Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

Scoring horror with 'Saw' and 'American Horror Story' composer Charlie Clouser

Ways to Subscribe

Composer Charlie Clouser knows exactly how to set a creepy scene. Before he got into scoring for TV and film, Clouser played keyboard in the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. These days he’s best known for his work scoring all seven films in the Saw franchise, as well as the theme song for the FX series American Horror Story.

With Halloween just around the corner, we’re sure some of you are watching your favorite horror films to get into the holiday spirit.

Of course axe wielding murderers and demons from hell make these films scary, but it’s often the music that really sets the tension and tone.

Composer Charlie Clouser knows exactly how to set a creepy scene. Before he got into scoring for TV and film, Clouser played keyboard in the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. These days he’s best known for his work scoring all seven films in the Saw franchise, as well as the theme song for the FX series American Horror Story.   

“When things get very violent and the characters are in mortal peril, some body part is about to be removed. The worse it gets for them, the better it gets for me, in that i can use a wider variety of atonal and dissonant sounds I love and have more things that are distorted and out of tune and ugly,” said Clouser on The Frame.

Frame producer Michelle Lanz visited his studio to find out how he got his start in scoring for horror. Plus hear how he turns the sound of a subway car into creepy sound design.

Stay Connected