Brilliant music in film will always take the picture to the next level. Many of the all-time greatest movies feature orchestral scores, but we wanted to take a look at the films that have best utilized electronic music. From sci-fi to raunchy comedy to intense thrillers, electronic music has helped set the stage for some of the most successful films ever made. Electronic music has flaunted its versatility within the realm of cinema, with soundtracks ranging from the dawn of the synth in the early ’80’s to more modern-day ones composed by Skrillex.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best electronic scores to date; these films are all must-see, shining examples of the ways in which electronic music can greatly enhances the cinematic experience.
You can check out the collection below. Enjoy!
Renowned producer Jon Hopkins completed the masterful scoring on this one, creating the perfect setting for this alien horror flick. His original score not only enhances, but also brings to life the terrifying nature of the film.
This legendary film delivers classic ’80’s synth in all the right ways. From its iconic theme song by Ray Parker Jr. to the lo-fi “Dana’s Theme,” Ghostbusters’ soundtrack is an even mix of playful and spooky, just like the film.
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
The ambient and dream-like Virgin Suicides soundtrack is composed by none other than the legendary Sofia Coppola. Nominated for multiple awards, this score poetically embodies the many trials and tribulations of being a teenager.
Requiem For A Dream (2000)
One of the most bone-chilling and upsetting (but in the best possible way) scores and films of all time, Clint Mansell’s work on Requiem For A Dream is manic and haunting, precisely as the film is. Mansell creates a disturbing, schizophrenic score to match the equally dark film. Impossible to tear your eyes or ears away from, Requiem For A Dream is a masterpiece both visually and musically.
Blade Runner (1982)
A timeless soundtrack for a timeless film, Vangelis’ work on the original Blade Runner is masterful in its own right. He composed the score not only for the film, but also as an album for his own release, part of the reason why this score is equally as good without the accompanying film. The electronic elements in Blade Runner‘s score were truly cutting edge, effectively creating an enticingly mysterious soundtrack for a legendary film.
A truly bone-chilling soundtrack, Ben Salisbury outdoes himself in the score for this Natalie Portman sci-fi film. Salisbury showcases his synth expertise in creating dark, brooding tracks that define the film. Featuring the cosmic, jarring track “Alien” placed right at the film’s climax, this film and its score are a wild ride from start to finish.
Starring Dave Franco and Emma Roberts, millions of viewers were enticed by this techno thriller upon its release. The original score done by Rob Simonsen is a dark, techno-infused masterpiece that gives the film an edgy, video-game inspired ambiance. Set to scenes of Franco and Roberts speeding on motorcycle through New York City lights, Simonsen’s composition is flawlessly thrilling. “Game On” and “Dare Accepted” are two of our favorites.
Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
George A. Romero’s Dead series (Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, and Dawn of the Dead) is nothing short of iconic. These films set the precedent for quite literally every zombie movie to come. The original soundtrack, which is overflowing with experimental synth work, was done by Italian progressive rock band Goblin. Oftentimes overlooked, this score’s eerie synths in tandem with heavy bass guitars and drums make Dawn of the Dead the bone-chilling, claustrophobic, zombie flick that it is. “L’able dei morti viventi” is a spooky track that provides the perfect balance between electronic and prog rock genres, as Goblin does throughout the entire score.
Spring Breakers (2012)
Everyone remembers this bizarre, high-energy James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens film, even if all they can recall is neon bikinis, guns, and ski masks. That said, the film’s music, done by Skrillex and Cliff Martinez, is full of heaters. The soundtrack is full of Skrillex classics that were custom-tailored to the film, including three different versions (and one strings version!) of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.” There’s also an original flip on “Wild For The Night,” “Goin’ In – Skrillex Goin’ Down Mix.” Spring Breakers is dripping with Skrillex originals and fresh takes on his classics, making it a wildly entertaining watch.
This Scar-Jo sci-fi masterpiece is completed by its experimental electronic soundtrack by Eric Serra. The slow-burning “First Cells” opens the film in an enticingly jarring fashion. There are also uptempo techno tracks like “Tingjhou Hospital” that enable Johansson to be the badass female lead that she is in the film. Lucy has a thrilling soundtrack that matches its wild plot.
Tron Legacy (2010)
When asked to think of electronic film scores, this is probably the first that comes to mind for many. There’s not much to say about this all-original Daft Punk soundtrack other than that it is simply a masterpiece that invigorates the film with bounding energy.
Gone Girl (2014)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network) could be called the kings of film scoring. Between The Social Network‘s legendary soundtrack and psychological thriller Gone Girl’s chilling musical component, this duo has created two of the best scores of the last decade. Gone Girl‘s score has as many twists and turns as the film itself. Displaying great range from lo-fi tracks like “Clue One” and “Clue Two,” to the dark, static “The Way He Looks At Me,” this score and its accompanying film are one you won’t want to miss.
The minimalist dialogue in this 2011 Ryan Reynolds film leaves plenty of room for the music to take center stage; and that it does. Primarily composed by Cliff Martinez (Spring Breakers), the ambient and moody score matches shots of Driver speeding down the road perfectly.
Ex Machina (2014)
Composed by Ben Salisbury (Annihilation) and Geoff Barrow, the Ex Machina score is melancholic bliss. Icy synth work creates a perfectly uncomfortable environment to match the film. It took the collaborators nine months to complete this minimalist, yet oh so intricate score, because they wanted to get it just right. We’d say they definitely did.
The Social Network (2010)
Arguably one of the most memorable, well-composed, and widely-loved scores of all time, The Social Network’s soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Gone Girl) is nothing short of magnificent. A perfect blend of minimalist and pulsing electronic music aid in telling one of the most interesting tales of all time, masterfully conveying certain emotions in each individual track. From the discordant “Hand Covers Bruise” to the up-tempo “On We March,” Reznor and Ross created an irresistible score to one of the most successful films of the last decade.