Some soundtracks are iconic or memorable and eventually become classic theme tunes. Others seem to sink their claws in and crawl into our dreams at night. We usually expect horror games to include some creepy sound effects and ambience but sometimes they really make an impact! Then there are the times where you don’t expect the soundtrack to include a spine-chilling song and it takes you by surprise. We have included these in our list of the top 10 creepiest songs in games to make your skin crawl.
You will recognize some of the songs below while others may bring back terrible memories you have long since forgotten. Each one has been carefully selected by us for their creep-factor and general spookiness. See if your favorite spine-chiller soundtrack has been included!
Black Fairy – Silent Hill 2
Black Fairy, or Blank Fairy as it has been called in certain versions of the soundtrack, is a emotionally impactful song from the Silent Hill 2 soundtrack. Composed by the supremely talented Akira Yamaoka, this song kicks in towards the end of the game after our protagonist, James, watches a VHS in Room 312 and discovers the truth about his wife.
The song whirls with grief and desperation with a constant, gnawing feeling that insanity is drawing near. It is equally captivating and eerie, and reflects James’ uncertainty and rising panic beautifully. At this point in the game reality is nowhere to be found, and the looping anxiety-inducing refrain becomes almost torturous. It is one of the best and creepiest songs in a game that you will never forget!
Happy Birthday – Silent Hill 3
If you search “Happy Birthday Silent Hill 3“, you will find the cutscene where Heather receives a mysterious phone call. The track we want to point you to is far creepier than that. Once again this musical masterpiece is composed by Akira Yamaoka who captures the fear and anxiety of this moment.
The song is a pulsing heartbeat rhythm with scratching and twisting voice repeatedly saying, almost imperceptibly, “happy birthday”. A noise almost like a rusted gate being blown in the wind, repeats and then drops into a sinister drone. This brief piece comes as Heather climbs a ladder through blood-stained walls scrawled with haunting messages, and frightening creatures. The stuff of nightmares!
The Night Begins – Resident Evil
The Night Begins is a classic Resident Evil theme, recognizable to many old-school RE players. It is a haunting track that chills your soul when the strings come in. The score, composed by Makoto Tomozawa for the original Resident Evil game, was designed like a movie soundtrack. It is the perfect backdrop for a scary survival adventure.
The constant swirling strings and droning synths provide a spooky presence, building tension and anxiety while you play. As the characters explore the Spencer Mansion there is danger lurking around every corner and this piece certainly helps create a foreboding atmosphere. The Night Begins gives a great mix of high, repetitive tones and those low, foreboding cello sounds that rumble deep in your gut. I can almost feel the zombies breathing down my neck!
Swarm Ambience – Outlast
Swarm Ambience is an iconic piece of audio from the survival horror Outlast, which is based in a psychiatric hospital. The track has such a horribly nauseating way of fading in and out which is almost unbearable. The layers of voices increase in volume and urgency which introduces a real sense of anxiety as you listen. It feels like something awful is happening and you cannot stop it.
Swarm Ambience is found about 20 minutes into the game when you enter an eerie TV room. Mutilated patients are staring at a blood-spattered television which is playing nothing but TV static. Outlast is a rollercoaster of jump-scares, fearful hiding, and spooky night-vision so it needed a soundtrack to match. And, oh boy, did Samuel LaFlamme deliver. The whole game has cold, piercing strings and classic horror movie soundtrack motifs interspersed with the occasional thud and clang of psychiatric hospital doors that makes your blood run cold.
Hail The Nightmare – Bloodborne
Bloodborne’s Hail The Nightmare is another song worthy of a horror movie! The song is sung in Latin, which automatically makes it creepier, and in beautiful but ominous tones. The lyrics are sung out in a call-and-answer style between a bass solo and accompanying mixed chorus. The lower register of the bass singer hits you right in your soul and then the chorus wails in unison, giving pure horror movie vibes.
Hail The Nightmare comes in when you, as The Hunter, enter the Hypogean Gaol before the Blood Moon. It swiftly ends as the Blood Moon rises. The translated lyrics, sung by the talented choir Metro Voices, are mournful and pleading: “Accursed on, you pour out your offering. We are corrupted! Accursed one, beast, we are corrupted.” It’s a stunning piece of music composed by Ryan Amon, and sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it!
Clocktower – Epic Mickey
The music of the first boss battle at the Clock Tower in Epic Mickey, is the first of our non-horror titles to hit this list of creepiest songs. The creepiness is surprising and unnerving but fits the boss level perfectly. Mickey is battling a maniacally grinning moon-faced boss with huge mechanical arms, which is pretty scary in itself, but then this familiar song begins.
It’s not instantly recognizable but suddenly it hits you: is that It’s A Small World being played again and again!? This realization just adds to the horror as the song clangs and twangs while you battle. It is yet another wonderfully apt piece of music by the award-winning Jim Dooley. The tune is as twisted as the boss’s grin and has been set slightly off, giving it an eerie sound like a haunted musical box. Truly awful.
Lavender Town – Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen
Lavender Town in Pokemon is another of our creepiest songs and is recognized by a wide community. Every Lavender Town theme is creepy as hell, but this version from Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen is the creepiest. The town itself is a haunted place, home to dead Pokemon and many Ghost-Type monsters. This is the place where trainers come to mourn or to try and catch their first Ghost.
For a kid’s game, Pokemon really know how to hit hard with the grief and horror. The high-pitched intro is like something out of a classic scary movie but then in comes the main tune sounding like a Pokemon funeral march. Junichi Masuda is responsible for this chilling song which fills Pokemon players with dread as they try to catch a Gastly or Haunter. The town gives players that truly unsettling knowledge that their beloved Pokemon could actually die. The horror!
Misty Menace – Donkey Kong Country
Another childhood classic brought us a creepy piece of music to jam to as we played. The theme of Misty Menace in Donkey Kong Country honestly sounds like it belongs in some horror game like Resident Evil or Silent Hill. It’s not only this track either, the whole soundtrack is interspersed with creepy foreboding music none of us were expecting.
One moment we have jungle vibes and celebratory rhythms and then suddenly all we can hear are ominous drones and clangs. If it wasn’t for the occasional funky beat that arrives to lighten the mood, this entire soundtrack would be all too unsettling! From the Torchlight Trouble level onwards we start to think this may be some sort of banana-induced lucid nightmare.
Submerged Castle – Pikmin 2
Submerged Castle in Pikmin 2 is an iconic level among Pikmin fans thanks to the weird and wonderful soundtrack and the memorable boss: the Waterwraith. You don’t want anything to happen to the cute little Pikmin, but when the dread-filled music plays you start to get the idea this isn’t a safe space for these little guys.
As you flit about searching for treasure and defeating enemies, the strange music continues and starts to really get under your skin. It sounds so sorrowful and creepy that not even the Pikmin’s whoops and squeaks can mask it. It continues through the level, never letting up, only getting more intense as you reach the final floor. Who knew Pikmin could get so serious?
Metamorphosis – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s first theme, Metamorphosis, is one of the creepiest intro tracks for a game. The entire soundtrack is wonderfully camp in a horror-adventure kind of way, but this first song really sets you up for what is to come. It invokes images of creatures of the night stalking you from the darkness!
This statement soundtrack was composed by Michiru Yamane who seemed to take the brief for a horror-adventure game, and absolutely run with it. The rest of the original soundtrack is pure gold, but Metamorphosis has everything you would want from a horror intro track: an portentous church bell, a choir of baleful voices, and a swirling orchestra of strings and crashing cymbals. It then ends with a desperate whining fading to nothingness. Spine-chilling perfection.