Alien + 13 more of the creepiest sci-fi and horror film scores ever

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Dec 17, 2012, 3:27 PM EST

It may seem like an afterthought to all the action on screen, but music is an integral part of what makes a film work. The wrong song can kill an awesome, poignant scene—or scare the pants right off of you—all depending on how it's done. So what are some of the creepiest scores ever put to film?

Anyone who has ever watched a classic horror movie knows that it's the little beats, and the building noises, that creep you out just as much as the movie itself.

Heck, even if you watch Alien or Rosemary's Baby with your eyes closed—the score alone will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

So, if you're looking to get creeped out, here are 15 classics that should scare you straight.

Halloween (1978)

If there's one theme song that is guaranteed to send a chill down your spine, it's the creepy techno-tinged theme to John Carpenter's original horror masterpiece.

Alien (1979)

Long before Prometheus was a twinkle in Ridley Scott's eye, the original Alien was making us jump with all the xenomorph attacks you could handle. Jerry Goldsmith's orchestral, unsettling score put it over the edge and made those tense moments even harder to watch.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

Lalo Schifrin's score to this classic haunted house tale only worked to make the story that much more unsettling. Almost like a skin-crawling nursery rhyme at times, this one builds into a murderous rage.

The Exorcist (1973)

One of the first truly unsettling horror films, the hectic score to The Exorcist helped sell the creep factor of a poor young girl possessed by demons.

The Thing (1982)

If the tundra setting didn't make you feel isolated enough, the soundtrack to John Carpenter's classic sci-fi horror flick truly made you feel like you were a thousand miles from help.

The Omen

The soundtrack to this son-of-Satan tale makes use of a quasi-evil choir in some places—and it almost sounds like the demons are singing you a lullaby.

Hellraiser (the original, unused score) (1987)

The soundtrack eventually released to Hellraiser was creepy enough, but did you know the studio nixed Clive Barker's original soundtrack? Barker had the band Coli produce a score he described as "bowel-churning," and it was eventually released by the band.

The Shining (1980)

There's something about those bombastic, macabre orchestral scores that just make your skin crawl, and this is one of the best.

Dead Silence (2007)

From the brilliant minds of the creators of Saw, this one was admittedly a so-so horror flick. The soundtrack, on the other hand, was arguably the scariest thing about it. It sets a creep factor the movie just can't seem to match.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Classically creepy. What else would you expect?

Friday the 13th (1980)

The 1980s was the greatest era a slasher fan could ask for, and score maestros didn't disappoint, with foreboding tunes to enjoy while you watch the bodies fall.

Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Aside from those claws, Freddy's tool of the trade was taking over our dreams—and the whimsically creepy score for this horror classic captured that perfectly.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Despite its age, the score to this horror classic stands the test of time as one of the creepiest lullabies ever.

Carrie (1976)

The big-screen version of Stephen King's classic high school horror tale hit all the right notes to make our skin crawl.