most collected horror movie soundtracks shudder

30 Most-Collected Horror Movie Soundtracks of All Time

It may not be Halloween, but everyone is still entitled to a good scare, which is why we’ve decided to treat ourselves with a list of the most-collected horror movie soundtracks of all time. “Horror is a reaction; it’s not a genre,” as John Carpenter so eloquently said to Interview Magazine in 2015. To craft a soundtrack that not only perfectly accompanies a great film, but also resonates with fans so much that they purchase the soundtrack for their record collection, you must inspire feelings of terror and awe that chill others right to the core.

But first, the details on how we compiled this ranking. We started by scouring the most-collected Master Releases listed under the soundtrack style; the most-collected metric is determined by how many Discogs users have added these albums to their Collections. Next, we filtered out all of the movies that didn’t meet our horrific standards. This means you won’t see any action thrillers, dark fantasy, or neo-noir mystery flicks. However, we did include horror-comedy films, because even the most terror-filled plots can still make you laugh, which is groovy.

While the majority of the resulting soundtracks are original scores, there are a few that contain hit songs of the time. (We’re talking very specifically about the 1997 film adaptation of comic-book horror hero Spawn because the tracklist features some of the most interesting rock and electronic collabs of the 1990s. To name just one: The Prodigy and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.)

Now, on to the list! If you consider yourself a horror aficionado, then you’ve probably already guessed the name that appears the most. Renowned filmmaker and musician John Carpenter claims composer and/or director credits on no less than six of the titles. Other notable movie legends include Dario Argento, the Italian maestro of the giallo subgenre, and George A. Romero, patient zero of modern zombie mythology.

While Carpenter is well-known for composing the scores for his own films — including his most famous, Halloween, as well as The Fog and Prince of Darkness —  both Argento and Romero had collaborators that handled the musical facets of their films: Goblin and John Harrison, respectively. Goblin worked with Argento, mostly in the 1970s, and created several other creepy tunes throughout a blood-soaked discography. Their early release under the name Cherry Five is highly coveted among fans of prof-rock. Meanwhile, John Harrison teamed up with Romero in the early 1980s on Day of the Dead and Creepshow, for which he was also an assistant director.

Craving more screams? Check out our personal picks for essential horror and Italian horror soundtracks. And if you’re trying to watch the films below, you can find many of these titles on Shudder, the horrific streaming service.

Editor’s note: The following list includes films that contain graphic imagery that may not be suitable for music collectors under a certain age. Please reach out to our editor with any questions or feedback.

Most-Collected Horror Movie Soundtracks


Various - Gremlins album cover

No. 30. Various – Gremlins (1983)

Director: Joe Dante

Jerry Goldsmith - Poltergeist album cover

No. 29. Jerry Goldsmith – Poltergeist (1982)

Director: Tobe Hooper (written by Steven Spielberg)

Jóhann Jóhannsson - Mandy album cover

No. 28. Jóhann Jóhannsson – Mandy (2018)

Director: Panos Cosmatos

Various - The Shining album cover

No. 27. Various – The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick (based on Stephen King)

Harry Manfredini - Friday the 13th album cover

No. 23. Harry Manfredini – Friday the 13th (2012)

Director: Sean S. Cunningham

Keith Emerson - Inferno album cover

No. 22. Keith Emerson – Inferno (1980)

Director: Dario Argento

Harry Nilsson - Son of Dracula album cover

No. 21. Harry Nilsson – Son of Dracula (1974)

Director: Robert Siodmak

Riz Ortolani - Cannibal Holocaust album cover

No. 20. Riz Ortolani – Cannibal Holocaust (1995)

Director: Ruggero Deodato

John Harrison - Day of the Dead album cover

No. 19. John Harrison – Day of the Dead (1985)

Director: George A. Romero

John Harrison - Creepshow album cover

No. 18. John Harrison – Creepshow (1982)

Director: George A. Romero (written by Stephen King)

Wojciech Kilar ‎ - Bram Stoker

No. 16. Wojciech Kilar ‎ – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Ennio Morricone - The Thing album cover

No. 13. Ennio Morricone – The Thing (1982)

Director: John Carpenter

John Carpenter - The Fog album cover

No. 12. John Carpenter – The Fog (1984)

Director: John Carpenter

Various - From Dusk Till Dawn album cover

No. 8. Various – From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Director: Robert Rodriguez (written by Quentin Tarantino)

Goblin - Zombi (AKA Dawn of the Dead) album cover

No. 7. Goblin – Zombi (AKA Dawn of the Dead) (1978)

Director: George A. Romero

Jerry Goldsmith - Alien album cover

No. 6. Jerry Goldsmith – Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott (written by Dan O’Bannon)

Various - Spawn album cover

No. 4. Various – Spawn (1997)

Director: Mark A.Z. Dippé

John Carpenter - Halloween album cover

No. 3. John Carpenter – Halloween (1979)

Director: John Carpenter

Goblin - Profondo Rosso album cover

No. 2. Goblin – Profondo Rosso (1975)

Director: Dario Argento

Goblin - Suspiria album cover

No. 1. Goblin – Suspiria (1976)

Director: Dario Argento

Published in partnership with Shudder.


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