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See how John Carpenter crafted some of film’s creepiest scores

Photo: Xavi Torrent/WireImage
Photo: Xavi Torrent/WireImage

One of the many things that sets John Carpenter apart from other filmmakers is that he scored many of his classic films himself using a bank of analog synthesizers. The eerie soundtracks Carpenter created for films such as Halloween, The Fog, and Assault On Precinct 13 were hugely influential on other film and TV scores, as well as a generation of electronic musicians that followed—as recently heard in the throwback synthwave music Survive’s Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein recorded for Stranger Things.

Just in time for Halloween, Justin DeLay of Reverb has offered up a video tutorial explaining exactly how Carpenter achieved those blood-chilling sounds. The 14-minute video is both a miniature music lesson and a tour through a bunch of old-school gear, like the Ensoniq ESQ-1, a classic Moog synth, and the fabled Prophet-5 and Prophet-10. And because this is a tribute to John Carpenter, Michael Myers shows up a few times to stalk DeLay from a distance—or maybe, like so many these days, he just can’t get enough of those retro horror movie sounds.

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