A good scare depends on a good sound effect. A scary visual is one thing, but when it’s paired with scary sounds, you’re sure to get your audience to jump out of their seats. Here are the best websites for finding the right scary sound effects for your next horror movie — all without breaking your budget.
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Clipchamp is an online video editing service that includes stock footage and sound effects in its package. Its scary horror sound effects are high fidelity and undeniably unnerving, but unfortunately they’re limited in number.
The perk of Clipchamp is that for $9/month not only do you get access to these scary sounds, but you also get an editing software. However, if you already have editing tools and are just looking for sound effects, this will not be the best option for you.
Clipchamp is a solid product for anyone looking to first dip their toes into editing, but is probably too rudimentary for anyone beginners.
Storyblocks provides some of the scariest high quality sound effects of any site on this list. The sounds are also royalty free, ensuring you can use them however you like.
The catch? There’s not a wide array of sounds — just a little under 50 effects sit in their “scary sound effects” category. Furthermore, the subscription is overpriced for such a limited selection (at $15/month, though you can cancel any time).
Horror Sound Effects
Pro Sound Effects provides the best horror ambiences on this list. The site sources scary sounds designed by industry professionals. And the best of the best at that: some of their collections have been provided by Academy Award-winning sound editors.
The result is an assortment of fully fleshed-out blood-curdling ambiences that can dramatically heighten the scare factor of a scene. Their non-ambient sound effects are also incredibly high-quality, though a little less numbered.
The main reason Pro Sound Effects isn’t higher on the list? The price. The horror packages (containing about 500 MB — 1 GB of sound) are all at least $55, and some get up to almost $200.
Horror Film Sound Effects Free Download
MixKit is another solid option for any horror filmmaker working on a shoestring budget. The site has free high quality movie sounds that are licensed for pretty much any use.
The drawback (all free sites have a drawback) is the limit to the amount of sounds you can download. Also, the site’s database is a bit smaller than others on this list, so you aren't guaranteed to find what you’re looking for.
Scary Sounds Horror Sound Effects
The perk to Free Sound Effects is in its name: it’s free. It has a wide range of great scary sounds to punch up your film without putting a dent in your pocketbook. But before you go looking for the best beheading sound effect, there’s a few catches.
The site’s free sounds are not licensed for commercial use, meaning you can only use them for personal or educational projects. Furthermore, a lot of the free sounds are pretty low-quality, only really usable as a background noise to bolster a pre-existing effect.
The site does offer a paid tier, which has higher resolution scary sounds that are professionally licensed. If you’re going to spend money, however, there are better sites to turn to.
Freesound, like Free Sound Effects, is — wait for it — free. Unlike Free Sound Effects, however, its offerings are Creative Commons Licensed, allowing for a much wider array of copyright free horror sound effects.
The site’s greatest strength is that it is a collaborative database, filled by independent users who upload their own sounds onto the platform. The result is an unending amount of creepy sounds, covering all the horror movie sound effects you could imagine: the creaking of a floorboard, the breaking of a bone, the dripping of a faucet.
But the greatest strength of Freesound is also its weakness: while some of its sounds are high-quality and ready for professional use, others are noisy low-quality dumps. Thus you may find yourself lost in a sea of choices ranging from great to indecipherable.
Horror Movie Sound Effects
Epidemic Sound instantly has a leg up for horror sound effects, as its name is already ominous. The site lives up to its title with a deep bench of high-quality horror ambiences and sounds. It also has a wealth of royalty-free music (35,000 tracks) that can further beef up your sound design.
Epidemic Sound does cost money: for personal use, it’s $12/month, for commercial, it’s $25/month. The high quality of its scary sounds and music is worth the dough, however, and you can discontinue the service at any time.
Horror Movie Sound Effects
Zapsplat is one of the best sound effects sites out there, and absolutely the best place to look for creepy sounds. The site provides a plethora of free, high-quality sounds that can be used for virtually any kind of project. Their already impressive database is always growing and evolving.
The clause for Zapsplat’s licensing is that the site must be credited in your film (or, if it’s online, in its description) — for example, adding “Sound effects obtained from https://www.zapsplat.com” in your credits. It’s a small price to pay for high fidelity, free horror sound effects sure to terrify your audience.
What is Sound Design?
Now that you’ve got your troves of creepy sounds, it’s time to put them to good use. But good sound design doesn’t just come from good sound effects; it’s a demanding art form that takes time to master. Let us help you get started.