Instrument used to create creepy sounds for horror movies

waterphone horror sound

When you’re watching a horror movie, you’re probably too busy being scared to wonder how those creepy background sounds are made. Well, for those of you who are scratching their heads at how the sound designer is able to create the eery sound for many horror movies, wonder no more. Meet the waterphone, an instrument made of stainless steel with rods sticking out.

Check out the video from Todd Barton below for an example of the waterphone and the types of sound it can produce.

Check out this clip from The X-Files episode “Irresistible” featuring the use of the waterphone.

Mark Korven, who composed the score for The Witch, talks about his use of the waterphone in an interview with Shock Till You Drop.

“Also, the waterphone, which is a 20th-century instrument – a couple of steel serving trays welded together with brass rods around the circumference, and played with a bow, or sometimes used percussively. I play the big daddy, called the MegaBass waterphone. It’s a pretty scary sounding instrument when used in a horror film, with its unearthly squeals and shrieks. I also used it for the big hits, banging it and throwing various shakers on it for extra cacophony.”

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John Nguyen
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