Creepy screeching and ominous chords always build the tension. Find out what the best instruments for horror movie sounds are here!

With Halloween just a few days away, we’re thinking about all content that’s creepy and spooky. You could be creating your own scary video, or maybe you’re after a Halloween party soundtrack. The Foley, sound effects, and music in a horror film are crucial for creating suspense and freaking audiences out.

All our favourite horror movies or TV shows tend to share familiar sounds and musical elements that have become synonymous with the genre. But, what creates these sounds might not always be totally obvious.

With a lot of Foley, the object used to create a sound effect is often far removed from the visual object to a bizarre extent. To keep it spooky, celery is a typical substitute for cracking bones and snapping fingers. The same applies to musical instruments and objects used to build terrifying soundscapes.

Typical Instruments

The list of instruments for horror movie sounds, such as gut-wrenching glissandos and goosebump-inducing chimes, is varied. Acoustic and electronically synthesized sounds feature, but some instruments are more ubiquitous in the genre than others.


Stabbing, staccato strings create a horribly dissonant and uncomfortable sound. This is an absolute classic within horror, and I’m willing to bet you can hear just what I mean in your head right now.

Often featuring at a climactic and super-tense moment, like a main character about to be viciously stabbed in the shower, harsh violins are a horror staple.


Classed as a stringed instrument, namely due to the 34 strings, the zither is a suitably scary instrument. Looking almost like a squashed lute, the body acts similarly as a resonating chamber. The zither is wonderfully versatile, working as a plucked or strummed instrument.

The real horror sounds tend to be produced by using a bow on the strings. This gives a hair-raising screeching sound that you commonly hear in horror films.


One of the more mysterious instruments for horror movie sounds, the waterphone is the king of creepy. This is an inharmonic acoustic instrument made up of a stainless steel resonator bowl and bronze rods. The name, unsurprisingly, comes from the fact that the resonator has a little water in it, providing an ethereal sound.


An electronic instrument that is typical in sci-fi, the sound of this instrument immediately conjures visions of aliens and flying saucers. It’s perfect for creating atonal, non-diegetic sounds in scary productions. Popular in the 1950s, the theremin and synthesizer-produced horror sounds became particularly popular in the 80s.

Check out The Synchedin Halloween Store for a collection of awesome spooky sound effects, music, and images.

All music is royalty free, making it perfect for soundtracking any Halloween YouTube content you might be concocting. Simply sign up today to well and truly creep yourself and your content out!