A practice-based investigation in composing contemporary horror film music for The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

  • Dominic Waldock

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    My PhD research is a practice-based investigation into sound design and music composition with special reference to recent examples in horror cinema. These include the critically-acclaimed works of director James Wan such as Insidious (Wan, 2010) and The Conjuring (Wan, 2013) film series, as well as David Robert Mitchell 's It Follows (Mitchell, 2014), Scott Derrickson's Sinister (Derrickson, 2012) and Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning Get Out (Peele, 2017) among others. I classify significant elements in the development of horror sound and discuss them in detail: including nature, hauntology, the uncanny, instrumentation, liminality, leitmotif, diegesis, spectromorphology and silence. These are then incorporated into my own work including two test short films designed to allow the applications of various compositional techniques, before culminating in the sonic reimagining of the 1920 silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Wiene, 1920).
    Date of AwardJan 2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorTom Williams (Supervisor) & Christopher Hobbs (Supervisor)

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