When you think of the scariest voices in horror, you might think of the Grady twins from The Shining or Chucky's high pitch laugh, but what are the top 5 examples and why are they so successful?
Excellent voices in horror, actors known for their creepy characters, one-off perfect voices, and voices that send shivers down our spine. Any voice actor trying to freak out an audience should pay attention to these top five voices in horror and the characteristics that make them scary.
Tony Todd has lent his talent and voice to many roles, including Final Destination and The Man From Earth, but his most notable was in Candyman. His deep breathy voice and slow speech sound chilling and dark, so his roles are often the villain.
In both Candyman and Final Destination, his characters speak via cryptic messages at an extremely slow pace. His powerful voice will always be un-nerving to the viewer whilst commanding their attention. He will continue to add his trilling voice to a villainous role in Spider-Man 2, as it has recently been announced he will play the voice of Venom in the upcoming game.
“Hello, Sidney”. I bet you didn't just read that dialogue, but you read it in Ghostface's exceptionally distinctive voice. Rodger L Jackson's performance of Ghostface in Scream is one of the most recognisable voices in the horror genre and is endlessly quotable.
He uses exaggerated rage to parody the idea of a scary voice because, just like the audience, he loves horror films too. Unlike other examples, this character doesn't just sound like that but has created this voice specifically to induce fear… and add another terrifying element; we can hear that he enjoys it.
When the villain makes an entire generation scared to answer the phone when home alone, you know his voice is perfect. This can also be credited to the anonymity of his voice because he isn't just scary, but he could be anyone.
How can someone with such a lust for life cause so much death and torture? Creating an excellent voice for horror isn't just about sounding scary. Although Tobin Bell's performance of Jigsaw in the Saw franchise might creep you out, it's his dedication to the character that works.
Jigsaw, nearing the end of his life, forces others to prove that they want to live. As this character knows his motivation and purpose like the back of his hand, his speech is blunt, authoritative, and confident. Bell uses the connotations of age and wisdom in his voice to unsettle the audience because age has not mellowed him but convinced him to “help” others to his own grotesque standard. His voice sounds like that of God being played aloud from an audio recorder, and in Jigsaw's game, that's exactly who he is.
The Babadook takes form as a manifestation of the protagonist's grief with a spine-chillingly low voice. This voice is not a natural one but was designed using sound effects from video games like Warcraft and Resident Evil to create a sound that would scare anybody.
Horror videogames use sound as a key tool to induce fear in their audience, so it's no wonder The Babadook doesn't rely on dialogue to terrify you but carries the fear on its voice alone when muttering its name repeatedly. If your villain isn't natural, maybe their voice shouldn't be either, and the sound designers working on The Babadook used this to create an effective blood-curdling monster who sounds petrifying.
Vincent Price's horror career took off after he starred in the original House of Wax. He was known for his starring roles in classic horror and thriller films, including The Fly and House on Haunted Hill and his dark, sophisticated, and sometimes eccentric voice.
He was known through his career as the Master of Macabre. His beautiful but creepy voice talents can be found portraying gothic characters in so many roles, including cartoons like scooby doo and music videos like Alice Cooper's The Black Widow and Michael Jackson's Thriller. There is no doubt that Vincent Price has a place in the horror hall of fame, but for many, he is the voice of horror.
Those are our favourites, but there are so many ways to frighten with speech, so there are countless examples to choose from! When you craft your own scary voice, take the lessons learned from these top 5 horror voices. You might find a brand new sound that exceeds even the legends!
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