Favourite Soundtracks No. 3: ‘Wait Until Dark’
When it comes to scoring music for horror films and psychological thrillers, it’s astonishing how many composers choose drums and blasts of dense orchestral noise to beat their audiences into submission when something softer and eerier would be more insidious. Henry Mancini, best known for romantic ongs and the kind of lounge music that’s now cool, wrote this sinister off-kilter opening theme using just two chords on the piano for the stage thriller-turned-movie ‘Wait Until Dark’, in which Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman menaced by a very young Alan Arkin as he searches her flat from a heroin-stuffed doll.
The film contained one of the most brilliant ‘jumps’ in thriller history toward the end, and still makes audiences scream. The title music played over an image of a knife cutting open something red – the doll, it turned out. But it perfectly set the menacing tone.