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Burning Question: How Do I Create Sound Design for Horror Films?

Burning Question: How Do I Create Sound Design for Horror Films?

The sound design in horror films can put your audience directly into the experience. In this article, learn about the history of horror music scores and spooky sound design, and how to make them, whether you’re a musician or not. There are lots of tips on what sounds and techniques work well in the genre. Then, some tutorials for specific software, including Image-Line FL Studio, Polyverse Manipulator, and tools from Krotos Audio. In addition, there’s a tutorial for Cubase. Not only that, if you’re short on time or musical skills, Boom Library has some sound libraries that will help you create your creepy sound design quickly.

How the Exorcist Changed the Sound of Horror

Learn about the history of music in horror films, and especially the Exorcist soundtrack, using Krzysztof Penderecki’s score. The video also talks about the musical scores in Jaws, Psycho, Bird Box, and more. The video gives some great tips on how to come up with your own scary score. Learn about compositional tools including Tone Clusters, Sound Mass, and more. The end of the video includes some great tips on creating your own horror soundtrack.

Even if you have no interest in composing horror music, this video from PBS has some great animations and transitions. This is an episode of Sound Field from PBS Digital Studios, a program where music teachers explore the culture behind popular music.

What Makes Horror Music Scary? A Brief History of Horror Movie Music

To explain, Reverb’s Joe Shadid talks about Horror Music scores.


How To Create Your Own Horror Sound Effects In Cubase #2 | EASY | A Horror Sound Design Tutorial

Marc Vander Meulen shows you how to make spooky sounds in Cubase, of course, step by step.

Steinberg Cubase ProSteinberg Cubase Pro

Create. Produce. Mix Repeat.
Cubase is one of the most powerful music creation software packages in the world. With its unrivaled range of flexible tools, you can create any kind of music quickly and intuitively. It comes packed with a wide range of virtual instruments, effects and thousands of sounds. Whether you’re a professional composer or a music production beginner, Cubase provides you with everything you need for turning your ideas into music.

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How to Make Horror Beats in FL Studio

This is an older tutorial but still quite useful. Significantly, if you click on the YouTube link you can download the free FL project files.

Image-Line FL StudioImage-Line FL Studio

FL Studio is a complete software music production environment or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Representing more than 20 years of innovative development it has everything you need in one package to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix, and master professional quality music

FL Studio is now one of the world’s most popular DAWs and is used by the most creative artists.
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Polyverse Manipulator Halloween Sound Design Series Tutorials

Paul Dateh, Director of Content at Polyverse Music has created several scary sounds tutorials for your enjoyment, using Polyverse Manipulator.

Creating “Creepy Music” FX for Horror Films

Learn about the Smear effect that gives you control, ultimately, over pitch and Timbre.

Creating “Demonic Voices” for Horror Films

To sum up this tutorial, make your own Demonic voices with Polyverse Manipulator.

Creating “Ghostly” VFX

Use Manipulator to create ghostly and poltergeist sounds. Consequently, this could be used for Alien sounds.

Haunted House Sounds

In brief, Paul puts all of the effects learned in the previous 3 tutorials to create an audio haunted house.

Recreating Mother from Alien

After all, Mother is one of the scariest sci-fi sounds ever, create the computer voice from Alien. Super creepy!

How to Create the Ghost Voices of Luigi’s Mansion

Learn to create the ghost voices with the alternator and harmonics knobs in Manipulator.

Polyverse Manipulator Polyverse Manipulator

Meet your new voice

Uniquely, through granular algorithms, Manipulator can dramatically alter the timbre and pitch of monophonic audio in new and unexplored ways. From subtly imposing pitch and harmonization, to a full-on sonic mangle that will leave you with a totally new sound, Manipulator is as versatile as it is creativity-inducing.

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Using Reformer Pro To Create Horror Film Sound Effects

Krotos Audio has great tools for sound design. To explain, this overview explains how to create some eerie sound design.

Krotos Audio Reformer Pro Krotos Audio Reformer Pro

Shape Sound Like Never Before.

You do your best sound design work when you can manifest what you hear in your mind. In essence, Reformer Pro offers a whole new way of interacting with sound.

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Workflows for Creature Sound Design & Vocal Processing

Use Krotos Dehumanizer for creepy sound design with vocal effects, straightaway!

Krotos Audio Dehumaniser II Plug-InKrotos Audio Dehumaniser II Plug-In

Your favorite tool for creature sound design

Dehumaniser 2 is a powerful vocal processing tool perfect for a range of vocal effects, from monsters to robots and many more. Utilising incoming live or pre-recorded signals, the software allows you to rapidly create seamlessly layered effects by using presets or dive right in to customization by linking virtual patch cords to interactive effects modules. Dehumaniser 2 features proprietary effects like Scrubbing Convolution and Spectral Shifting that deliver dramatic results and offer totally new avenues for creative design.

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Krotos Everything Bundle Krotos Everything Bundle

The Krotos Everything Bundle combines Krotos’ full plugin catalog with the complete Krotos sound library collection to deliver the most content and best value bundle Krotos has ever produced.

Equip your studio with the world’s most powerful sound design software and sound effects packages that will allow you to design and perform your own unique sound effects, without restrictions, while injecting more fun into the process.

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Horror Sound Libraries

If you’re not musically inclined or just don’t have the time to record your own sound effects, Boom Library offers incredible high-quality horror and creature sound design.

BOOM Library SFX Cinematic Horror – Designed BOOM Library SFX Cinematic Horror – Designed

You’d like to have both an easy and high-quality go-to solution for creepy SFX? You have a tight schedule and need to meet a bloody deadline by tomorrow? Now this calls for our CINEMATIC HORROR DESIGNED collection: a handy packet full of pre-designed, ready-to-use SFX that crawls into your projects, ready to scare the audience with precision.

There are booms, drones, hits, shockers, stingers, stutters, whooshes, and further nightmares, including screams and screeches, distortion, whispers, echoes, metal squeaks, and other haunting sounds. No need to fear short-term inquiries anymore – this library will fix your needs in an instant.

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 BOOM Library Creature Foley – Bundle (Designed + Construction Kit) BOOM Library Creature Foley – Bundle (Designed + Construction Kit)

Meet the Colossus of Foley

CREATURE FOLEY is the ultimate toolkit for all sound design tasks featuring impactful, wide-range, engaging, and detailed movement. It offers an almost inexhaustible pool of actions, sizes, characteristics, materials, and variations that will have you build and design complex scenes with ease. Containing over 19,000 sounds in total at a staggering 16 GB of content, this library is the biggest CREATURE FOLEY sound collection ever created.

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BOOM Library Monsters & Beasts Bundle (Designed + Construction Kit) BOOM Library Monsters & Beasts Bundle (Designed + Construction Kit)

The Awe-inspiring Sound of Legendary Creatures

After millennia of deep slumber, the greatly feared horde of earth-shattering beasts comes to life with its incredible repertoire of timeless roars, hisses, bellows, screeches, moans, and more terrifying sounds. Construct your own with numerous authentic animal recordings as well as human and prop elements. Or use the readily available designed sounds for maximum impact. Create a lasting sense of awe and dread with MONSTERS & BEASTS in your trailer, video game, or motion picture.

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BOOM Library SFX Cinematic Darkness – Designed BOOM Library SFX Cinematic Darkness – Designed

CINEMATIC DARKNESS is destined to be the key library for your next dark movie, trailer, or game project. It keeps ready mad noise terror, evil screams, weird glitches, and much more gloom in an instant. The name says it all: these sounds come to you as pre-designed, “ready-to-use” tools.

We created an impressive set of frightening and murky SFX with booms, deep hits, digital glitches, scary drones, science stutters, tension builders, and much more. Get hold of these 750+ HD SFX to save time and apply them directly to whatever gloomy scene is on your list. Our sound designers have done their best to support your creative ideas.

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Check out all of Boom Library’s offerings


Featured Image credit: Kyle Jeffreys, Unsplash

Posted by Michele Yamazaki