Wouldn’t it be great if life came with a soundtrack so a person could know just when things were about to get dangerous, or silly, or somehow more intense? It might be a little confusing as well since competing soundtracks might try to overwhelm and cancel each other out given that if such a thing existed for everyone what one person finds dangerous would be kind of trivial to someone else. For audiences however the inclusion of danger music when there are no apparent enemies around a protagonist or antagonist in a movie or show usually means that something is about to happen and that the main character in the scene is about to find or cause some type of trouble. It typically doesn’t happen without something untoward about to occur unless it’s a comedy/spoof movie in which the characters are sometimes allowed to be much more aware of their surroundings and the fact that they’re in a movie. Matt Juul of Boston has something to share that might have some bearing on the topic. Otherwise playing danger music isn’t really a sensible move since certain music can cause audiences to believe that the story is about to take a very dangerous turn. The video above however is something that is bound to be a little amusing to some folks since danger music usually denotes that something is about to happen, but when we see a small and cuddly, inoffensive creature such as a mouse, we don’t tend to think that the situation is going to be that dire. That kind of all depends on how the story is bound to go and just what constitutes danger in a movie.
This is something that a lot of Dungeons & Dragons players could attest to since at very few points in a situation that appears, sounds, or looks dangerous are things to ever be taken lightly. A D&D player could easily tell you that threats come in all shapes and sizes, just as anyone in real life could. The difference of course is all bound up in the situation and just how paranoid a person really wants to make themselves. Again, a soundtrack to everyone’s life that would include danger music when things are about to get hairy would be nice, but it would be a little overkill as well, especially with those that live in fear of even stepping outside their home or their precious comfort zone. In such cases the danger music might be constant and never-ending each time a person decides to do something or go somewhere that they’re not entirely comfortable with. The trick with danger music is that it’s better as a backdrop for a movie or a TV show and something that characters are never aware of so that they don’t overreact or fail to react to something that may in fact be dangerous. Of course, we all look at a mouse and either shriek in fear, for one reason or another, or dismiss it as being cute and cuddly. But if there’s danger music playing before or during its reveal, think back to movies such as The Thing or Willard and be afraid…be very afraid. Or at the very least be creeped out enough to sidestep the mouse and not poke at it with anything.
Danger music has a couple of different uses in pop culture and they’re both fairly easy to understand. One is of course to indicate that something is about to happen and that the hero or even the villain might be in a spot of danger in the next instant or so. Another use though is to ramp up the adrenaline factor by letting audiences know that stuff is about to get real and that the juices are about to flow since a lot of people tend to take the danger music as a sign that a great deal of excitement is about to come. When the danger music is heard many people tend to tense up and get ready for just about anything that can happen. When nothing happens however it’s kind of a letdown, or a buildup to an anticipated jump scare that can happen in action movies just as it happens in horror. Some folks don’t fully appreciate the jump scares since they are admittedly a cheap way to get people to pay attention only to have a hit and miss record when it comes to a real payoff. But all in all the danger music that leads up to a jump scare is usually pretty exciting and enough to get people’s heart rates up for a few seconds to a few minutes. But the payoff usually is important since without it, the music becomes kind of pointless and definitely not worth the expectation of what’s going to happen. Danger music is a lot more important than a lot of folks might think, as important as any other mood-enhancing music found in pop culture.