Meg Donaldson’s favourite ooky-spooky scores

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Sitting beautifully in those strange spring months when the weather is changing and the nights are beginning to settle in later, an Australian Halloween is pretty different to the autumnal scenes we’re used to seeing out of the northern hemisphere. Yet, I’ve come to love Halloween (and the month of October more broadly) as a little ritual for blowing out the cobwebs of winter, and celebrating the end of spooky season with some great spooky art.

I snuck my way into working with the MSO not with a background in music, but in film. The two have always gone hand in hand for me though, and my ‘in’ to so much of the music I love has come from watching movies. And if we’re talking delicious movie music, it’s pretty hard to walk past horror scores…

The music in this playlist is a collection of pieces that are dark, romantic, and playful: the holy trinity of a good Halloween atmosphere.

Always the contrarian, I’ve largely steered clear of traditional horror soundtrack fare, (all my respects and apologies to Bernard Hermann!) Instead, here we have a list of ooky-spooky scores and songs that I hold dear. My tastes in horror movies and their scores here range from the nauseating (Raw), to the unsettling (Twin Peaks), and around to camp (Rocky Horror).

We’ve got some queer film represented, with the M83’s genre-riffing score for recent slasher/thriller Knife+Heart, and some rhythmic, Pagan folk from The Wicker Man, before building to an explosive, bewitching ending with Goblin’s prog-rock track for the original Suspiria. Special appearances also from the princes of my dark, theatrical heart: MSO collaborator Nick Cave, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

And honestly? There’s also no escaping John Carpenter.


Meg is MSO’s Customer Services Coordinator.