This AI-generated scary music offers a personalized Halloween soundtrack

Door creaks, evil laughs, screams, heartbeats—what scares you most? A new MIT project is generating scary music from AI. Inspired by classic horror movies, it offers Hollywood-worthy, personalized chills—and it could use your help.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is inviting the public to augment its AI-generated songs with special sound effects to create a dataset that will figure out what the most frightening sounds are. The experience is user-friendly: Researchers have generated scary music (inspired by movies such as The Exorcist, Halloween, and Psycho), and you can use the mixing board to add samples and create your own Halloween soundtrack.

“Generating scary music with AI is an unexplored territory so far: There is really no work we could find on scary music generation,” Pinar Yanardag, a former postdoctoral associate at MIT’s media lab, told the Daily Dot, “But a more important innovative approach we took is to incorporate crowd’s feedback into the picture.”

Yanardag created MIT’s Uncanny Music Box and is the CEO of AI Fiction. You can try the Uncanny Music Box for yourself, and share results on social media.

uncanny music box Uncanny Music Box

The findings of this study could then be used for different purposes in the entertainment industry. “We are hoping to deploy this technology to Hollywood to bring a ‘personalized’ touch to horror movies where the soundtracks are personalized to frighten you as much as possible,” Yanardag said. The study essentially wants to figure out what sounds most commonly frighten people—and the end game is getting AI to compose authentically bone-chilling music.

In 2016, this team used AI to make scary photos; in 2017, its AI wrote scary stories. Next year maybe Yanardah’s AI can put it all together for the motion picture.


Stephanie Fillion

Stephanie Fillion

Stéphanie Fillion is a French-Canadian journalist covering politics and foreign affairs in Montreal, Canada. She has worked for Radio-Canada in Vancouver and was a San Paolo fellow at La Stampa in Turin. In 2015, she won the Eu-Canada Young Journalist Award. She holds an M.A. in Journalism, Politics and Global Affairs from Columbia Journalism School and a B.A. in Comparative Politics, History and Italian Studies from McGill University. Her work appeared in outlets such as Quartz, Vice News, Ipolitics, and PassBlue.