I remember being very young and getting the chills and scares whenever I heard the opening notes to the fifth entry to the week-long horror-themed “Song of the Day” feature for the site. Even now into my third decade I still get a bit of the willies whenever this song comes on TV, cable or I happen to click on the video on YouTube. The song I’m speaking of is the opening theme to William Friendkin’s horror masterpiece, The Exorcist.
The theme was composed by English musician Mike Oldfield in 1973. “Tubular Bells” is actually an epic piece of progressive rock music which is actually split into two parts. It’s the first part which was chosen and slightly reworked by Oldfield himself to become the opening theme to The Exorcist. This particular theme has become one of the most iconic film themes in cinema history. I’m not just talking about in the horror genre but in all of film.
A person who has never seen Friedkin’s masterpiece about a young girl possessed by the Devil and the ritual which happens soon after will know the theme once they hear it. The theme is literally played on the same name musical intruments. While the original has a more baroque sound with some synth manipulation added to the overall tone, the one used for the film definitely has a more progressive/synth rock to its tempo and tone.
In the end, this chosen theme for the day will be continue to scare and terrify old and new audiences of The Exorcist. Just looking at the video above with just the fog-shrouded Georgetown brownstone in the foreground and Father Merrin just standing there looking up at the home then having the theme playing would make even the most God-less person want to start praying for their eternal soul.