolby Atmos sound can elevate an entire movie. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a likable fireman, who wants to save his family from a natural disaster. It’s got helicopters, crashing glass, crunching metal, blaring sirens, and crumbling buildings aplenty. It also has the immersive rumble of earthquakes. Plus, about every two minutes, someone or something is falling, so don’t be surprised if you spend most of this movie’s 114-minute runtime ducking for cover.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

This fifth installment in the MI franchise has Tom Cruise out to protect the world and his band of merry IMF misfits. It’s a surprisingly, super-fun adrenaline rush with an excellent soundtrack. It’s not exactly a non-stop barrage like San Andreas—and that’s okay. Instead, this track uses those height effects wisely, packing a punch only when necessary. The heavily hyped scene that has Cruise hanging from the side of a plane is worth the purchase price all on its own, but there are plenty of other thunderous effects, including car crashes, gunfire, immersive opera music, and one killer scene with some immersive Halo 5 gaming action.

The Fifth Element

So technically, this isn’t a 2015 movie; it’s not even movie from this decade. However, it is one of the biggest sci-fi cult classics, and often the first movie that Blu-ray fans reach for when demo time comes around. In 2015, Sony released the “Cinema Series” version, which adds in Dolby Atmos sound—and it’s simply mind-blowing. The studio actually managed to take a demo-worthy movie and make it even better, thanks to spaceships, explosions, music, and more, all with the magic of Dolby Atmos.

Upcoming Dolby Atmos Movies

Looking for even more Dolby Atmos movies to enjoy? Dolby and major movie studios are announcing new Atmos-enabled Blu-ray titles all the time. We’re still frothing at the mouth for Game of Thrones Steelbook Collector’s Editions for seasons 3, 4, and 5. Those are expected at some point, but don’t have exact release dates just yet.

This year, several companies are planning to re-release movies in the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format, complete with Dolby Atmos audio. A few interesting selections worth the AV upgrade include Sicario (March 1, 2016), Ender’s Game (March 1), and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (date TBD). Otherwise, we can expect Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea to rock the room with Dolby Atmos sound on March 8, with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 franchise finale to follow on March 22.

Of course, while you wait for new discs, you can actually stream Dolby Atmos movies through VUDU. The streaming service currently has several 4K-enabled movies available for streaming with Dolby Atmos. That lineup includes several of the titles out on Blu-ray, as well as others like Man of Steel, Edge of Tomorrow, Pacific Rim, Entourage, and more.

Get Ready!

Before you start collecting movies, you’re going to need to upgrade your equipment. A Dolby Atmos-enabled receiver is an absolute necessity. There are several models available, from different manufacturers at various price points.

Of course, you’ll also need the speakers.  If you aren’t looking for reasons to get up on a ladder, Klipsch Reference Premiere Dolby Atmos-Enabled speakers can add this exciting technology  into almost home theater setup.

As mentioned earlier, the Klipsch RP-140SA elevation speaker can add Dolby Atmos sound capabilities to your current passive speakers. The company’s Reference Premiere RP-280FA floorstanding speaker packs that module right into the RP-280F floorstanding speaker for a complete sound solution. And rounding out the setup is the Reference Premiere RP-450CA, which matches the special finishes of the RP-280FA speakers.

While Dolby does not yet certify architectural speakers as Atmos-enabled speakers, many in-ceiling speakers match their specs. Any of the Klipsch in-ceiling speakers will do the trick, including the CDT-5650-C II and CDT-5800-C II in-ceiling speakers, two particularly great speakers for Dolby Atmos because of their Controlled Dispersion Technology.

Consult Dolby.com for a list of compatible makes and models of equipment, as well as speaker configurations and installation tips. You won’t want to miss out on the next true revolution in home theater sound since surround sound.

What were you favorite Dolby Atmos movies of 2015? Post your opinion in the comments below!

5 Movies With Kickass Surround Sound

Whether you’re a hardcore audiophile looking for the ultimate sound experience or a casual movie watcher out to make movie-watching at home more immersive, it’s tough to find the perfect soundtrack to show off your surround sound home theater system.

Sure, you’ll probably want to hear a few big explosions, but to truly get the best out of your home theater, you need a film with a wide and nuanced aural range, not to mention one that takes advantage of the directional effects made possible by a surround speakers.

The good news is we’ve already spent a ton of time searching for that perfect soundtrack for you. From trade shows to dealer events, customer demos to new product testing, this is what we like.

The Dark Knight

If you buy one movie for your surround sound system, let this be it. From the bank heist opener all the way to the end credits, the sounds of The Dark Knight envelop the viewer and integrate seamlessly with the films visuals to create an impeccable home theater experience.

Hans Zimmer’s almost oppressively dark score sets the perfect backdrop for Christopher Nolan’s Gotham, and the film’s dialogue is crystal clear throughout. If it’s pyrotechnics you’re looking for, well, The Dark Knight’s got that too. Particularly impressive is the film’s truck flip scene during one of the Batman’s epic battles with the Joker.

The Dark Knight – Batman vs. Joker Scene (truck flip)

This movie is the real deal. With audio engineering that never draws attention to itself, The Dark Knight is ideal to show off your home theater and have a great movie-watching experience in the process.


Pixar has long had a reputation for producing not only great-looking children’s films, but great sounding ones as well. Wall-E hits the mark in both regards. For those who have followed the company, it should come as no surprise that Pixar, originally part of Lucasfilm, puts a high premium on the quality of sound in its films.

The world of the lonely robot is unbelievably immersive and nuanced, and uses the directional possibilities of the surround sound system to their full potential. In addition to the sound effects in film, the soundtrack and score are top-notch both in terms of suitability for the film and recording quality. The film’s opening song creates a truly beautiful moment.

Wall-E Opening Scene

This is the perfect movie for kids and their audiophile parents to watch together. While it may be the unbelievably detailed CGI visuals many viewers notice first when viewing Wall-E–and they do look great–any true audiophile will immediately struck by the enormous attention to aural detail evidenced by the soundtrack of Wall-E.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Russell Crowe’s nautical adventure as Jack Aubrey is one of the best-sounding movies out there, truly taking advantage of the possibilities of surround sound to create an enveloping maritime atmosphere.

From the creaking of the boat’s planks to the subtle sound of the sea’s water against its hull, the level of detail represented in the soundtrack’s quieter moments is only eclipsed by the intensity of its battles, with floor-shaking cannon fire and roaring explosions.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Final epic battle

Master and Commander’s soundtrack is arguably one of the most enveloping you’ll find.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Regardless how you feel about Shia LaBeouf and the Transformers franchise, there’s no denying this movie sounds great. The action scenes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen are made unbelievably intense by the impeccable sound engineering.

And, despite the power and intensity put forth by the film’s soundtrack as the giant robots smash each other to bits, the films’s soundscape is also impressively nuanced.

While your ears are being bombarded by the sounds of the on-screen destruction, you’ll still be able to pick out individual helicopters, explosions, and firearms within the cacophony.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen – Shanghai Scene

While it may not go down in history as a cinematic landmark, it’s clear that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen sounds great. If you’re in the mood to see some great-looking and great-sounding computer-generated action scenes, this movie is where it’s at.

The Hurt Locker

A departure from the rest of the films on the list, Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-winning The Hurt Locker’s more serious and contemporary subject matter is enhanced immeasurably by the film’s startlingly realistic soundtrack.

While the film’s expected wartime sounds are both extremely powerful and extremely detailed–each weapon fired and specific type of explosion has its own unique sonic signature–it’s some of the film’s quieter moments which truly stand out in terms of sound design. The characters’ breathing as they deal with the extreme stresses of the Iraq War is a constant barometer of their internal state, and the chime-like sound of shell casings hitting the rocky ground provides one of the film’s most powerful moments.

"The Hurt Locker" – Official Trailer [HD]

The soundtrack of The Hurt Locker is truly enveloping, and only serves to intensify the impact of an already impactful film. If you’re looking for a surround sound experience with emotional weight, The Hurt Locker is the perfect choice.

If you’re like us, you’ve put a lot of time, sweat and money into your set up. Show it off with any of these films. Agree or disagree? Have suggestions of your own? Leave us a comment.