Thursday, October 20, 2011

Classically Creepy

By Misty Harris

When I was younger, I had a long list of frightful things that expanded far beyond the boogey-man in the closet. It also didn’t help that my father loved scary movies! I never wanted to go camping because I was certain Jason (of “Friday the 13th” fame) took up residence there. I can remember my senior class retreat moved its annual location from a mansion within the metropolitan area to campgrounds in the outskirts of the city, much to my dismay. I was petrified the entire 24 hours I was there. Yes, I believed that Jason could quite possibly show his face during the day. I am still unable to watch “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” alone.

But what makes the movie scary? Is it the storyline, gory images or the musical score? What element of the movie stays with you once it has ended and you walk away? Also, as time passes, why does that fear stay with you? Well, in the spirit of that ghoulish day that is approaching soon, I asked around the Classical 94.5 WNED station looking for an answer and I found it…THE MUSIC! The music connected Classical staffers to movies that creeped them out and made their skin crawl.

The question I posed: What’s The creepiest classical music you’ve ever heard and why is it so creepy? I guess that’s two questions: Here are a few answers I received. (*note, names have been removed to protect the integrity of our staff just in case the music listed below isn’t as creepy as they think):

”The Aquarium Movement
from The Carnival of Animals” by composer Camille Saint Saens. Why? “Because it reminded me of “Edward Scissor Hands”

”Night on Bald Mountain” by composer Modest Mussorgsky
featured in Disney’s “Fantasia.” Why? “The ghostly scene haunted me.” By the way, two staffers agreed that this was indeed the creepiest.

“The Funeral March of the Marionette” by Charles Gounod. It is important to note that while this is not exactly creepy to this particular staffer, its connection to Alfred Hitchcock (who was perhaps a creepy individual) makes it creepy by association!

Yet another Hitchcock connection made the list. Bernard Herrmann’s “Psycho Theme” will forever keep the iconic shower scene embedded in our minds!

And while my co-workers have given me great examples of creepy classical music/scores, in my opinion, there’s nothing creepier than Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana O Fortuna.” Why is it so creepy? Because of the movie score that first brought this piece (described as beautiful by many others here) to my attention…The OMEN. Although not used in the movie, “Carmina Burana” inspired the music from the movie. It has been used in several commercials. I’ve even heard it as promotional music for the NBA Finals but I will never equate it with triumph. For me, It will always symbolize fear. However, for some strange reason, I can never walk away from it when it is played. I’m drawn to it just like all of those movies I watched through the holes in my covers or peering over my father’s back. Whenever we play “O Fortuna” on Classical 94.5 FM I get goose bumps…then I turn the volume of my computer speakers up!

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