Top 10 Creepiest Soundtracks by Polish Composers
portrait, Top 10 Creepiest Soundtracks by Polish Composers, German poster for Roman Polański's "Rosemary's Baby", source: Museum of Cinematography in Łódź, dziecko rosemary 6_6977123.jpg
There is a dark side to the Polish soul. This top 10 iconic spine-chilling soundtracks show without a doubt that Poland's composers are undisputed masters of music more nightmarish than Polish spelling itself.
1. Krzysztof Komeda – 'Rosemary's Baby'
The legendary Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda had a spectacular career as a jazz musician, which he complemented by authoring several well-known film scores. His soundtrack for Roman Polański's horror classic Rosemary's Baby epitomises the bone-chilling depths to which Komeda can take an audience. The childish melody and its eerie lullaby-like vocals are a perfect match for a plot about the unborn child of the Prince of Darkness.
2. Krzysztof Penderecki – 'The Shining'
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Penderecki, the other great Polish master of horrific sound, is guilty of having written the score to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, along several other terrifying works. A Hollywood favourite, this avant-garde composer has lent his talent to many directors desirous to paralyse worldwide audiences with fear.
3. Andrzej Korzyński – 'Possession'
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Andrzej Korzyński, while not as well-known outside of Poland as Komeda and Penderecki, may one day gain worldwide fame when soundtrack afficionados will unearth this gem: his soundtrack to Andrzej Żuławski's surrealist horror film Possession screams sinister, with a cool 1980s electro vibe to boot.
4. Wojciech Kilar – 'Bram Stoker's Dracula'
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The impressive intensity build-up of Dracula's gothic theme has traumatised and enchanted countless horror fans thanks to classical composer Wojciech Kilar. Kilar's impressive symphonic compositions have been featured in over a hundred films.
5. Krzysztof Penderecki – 'Shutter Island'
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Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island owes much of its nerve-racking atmosphere to Penderecki's Symphony No. 3: Passacaglia-Allegro Moderato, but Scorsese is not the only one. This particular composition has been used in several other films since the 1990s.
6. Krzysztof Komeda – 'Fearless Vampire Killers'
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Another Komeda-Polański collaboration, the soundtrack to Fearless Vampire Killers is a double-whammy of Polish creepiness. Throw in an acting performance by Sharon Tate and Polański himself, and you have a masterpiece of terror.
7. Krzysztof Penderecki – 'Children of Men'
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Cuarón's dystopian thriller makes good use of Penderecki's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. Discordant and high-pitched trills lend themselves especially well to these apocalyptic settings.
8. Zbigniew Preisner – 'A Short Film About Killing'
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The nostalgic and melodic track that runs through Krzysztof Kieślowski's masterpiece is as haunting as the story of the film's protagonist. Zbigniew Preisner's neo-Romantic style gives a chilly touch to the never-ending murder scenes.
9. Krzysztof Penderecki – 'The Exorcist'
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Penderecki strikes again. His ghostly composition Polymorphia has been used by horror film directors time and again, most memorably in combination with The Exorcist's scenes of demonic possession.
10. Wojciech Kilar – 'The Ninth Gate'
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Polański hardly needs any help to create a demonic atmosphere, but with Kilar's majestic soundtrack, the arrival of Satan on Earth seems imminent indeed.
Sources: own materials, edited by LB, Oct 2014
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