Bioshock OST: Freaking Terrifying

As Halloween approaches, I’ve been getting in the mood with costume planning, jack-o-lantern designing, and listening to Halloween-y music. The one album in particular that has been slaking my thirst has been a classic; the Bioshock OST, scored by Garry Schyman.

On one hand, I acknowledge that I’m biased. I imagine part of the reason the music freaks me out so much is that I played through Bioshock with white knuckles and the lights off; that game was hard to finish because I was tense the whole time. Every splicer was an unwelcome surprise that often made me forget to breathe until it had been “resolved.” Every time I heard a Little Sister I’d freeze for fear of angering her Big Daddy. I nearly flipped my shit when I got to the “weeping angel” section. However, all the credit can’t go to the game. A lot came from the ambiance set by the music.

This video is within the first 10 minutes of the game (so kinda spoilerish if you haven’t heard of Bioshock before… so… beware).

First, you’ll notice the stressful buzzing and off-key background noises, offset by a lovely rendition of “Somewhere Beyond The Sea.” This game does a great job utilizing popular music from the 30s thru 50s as background; it’s what the residents would listen to, right? But it’s often used to a terrifying effect by using music we think of as innocuous and old-fashioned to offset the violence and terror that surrounds the player.

Then as the intro moves from the ocean noises to Andrew Ryan’s introduction, the music slowly fades from the video’s background into haunting, lonely violins (the devil’s instrument, right?); then as you see the seascape the violins are met with the rest of the orchestra in a minor key. The violins sing more, getting higher and more sad, and the whole experience seems unbelievably ominous.

The rest of the soundtrack stays at that level, balancing sad and ominous with terrifying and dangerous. I love it so much. Heck, Cohen’s Masterpiece (below) even made me start playing piano again. So if you are hosting a haunted house or just want to creep out your neighbors, would you kindly consider the Bioshock OST?

Happy Halloween.