I love horror movies. I love the twisted storylines, the bleeding aesthetics, and the psychological turmoil. It all delights me. But what makes those scary movie moments so scary?
The nature of horror movies with all their gore, ghosts and monsters usually prompts us to spend countless hours scrutinizing the visuals of the picture; the fleshy mess of the torture scene, or the shadow of some malevolent spirit rising up through the floorboards.
As much as these aspects deserve to be fussed over, it's sometimes easy to forget the element of sound and the influence it has on the overall scare factor.
Think about it. If you watched the most horrifying movie with the volume muted...it wouldn't have the same effect, in fact it probably wouldn't be scary at all. No eerie scratching; no unexplained creaking; no slow paced ringing in the background, the kind that gradually gets louder as a crazed serial killer creeps up behind an unsuspecting babysitter! Silence may be golden but sound is scary - at least in horror movies.
On that note (pun intended), I bet, like me, you've spent many hours wondering if there was a strange instrument responsible for making all of the weird creepy sounds in your favorite horror movies? I thought so.
Well wonder no longer friends, I give you, the Waterphone!
This peculiar looking device was invented by American artist Richard Waters in the late 1960's and is more than likely responsible for many of the sounds that make your hair stand on end in movies like Poltergeist, Let the Right One In, Dark Water, ALIENS and many more.
It is made of a stainless steel resonator pan (sometimes filled with water, hence the name) with a cylindrical neck and bronze rods of different lengths and diameters. The Waterphone can be bowed, struck with beaters or tapped with your hand.
The clip below demonstrates the range of its eerie audio gifts:
So in future, just as a film is reaching its climactic point and you recognize that dissonant chime, be sure to pause the movie and announce to your friends that the sounds they are hearing are made by an instrument named the Waterphone. Then pat yourself on the back for being so damn smart.
If the gift of useless knowledge is not enough and you're excited about the potential this instrument has for turning your every day life into a suspenseful saga then you can get your very own at the Waterphone Online store for $350 - $2000. Better start saving!