First off, we take a look at 13 horror sound libraries that will terrify your listeners, share the inside-story behind the sound for a number of scary horror movies, and guides to ways you can create your own nightmare-inducing sounds.
We’ve also hand-picked some tips for creating spooky sound effects + found some interesting behind-the-scenes videos on horror/gore sound design (and what makes for a scary sound in the first place):
13 Horror Sound Libraries That Will Get Under Your Skin:
It’s time to celebrate some of the horrific sound libraries that the community has released. We have zombies, beasts, gore, suspenseful ambiences, cinematic effects, and much more – so if you’re looking to send some chills down your listeners’ spines, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for here:
We’ve shared the story behind the sound for quite a few horror movies here on A Sound Effect – you can read them below:
• Creating the dark, evil sounds of ‘Annabelle: Creation’ – with Bill R. Dean
• Creating the sound of fear for ‘It Comes at Night’ – with Damian Volpe and Robert Fernandez
• Behind the horrifying sound of ‘Alien: Covenant’ – with Oliver Tarney and Michael Fentum
• Behind the scary sounds of ‘Blair Witch’ – with Andy Hay
• How the creepy sound of ‘Lights Out’ was made – with Bill R. Dean
• Young UK filmmaker creates award-winning horror sound: Here it is – and here’s how he did it
• Creating the horrific sounds of ‘The Conjuring 2’ – with Joe Dzuban
If you want to learn how to create your own horror SFX, here are several reads to get you started. We’ve also hand-picked a bunch of sound design of tips further down in this guide.
• How to create horror sound effects that are truly scary (and gory!) – by Saro Sahihi
• The Guide To Sound Effects (features lots of tips for gore and horror) – compiled by David Filskov
• Creature Sound Design Insights from David Farmer, sound designer on The Hobbit & LOTR
• Sound for Scarehouses – A Q&A with Marc Straight
If you want to have a go at creating your horror sounds, here are some DIY ideas from sound designer David Filskov’s excellent Guide to Sound Effects:
I used an umbrella opening and closing rapidly for the sound of bats flying one time… turned out great. I think I had to filter out some of the low frequency material, though.
A pair of leather gloves flapped about is a good substitute for wings flapping when a bat takes off.
– Garry Taylor
Blood and guts being torn out
I know how to make a nice sound of blood and guts being torn out. Just make a milk pulp, put it into your mouth, and then try to say “Ghhhh”. Mix it with the end section of any water splash sample or add a sample where you’re moving out your hand from a bucket of water.
Gore and squidge
Wet wash leather – fantastic for gore and squidge.
– Mark Estdale
Fruits! Especially tomatoes (for splatters) and potatoes (for wet crunchy sounds). Another classic is making a goo with eggs and dip rags and paper towels into them and play.
– Gustaf Grefberg
– Ben Burtt
Up-pitched kittens. Especially the screechy ones.
– Gustaf Grefberg
Stone coffin opening
Slide off the top of a toilet tank.
– Ben Burtt
Dolphin and sea-lion cries, other animal screams and human vocalizations.
– Ben Burtt
Get a few day’s worth of stubble on your face. Go somewhere real quiet and record running your hand and arm under your chin – it mixes in nice with the hairs on your arm. Or as I just found out, get a mouse mat with a rubberized or cloth surface and rub that under your chin :-) To further this idea maybe put some shaving gel on and take a credit card and lightly rub it across? That way you get bristly with a bit of slime.
– Dave Sullivan
Having just eaten a bowl of macaroni and cheese shells, I have to say it’s the most convincing tentacle sound I’ve ever heard. It also made the bowl harder to finish :-)
– Jay Semerad
Vocalization of monster
Metal pressed against dry ice.
– Paul Arnold
Slide a straw up or down in a McDonald’s large drink plastic lid. Try pitching it down and stretching it – and voilá! McZilla.
– Max Hodges
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