It took less than 20 years for cell phones to become an integral part of our lives. Home theater enthusiasts could say the same thing about surround sound.
The first movie to incorporate surround sound was Disney’s Fantasia in 1941. Audiences in theaters all around the world were mesmerized as the “Flight of the Bumblebee” buzzed all around them. In the 1990s, Dolby brought that experience to the home with Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound. Since then, many of us have become so used to surround sound that watching movies and shows with the sound just coming from TV speakers leaves us flat.
Horror movies in particular rely on audio to create the haunting, immersive scenes that fans both dread and crave. If you don’t think surround sound multiplies the fear factor, try listening to these eight gems of the genre in standard two-channel sound and then compare it to experiencing them in surround sound.
This scene from director / screenwriter Jordan Peele’s second outing is no ordinary “get off my lawn” moment. When dad Gabe Wilson grabs a baseball bat and goes out to his driveway to defend his family from mysterious doppelgängers, you just want to scream, “Get out!” Check it out here.
In this take on the Superman legend, Brandon Breyer is an alien boy who crash-landed on Earth and was raised by adoptive parents … but is decidedly not using his superpowers for the good of humanity. In this scene, he’s taking sadistic revenge on a local waitress. Just because a scene features the usual ploys — from flickering lights to a gruesome injury to a poorly chosen hiding place — doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Check it out here.
Remember the days of video rental stores and “Be kind, rewind?” The video tape in this movie is not very forgiving. Everyone who watches it receives a phone call telling them that they only have one week to live. In this scene, time runs out for one of the characters trying to figure out how to beat the curse. Check it out here.
This trailer features a never-before-seen monster that is a combination of several stories from the controversial children’s book series. Although this movie also features standard horror movie elements, they’re standard for a reason: they work. The end result is that you root for the group of resourceful misfit teens who open the wrong book. Check it out here.
In this much-anticipated sequel to the 1980 classic The Shining, Ewan Macgregor plays Dan Torrance, the boy from the original movie, now all grown up and seemingly recovered from that harrowing year at the Overlook Hotel. His fragile peace is shattered when he meets Abra and is irresistibly drawn back into a life-and-death struggle over the Shining. Check it out here.
Toni Collette’s remarkable performance sets the tone for this movie about a woman grieving over the loss of her mentally disturbed mother and the ensuing events that befall her family. Her teenaged son Peter experiences the chilling effect of the family’s emotional inheritance in this extraordinary classroom scene. Check it out here.
There were many plot twists and turns, and numerous favorite characters met their untimely ends during Game of Thrones’ eight groundbreaking seasons. This scene is one of the most jaw‑dropping. When a wedding guest is wearing chain mail under his clothes, it’s never a good thing. Check it out here.
What’s more terrifying than being forced to sing a sappy love song to your Suzie-Poo in front of all your friends while you’re trying to save the world? Enjoy a lighthearted moment from this usually serious show. Check it out here.
If you’re there for the scare, surround sound is a must. So fire up your 5.1-channel home theater system and treat yourself to a frightening movie night!
For more scary clips, click here.
Want to set up a wireless 5.1-channel home theater? Learn how here.