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Ominous Latin Chanting

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O Fortuna!
Velut Luna!
Statu variabilis...

Somewhere over the past few centuries, Latin became the "ominous" language. Maybe it's the fact that it's the language of a once mighty civilization that collapsed over a thousand years ago. Maybe it's because it's also the traditional language of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus associated with divine power, spirituality, mystery, death, and Dark Age Europe. And from there it's only a hop, skip, and a jump to the idea of magic. And then there's the music with which Latin is often associated — for example, the unique sounds of the Gregorian chant — which can sound decidedly sombre, even spooky to a modern ear. Latin choirs also have those distinctive "ooh", "aah", "ooo" and "-us" sounds, ascending theatrically and descending dramatically.

So whenever you hear a choir singing powerfully in Latin, especially with Orchestral Bombing, it means that this is epic even when it's not. This trope is extremely common in movie trailers and the climax of devastating final battles; Hollywood will tell you that nothing can dictate "watch this movie" or "Grand Finale and the End of the World" more than potent choir chants in a language most viewers don't know, and that this is the way to give a scene that extra bit of ominous importance.


The actual meaning of the words is unimportant. They could be singing Latin nursery rhymes or reading from a Roman phone book for all we know, or even Dog Latin or complete gibberish; it's the sound that matters, but there are bonus points if the chanting is reminiscent of, or outright stolen from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, especially "O Fortuna", which is a lament about how You Can't Fight Fate. Another famous one is Dies Irae, whose lyrics are genuinely ominous. (If for any reason, such as parodying the trope, 4shared has an mp3 download link for O Fortuna.)

If the creators are particularly clever, the chanting will include a Bilingual Bonus.

Latin is probably the most familiar dead language due to its being the ancestor of modern Romance languages (even though English is a Germanic language, it still has a major proportion of Latin influence, primarily through French and science), and its prominence and impact on modern culture make it easy to fact-check. Nevertheless, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit, Hebrew and others are sometimes used to similar effect. If a work is set in Russia or the Soviet Union, expect Ominous Slavic Chanting.note  Eastern-style chanting is also having a surge in popularity, possibly due to the increase in stories featuring conflicts between Eastern and Western worlds. Creators that went to the trouble of inventing their own language for a work will likely find a way to feature it in this manner too. There's also a chance that the music only reminds one of ominous Latin chanting, opting to use "ooh", "aah", "ooo", and the like. Indeed, the lyrics don't need to mean anything; for the majority of the audience, Ominous Latin-Sounding Gibberish works just as well.


Compare Cherubic Choir and the One-Woman Wail. Often a part of Orchestral Bombing and Religious Horror. May involve Ominous Pipe Organ. See also Black Speech for the ear shattering version. See also Creepy Children Singing, where creepy songs and nursery rhymes are played in the background to add tension and fear to a scene. Often lends itself quite well to Mondegreens. Contrast Victorious Chorus, which has the opposite effect of this trope.

Plenty of the examples that follow have earned places on the Awesome Music page in case you feel like listening to them.


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  • The overuse of "O Fortuna" — particularly for huge, sprawling period epic war footage — was splendidly mocked in this advertisement for the Australian beer Carlton Draught.
  • In Britain, "O Fortuna" was used for an advert for Old Spice aftershave... and a parody of that advert many years later for Carling Black Label lager...
  • "O Fortuna" is also used by Dominoes for a commercial in which they ditch the "Pizza" part of their former name.
  • It also appears in a commercial for Rickard's Red beer, albeit with English lyrics praising the beer. Nevertheless, it's sung by an ominous red-robed choir that appears out of nowhere whenever someone orders the brand. A similar Rickard's commercial uses the above-mentioned "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana.
  • This National Guard ad starts off with Ominous Latin Chanting, but then switches to Ominous English Chanting. Let's just say that it doesn't have quite the same effect as Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • Used a lot in trailers. There are companies whose main occupation is to supply trailer music for certain previews. Immediate Music's Fury Unleashed, With an Iron Fist and Confronting the Dark Lord are particularly guilty of this trope. The more epic chorus and chanting, the better.
  • A disappeared channel in Latin America, Locomotion (the local precursor of Animax), used to feature epic commercials for its series, animation for grownups. An example was the one made for Evangelion. See here.
  • In 1997, a TV spot for Internet Explorer 4.0 used "Confutatis" from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem as background music. The ad, which featured Microsoft's slogan, "Where do you want to go today?", was quickly pulled as word quickly spread of the lyrics' meaning: "When the damned are cast away and consigned to the searing flames."

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Ah! My Goddess movie had the world rebuilt to Latin choral music ostensibly sung by the three Norns.
  • The Berserk Golden Age Films have Sounds of Tortured Souls as well as Blood and Guts and there is also this music from the third film.
  • The song Lacrimosa by Kalafina in Black Butler has a point where it quotes directly from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Lacrimosa.
  • Bleach uses it when the Fifth Espada, Nnoitra, releases his zanpakutou. He yells his release phrase, the wind starts blowing, and the Ominous English Chanting choir goes nuts. The song is called "Treachery."
    • Episode 226 ended with "Stand Up Be Strong (Part 1)," which features Ominous English Chanting, during Ichigo's second fight with Ulquiorra. There's also "Invasion," which plays when Mayuri releases his bankai against Szayelaporro.
    • "Treachery" and "Invasion" also appeared during the final battle of The DiamondDust Rebellion, while "Stand Up Be Strong" comes from Fade to Black.
    • Meanwhile, the fourth movie, Hell Verse, is full of remixes of instrumental tracks that appeared earlier in the series, now complete with full orchestras and Ominous English Chanting, backing images of hell, angels, demons, and torment. These tracks began to appear in the anime episodes at the very end of the Aizen battle. Here's a sample.
  • Another example of Badass Latin Chanting is A Certain Magical Index which likes to mix chanting and techno music when a serious fight is going on; quite suitably as the series is about a cold war between science and magic/religion but damn if it's not Crazy Awesome. Case in point: Tsuki Genten, first played when Touma faces off with and beats the crap out of Biaggio who's a bishop. Quite an ironic choice of music...
  • This kind of music accompanies any scene involving Britannian royalty in Code Geass. The lyrics are English rather than Latin, but given the role Britannia plays in this series, that makes sense.
  • Death Note simply loves this trope, frequently employing it to make the act of writing a name in a notebook and eating potato chips epic. Whoever's name is written in the notebook will die 40 seconds later, so it is kind of an ominous moment when Light puts a name down. In fact, many of the epic Latin pieces in Death Note have the lyrics of a Latin requiem mass. The song that plays during the four-and-a-half-year timeskip montage, for instance, is a Dies Irae, which is about Judgement Day, fitting how Light imposes Judgement on criminals and the rotten (though somehow, it doesn't include the "liber scriptus" verse). Even in the more calm moments you have the Kyrie Eleison chant, which may as well be the anime's theme.
  • The 9th episode (third part of the "King of Swords" arc) of the Descendants of Darkness animated series features an elegiac choir or male and female voices singing in Italian.
  • The opening theme for Elfen Lied, "Lilium" is Latin with Greek touches, done in a Gregorian chant style. It sets the tone for the anime, which is similarly bleak, sombre, and spooky. The theme is a One-Woman Wail, but the song also appears in other scenes, such as next episode previews, sung by a male voice choir that sounds more Gregorian. There is a Theme Tune Cameo in the form of a music box, giving it yet another different sound.
  • The Fate/Zero soundtrack also has many tracks with Latin chanting like Point Zero or The battle of the Strong. It has even been used for the revised version of The Sword of Promised Victory, also known to many as Saber's Theme Music Power-Up.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist : Lapis Philosphorum. The first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood starts up the chanting when Frost Alchemist Isaac MacDougal figures out that Ed and Al attempted human transmutation and ends soon after the Führer slices him up into chunks. Specifically, "Lapis Philosophorum." There's also Latin singing in "Trisha's Lullaby," but it's more nostalgic than ominous.
  • Lots of Kenji Kawai soundtracks feature Ominous Japanese Chanting, most notably in his soundtracks for Ghost in the Shell and GITS: Innocence. And also "Torukia" from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
  • Giant Robo: The Animation not only features Dies Irae as background music for The Reveal of the Big Bad's secret weapon, but it also has Ominous Opera Singing: the leitmotif for the various and varying flashbacks to the "Tragedy of Bashtalle" is an arrangement of "Una Furtiva Lagrima" from the opera L'elisir d'amore.
  • Guilty Crown uses it to great effect in episode 6 when Gai glares down a deorbited Kill Sat about to land on his head. And it's awesome.
  • Several dramatic instances in Gunslinger Girl were punctuated by Ominous Italian(?) Chanting, such as Henrietta's Unstoppable Rage in the first episode. Also, The Reveal Flashback depicting Elsa committing murder-suicide strikes a bonus for having some Ominous Pipe Organ at the start of the piece.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • Not even a (mostly) humorous series like this one is immune, as a choral score accompanied the climactic "final" episode. For a Bilingual Bonus, it's an ode to the creator of the universe.
    • Also, the episode where Koizumi shows the Celestial to Kyon is accompanied with a gregorian chant where the lyrics contain mostly the phrase "Kyrie eleison" ("Lord, have mercy" in Greek). Quite fitting.
    • The Movie of the fourth novel, Disappearance, turns this on soon after a minute or two of Quieter Than Silence (the conflict itself seemed over anyway), when Asakura stabs Kyon in the waist. Listen to "Rikishi no Tenkan Ten" here.
  • "Jigoku Rock" (from the Ironic Hell sequences) from the Hell Girl OST mixes this with... well... rock music...
  • Hellsing has the utterly terrifying Gradus Vita. The anime version of Hellsing includes Incognito performing a mock Latin-like chant to summon the Egyptian God of Chaos, Sett, to London.
  • The anime of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's "Battle Tendency" has the track "Propaganda", the leitmotif of Nazi officer Rudolph von Stroheim during his tenure as a cyborg made from NAZI SCIENCE!. It consists of Ominous Chanting in the finest tradition of this trope even if it's in German and not Latin. For bonus points the lyrics are from Also sprach Zarathustra and talks about the nature of the Übermensch.
  • Kamichama Karin: Zeus no Yubiwa/The Ring of Zeus.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!
    • What little we saw of the Negi vs. Chao Lingshen battle in the Mahou Sensei Negima ~Ala Alba~ OAD was accompanied with this.
    • Negima runs on this; nearly all the spells are activated by an incantation in either Latin or Ancient Greek. Supplementary materials usually give the translations of these incantations, and they actually manage to retain some ominousness even in English/Japanese.
  • Mai-HiME:
    • Half of the Mai-Otome soundtrack consists of Latin-sounding gibberish chanting (by an all-female choir), mostly during tense, dramatic moments — and the Magical Girl Transformation Sequence. This also shows up in Mai-HiME, particularly in Mezame and its various rearrangements/remixes.
    • The PS2/PC game for Mai-HiME has one track ("Fortuna" by Yousei Teikoku) that comes surprisingly close to averting this, though — its lyrics are mainly a smattering of quotes from classical Latin writers, particularly Virgil and Seneca, with classical rather than ecclesiastical pronunciation to boot. Taken as a whole it still doesn't make a lot of sense, but each individual line is perfectly legitimate Latin.
  • Shinn Asuka's personal battle theme in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, "Dark Energy", uses this trope; before fans knew the real name, they called it "the Evil Monk Chorus Song". Contrast with Kira Yamato's theme, which uses the One-Woman Wail.
  • Naruto
    • Akatsuki has a theme that carries the effect nicely.
    • And now we have the unearthly track Girei, the only possible theme for Akatsuki's leader, the godlike Painnote . Yet another example of Ominous English Chanting.
    • Also Orochimaru's theme/the epic fight music, although the chanting aspect is hard to hear or doesn't kick in until well after the fight and/or plot point is over (the 2 and a half to 3 minute mark).
    • Whenever Hidan's fear level goes up some sort of ominous chanting starts (with screams of pain in the background). When aided by Hidan's shrieking it gives goosebumps.
    • In the Sunny-Side Battle! OVA, an ominous choir can be heard as Itachi starts chanting incoherently the instructions to make and egg.
  • When the Church Choir in Noir starts up, rest assured that many, many people are going to die. (Specifically, the songs "Salva Nos" and "Canta Per Me". The later is Ominous Italian Chanting. Les Soldats, played at the start of every episode to accompany one of the female characters reciting one of three different versions of the Noir prayer, is also particularly ominous, considering it's the Leitmotif of an Ancient Conspiracy.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has Ominous German Chanting in episode 24, even though the lyrics themselves ("Ode to Joy") are anything but ominous in German.
    • The music of Rebuild of Evangelion sounds like this at first, but then we realize it's Ominous English Chanting done in a way that it sounds like Ominous Latin. It goes even further, with both a remake of "Angel Attack" and a new song played during the attack on Ramiel containing epic amounts of Ominous English Chanting, with some of it being pretty creepy for Western audiences too.
      • Rebuild 2.0 goes absolutely crazy with this, having no fewer than seven songs played during Angel attacks with Ominous English Chanting.
      • Followed by 3.0 having as many as twelve songs with Ominous English Chanting. As well as, calling back to the 24th episode of the show, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". At this rate, the final movie will probably have chanting for every single piece of music in the movie...
    "The war to end all wars is here... the air is filled with heavy fear... humanity is disappearing; suffering as millions see slaughter... this is the final showdown. There will be no tomorrow."
    • "Escape to the Beginning" from The End of Evangelion. It only plays during the beginning of the end of the world! The English lyrics are quite appropriate as well.
    Far in the distance / is cast a shadow,
    symbol of our freedom, / will bring us salvation.
    On the horizon, / hope for tomorrow,
    sweeping across the land / to give us unity.
    Look to the heavens / with tears of triumph
    to cherish a new life / and suffer not again.
  • Then there's the Read or Die movie, in which the threat is Ominous German Chanting via Clone Beethoven's Suicide Symphony.
  • Sengoku Basara
  • The intro to the Umineko: When They Cry anime is rife with ominous Italian chanting. While likely unintentional, the song's name, "One-Winged Bird", immediately bring to mind a certain other famous Latin-chanting theme of ominousness. From the visual novel, one of the game's soundtracks, sy, does have ominous Latin chanting. The phrase is "Dominus mā in dictorē astent in dictorum" (my God stands against the speaker in declaration). There is actually a few Latin words interjected in the Italian chanson.
  • The intros to Higurashi: When They Cry feature ominous backwards Japanese chanting.
  • Soul Eater has a few tracks that involve ominous chanting for fight scenes, specifically against the Big Bad, although it's tough to tell what language is being chanted. "Salve Maria/(Peace Be With You)" sounds like it may be Spanish rather than Latin, but either way it has a rather depressing, haunting feel to it (which fits well with the character it's often played for).
  • Pumpkin Scissors features ominous German chanting "Töten Sie sie!" ("kill them") whenever the main character activates his Lantern.
  • "Grain," the opening theme of Monster.
  • A staple of the Genesis of Aquarion soundtrack, particularly when Shadow Angels are involved.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Throughout the Ron Wasserman soundtrack for Dragon Ball Z's original dub, there are various gregorian-like synthesized chanting sounds. They appear quite frequently, and helped give the show's first two seasons a very sinister, almost otherworldly feel. An example of this type of music would be the track that plays at the height of Goku and Vegeta's beam struggle.
    • Starting with Dragon Ball Kai all of Frieza's Leif Motifs have this, as befitting of an epic cosmic emperor. There is his Kai theme song, his resurrection theme song in Super, and his Golden Frieza theme.
    • In Dragon Ball Super, Beerus' more frightening moments are accompanied by a track called "Beerus Madness", which contains a low chanting.
  • GaoGaiGar has Beautiful Wings of Light, the theme of Soldat J, which plays during several of his [CMoAs], including his introduction and Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Happens on The Legend of Koizumi, sung by a choir of children during the Pope's introductory Moment of Awesome: "Fiat Lux!" "Dixitque Deus!". Coincidentally, a different "Fiat Lux" is used in the Tales of Symphonia OVA. Given what is happening while she sings, and knowing the context behind both the song and her ability to perform it, crosses over into Tear Jerker territory. Fiat Lux.
  • Gunnm, while being a manga series still fits the trope, as the Den's attack on the Scrapyard in the end of the original series is set to the lyrics of "O Fortuna".
  • The Wangan Midnight anime has Voices of S30Z the theme song of the the ominously named Devil Z, fitting since the car is not only the fastest on Tokyo's Wangan-sen, but also one of the dealiest to it's drivers (all previous owners had died in crashes, yet the car survives and continues to run). Later on, the song gets used for every major high powered car in the series.
  • Noein makes heavy use of Ominous Latin Chanting, mostly in the bombastic themes relating to the hellish dimension Shangri La.
  • Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica has some Ominous Latin Chanting, to make sure the titles are also in Latin, with a mix of Italian and Japanese, all collectively referred to as "Kajiuran" after the score's composer, Yuki Kajiura. One is Mami's transformation scene, Sayaka's and the other... Well the title says all.
  • Record of Lodoss War: Okoreru Kyousenshi/An Angered Berseker. "DIES IRAE, DIES ILLA, SOLVET SAECLUM IN FAVILLA!"
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena features quite a bit of strange, baroque music, but saves its Latin chanting for when the villain of the Black Rose Saga is recruiting.
  • There is some on the Saint Beast OVA soundtrack mixing up the Sanctus and some other gratuitous Latin.
  • Sgt. Frog parodies this; ominous Latin chanting comes up whenever Angol Moa uses her Armageddon Attack (even at one one-trillionth power).
    • The "one-trillionth power" at least, is justified, as Moa's Armageddon Attack is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. So at one-trillionth power, it "only" creates a crater the size of a house, instead of, say, cracking the entire planet Earth open like an egg.
  • Tegami Bachi occasionally uses a music cue that resembles it.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has the unusual variation of Badass Latin Chanting. Super Galaxy Gurren Lagann and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's theme music is a One-Woman Wail version of Libera Me mixed with the Hot-Blooded rap song that was earlier used as Kamina's theme in the Recap Episode and they together are called Libera Me From Hell.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew has not quite so Ominous chanting during the Christmas episode where Kish finally realizes that Ichigo will never be by his side.
  • Many themes from Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, although the chanting isn't actually in Latin. The language is Kajiurago (see here).
  • The primary battle theme from The Vision of Escaflowne is the imposing, "O Fortuna"-inspired "Dance of Curse". At around the halfway mark, "Dance of the Curse" finds itself supplanted by the even more ominous and imposing "Epistle" as the primary battle theme. The fact that this is around the point where the battles get increasingly hellish and violent is probably not coincidence.
  • Witch Hunter Robin also features some chanting on its soundtrack. The chanting on "SOLOMON" is hard to decipher, and could just be nonsense words, but they do have a Kyrie (technically, ominous Greek chanting) that sounds absolutely amazing.
  • Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou has this as background music whenever a fight or something juicy is going on.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • The summoning of the Egyptian God card "Winged Dragon of Ra" required Ominous Egyptian Chanting to do properly. The Dub replaced this with Ominous... English Rhyme?
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light does have Ominous Egyptian Chanting for anything involing Anubis.
    • Also, the music that accompanied the summoning of God Cards (and other particularly important scenes) in the Japanese version was replaced with this kind of chanting.
  • The chanting in "XL-TT", "Attack on Titan'' 's go-to 'oh god we're screwed now' track, may not be in Latin, but it's certainly ominous.
  • The eighth episode of Pokémon Generations launches into a remix of the Weather Trio's theme when Archie awakens Kyogre, with the chanting kicking in when it finishes breaking out of its stone shell. Considering what happens next, it is entirely appropriate.
  • Maria The Virgin Witch has "Les serments de Chastet", a techno metal piece played as the shie witch Dorothy saves Maria from being burned by the church. It somewhat clashes with the orchestral tone the rest of the the soundtrack uses, but it only serves to make the scene more awesome.
  • Star Driver features this in "Emperor". Appropriately enough, this is basically the theme for Samekh, the giant King Cybody which upon being freed from Zero Time will absorb all Libido on planet Earth and thus kill every living being. There is also "Libido", reserved for intense fight scenes.
  • Aikatsu Stars! has Dreaming Bird which uses the "ooh", "aah", "ooo" variant, mixed with Ethereal Choir.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Kingdom Hearts fanfic Those Lacking Spines played this trope for laughs when the sinister Jeffiroth made his appearance to thwart our heroes, accompanied by an orchestra and choir that had appeared from nowhere and a helicopter airdropping Nobuo Uematsu to direct them both in a parody of "One-Winged Angel".
  • "O Fortuna" is the title theme to AMV Hell 1.
  • Invoked by name in this fan compilation.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series
    • The series has its own lyrics for "Ave Satani" as the Bakura Show theme song:
    It's The — Bakura Show — He Is — Evil — He's So Evil — He Once Killed — A Puppy — It Was Cute
    • The eight episode also played it for Bakura's first major appearance, with each statement followed by chanting to emphasize how Obviously Evil he was.
    • "O Fortuna" was used to foretell the coming of Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's.
    • In episode 45 just before the epic duel between Bakura and Melvin, we get some Ominous Brooklyn Chanting, followed by some actual chanting during the credits
  • Used to great effect by the doujin circle WAVE.
  • Another Touhou remix combines "One Winged Angel" with "Cirno's Perfect Math Class"... so the chorus of seemingly-ominous Japanese chanting is actually just "Baka! Baka!" (Stupid! Stupid!)

    Films — Animation 
  • The soundtrack to the film AKIRA contains a great deal of ominous chanting, but most of it is in barely-intelligible Japanese. Nemure, AKIRA, nemure... At the end, though, in that track they actually do use Latin as well.
  • Princess Mononoke has Ominous Japanese Chanting in the tune "The World of the Dead", which plays when the Forest Spirit's death goop is covering everything.
  • The Ghost in the Shell films make heavy use of Ominous Japanese Chanting — an antequated form of Japanese, no less.
  • In the trailer of the South Park movie, "O Fortuna" plays as the boys see Cartman's mom on the cover of "Crack Whore Magazine."
  • Darla Dimple's Battle Butler Max gets an ominous chanting to accompany his wall-smashing entrance in Cats Don't Dance — as though the red-tint, and the screaming reactions from the crew wasn't enough to show that Max is one scary dude. If you listen closely, it sounds like the chorus may be ominously repeating what was just said. "How does the kitty-cat go?" And Darla herself gets some as background in "Big and Loud".
  • In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, animals chant in Swahili/distorted English as they try to coax Melman into killing himself to appease the gods.
  • The Ralph Bakshi cartoon version of The Lord of the Rings strangely uses ominous gibberish with the words "Isengard" and "Mordor" peppered in, rather than actually use any Tolkien language.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Considering the setting, it's unsurprising that a lot of the background score is based on Old-World church music, but the Latin vocals only make an appearance when someone's about to find themselves in serious trouble. Some awesome Bilingual Bonus within:
    • Non confundar in aeternum (Let me not be damned for eternity — during Esmeralda's execution as a witch)
    • Libera me Domine de morte aeterna (Free me, Lord, from everlasting death)/ In die illa tremenda (On that terrible day)/ Quando caeli movendi sunt (When the heavens shall be moved)/ Caeli et terra (The heavens and earth)/ Dum veneris judicare (When Thou shalt come to judge)/ Saeculum per ignem (the world by fire — during Quasimodo's breaking free of the chains)
    • Sit sempiterna gloria (May glory be eternal)/ Gloria, gloria semper (Glory, glory forever)/ Sanctus, sanctus in excelsis (Holy, holy, in the highest — when Quasimodo climbs the cathedral and claims sanctuary for Esmeralda)
    • Quem patronum rogaturus ("To what protector shall I appeal")/ Cum vix justus sit securus? ("When scarcely the just man shall be secure?" — when Phoebus leads the charge toward the cathedral.) These lines (and the lines in the entry below) come from the well-known 13th century Gregorian chant "Dies Irae" (Day of Wrath).
    • Confutatis maledictis (When the accursed shall be cast down)/ Flammis acribus addictis (Given to the searing flames — when Frollo is about to fall off of Notre Dame; Frollo actually quotes this line in English just before falling, too, albeit not in those exact words)
    • More examples can be found in the lyrics to "The Bells of Notre Dame" (Latin chanting during Frollo's chase describes the "day of trembling" when "the Judge is come,") and Frollo's Villain Song, "Hellfire."
    • Very cleverly used in "Hellfire". The interlude between Quasimodo's "Heaven's Light" and Frollo's "Hellfire" is an excerpt from Confiteor, a Latin prayer for confessions of sin. The Confiteor continues into "Hellfire", offering some intentional irony in the first few lines of the song. Most notably, when Frollo tries to claim innocence for his lustful thoughts:
    Frollo: It's not my fault!
    Choir: Mea culpa ([It is] My fault)
    Frollo: I'm not to blame!
    Choir: Mea culpa ([It is] My fault)
    Frollo: It was that gypsy girl, that witch who sent this flame!
    Choir: Mea maxima culpa ([It is] My most grievous fault)
    Frollo: It's not my fault
    Choir: Mea culpa
    Frollo: If in God's plan
    Choir: Mea culpa
    Frollo: He made the devil so much stronger than a man!
    Choir: Mea maxima culpa!
    • One of the primary "dark/ominous" motifs in the film uses the phrase Kyrie eleison ("Lord, have mercy") — technically Ominous Greek Chanting, but the effect is the same. The movie practically makes this phrase into Frollo's leitmotif.
    • The Dies Irae itself gets play during one of the most terrifying sequences, when Frollo is tearing the city apart and burning people's houses down to try to get to Esmeralda, culminating in burning Paris down.
    • Quantus tremor est futurus quando iudex est venturus cuncta stricte discussurus ("How much tremor there will be when the Judge will come investigating everything strictly" — when Quasimodo's mother is running to get away from Frollo.)
    • And, appropriately to the movie, most of these lines come from the Requiem Mass. "Libera Me" comes from the poem of the same name; the latter two come from "Dies Irae", which is not so much ominous as outright terrifying. "Sit sempiterna gloria," however, is a line from Thomas Aquinus' "O Salutaris," which is a Eucharistic Adoration hymn.
  • The Pixar short film "Jack-Jack Attack" on The Incredibles DVD makes use of "Dies Irae".
  • It is also included within Hans Zimmer's score for the wildebeest stampede and Mufasa's death scene in The Lion King. For bonus points, this same score (titled "To Die For...") also includes excerpts of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem when Simba finds his father's body. The only thing The Lion King lacks is actual Ominous Latin Chanting — there's plenty of Zulu chanting but it's hardly ominous (except perhaps the Zulu which is set to the "Dies Irae").
  • The opening credits of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm are accompanied by Ominous Chanting to the tune of Shirley Walker's memorable B:TAS theme. The chorus, once again, is actually chanting the last names of production team members backwards.
  • An even more intense version of Mozart's "Mass in C Minor — Kyrie" plays during the impressive storm at sea scene in The Triplets of Belleville.
  • The Prince of Egypt
    • The chanting's in English, not Latin, but that doesn't stop the chorus in "Plagues" and their description of what God's gonna do to the Egyptians from being scary. When they say that the pestilence won't stop "until you break/until you yield," you believe it.
    Chorus: "I send the swarm/I send the horde!"/Thus saith the Lord!
    • The number "Playing With the Big Boys Now", starts with Ramses' priests Hotep and Hoi(Steve Martin and Martin Short)(?) chanting the names of various Egyptian deities. The chanting can be heard later in the background.
  • Brother Bear has the equally ominous, joyful (yes, you can be ominous and joyful at the same time) and awesome "Transformation." Not Latin — accurate Inuktitut! Sang by the Bulgarian's Women's Choir, no less.
  • You know what goes well with chanting? Conlang! So Atlantis: The Lost Empire naturally had some ominous chanting in Atlantean.
    Naseithi basathos...
    Nasani batha
    Harutani strata
    Nasetani kataan
    Haanathaa Atland
    Naseitha sethos
    Haretana sanaalan!
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole has a few "aah's" that are heard during scenes with the Pure Ones and sometimes with Soren. Chanting can be heard when Metalbeak tries to kill Soren.
  • The 2009 animated Fantastic Mr. Fox featured a chorus in the final action scenes, chanting a limerick about the villains:
    Chorus: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean / One fat, one short, one lean / These horrible crooks / So different in looks / Were nonetheless equally mean.
  • The LEGO Movie satirizes this trope while playing it straight. Listen closely in the underwater sequence to find that the choir are simply chanting, "under the sea" or even "Lego." Even operatic "yo ho." In addition, during Lord Business's fight with Vitruvius at the start of the film, you can hear them sing, "See all the Lego."
    • The Lego Batman Movie uses a similar satirical approach to its predecessor. When the Joker is sent to the Phantom Zone, you can actually hear the choir literally saying "The Phantom Zone".
  • The first half of "Armageddon" in The Gate to the Mind's Eye features a sinister-sounding man singing in Latin. In translation, featured in the CD booklet, he's singing about the horrors of Armageddon. Some segments of the song also feature the more traditional background chanting.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The trailer songs for the Spider-Man Trilogy.
  • John Williams' now-classic "Duel of the Fates" from the Star Wars saga is the Molto vivace from Dvorak's New World Symphony, with the lyrics consisting of a Welsh poem sung in Sanskrit. Apparently it's about trees going to war or something. Williams admitted that the lyrics have no intended meaning, they just sound cool. Williams repeated his success in Episode III with "Battle of the Heroes". The Sanskritified lyrics come from the artistic-license-tastic translation of an old Welsh poem, The Battle of the Trees, as done by Robert Graves for his book The White Goddess: "Under the tongue root a fight most dread/And another raging behind, in the head."
  • Any Genghis Khan related movie and the occasional Hun-themed flick will have the Mongolian form of this trope, traditional Tuvan throat singing accompanied by a warlike drum track. Not to mention the fact that spoken Mongol is probably one of the most ominous sounding languages in existence.
  • Mozart's Dies Irae is used in this film version of Doom - Repercussions of Evil.
  • The Omen (1976) used "Ave Satani", an original piece inspired by "O Fortuna" as the theme for the young antichrist Damien. It's a a dark inversion of Schubert's uplifting "Ave Maria".
  • Spoofed in the Jackass film, where "O Fortuna" plays during the intro, which consists of the cast members careening down a street in an oversized shopping cart with rocks being shot at them.
  • Hot Fuzz
    • Spoofed when members of the conspiracy are discovered chanting Latin. Word of God states the words are "bonum commune communitatis," "for the greater good of the community."
    • Played straight with the inclusion of "Dies Irae" in the run-up to Tim Messenger's death.
  • Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky is perhaps the original instance. The Teutonic Knights are accompanied by an ominous Latin chorus, which rises in a crescendo during the battle scene. This made sense because the Teutons were evil Catholics fighting the goodguy Eastern Orthodox Russians in the highly propagandistic film. Prokofiev's film music for this sounds similar enough to "O Fortuna" that it may have inspired the use of Orff's Carmina Burana in movies. (The Orff piece was written earlier — by one year.) The chanted words: "Peregrinus expectavi pedes meos in cymbalis" themselves are snipped from Stravinsky's A Symphony of Psalms. Prokofiev, however, evidently realized no-one in the audiences would know Latin, because the words are randomly chosen from the Psalms, and mean, when read as one sentence: "I as a stranger awaited my feet on cymbals"
  • Subverted in Branagh's Henry V. The Awesome Music is in Latin, but instead of ominous, it's meant to sound hopeful and triumphant after the big battle sequence.
  • Mozart's "Dies Irae" underscores Nightcrawler's attack on the White House in X2: X-Men United.
  • Verdi's "Dies Irae" is the main opening theme to the Battle Royale film. It also sees play during the attack of the Regulators (the forerunners of The Klan) in Django Unchained.
  • The Conan the Barbarian films heavily featured dramatic Latin music — despite there being no Latin in Cimmeria. See for example "Riders of Doom" (~1:37).
  • Ominous Latin-Sounding Gibberish plays when Queen Narissa enters the real world in Enchanted... and every time she uses her evil magic.
  • The Thin Red Line uses "In Paradisum" from Gabriel Fauré at the beginning. Other parts of the movie feature Ominous Melanesian Chanting.
  • Used occasionally in The Matrix trilogy:
    • The freeway scene in The Matrix Reloaded features "Mona Lisa Overdrive" by Juno Reactor, with Sanskrit chanting from "Navras," also by Juno Reactor & Don Davis.
    • The final battle in The Matrix Revolutions has some extremely Ominous Sanskrit Chanting in the background, although thematically it's rather positive: "And when he is seen in his immanence and transcendence, then the ties that have bound the heart are unloosened, the doubts of the mind vanish, and the law of Karma works no more." As the Wachowskis put it, "We couldn't very well have the choir chanting, 'This is the One, look at what he can do,' could we?"
  • The Lord of the Rings movies feature ominous chanting in a variety of languages (largely the "Big Two" Elvish languages of Quenya and Sindarin), including the languages that Tolkien made up himself as the main purpose of writing the stories in the first place. Some of the songs were even composed by Tolkien himself. The words for lyrics of some original songs, other the hand, had to be improvised by linguists working on the film because of the meagre examples of non-Elvish languages that Tolkien left behind in his writings.
    • The vaguely Semitic-esque Adûnaic chanting whenever the Nazgûl make their appearance is quite ominous despite Adûnaic being the in-universe ancestor of the languages spoken by the Hobbits and the Men of Gondor (and the descendant of the tongues spoken by the "good" men of the First Age); the language was chosen because the Nazgûl themselves were once men, with their leader himself descending from the Adûnaic-speaking Númenóreans.
    Bârî 'n Nidir nênâkham. (The Lords, the Nine, we approach.)
    Nêbâbîtham magânanê. (We deny our maker.)
    Nêtabdam dâurad. (We cling to the gloom.)
    • At two places in Fellowship you can hear parts of the Ring poem (though not those in the Ring inscription) sung in Black Speech, the lingua franca of Mordor. Perhaps surprisingly, these aren't used for Sauron, the Ring, or Mordor (which have their own leitmotifs, but no lyrics), but for Saruman's lust for the Ring and its power.
    • The movies are also notable for the skilful use of a deep-voiced Polynesian choir chanting in Khuzdul (Dwarvish) during the definitely ominous Balrog scene in Moria. Indeed, it's essentially "O Fortuna" in Dwarvish instead of Latin (starting at about 1:12 here). The lyrics are notable for being as ominous as they sound:
    Urkhas tanakhi! Lu! Lu! (The demon comes! No! No!)
    Kâmin takalladi! Lu! Lu! (The earth shakes! No! No!)
    Ugrûd tashniki kurdumâ! Lu! Lu! (Fear rips our heart! No! No!) ...
    Urus ni askad gabil — (Fire in a great shadow —)
    Urus ni buzra. (Fire in the deep.) ...
    Arrâs talbabi fillumâ! Fillumâ! (Flames lick our skin! Our skin!)
    Ugrûd tashniki kurdumâ! Kurdumâ! (Fear rips our heart! Our heart!)
    Urkhas tanakhi. (The demon comes.)
    • That said, while composer Howard Shore was provided with full translations for the lyrics he was given to work with, he didn't always follow them linearly in the score, and sometimes they ended up quite chopped up. Plus mispronounced (the Sindarin rovail [wings] and naur [fire], in the battle at the Black Gate, should be pronounced as "roh-vile" and "nowr", not "roh-veel" and "noor").
  • Howard Shore's score for Al Pacino's Looking For Richard featured Latin translations of lines from Shakespeare's play. It was quite effective.
  • In the James Bond movie Die Another Day, Ominous backward English Chanting is used for the Big Bad's evil space laser. The phrase, according to the composer, is "look at the size of that umbrella."
  • RoboCop (1987) has a chorus that chants his name.
  • The Boondock Saints uses this trope throughout the movie, sometimes backed up with techno. The most pronounced is during the Il Duce firefight, which is accompanied by the same chanting that opened the movie.
  • The first transformation of Johnny Blaze into Ghost Rider is backed up by this chanting.
  • While not actual chanting, the opening driving sequence to The Shining is backed by a very slow version of "Dies Irae".
  • The flagellants from Bergman's The Seventh Seal sing the "Dies Irae," with lyrics "Pie Iesu domine, dona eis Requiem," translated, "Gracious Lord Jesus, grant them rest."
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail include a likely parody of The Seventh Seal by including a group of flagellant Benedictines who chant "Pie Iesu" while bonking themselves on the head with wooden boards. "Pie Iesu" is later used to add majesty to the Holy Hand Grenade.
  • The 2007 live-action Transformers film features a basso and an alto choir in counterpoint to each other being used for the Decepticon theme. Also used for the theme when Blackout attacks the base and when Megatron thaws.
  • Artists X-Ray Dog and Globus and others specialize in music for film and trailers, often featuring a lot of this chanting.
  • The Reveal for the title Cool Boat in The Hunt for Red October is backed by Ominous Russian Chanting — complete with Bilingual Bonus — to form a Moment of Awesome.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, during the massive battle there is ominous chanting.
  • In the finale to Dead Again, the three-way battle between Frankie, Mike, and Grace is backed by this chanting.
  • In the 1963 film of Lord of the Flies, the choir approach singing "Kyrie eleison" repeatedly, in upbeat mood, accompanying a rather triumphant sounding trumpet. It sounds ominous only in retrospect (or if you know what's coming). Ironically, "Kyrie eleison" is part of the Catholic mass and translates to "Lord, have mercy." This is more what it would sound like in the traditional Latin rite.
  • There is plenty of Ominous Hindi Chanting during Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. "Kali ma shukti de!"
  • In Young Sherlock Holmes, the snake cult chants ominously in some dead language during their climactic ritual. A lot of their lyrics are merely the name of the cult, "Rame Tep".
  • John Boorman's Excalibur features one of the more famous uses of "O Fortuna" during battle sequences.
  • The main title theme for the Francis Ford Coppola film Bram Stoker's Dracula features a chorus whispering and hissing on pitch in both Latin and Romanian.
  • This trope (usually substituting another language for Latin, though) shows up in a number of Bollywood films, including — but not nearly limited to — Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, and Main Hoon Na.
  • Koyaanisqatsi features Ominous Hopi Chanting. Both it and its sequels (Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi) feature the film's title chanted (although in Powaqqatsi it's more joyful than ominous), but there are additional Hopi chants in Koyaanisqatsi, which are translated at the end of the film, on screen, as:
    If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster.
    Near the day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky.
    A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans.
  • In the opening tune, and during the climactic battle in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the enchanted armour sing the words of the 'substitutiary locomotion' spell that is animating them ("Treguna mekoides trecorum satis dee."). The effect is actually quite chilling.
  • Craig Armstrong's "Escape" from Plunkett and Macleane starts out as ominous and quite mournful, it being played as Macleane is about to get hanged, but soon turns into a driving and triumphant score when Plunkett gets his Big Damn Hero on and rescues him.
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: "Justice is dead!... or so Jay thinks!"
  • Parodied in Woody Allen's Love and Death, during the battle scene, with the battle music from Alexander Nevsky.
  • Listen to the music that plays during Galaxy Quest when we see the Omega 13 in all its glory. Go on, you know you want to.
  • Downplayed in Step Brothers. A short sound clip of this chanting plays when Brennan sees Dale's drum set (on which Dale has a strict 'do not touch' policy) sitting in the latter's room. It plays again when Dale, inspecting his drum set - suspecting it to have been tampered with - finds one of his drumsticks damaged. Cue the quarrel.
  • John Barry's music for The Lion in Winter makes liberal use of this trope.
  • The soundtrack for Glory is made up of something that sounds like this chanting, but it's also kind of pretty. Special mention goes to Charging Fort Wagner.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey features, as the monolith music, Ligeti's Requiem mass. The lyrics are "Kýrie, eléison; Christé, eléison; Kýrie, eléison", repeated in a loop — except each syllable is dragged a lot, and the different vocal ensembles don't sing together, adding to the confusion. His composition "Lux Aeterna" also appears, as the background music during Heywood Floyd's trip to the moon. It's not as ominous, though.
  • 1996's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet had epic "O Verona".
  • The trailer for The X-Files: Fight the Future also used "O Verona" (albeit a tecno-ish remix).
  • A main source of Narm in Hospital Massacre.
  • Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, ostensibly a documentary about nuclear testing, is an excuse to show lots of really big explosions set to Ominous (Russian?) Chanting.
  • In French movie Les Visiteurs, Pseudo-Latino-Romanesque-sounding language chanting is part of main theme: Enae Volare. Fitting with the Middle Age setting, but less with the movie genre, which is a comedy.
  • Used in The Dark Knight Saga. Hans Zimmer put a link out that allowed anyone to record themselves doing the chanting he used in The Dark Knight Rises. The Arabic phrase used as the chant, Deshi Basara, translates as "he rises" and is very thematically important. It's also used in-universe as a chant in Bane's prison when someone tries to make the climb to escape.
  • Eyes Wide Shut: the masked ball scene contains diagetic music using an Orthodox liturgy chanted in Romanian and played backwards to make it more otherworldly.
  • Mission: Impossible
  • The Sum of All Fears has The Mission. While it's mostly a One-Woman Wail, the lyrics are in Latin and gives a rather haunting feel.
  • Dagon had Ominous Latin Chanting, except of course instead of Latin, the phrase "Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Fhtagn" was chanted.
  • In Godzilla (2014), György Ligeti's very creepy, very ominous "Requiem" (which had previously been most closely associated with 2001: A Space Odyssey) plays during the HALO jump. It was also used in almost all of the trailers for the film.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness uses what sounds like Ominous Klingon Chanting during the aerial chase over the Ketha Province of Qo'noS.
  • The trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road and one of its action sequences features "Dies Irae". It also gets used after the Bullet Farmer is blinded and he starts shooting in a mad rage.
  • Jurassic World has the chanting heard during the climactic battle between Rexie and the I-rex.
  • When Dom and Shaw start fighting in Furious 7, chanting can be heard.
  • Eye of the Devil has what appears on the surface to be a standard Catholic Latin Mass, but it is framed and shot to be very ominous, complete with a Bald of Evil Sinister Minister played by Donald Pleasence. Turns out it's a Satanic "black mass."
  • Parodied in Amber Benson's short film Shevenge, where the lead characters apparently don't know any actual Latin.
    (Chanting) Latin latin latin... Latin latin latin...
  • Marketa Lazarová: Zdeněk Liška's brilliant dark, ominous and rapid chanting score. [1]
  • Broken Arrow (1996) has a brief chanting of "Agnus Dei" when Hale finds himself stranded in the Utah desert.
  • The Name of the Rose has four of them in-universe, used to make the abbey more realistic.
  • Spoofed in Deadpool 2 with Juggernaut's theme. It has the same tone as a traditional Ominous Latin Chant, but the lyrics are in English and it's mostly just the singers dramatically yelling things like "Fighting dirty" and "Holy shitballs".

  • In the Warhammer 40,000 novel Storm of Iron, the lead Chaos Titan is named Dies Irae.
  • Averted in The Divine Comedy where Latin chanting is (usually) a good sign and a contrast to the wailing screams of agony heard in hell.
  • In Andrzej Sapkowski's Hussite Wars series, utter polyglot nonsense was chanted by impostors-masquerading-as-exorcists, surprisingly, to quite the opposite effect. It summoned something unidentified. Which then immediately possessed the village idiot.
  • The Left Behind book series has Ominous Hebrew And Greek Chanting, as the demon locust swarm that emerges during one of God's Trumpet Judgments chants "Abaddon" and "Apollyon" in their respective languages.
  • In Victoria the heroes choose at one point to massacre hundreds of liberal intellectuals for the crime of "Cultural Marxism." To make sure the message isn't lost, they do so wielding short swords and wearing Crusader surplices. To make extra sure, they bring in a live choir to chant Dies Irae while they work, and the somewhat less ominous Non Nobis as they leave.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica
    • As much mournful as ominous, the words in the opening credits (in all TV airings on UK television, and from season 2 onwards in the U.S.) are actually a Sanskrit prayer known as the Gayatri Mantra, considered to be the holiest verse in the Vedas, the founding texts of Hinduism. Roughly translated into English it reads:
      Oh God! Giver of life, earth and sky
      That heavenly light which must be worshipped
      Let us attain the radiance of God
      May our thoughts bring us ever forward into light
    • Gaius Baltar's new theme is in Old English. Translated, it's a prayer to Gaius Christ, divine saviour of mankind. Okay. then...
    • Baltar also listens to a hilarious Italian opera way back in the first season:
      Woe upon your Cylon heart.
      There's a toaster in your head.
      And it wears high heels.
      Number Six calls to you.
      The Cylon Detector beckons.
      Your girlfriend is a toaster.
    • "Kobol's Last Gleaming" from the season 1 soundtrack contains proper Latin chanting, using the words "Ita Dicimus Omnes", "So Say We All".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has this. Usually, though, it isn't so much chanting as speaking it to perform spells and/or do rituals.
    • In one particular case in Season Two, it was ominous Italian opera when Giles discovered that Angelus had killed Jenny Calender. The moment is also another Whedon example of Anyone Can Die
    • While good characters are shown to use magic in the show, as a rule the good guys (okay, 'girls') cast spells in what is actually intentionally-badly-pronounced Italian (so it sounds ancient), whereas the bad guys e.g. Warren use Latin chants.
    • The straightest example of this comes in a flashback when the still human Drusilla enters a church for confession, and is encountered by Angelus who just ate the priest. The background chorus sings ''Pange Lingua'', an old eucharist hymn, presumably from The High Middle Ages, with some variations.
    • Gaelic is a rare variation.
  • Parodied in an episode of Bullshit, which opens with a chant of "Ethay Aticanvay isyay Ullshitbay..."
  • The Japanese gameshow subtly titled Cat Weightlifting includes hints of Ominous (probably Japanese) Chanting when the scientists are placing the final fish on the ground. The show also features unnecessarily awesome music when the cats manage to escape with the increasingly larger fish, and some Metal when each cat gets knocked out in the final round. If you've no idea what it's about, go watch the video already.
  • For the most part in Charmed, practitioners of Good Magic cast spells in English Rhyme, whereas Dark Magic was done in Latin.
  • The Daily Show used Ave Satani for the "horrors" that were:
    • Starbucks being closed for three hours.
    • Dick Cheney smiling more than ten times during the State of the Union address.
    • Jon Stewart revealing his true identity as the Antichrist or possibly Conrad Bain.
    • They also used "O Fortuna" to accompany footage of Jesus on a spring.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Atlantean cult in "The Underwater Menace" chant ominously in a gibberish language ("waa-aa-tuu-aah waa-aa-tuu-aah Wah! Wah! Wah!") while performing religious rituals (like chaining the Doctor and his companions on top of a shark pit). It is combined on the soundtrack with dissonant electronic hits and a creepy organ.
    • Ominous Buddhist chanting ("Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ!") is used to summon the giant spiders in "Planet of the Spiders".
    • In "Bad Wolf", the first appearance of a massive Dalek army is accompanied by Ominous Hebrew Chanting. (The words are reported to be a translation of "What is happening?", which apart from being an appropriate response to the situation is also a Dalek Catch-Phrase.) The words are "Mah Koreh, Mah Mah Koreh" (what's happening, what, what's happening) repeated over and over again. Here is the theme.
    • In "Tooth and Claw", the bald monks chant "Lupus Deus est" — "the wolf is god" — as the Moon rises.
    • A moment in "Doomsday", featuring the use of the Daleks' Genesis Ark — sending millions of Daleks against the 5 million Cybermen that have already taken over the world winds up using the prerequisite chanting as well.
    • And then of course, there's "The Dark and Endless Dalek Night", which contains a mixture of Ominous Latin and Terrifying Hebrew Chanting.
    • And in "The End of Time", the Ood sing "Vale Decem" (Farewell, Ten) as Ten regenerates.
    • The Headless Monks of "A Good Man Goes to War" have a decidedly unsettling chant/song they perform before they attack. How they manage to chant, given that they lack heads, is anyone's guess.
  • Farscape: "Into The Lion's Den", the climax (if not the finale) of the third season, had two original tracks of this chanting, "Salve Me" and "Lacrimosa". Both are available at the official website, and both are Awesome Music.
  • A Left the Background Music On variation when Frasier goes to Bebe's hotel room and there's a choir singing outside the window. While she tries to seduce him, he throws open the window to get some air just as the choir hits a particularly ominous crescendo, accompanied by sweeping red floodlights.
  • Hannity's America on Fox News has been known to use Carmina Burana as a cold opening sometimes, usually to a montage of "sinister" goings-on amongst (usually) Democratic political figures in Washington, D.C. Apparently it's supposed to be funny, although Hannity's America is generally serious.
  • Ominous Nonsense Chanting found its way into Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess in the Dahak story arc. Actual Latin found its way into the story with the Four Horsemen.
  • The logo for Renaissance Pictures (which appears on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess) uses this as music, accompanying visuals of lightning bolts and a Mona Lisa-like picture being ripped in half.
  • Another "hard to tell if it's Latin or not" but the Highlander: The Series episode "The Immortal Cimmoli".
  • Parodied on How I Met Your Mother. When Barney pressures Ted to swear an oath to him as his bro (a "bro oath" or "broath"), he lends the ceremony some extra solemnity by playing a recording of some chanting monks. It takes Ted a couple minutes to realize the monks are actually just chanting the word "bro" over and over; Barney had them record it just for the occasion.
  • Happens on the original Japanese Iron Chef, whenever the Iron Chefs rise to the stage.
  • Played with in Kamen Rider Faiz in which a Corrupt Corporate Executive (though to be fair, the entire organization was corrupt too) played this chanting on a personal CD player in his office whenever he was on the job. The situation didn't matter; he could be planning world domination or just relaxing after a hard hour's work, but the Chanting would still be belting out at full volume. Thanks to the show having a serious tone 99% of the time, this came off as more creepy than humorous.
  • The soundtrack for Lexx includes a fair amount of random choral chanting (although a lot of it is just oohs and aahs).
  • The miniseries adaptation of The Master and Margarita has Ominous Latin Chanting out the wazoo, with a few "abracadabra"s thrown in for good measure. "Woland's Hymn" is the most prominent example.
    Sator arepo tenet opera rotas
    Igni natura renovatur integra
    INRI, INRI, abracadabra...
  • Ominous Chanting is quite common on Merlin, though it's so indistinct that it's hard to tell whether or not it's Latin. Or what they're saying. It's very old English according to the DVD extras.
  • In The Middleman, when Sensei Ping does the Wu-han Thumb of Death, it's accompanied by the "Dies Irae" from the Mozart Requiem (along with stock footage of Stuff Blowing Up).
  • Mission: Impossible: Done by the evil Satanic cult in "The Devils".
  • The opening credits to Mr. Bean had a real church choir singing the Latin for "Behold the man who is a bean", "End of part one", "Part two", and "Farewell, man who is a bean".
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000
  • A Running Gag in the game show Pointless is that the hosts will imitate Ominous Latin Chanting whenever a round goes to a tie-break.
  • The theme to the darkly humorous Danish television series Riget (of which Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital is a remake) mixed genuine Latin phrases with gibberish, counting to seven in English and slow spelling of the word "rectum" [2]. Even the legitimate Latin is nonsense ("speculum et cetera"; "mirror and so forth").
  • The titular Hopi chant from the movie Koyaanisqatsi plays every time The Janitor gives someone the Death Glare in Scrubs. May God have mercy on the one who receives it.
  • Sherlock: Done by a secret society meeting in a desanctified church in "The Abominable Bride".
  • Used in the Korean Series Sign whenever the dramatic moment needs a extra kick.
  • The theme for Silent Witness is sung in Latin.
  • An episode of Spaced features apocalyptic Latin chanting to reveal a cute dog lying with bamboo on Tim's bed, as he has a fear of both.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • Ominous Latin Chanting is used in the 3rd season episode "Demons". However, that episode was about a group of Middle Ages humans being threatened by Sokar, so it's rather appropriate.
    • In later seasons, there's plenty of Ominous Latin Chanting related to the Ori, as well as in the direct-to-DVD movies.
  • The Borg's first appearance in "The Best of Both Worlds" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is accompanied by an awesome sounding synthesized choir (appropriate for the Borg's artificial nature).
  • Same goes for Supernatural with its various exorcisms and rituals, not only in Latin, but sometimes even in Enochian.
  • Even Survivor (yes, the reality show) has done this with a generally unliked contestant (somewhere between quirky, insane, and power-hungry) doing yoga in the rain (complete with ominous lightning and thunder) as "O Fortuna" plays in the background.
  • In the Teen Wolf episode "The Girl Who Knew Too Much", both Ominous Latin Chanting and ''Psycho'' Strings appear as the season's villain takes another sacrifice and attempts to kill a main character. This is amplified by the fact that the intense scene takes place in the school classroom while a recital takes place elsewhere in the school, and the Psycho Strings and Ominous Chanting are actually real in the universe, with the performers in the recital doing both. It is implied that the villain was able to possess the choir and orchestra to do this, simply because she has a flair for the dramatic. This supposed possession is actually the cause of death for the villain's victim—the pianist pounds on the piano keys so hard that one cord snaps and slashes her throat.
  • Invoked on Top Gear — for when things like a race to London City Airport between a boat and a bicycle just aren't epic enough.
  • Spoofed in A Touch of Cloth III, where the sacrifice cult is accompanied by this kind of music, but the lyrics are just inane things like video game titles, brand names and politicians ("ESTEÉ LAUDER!" "SUPER MARIO!" "DAVID MILIBAND!")
  • Vikings has ominous chanting, only it is in Old Norse.
  • Warehouse 13 's pilot had Ominous Medieval Italian Chanting.
  • Once a player goes to the third level ($50,000 and beyond) on the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the background thinking music starts to sounds more and more dramatic, with a choir chant playing over top of the music. However, the background music for the $1,000,000 question is a complete subversion, instead consisting of just a low, deep bass note, a drum hit, and a heartbeat.
  • In the Discovery Channel series Wild Tropics, whenever the sharks or other dangerous predators show up the music shifts to Ominous Polynesian Chanting.
  • Lampshaded in the The Young Ones episode "Flood", where a group of monks walk by chanting "Dominus ad nauseam, dominus ad nauseam..."

  • Slovenian Industrial band Laibach bypassed ominous, going straight to nightmare fuel unleaded with "Vade Retro Satanas" from their album Nova Akropola. "[3]"
  • German electronica band E Nomine uses a lot of Ominous Latin Chanting — with good results. Then they combine it with the guttural voice of a Chain-Smoking German to make it even more sinister. "Schwarze Sonne" is a perfect example of just how epic this trope can be.
  • The song "Kann denn Liebe Sünde Sein" by the German metal band Eisbrecher has this in the beginning, but it's in German.
  • B-Movie sample pioneer Rob Zombie has used this technique in a couple songs, more notably in the White Zombie song "Super-Charger Heaven" (supposedly using a Latin excommunication trial).
  • Most power-metal albums, especially those with a fantasy theme. Any "Rhapsody" album starts off with a choir chanting ominous Latin gibberish.
    • "Lux Triumphans" from "Dawn Of Victory" is an excellent example of Ominous English Chanting.
  • While primarily instrumental, the band Nox Arcana employs vocal tracks on each of its albums. Almost all of those vocal tracks are in ominous Latin, as befits the band's name. Winter's Knight includes Gregorian hymns, which are neither intended nor played as ominous, but they have a somewhat spooky effect regardless. Necronomicon also has plenty of ill-boding chanting, but it's not in a human language. Blood of the Dragon is in the fantasy genre, not horror, but it still uses plenty of "O Fortuna"-inspired chanting throughout the album (particularly in the title track, where the influence is so obvious it's ridiculous). According to composer Joseph Vargo, most of the post-"Blood of the Dragon" albums contain pseudo-Latin Chanting.
  • In the penultimate scene of Berlioz's La damnation de Faust, a male chorus chants in a made-up demonic language ("Ha! Irimiru Karabrao!") as Mephistopheles triumphantly brings Faust into Pandaemonium. The final scene is set in the other place, where a Cherubic Choir welcomes Marguerite.
  • Pink Floyd showed they were just as capable of this as anyone else, with the "Atom Heart Mother Suite." It's a tangled mess of steel guitar, cellos, a brass band, organ and a lot of chanting in made-up languages, varying from merely otherworldly to absolutely doom-laden. Bonus points for having both male and female choirs in one piece.
  • Puccini's Tosca, at the end of Act I, with the Latin prayers underscoring the nefarious schemes of corrupt chief of police and sexual predator Scarpia, though the prayers themselves culminate in the first lines of the Te Deum, which is usually considered more celebratory than ominous. More ominously, Spoletta mumbles a few lines from the "Dies Irae" during the torture scene in Act II.
  • Puccini's Turandot (based on a Chinese fairytale) has the chorus (singing in Italian) playing the people of Beijing, reflecting the changing moods of the crowd, first as a frenzied mob screaming for blood, then cheering the Unknown Prince on as he successfully answers the princess' riddles, and pleading with slave-girl Liù, who has killed herself, to reveal the prince's name. Especially at the death of Liù, the sound of the chorus is chilling.
  • Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov has the chorus playing the Russian people. Many opera lovers consider the chorus to be one of the main characters, and they get their own curtain call. Their prayers, mob scenes, and laments, sung in Russian, sound spooky as well as heartrending, particularly at the death of Boris. At several points, some really ominous Latin chanting is heard.
  • The band Enigma combines Gregorian-esque chants with ethereal electronic sound effects. The album "The Screen Behind the Mirror" samples Carmina Burana — so much so that it could be said to be Carmina Burana with samples of Enigma. It was one of the few times where the original publishers sanctioned its use.
  • The band Gregorian plays covers of popular songs in a Gregorian-chant vocal style with modern instrumentation. There are a few of their songs which feature Ominous Latin Chanting including their cover of the inevitable "O Fortuna" and their original, "Gregorian Anthem".
  • While Swedish symphonic metal band Therion does not always implement Ominous Chanting into their songs, almost all of them have choirs singing in some capacity. They, too, have covered "O Fortuna". Other songs like "Seven Secrets of the Sphinx", "Via Nocturna", or "The Wondrous World Of Punt" may also fit this trope.
  • Although in English, AFI's "Miseria Cantare" tells you that Sing The Sorrow's plot (it is a concept album) is not going to have a happy ending. Yeah, the lyrics are nihilistic, but it is the background chorus and eerie music that show you the magnitude of the unhappy life the main character of the plot is going to have.
  • Brazilian power metal band Angra employed this in their song "Acid Rain", first to open the song, then to mark the passage from the bridge to the guitar solo.
  • "Warszawa" on the album Low, by David Bowie, has a long chanting sequence, made of Bowie overdubbing his own voice in several keys. Ominous, yes, and quite appropriately based on an old Polish composition, but the actual lyrics are gibberish.
  • Evanescence use it in the songs "Whisper" and "Lacrymosa," as well as the unreleased song "Anything for You." Whisper's lyrics translated are, "Save us from danger, save us from evil," and the other two are just from the "Lacrimosa" section of the Requiem mass.
  • Enya's Tempus Vernum is entirely Ominous Latin Chanting, which is essentially a list of pairs of opposites. ("Therefore, the earth and the stars. Therefore, the east and the west...")
    • Pax Deorum and Cursum Perficio. Enya seems to like this trope a lot.
    • She's also very fond of Gaelic (not surprising at all, given her musical and cultural background), and for Amarantine even developed an artificial language — complete with its own script — for those moments when neither Latin nor Gaelic met the dramatic requirements.
  • Power/thrash metal band Iced Earth has the 16-minute epic Dante's Inferno, based on, well, Dante's Inferno. It has sections of what sounds like this trope, although songwriter Jon Schaffer has admitted that it's just gibberish invented to sound evil. This chanting also shows up in the songs Damien (based on the movie The Omen) The Coming Curse, and Harbinger of Fate. Also in the middle of their song "Divide Devour" (Dies Natalis, Odisse, Mortalis).
    • Demons & Wizards also uses this: "Crimson King" starts with chanting choirs and "Chant," the outro on their first album is a (pseudo?) Gregorian chant that Hansi Kürsch made by multi-tracking his voice. For Hansi, the second album by his main band, Blind Guardian, opens with "Inquisition": Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem chanted repeatedly. (This is the same as the chanting in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.) It's fairly relevant; the first song is about John the Baptist.
  • Inversion: "Orchestral metal" group Trans-Siberian Orchesta's rock opera Beethoven's Last Night features some chanting of this kind, but it's generally uplifting and set to a variation of Ode to Joy. The piece has the titular composer reflecting on his life and career, and how his music has affected the world.
    • The more traditional version makes its appearance in "Requiem (The Fifth)" from said rock opera, which, as its name implies, is a mash-up of Mozart's Requiem and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
  • AIM's Demonique combines, to wonderfully creepy effect, ominous chanting with dialogue from the movie "Halloween" and a trip-hop beat.
  • "O Fortuna". The piece has been popularly associated with Satanism ever since it was used in The Omen (1976).
    • Which this student of Latin finds saddening, because it's the most awesome piece of musical navel contemplation you will ever hear.note 
    • Also from Carmina Burana is "In taberna quando sumus", an Ominous Latin Drinking Song.
    • See a hilarious animated video with misheard lyrics here.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Dies Irae" from the Requiem gets almost as much play as "O Fortuna" in dramatic situations. Unlike most of the pieces on this page, though, it has the thematic weight to match its ominous tone when translated: the lyrics are describing the Apocalypse. In fact, the "Dies Irae" from practically any Requiem Mass qualifies by definition as this trope. Especially Verdi.
  • The original Dies Irae Gregorian chant is pretty freakin' spooky all on its own.
  • Adiemus, a classical piece by Karl Jenkins, isn't technically Latin (the composer invented all the "words" himself), but it's spine-tingling awesome.
    • His pieces containing real Latin chanting are even more ominous, like Dies Irae from Requiem or Sanctus from The Armed Man.
  • Deathspell Omega frequently incorporate chanting in Latin and other languages into their music, usually to hellish effect.
  • Check the E.S. Posthumus album Unearthed and you're less likely to find a song without this type of chanting. The reason behind their use of it is the fact that the songs are all about dead civilizations and ruined cities of the ancient world.
  • A Song For Europe by Roxy Music has Bryan Ferry repeating the song's last couplet in French, then in Latin.
  • The song "Sister of Charity" by Finnish Gothic-Rock band The 69 Eyes contains repeated usage of this trope, made even more ominous coupled with the deep bass voice of the singer. The Latin words translate to "Between hope and fear... Charity in war".
  • Some Latin chants are so well known in classical music that they can be quoted in an instrumental piece without the words being used. The most ominous of these chants is the Gregorian Dies Irae. Examples of its many uses appear in the Witches' Sabbath movement of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique, Camille Saint-Saëns's Danse macabre and third symphony, Sergei Rachmaninov's The Isle of the Dead and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain and Franz Liszt's Totentanz. Or in "Making Christmas" from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Or as part of "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd".
  • Era, while very fond of the Latin Chanting, isn't usually Ominous. But then there's Enae Volare Mezzo, which is probably one of the sexiest sounding examples of this trope ever. There's also Ameno which manges to be genuinely ominous and creepy.
  • The French prog rock band Magma uses ominous chanting in many of their songs. They even made up their own language for it, called Kobian.
  • Our Solemn Hour by Within Temptation ("San-ctus Espiri-tus...").
  • Nightwish implements chanting in a few of their songs on their album Imaginaerum.
  • "Saltwater" by Chicane features ominous Gaelic chanting, sampled from the Theme Tune of Harry's Game.
    • "Four Seasons" by Blue Amazon also uses a Gaelic-sounding chant.
  • Epica has a whole album in which each features at least one verse with Ominous Latin Chanting.
    • All of their intros (with the exception of the largely instrumental "The Score: An Epic Journey") begin with Latin Chanting; some songs that feature ominous chanting are "Cry For the Moon" and "The Phantom Agony" (Ominous English Chanting) and "The Divine Conspiracy" (Ominous Latin Chanting). "Seif Al Din" may feature Ominous Arabic Chanting.
  • As mentioned in The Matrix entry above, the Juno Reactor songs "Mona Lisa Overdrive"(Kyrie Eleison) and "Navras"(ominous Sanskrit chanting).
  • Starflyer 59's "Underneath" and "First Heart Attack" (the first and last track from the album ''Old') feature sampled, wordless chanting, courtesy of Richard Swift's mellotron.
  • "Memories in a Sea of Forgetfulness" by BT uses (not so ominous) Arabic/Muslim chanting, which sounds like the Adhan prayer call. Also, "Firewater" has the Muslim chant "La illah illa Allah" ("I bear witness to no god but Allah").
  • "Scorched Blood" by Xorcist has this.
  • Vangelis has used the ominous singing, more often sounding closer to Greek but can evoke Latin and sometimes other languages (like Egyptian Arabic in one of the Blade Runner cues, courtesy of one-time bandmate Demis Roussos). Examples of this includes Heaven and Hell, Mask, his soundtrack to 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Voices, his various El Greco works and Mythodea
    • There's even a moment when baby sounds are used ... "Message" from Direct
  • Parodied with the mashup "Crank Dat One Winged Angel"[4], by Valley of Walls. Soulja Boy + One Winged Angel = the most sinister rap jam you've ever heard.
  • Ominous German Chanting, admittedly. Halber Mensch by Einsturzende Neubauten. Very awesome. Very creepy.
  • Iron Maiden's "Sign of the Cross", based on The Name of the Rose (a work full of priests) opens with one.
  • Thenote  operetta Candide accompanies an attack on the hero's home with a new Gregorian chant, which takes some liberties with Catholic doctrine. The chant include the phrase "Agnus Dei, Ora Pro Nobis" ("Lamb of God, pray for us"), which traditional Catholics would consider heretical.note 
    • The chant was written for the 1970s revival using the music of a pre-existing song, "It Must Be So." Most productions use the instrumental "Battle Music" instead.
  • Symphonic Metal band Tristania uses this a lot, along with Soprano and Gravel, with fairly epic-sounding effects. The song "Wormwood" uses a passage from Carmina Burana
    • As do Morten's side projects Sirenia and Mortemia. "The Mind Maelstrom" is essentially a praise chorus to Ominous Latin Chanting while Mortemia is strictly Morten's death grunts and Latin chanting— His formula is demonstrated well in "The Malice Of Life's Cruel Ways".
  • The 1965 Yardbirds B-side "Still I'm Sad" features wordless ominous chanting of the same melody to which Keith Relf sings the lyrics.
  • Most of the songs by Audiomachine are like that and can be heard in numerous film trailers.
  • Most of the songs by Two Steps from Hell contain epic chanting set to a driving, orchestral soundtrack suitable for battle scenes, for example Nemesis, Flameheart, and Freedom Fighters (used in a trailer for J.J. Abram's Star Trek (2009) movie), although it's hard to make out the exact words.
  • Enigma's song, "Gravity Of Love," uses "O Fortuna" to great effect at the start of the song.
  • Gekkakou by Versailles has a bridge supposedly in Latin, when it is in fact a list of spells from ''Harry Potter''. Somewhat justified in that the spells themselves mostly consist of Canis Latinicus, but are still shoved in there to sound cool.
  • Apoptygma Berzerk originally used a sample of Carmina Burana on the track "Love Never Dies: Part One."
  • Funker Vogt often uses ominous English, German, and non-lyrical chanting.
  • Carmina Burana itself. Originally it was a collection of medieval poems and songs, usually written by students and dealing with such topics as drinking, revelry, love and morality. Carl Orff, who composed the music in 1935 most likely thought that medieval texts in Latin must be definitely ominous, so he created famous and extremely dramatic score. 'O Fortuna!' ('Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi') is actually pretty mellow poem about waxing and waning whims of Fortune, clearly inspired by stoic poetry of Marcus Aurelius. If you know Latin, the dissonance between Orff's score and bawdier lyrics is outright hilarious.
    • The original Carmina Burana was written by vagant monks, more into the business of drinking and women than anything else. Most of the chanting was in Latin, but the topics were anything but ominous.
  • Paid tribute to in Gowan's "(You're A) Strange Animal" during the final chorus, where Gowan belts out "Oh, Ominous Spiritus!" in a decidedly non-ominous, non-chanting way.
  • Omnis Mundi Creatura by Helium Vola is very ominous, and the creepy synths in the background only make it scarier.
  • Black Metal has a lot of examples of this trope. Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas' title track is probably the most famous example.
  • Meat Loaf uses this in his album "Bat Out of Hell 3: The Monster is Loose". It is in Spanish, not Latin, but still ominous.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach has both Latin and German examples in his vocal works.
    • The St. Matthew Passion contains an example of Ominous German Chanting that doubles as a Song Style Shift. The movement "So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen" starts out as a fairly traditional duet, with occasional interjections of the choir. After the duet ends, the movement immediately turns into an incredibly angry-sounding chorus with such lyrics as "Open the fiery abyss, o Hell, crush, destroy, devour, smash with sudden rage the false betrayer, the murderous blood!"
    • The motet Jesu, meine Freude (BWV 227) contains Ominous German Chanting as well - this example is more forceful than the previous, with a strong emphasis on the word "Trost" (Defiance).
    • Bach's B Minor Mass, while mostly positive in tone, has a bit of strong and dramatic Greek at the very beginning of the work, with an ominous chanting of "Kyrie eleison!"
    • Bach's Magnificat also has ominous Latin in the movement "Omnes generationes".
  • A Soviet rock opera Juno and Avos uses Ominous Church Slavonic Chanting for the same effect. Opera also features an actual Latin chanting, but surprisingly it's not ominous at all.
  • Sunn O)))'s Monoliths and Dimensions album has guttural Hungarian chanting courtesy of Attila Csihar, as well as traditional church choir on the aptly named "Big Church".
  • Akiko Shikata loves to use this in her more epic songs, her privileged languages being Italian and Greek it seems. A good example is Umineko no Naku Koro ni, among others (the Italian here being about the greatness and cruelty of the witch Beatrice).
  • While the effect is more epic than ominous, Sakanaction's song "Aoi" features Ominous Japanese Chanting in the verses.
  • The group Mecano has an ominous Latin chant at the end of their song "No es Serio este Cementerio" (This is not a Serious Cemetery"). It says "Finis gloriæ mvndi homini"("The end of the glory of the world of men").
  • The Stooges use Ominous chanting during "We Will Fall" from their Self-Titled Album The Stooges.
  • The Cruxshadows use gibberish chanting in "Into the Ether", the opening track of Ethernaut.
  • Composer György Ligeti practically defines this trope, writing such pieces as the "Kyrie" and "Lux Aeterna." If you're not familiar with his name, he's the guy who wrote most of the eerie parts of the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack.
  • The Fun Boy Three's self-titled debut has an Album Intro Track consisting of 1:22 of them and Bananarama chanting ominously in Latin.
  • Daniel Amos's album Horrendous Disc ends with about a minute of wordless, ominous chanting, over dirge-like backing music.
  • Gloryhammer's second album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards has the lines "Sanctus! Dominus! Infernus! Ad Astra!" repeated at the start of the song "Rise of the Chaos Wizards". Roughly translated it means "Holy God! Universe on fire!" "Universe on fire" is the title of a later track on the album.
  • Nordic/Scandinavian music tends to have a lot of chanting and choirs in it.

  • In a trailer for The Magnus Archives a mysterious voice chants vigilo, audio, opperior. The tape recorder picks it up when the archivist leaves it running as he momentarily leaves the room.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Undertaker has often gotten in on the act, as many of his Pay-Per-View entrances see him preceded by torch-bearing, black-robed druids chanting in Latin. Extra points to his Wrestlemania XIV entrance, where the druids actually entered to "O Fortuna" before Undertaker made his entrance to his usual music, a particularly-chilling rendition of Chopin's "Funeral March".
  • Raven's entrance theme from his short WWE tenure prominently features Ominous Arabic Chanting. Raven mentioned on his website that Jim Johnston (WWE's music director, and writer/composer of about 90% of the songs used by WWE) used it to make the song sound "creepy and alien". It works beautifully.
  • Ominous Arabic chanting was featured even more prominently in Muhammad Hassan's theme, but this time, it was post 9/11, and the music was deliberately chosen to, along with the entrance video that interspersed shots of Hassan and his manager, Daivari, with slow pans of various American landmarks, leave the viewer with a vaguely uncomfortable feeling. All of this played directly into Hassan's character, which was an Arab-American who was sick and tired of being stereotyped as a terrorist, and lashed out at everybody, including the audience, for doing so.
  • WWE has even integrated ominous Latin into The Merch — a Triple H T-shirt features, among the skull-and-bones motif, the single word "Eversoris"note .
  • Místico's theme song, performed by the band Era, consists of Ominous Latin Chanting, violins and a scorching guitar solo or two.
  • His WWE-issue music for his entrance as Sin Cara has some chanting as well, but it's of a somewhat-more uplifting nature. The Dark Reprise used by Costume Copycat Sin Cara Negra, however, fits the bill for "Ominous".
  • On two of the occasions when he broke out the Demon Bodypaint for the [[NXT NXT live specials]], Finn Balor's entrance was preceded by a distorted recording of a low demonic voice speaking in tongues that sounds like ominous Latin.
  • The "trailer" for Boricuas Most Wanted, You Know Me!!!. It was actually used to stir up Latin pride.

    Real Life 
  • As reported by a Tumblr user that teaches Latin:
    My students kept forgetting how to conjugate esse, so I turned it into a rhythmic chant that I had them say over and over. The problem is that when you chant ANYTHING in Latin it sounds like you’re summoning a demon, which they decided was awesome, so uh. Now I’ll just be randomly walking through the hallway and hear voices chanting, “sum es est! sumus estis sunt!
    I’m 99% sure my colleagues think I’ve started a cult.

  • "O Fortuna" was used during the reveal of one of the three Super Bowl championship banners for the New England Patriots during the pre-game ceremony for the subsequent season-opener.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer has human magic users slowly become more and more influenced by their chosen magic discipline. In the case of White Magic users, this may make them able to sing in a chorus by themselves.
  • Warhammer 40,000 uses this one, too, but in dramatically different circumstances. The Imperium of Man is a theocratic fascist state, whose official language is High Gothic, usually rendered as Latin in the books. Anytime an Imperial choir strikes up, whether it be members of the Ministerium trying to bolster the morale of the Imperial Guardsmen defending against an enemy onslaught, or the Adepta Sororitas singing their battle-hymn Ave Imperator, this trope is in effect.

  • The song "All That's Known" from Spring Awakening has an interesting variation on this. The chanting is in Latin—but it's the start of The Aeneid, recited by students. As the singer is rebelling against this type of education, it's quite fitting.
  • The Book of Mormon: "Rectus! Dominus! Spookytus! Deus! Creepyus!"
    • A Shout-Out to themselves when they did it on South Park. See below.
  • Cirque du Soleil's TOTEM has "Cum Sancto Spiritu" and "Omé Yo Kanoubé"; for that matter, much of Cirque's KA has chanting too, albeit in "Cirquish".

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Gingerverse would be TV show The World of Ginger, there is a parody: not so ominous German singing in the second version of Dana von Franke's song, Vibrant Tulips.
Vibrant tulips
Guten tag, auf wiedersehen
Vibrant people
Guten tag, auf wiedersehen
Goodness always defeats evil
  • South Park
    • Parodied in "Damien", the son of Satan's arrival in town is accompanied by a choir of voices chanting "Rectus Dominus Cheesy Poofs" — which is obviously supposed to be Canis Latinicus for "Ass Master, Cheesy Poofs" can actually be translated as "Straight master, Cheesy Poofs".
    • "Fantastic Easter Special", which spoofs both The Da Vinci Code and the Easter holiday, featured a pseudo-Latin version of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" that memorably includes the phrase "Hippitus, Hoppitus".
    • "Britney's New Look" had the characters chanting ominous Latin.
  • Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain have a humorous take on this when an episode has a secret conspiracy Christopher Walken look-alike. His appearance was preceded by chanting of an incongruous group of words, always ending in "Lactose!" I.E. "Rialto, Ontario, Gluteus Maximus, LACTOSE!"
  • A Robot Chicken parody of Final Fantasy VII set at a fast food restaurant featured Sephiroth make his entrance with the background music being a parody of One Winged Angel but with the chorus chanting "HAMBURGER! HAMBURGER!"
  • In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Mega Muriel the Magnificent", Ode to Joy plays whenever Muriel, possessed by Courage's Deadpan Snarker computer, attempts a death-defying stunt in front of a crowd of spectators. Could also be an example of Soundtrack Dissonance, considering Ode to Joy's melody is, for lack of better wording, joyous. On the other hand, since Muriel pulls off some pretty awesome stuff, it does fit a bit.
  • The Invader Zim episode "Gaz, Taster of Pork" featured cues of a chorus singing "Pork! Pork! Pork!" and later, "Piggy-piggy-piggy-piggy...". Spoofed additionally with "Meats of Evil."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Lion Turtle's appearance is heralded by ominous Chinese chanting of the Pure Land Buddhist prayer mantra "Nianfo". He's not a bad guy though. Just old, wise, mysterious, a bit scary, and very big.
    • The same chant appeared on two other occasions: once when Roku came back on the Winter Solstice to kick some Fire Nation ass, and another time when Aang fused with the Ocean Spirit to form a spectacular One-Winged Angel and kick some more Fire Nation ass.
  • Spoofed in The Simpsons when Marge recalls that she accidentally had a single drop of wine while pregnant with Bart. As the foetus acquires spiky hair and a devilish expression, the Background Music plays an Ominous Chant of "Ay Caramba!"
  • The title theme music to the animated Silver Surfer series had Latin-sounding singing interspersed at ominous points against the instrumental background.
  • American Dad!: "O Fortuna" plays during a suspenseful scene in which Francine nearly walks in on Stan's date with Rosie Palms. Doubles as Awesome Music.
  • In the 2003 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Shredder has his own self-titled (as shown on the TMNT 2003 cartoon website) music that plays whenever he appears as his fully-armored alias. It uses wordless chanting of this type at both the beginning and at the end whenever it's played, unless it's shortened for some occasions. There are also other different variations of this ominous tune, and on some occasions, this tune and some of its variations also use the Japanese samurai-inspired "yoo" sound.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man. Mysterio's spells are all Latin, however they are nonsense phrases when translated. They sure sound ominous though.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    Bacteria! It all began with one!
    Bacteria! Two is what we then become!
    Bacteria! Each of us becomes two more!
    Bacteria! We become stronger than before!
    Bacteria! We keep growing at this rate!
    Bacteria! No longer shall we wait!
    Bacteria! As our plan unfolds!
    Bacteria! We will take over the world! (Rocky sprays the toilet bowl with disinfectant)
    • "The Job" featured ominous pizza topping chanting (because Richard got a job delivering pizza which was destroying the universe).
  • Batman Beyond. During the episode "Babel", Terry experiences a flashback to the death of his father. Throughout the flashback, Gregorian chant (the Pange Lingua) is interspersed with the show's usual rock background music.
  • Argai: The Prophecy: Both the opening and ending credits.
  • Transformers Prime - the chanting is usually saved for the more epic moments. The most recurring occurence is in "Prime Finale", notably used during Optimus Prime and Megatron's first battle, and Starscream using the Energon Harvester on a hapless Vehicon. Another, very dramatic use of chanting occurs as the Nemesis prepares to fire on the Autobot base as Optimus moves to destroy the Groundbridge inside. This is also used in a book end as the same piece of chanting is used as a reformatted Optimus prepares to destroy Darkmount's fusion cannons a few episodes later.
  • The Inquisitor from Star Wars Rebels has music like this:
  • Megas XLR features an episode centred on the REGIS Mk V, a planet-destroying Grey Goo machine voiced by Michael Dorn that is accompanied by something reminiscent of O Fortuna whenever it's on screen. Combined with its endless stream of Badass Boasting, and the fact that Coop couldn't defeat it simply by smashing it, this type of music is very appropriate.

Alternative Title(s): Ominous Chanting