Sure, “The Monster Mash” might be the greatest Halloween song, but it’s hardly the scariest tune. That title might belong to John Carpenter’s theme from the classic horror flick Halloween. That song is almost 40 years old, though, so what better time to give it a spooky upgrade than on Friday the 13th? That’s just what Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross did.
Reznor and Ross’s take on the Halloween theme, which originally scored Michael Myers’ attack on Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie, doesn’t reinvent the wheel too much. There’s a reason why Carpenter’s theme is so iconic. What the pair do is add their moody synths and oppressive gloom to Carpenter’s tinkling, off-kilter notes.
The first section is quiet, opting for a windy sense of unease and suspense before the middle third transitioned into a slightly notched-up rendition of the classic keyboard riff. The last third is almost a bonkers club rendition of the song, but it retains all the menace. It’s what the ghouls doing the “Monster Mash” would listen to if they were also doing molly.
Listen to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ Halloween theme below, and look for John Carpenter’s Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998, a collection of his most famous film tunes, on October 20.