Home » Composer Christoph Allerstorfer Breaks Down the Music of The Ghost Within

Composer Christoph Allerstorfer Breaks Down the Music of The Ghost Within

There is an abundance of new horror movies being released this month, Welcome Villain Films’ Malum, XYZ Films’ The Resurrection of Charles Manson, Shudder’s Leave, Gravitas Ventures’ Stalker being a few of the titles. Another film worth paying attention to is Vertical Entertainment’s The Ghost Within, directed by Lawrence Fowler. The Ghost Within follows Margot (Michaela Longden), a young woman suffering from severe memory loss who sets out to solve the twenty-year-old mystery of her sister Evie’s death. Returning to her family home, a series of terrifying encounters with her sister’s ghost begin to bring her lost memories back. Aided by an experienced paranormal investigator, Margot’s desperation peaks when she has reason to suspect Evie was murdered at their childhood home. Will she unearth the tragic events of that terrible night to discover her sister’s killer? Or will this desperate hunt for the truth cost the lives of all involved?

To dig deeper into how The Ghost Within was constructed, we spoke with the film’s composer Christoph Allerstorfer. Christoph has previously collaborated with director Lawrence Fowler on The Jack in the Box  and The Jack in the Box: Awakening. Read the full Q&A below.

The Ghost Within is out now on VOD. Christoph’s score is also available digitally.

Did You Know? Wicked Horror TV Has Classic and Independent Horror Films Available to Stream for Free!

Wicked Horror: How did you first become involved with The Ghost Within?

Christoph Allerstorfer: I worked with Lawrence, the director, on 2 other movies before, and when I heard about his new one, we quickly agreed on working together again.

The first involvement in regard to music was right after shooting was finished. Lawrence needed a trailer for the Cannes Film Festival and asked me if I could do it. It was a mad rush because I only had half a day, but it turned out really good and I developed the ideas from the trailer further for the actual score later on.

Wicked Horror: Was there a specific instrument that you used more than others in The Ghost Within?

Christoph Allerstorfer: I play cello and guitar, and in general I lean more into using stringed instruments. For this score I had a 15 piece strings section available, which we recorded in Vienna, and I also used my cello, viola and violin a lot. The idea was to use these solo instruments like eerie “Ghost Strings”, and also for creepy aleatoric effects. Sound design played an important role too, like creating atmospheres with bowed cymbals and other metals.

Wicked Horror: Do you have a favorite track in the film? Why is it your favorite?

Christoph Allerstorfer: I don’t have a favorite track really to be honest. When the music blends well with a scene that’s the best part for me. There are some pieces I have in good memory because of the way they came together like “Temptation”, Holy Water” or “Panic Attack”.

Wicked Horror: The music when Margot takes the sheets off the clock are pretty distinct and eerie. Can you tell us what instruments you used for that scene?

Christoph Allerstorfer: For this scene I used my solo strings and played dissonant notes with a decent amount of reverb. Next to that is a mangled grandfather clock sound, and a reversed version of the same thing to the point where the clock strikes. My daughter’s vocals are used here too.

Wicked Horror: What was the hardest scene to score in the film?

Christoph Allerstorfer: The hardest part was the last section of the film, which is 20 minutes of nonstop music, where everything comes together finally. In the beginning I mostly used snippets of the themes/motifs, but during the last part they are fully developed and are interweaving with each other.

Wicked Horror: Did you watch any other horror films to get inspiration for The Ghost Within?

Christoph Allerstorfer: No, I prefer not to have my head filled up with any sort of music before I watch the first cut.

I talked with Lawrence about the music and what he envisioned and I had some vague first ideas. What really inspires me is seeing the film for the first time and normally inspiration is coming in naturally at this point.

Wicked Horror: What is your philosophy on jump scares, musically? For example, when Margot sees the image in the mirror. When is less is more?

Christoph Allerstorfer: I think jump scares must fit tightly with foley and other sound FXs to be most effective. The script and how the scene is filmed is most crucial in my opinion. If it’s good, you don’t have to throw everything you have at the audience to make them jump. Of course, silence always plays a major role, but I also try to find the right length and intensity. The mirror scene, for example, didn’t need a massive blast with low brass. On the soundtrack the piece is called “Ghost Face” and it starts with a sharp snap attack done with a cut off bass drum hit and a shaker (other things are layered in there too), followed by some “Ghost Strings” and the little vocal motive.

Wicked Horror: You had your daughter sing vocals on one of the tracks. Can you talk about how this came about?

Christoph Allerstorfer: Actually, she’s on more than just one track. The idea for Evie’s theme started with these 3 notes my daughter sang for the Cannes trailer. I needed something simple, but memorable and I asked my daughter to hum these 3 notes. The director liked this motif a lot and even replaced a children’s song he previously used for the film with it. It became Evie’s theme which can be heard throughout the movie in different variations and instrumentations like “Incurable”, “Always Remember” and “Requiem”. Also, the movie starts and ends with these 3 notes.

Follow us on social media: Like what you see? Be sure to follow us on social media: Twitter,Facebook, and Instagram!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Liked it? Take a second to support Steven Brown on Patreon!
Share This Post
Have your say!