It’s been over 40 years and I still get chills when I hear “Tubular Bells,” the theme song from the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist.
Sound evokes powerful emotions, and horror movies in particular make the most of this phenomenon. Beyond terrifying visual imagery, sound is the nail in the coffin that destroys your last shred of composure and gives you the willies long after the movie is over.
For those of you who like a little fright on Halloween night — or any night, for that matter — watching horror movies at home is a great escape.
A 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround sound system is a must for movie lovers, and Surround:AI™, a breakthrough technology in the latest line of Yamaha AV receivers, brings artificial intelligence to home theater sound. Surround:AI automatically adjusts audio parameters for each scene in a movie, giving you the best entertainment experience possible.
In real time, Surround:AI analyzes and optimizes scenes to isolate and focus your attention on the faintest footstep and whispered dialogue in your center channel speaker, then expands the sound field to your surround speakers to produce the maximum effect of the whine of the chain saw and the panicked scream in the jump scare that follows. Surround:AI perfectly accentuates the switch from normalcy to terror that is the hallmark of horror movies.
So go grab a blanket to hide behind, then watch and listen to how Surround:AI enhances these bone-chilling movie moments:
1. Shower Scene — Psycho (1960)
This iconic scene from director Alfred Hitchcock’s black and white classic features the horrifying screech of violins in time with deadly knife stabs — all against the mundane backdrop of water spraying from a shower head. A good reason to choose shower doors over shower curtains every time! Check it out here.
2. Shark Eats Boy — Jaws (1975)
John Williams’ Oscar-winning score portends the approach of the great white shark in Steven Spielberg’s thriller so artfully it might not need anything else to set the mood. But with the innocent sounds of swimmers splashing in the water and Olivia Newton-John honestly declaring her love on the radio in the background, the contrasting blend of elements makes it seem like just another day at the beach … till it’s not. Check it out here.
3. Chest Burster Scene — Alien (1979)
An ordinary meal among crewmates on a spaceship turns into a landmark scene in horror filmdom. Cheerful banter and the clinking of dinnerware gives way to terrified screams, then stunned silence. You’ll never think of doing the Heimlich maneuver on anyone again. Check it out here.
4. Hypnosis Scene — Get Out (2017)
Here’s another entry in the “Making Ordinary Sounds Terrifying” category. The simple sound of the spoon stirring the tea in Jordan Peele’s Oscar-nominated directorial debut becomes nails on a chalkboard in this scene. Can you get off your couch or are you in the Sunken Place? Check it out here.
5. A Father Does His Duty – A Quiet Place (2018)
Spoiler alert: Grab a tissue before clicking this link. There is a lot of silence in John Krasinski’s breakout directing turn, and this scene shows just how much impact a single sound can have. Check it out here.
Now that you’re in the mood, cue up your favorite horror movie on your surround sound system and get the most out of every scary moment … from the safety of your own couch.