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Ominous Music Box Tune

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"The music box is broken, or is it? It starts to play, and a haunting tune fills the air..."
Spike Spiegel, Cowboy Bebop

For added atmosphere, play the music from this track while reading on.

A music box tune that sounds a bit off. It may have an overly cheery or depressing sound to it or the tune just seems to be completely out of place. Either way, the effect is just creepy, and there is something not quite right about it. Something not quite right at all. Shows up in horror movies and TV shows occasionally. Due to real dolls often having music boxes, this trope is often paired with the Creepy Doll.

Compare Rousing Lullaby, a lullaby that is not meant to be relaxing, along with Ironic Nursery Tune, Creepy Circus Music, and Creepy Children Singing, where creepy songs and nursery rhymes are played in the background to add tension and fear to a scene. Similar to the Uncanny Valley, in that the tiny bit that's "off" is what makes it feel very wrong. For Doom the Bell Tolls and Xylophones for Walking Bones are about similar instruments used for creepiness, but aren't necessarily associated with lullabies.

For a tune which has the general sound of a music box but isn't actually played on one, see Music Box Intervals. Contrast Nostalgic Music Box, which is meant to be sad instead of scary.


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  • Shinigami Death Punch: The ending theme of Shinigami Death Punch! features lyrics set to a very ominous music box tune.
  • Elfen Lied: Neji, Lilium, and especially Yureai. In fact, there's even a physical music box as part of the plot.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Crime of Innocence, Rei I, M-4 piano, The passage of emptiness, Jesu: Joy of Man's Desiring (which is played in the DVD menu).
  • Kabe no Mukou (The Other Side of the Wall) is played whenever Kaede becomes depressed or slips into insanity, in the anime SHUFFLE!.
  • Vampire Knight:
    • Maria Kurenai's theme.
    • One could also count the music box version of "Still Doll" (the ending song)as well.
  • D.Gray-Man: Road Kamelot's song, which she sings whilst she makes Marshall Yeegar relive his worst memory over and over and over.
  • "Melodie", the musical watch chime from Noir, which is both very creepy (hint: it triggers all kinds of ugly flashbacks for two of the three Noir candidates) and very ripped off from For a Few Dollars More.
  • One can be heard at the beginning and ending of episode 11 of Ghost Stories.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Whenever England is either trying magic or talking to his supernatural (and invisible to everyone else) friends, one of these is used.
    • One is used at the beginning of Russia's character song "Winter."
    • One is also used in the anime during Russia and Lithuania's first meeting.
    • Russia's theme from the World Series soundtrack, Vodka on a Snowy Night, uses this too.
  • The "Julia" theme from Cowboy Bebop is very reminiscent of a music box up until the penultimate episode where it's sung briefly. It's even shown being played on a music box in an episode.
  • Lacie from PandoraHearts has shades of this. One is also used in episode 10.
  • "Waltz for Strain", the Bootstrapped Theme of Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry and the source of many other pieces of BGM in the series (such as Sara's battle theme), has a music box variation, which is probably the most well-known version (it even plays on the official website). It's actually associated with in-story music boxes, too.
  • Averted in Ashita no Nadja, where the music box's Waltz Number 5 melody is actually a cheerful and sweet song.
  • From the official soundtrack of Puella Magi Madoka Magica we have "Conturbatio", Sayaka's first Leitmotif.
  • D.N.Angel: Occurs at the end of episode 20 when Mio Hio worriedly watches as Daisuke tries to put his key shaped pendant through Riku's heart shaped pendant so that they'll be bonded forever. Also occurs in episode 26 as Dark and Krad are fighting.
  • Used in Future Diary for Yuno Gasai's Leitmotif fitting her sweet at first ,but in reality creepy as hell nature.

    Audio Drama 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The music from a musical box entrances the killer into a homicidal state of mind in Dario Argento's Deep Red.
  • The Sandman in Hanna.
  • Davey Jones' music box in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. It was supposed to be romantic — because of Davy Jones and Calypso/Tia Dalma, but the effect was kind of ruined when they did that crazy-evil organ arrangement while the fish-pirates were scrubbing the deck.
    • This is also an instance of the planet wide cinematic regulation which says that wistful music-box melodies must slow and eventually stop just before the final note.
  • The above Pirates of the Caribbean example seems like an homage to For a Few Dollars More, where El Indio (sexy weed-smoking Mexican baddie) is addicted to a musical pocket watch, which plays Morricone music, and he uses it every time he has a duel, or just kills someone. For the duels, he and his opponent draw when the music ends.
    • As the flashback sequence in throughout the movie keeps extending, showing us more and more of what happened on that rainy night, you realize just how creepy this is, since El Indio got it from a woman whose husband he killed and whom he then raped, driving her to shoot herself. One of the two heroes has a matching version because it turns out the woman was his sister.
  • Major plot point in Tuck Everlasting.
  • The main theme from Ju On: The Grudge.
  • Charlie Clouser - Dead Silence, main theme.
  • Samara's song from The Ring.
  • In The Conjuring the eerie tune is provided in-universe by a circus themed music box.
  • The song that plays in the opening ballroom scene of the Disney movie The Haunted Mansion (2003). The music box in the movie also has a similar tune.
  • Harry Potter has Hedwig's Theme. Even though it is never heard from a music box, the instrumentation is heavily reminiscent of one.
  • The theme from Candyman is this.
  • One Missed Call has this as a cell phone ring tone and a teddy bear that plays it.
  • The arrangement of "Mother" in the movie Pink Floyd The Wall.
  • Danny Elfman uses this in a lot of his works, for example, in the theme from Edward Scissorhands and Jack's Lament
  • As if there wasn't enough horror motifs in the 1999 remake of The Haunting (it already had Creepy Circus Music), there was also a music box tune which Eleanor was humming almost from the beginning of the movie (suggesting even then that she was already being drawn to the house). She later finds the actual music box in the nursery of Hill House. If it isn't too blasphemous to consider, one might wonder if this is meant to be the tune for the song "Carpe Diem" from the Shirley Jackson novel. note 
  • In Time After Time, Jack the Ripper has a cameo on a chain that contains, along with a mystery woman's photo, a tiny music box as accompaniment to his activities.
  • The theme song of Dead Friend (aka The Ghost).
  • The Red Queen's theme from Resident Evil (2002) was written to sound like a sweet child's waltz. As the movie continues, her theme becomes increasingly dark and menacing as she shows her murderous colors to the group.
  • Throughout The Innocents, Flora's music box plays the tune O Willow Waly, the lyrics of which are sung by Flora at the very beginning of the film.
  • The first few notes of "Do You Know Where Christmas Trees are Grown" (a cheerful song that played in the background earlier) can be heard in a tense scene after 007 is locked in a cable car machine room in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968) has a scene where Barbra finds a music box and plays it, to this effect.
  • The tune in The Untouchables (1987), first heard as Elliot helps a woman struggling with her Baby Carriage up the stairs. The second time we hear it is at the end of the bloody shootout immediately afterward.
  • The Lament Configuration in Hellraiser.
  • Throughout the film Reality, this is a main theme in Alexandre Desplat's soundtrack.
  • Heard in Good Burger during the appearance of Heather the Psychopath (portrayed by Linda Cardellini).
  • Barbarella: When Barbarella is being attacked by the Creepy Dolls, the BGM is a slowed down music box version of the movie's eponymous song.
  • The Hungarian anti-war psychological drama The Fifth Seal begins with the off-putting sounds of a large standing music box being wound up (with close-up shots on the internal mechanism, no less), its individual instruments tuning up, before it begins playing a short, unsettling, sometimes off-key bohemian chamber piece. It's practically the only continuous piece of music we hear throughout the movie, and when it stops...
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: When the Baudelaire children (now orphans) were brought to the ashes of their home by Mr. Poe, a creepy music box plays. Bonus points to the filmmakers for having the music be played on a visible music box jutting out of the rubble, presumably one of Violet's projects.
  • Played via the Numbers Station is Banshee Chapter. Truth in Television, the movie actually samples the real-life Swedish Rhapsody numbers station.

  • The Taking has Molly's collection of music boxes, which play of their own accord when the Leviathan passes overhead. Nothing seems to be unusual about what the music boxes are playing, but the sound of all of them playing at once is described as discordant and unsettling.

    Live Action TV 
  • There was a tune like this in the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale of the Dark Music" when the Creepy Doll shows up. There were a more tunes like these in other episodes as well.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Survivors", Deanna Troi, The Empath of the crew, happens to hear a music box playing during the Away Team's investigation of an elderly couple's home after a mysterious attack on their colony. Her empathic nature briefly brings her into contact with something very powerful that doesn't want to be discovered - the result is that the music box melody starts playing in her mind over and over again, louder and louder, until even a medically induced coma can't block it out.
  • Used in Doctor Who in "Silence in the Library" as the theme for the library and the alternate world, doubling the WTF factor and giving the episode Moffat's trademark 'dark fairytale' overtone.
  • The final notes of the Dollhouse Instrumental Theme Tune sound like a music box in minor key. Appropriate, given the title.
  • The killer in the Babylon 5 episode "No Compromises" uses one.
  • Criminal Minds makes use of the very haunting "Illabye" to great effect on two separate episodes.
  • Power Rangers RPM features a haunting tune whenever Dillon (Ranger Series Black) has a flashback of his past prior to the series beginning. The dark lighting in those flashbacks don't help, either.
  • Used to a fantastic effect in this advert for EastEnders.
  • In Teen Wolf, season 1 episode 10, Co Captain, near the end, the background music of "Lose Your Soul" by Dead Man's Bones ft. the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children's Choir is heard as various characters interact, all in a creepy, chilling way. The music's sinister tones fits the scenes well.
  • Used very effectively in the pre-credits scene of Torchwood: Children of Earth Day One.
  • Community uses it in the flashback sequences in the western-themed episode "A Fistful of Paintballs", as a reference to the flashbacks and music in For a Few Dollars More.
  • The four-part series Nazi Death Squads uses it as its opening theme.
  • Taskmaster has sinister-sounding hurdy-gurdy music that links in between the games. Slightly discordant and rather unsettling.
  • Used in CSI as the Leitmotif of the Miniature Killer, being played initially when the Killer's signature (miniature replicas of future crime scenes of the murders commited by her) was shown, later when the Killer herself appeared on-screen.
  • In The Flash (2014), James Jesse/Trickster I's leitmotif is an eerie music box version of his theme from the '90s series.

  • A eerie music box can be heard at the beginning of "Mommy's Little Monsters" by Creature Feature
  • The song "Blue" by The Birthday Massacre.
  • "Grisly Reminder" by Midnight Syndicate.
  • Sigur Rós:
    • "Sæglopur," by Sigur Rós, manages to combine this and some of the most haunting bowed guitar ever.
    • Sigur Rós uses music boxes quite a lot, actually, especially in Takk and Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do. Most of the time the sound is meant to be pretty rather than ominous, however.
  • "Haunted Music Box," Made By Sirfinix.
  • "Kid A" and "No Surprises" by Radiohead.
  • Emilie Autumn:
    • "Gothic Lolita" starts with a clanky music box tune that jumps notes when you least expect it.
    • "What If" ends with one of these.
  • Lordi's "Blood Red Sandman" starts with one.
  • "White Russian" by Marillion uses this to chilling effect, even slowing the music box to a halt just before the last note.
  • "Swept Away" by Flyleaf.
  • "Spieluhr" by Rammstein. The title actually means Music Box.
  • Rockabye Baby is a band that does covers of classic rock and alternative songs as instrumental baby music. Their output runs quite a gamut of bands, from the Beach Boys to Bob Marley to Green Day to tool, so it occasionally runs into this (especially with the covers of Tool, Nirvana, Metallica, Radiohead, and Nine Inch Nails)
  • In The Phantom of the Opera, the music box with the monkey on top plays "Masquerade."
  • "Music Box" by Eminem. As you would expect from Slim Shady, it has some pretty dark lyrics about drug use, satanism, cannibalism and the like.
  • "Return To Innocence Lost" by The Roots uses an eerie music box tune in it's backing music. The effect is meant to be sad rather than scary though; the song is about the child of an abusive drug-addicted father growing up to become an addict himself and eventually dying at a young age from a gunshot wound.
  • "Old" by Starflyer 59 begins with the clicking of a music box being wound. The music box plays for the opening stanza before getting drowned out. It can be heard again at the end, after the other instruments stop.
  • "Jynweythek Ylow"(Cornish for "electronic music machine") by Aphex Twin.
  • "The Box Part 1"(album version) by Orbital.
  • Depeche Mode's "Blasphemous Rumours" has one come up in the middle of the song right before the central character is fatally wounded in a car wreck.
  • Creepy Doll by Jonathan Coulton features one in the opening bars of the song.
  • Featured on the opening of Helloween's "Still We Go."
  • The beginnings of "Bring Me To Life" and "Taking Over Me" by Evanescence. "Tourniquet" also uses this.
  • The ambient musician Colleen is fond of the music box. She has an EP full of them.
  • Steven Wilson's song "Significant Other" has this at the end.
  • Porcupine Tree's "Drawing the Line" has one at the start (it's not actually a music box, but still fits the trope).
  • Thrice's "Music Box" features an actual recording of a music box, which the band had to wind just so in order to sync it with the heavy guitar rock of the song.
  • The Northern Kings' version of the Radiohead song "Creep" uses a music box to make the song sound incredibly... well, creepy. This is especially noticeable at the beginning and end of the song, creating an eerie and spooky atmosphere.
  • Hannah Fury loves this trope. It's featured in a large number of her songs, most notably "Beware The Touch", "My Next Victim", and "Never Look Back".
  • Used in several song outros on Kaizers Orchestra's album Violeta Violeta Volume I.
  • Korn's song "Dead Bodies Everywhere" opens with this.
  • Avenged Sevenfold's "Nightmare"
  • Delain's "Frozen" begins with one of these.
  • Panic! at the Disco's Ballad of Mona Lisa
  • The Vocaloid song "Music Box of Time"
  • "Dark Side" by Kelly Clarkson
  • This remix of ZUN's Mary the Magician, from his Touhou supplementary Ghostly Field Club.
  • Ozzy Osbourne:
    • The song "Mr. Tinkertrain" by Ozzy Osbourne, which is about a sexual predator who preys on children, opens with a creepy music box tune.
    • Also "Bloodbath in Paradise", which is about Charles Manson.
  • The band Good Luck Varsity utilizes this at the end of their song "Wretch", which, considering the lyrics, lends some extreme discomfort and creepiness to an already depressing and unsettling song.
  • A sample of a music box version of "Rock-A-Bye Baby" is used near the end of the song "Bosnia", by The Cranberries.
  • Nox Arcana is fond of all ominous musical tropes, including this one. Examples include Living Doll and Pandora's Music Box from the album Carnival of Lost Souls or Music Box from Darklore Manor. Eerie children's laughing usually add to the ominous effect.
  • Subverted by Umphrey's Mcgee in the intro of 'Mantis'. Once the music box intro is complete, a goofily triumphant guitar-and-drum riff abruptly comes in and sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The music box tune is subtly called back six or seven minutes later.
  • Subverted in Taikatalvi by Nightwish. It has a music box motif to it, but it is not particularly ominous.
  • "Drive" by The Suicide Dolls starts with a distorted, somewhat out of tune music box melody - it's actually a sample of "The Swedish Rhapsody", a radio transmission that was captured on The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations
  • The Frozen Autumn's "Chimney's Hiss Song" has this along with church bells.
  • Jack Off Jill uses one of these at the beginning of the song "Choke."
  • "The Colour Of The Sky" by Pale Saints, an already scary spoken-word track in and of itself, closes with one of these.
  • "Inmate 4859", by Sabaton, opens with one. Considering how ominous the track is (it's about Witold Pilecki, a soldier who willingly infiltrated Auschwitz to report the atrocities going on, and ultimately ended up executed by his own Soviet-controlled government), the music box is definitely deserved.
  • Lullaby renditions of songs that definitely are not lullabies. You can look up lullaby versions of any heavy, most-likely-not-for-children song on YouTube, and 99% of the time, it will sound creepy as all get out.
  • "These Are Our Children" by I Monster starts with a creepy music box melody before turning into Creepy Children Singing. The music box melody keeps reappearing during the chorus.
  • "Bewildered in other eyes" by The Caretaker absolutely fits here. Considering the original sample (a song, called, ironically, "The Prettiest Little Song of All") is one of the oldest on an album about dementia, this might be the music box tune with the darkest implications on this entire list.
  • "Crystalline" by Björk features an instrument that sounds like a music box. It's actually a "gameleste", a custom Bizarre Instrument that's a cross between a gamelan and a celesta.
  • The end of 'The Well' by Pagan folk band Omnia features a music box rendition of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.' It's their version of the Murder Ballad 'The Well below the Valley', a song containing lyrics about incest and infanticide.
  • Eminem:
    • The intro skit of The Eminem Show has one accompanying the rapper going on stage and clearing his throat.
    • "Music Box" is a whole song of Eminem rapping along to one, using a bizarre flow bordering on Uncommon Time. About murdering people.

  • Almost any animated Halloween prop of a Creepy Doll or other evil toy will feature a music box in the background of its audio track.
  • Dara Ó Briain has a bit about this in his standup about "what to do if a burglar is in your house."

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A scary musicbox tune has been playing in the background in the VERY creepy WWE promo videos for the former TNA wrestling Awesome Kong, to be known in WWE as "Kharma."

    Video Games 
  • In Hollow Knight, a distorted tune of this nature plays whenever your Shade note is nearby.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: Alma's music box.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Quest for Glory IV, the music box in the old man's house plays a rather mournful tune and almost certainly belonged to the man's dead wife, who you later meet as a ghost in the forest.
  • In Donkey Kong 64, the tune that plays in Frantic Factory opens with a singularly creepy music-box segment, complete with "winding up," and it returns several times throughout the tune.
  • Just about the entire soundtrack of American McGee's Alice comes off as this.
  • The Game Over music in BlazBlue sounds like a generic, slightly dissonant "better luck next game" tune (mostly "ominous" because the player just lost). Early in Ragna's Story (the first most players are likely to try, since it's at the top of the list), it's revealed to be the song from Saya's music box. Who's Saya, you ask? Figure It Out Yourself.
  • Meteos gives us the theme music for Jeljel.
  • Fable II has the music from the music box from the beginning playing during the breakdown of the "Perfect World" part of the game, including the music becoming more and more disjointed as you run away from the bright, shiny place.
  • Luigi's Mansion:
    • In the first game, all of the music associated with Chauncey is played on a music box. This includes the music that plays when you unlock the door to his room, the music in the said room, the music when you are talking to him, and his battle music.
    • The remix of the Luigi's Mansion theme in Super Smash Bros. Brawl features an Ominous Music Box at the beginning, before the Ominous Pipe Organ comes in.
    • In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, there are some jack-in-the-boxes in the Haunted Towers' Rumpus Room that play a music box version of the "Library Piano" music before popping out and doing an Evil Laugh.
  • "Baby Bowser's Lullaby" in Yoshi's Story.
  • The music heard in Yoshi's Island DS before boss rooms.
  • Before you reach a miniboss in Super Mario Galaxy, a music box version of the Super Mario Bros. Underground theme will start to play.
  • In Ib, the themes for Ib herself and Mary are both music boxes (Ib's theme is generally accepted as the main theme). Ib's is very solemn, bordering on sad, whereas Mary's feels very playful but lonely. You'll see where that goes.
  • Mad Father uses a curious little piece that starts out as one, but introduces more depth to the music as it goes on, until finally stopping at its climax and restarting at the original hollow music box tone. It's used for the title screen, but that's pretty much it. It ended up being reused for Ib.
  • The church music box in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.
  • The music box in the hotel lobby in Silent Hill 2.
  • In Scratches there is a music box in the attic whose melody starts off rather prettily but quickly turns creepy. The soundtrack also does this with "R's Theme" in the nursery. And again, near the end of the game when you examine a teddy bear in a hidden part of the basement.
  • In Earthbound Beginnings, the first of the 8 Melodies is a music box hidden in your sister's formerly possessed naked baby doll.
  • Valkyrie Profile has "Behave Irrationally" which plays whenever someone dies. Naturally, you'll hear it quite often throughout the game.
  • Radical Dreamers has a music-box reprise of "Day of Summer" after each scenario's end credits. It also features a key scene of the main scenario.
  • Planetarian opens with its Robot Girl lead cheerfully greeting planetarium customers, over a music-box arrangement of the hymn "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" note ... and then, we cut immediately to After the End.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy V, the Music Box song isn't terribly creepy, but the scene that goes with it makes it somewhat depressingly creepy. [1] Here is HC Bailly's moment; the music box starts at 4:25
    • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has a song called Mag Mell, which is the theme of a location filled with sleeping Carbuncles that you can only get to after getting past the unknown element Miasma Stream.
  • The Disgaea games have a "music box" version of Dark Whisper, which plays on the title screen. If nothing else, it's a lot more serene than most of the music one normally hears in the games.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Black and White, the BGM for N's Room is this. Whether it's more creepy or sad is up for debate. Pokémon Black and White 2 uses a very creepy version where the music box is now broken, thanks to the destruction of the castle.
    • N's regular overworld Leitmotif comes off as this as well. Subverted in the sequels, where his theme tune begins the same but quickly transitions into something much more upbeat, reflecting the Character Development he underwent in the last games.
    • The theme from Lavender Town in the original Pokémon Red and Blue definitely feels... wrong in some intangible manner. Partly due to the chip-tune sounds used, because the same song with different instruments in Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen doesn't capture the same sensation.
  • The BGM for the Fortune-Teller's room in Shivers.
  • Rise of Nightmares for Xbox 360 Kinect features a hand-cranked musical lock that plays an appropriately creepy tune. Just don't crank too fast or slow...just don't.
  • Super Paper Mario uses this trope fantastically for its final boss fight with The Ultimate Show, starting off with a slow music box and having the broken music box sound come back throughout the song. As if fighting Luigi forcibly turned into a Villainous Harlequin Eldritch Abomination wasn't creepy enough!
  • One of Amy Rose's levels in Sonic Adventure has her evade Eggman's robots in a theme park. A creepy music-box tune will play when she ducks into the hall of mirrors in a funhouse.
  • The Rake: Hostel: A music box version of the popular Christmas carol Silent Night begins playing within the first two minutes, stopping right as the Rake makes its first appearance.
  • In Don't Starve, a pair of shadowy hands will reach towards your campfire at night and snuff it out if your Sanity Meter is too low. Said hands are accompanied by spooky music box music.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow feature a level inside a music box, with eerie music inside it.
  • The arranged version of Orochi Chris's Leitmotif "Mad Fantasy" in The King of Fighters has a recurring music box-sounding medley before the rock guitars kick in. Keep in mind that you'll be listening to it while fighting a nihilistic and psychopathic 14-year old.
  • OFF: Not Safe, the track for the Bleak Levels. Fitting, as the enemies are demonic spirits that look like baby dolls.
  • "Dolls Of Doom" in The 7th Guest, fitting with the scene that reveals dolls which have the souls of children inside of them. It loses its luster in its sequel, The 11th Hour, though, due to being played as the intro, ending, and every single time you access the Gamebook.
  • In the Otome game Hatoful Boyfriend, Iwamane Shuu is the extremely creepy doctor. He also kills you in two routes, and is responsible for your death in another. And a student, whom he boils and sends to you. His theme is Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies.
  • "All is Shut Down", RayCrisis's ending theme.
  • The Five Nights at Freddy's series have quite a few, not surprising, since the games mainly take place at children's restaurants.
    • Freddy Fazbear's Leitmotif in Five Nights at Freddy's is a creepy music-box version of "Les Toreadors" from Carmen. Players WILL come to dread that sound.
    • In the sequel, the player must keep winding a music box that plays "Grandfather's Clock" in order to keep an animatronic Puppet from moving from its place. Forget to wind it and you'll learn to dread "Pop Goes to Weasel" in a hurry...
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 3 has music box renditions for Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and Schubert's "Ständchen/Serenade" for the Golden Freddy and Shadow Bonnie minigames. The bad ending and Happiest Day minigame meanwhile, feature a rendition of one of Brahms' Sixteen Waltzes.
    • The fifth game has Ballora's theme tune, Crumbling Dreams, though it veers more into Nostalgic Music Box.
    • Security Breach has gift boxes which require you to wind them to open them, playing a tune. While nothing bad happens, it can sound out of place in a setting where everything (but Freddy) is out to get you.
  • Bloodborne has "A Lullaby for Mergo", which crops up a few times throughout the game: the music box Gascoigne's daughter gives you, the second part of the ending credits, and the fight against Mergo's Wet Nurse.
  • Given the eerie nature of the series, a few of the songs Higurashi: When They Cry are like this: Kikai, Henka, Hayashi, Giwaku, Hyoui, Tatari, the main theme (not the opening song), etc. The main theme is accompanied by a very distinctive, creepy, subdued sort of wailing, but it may takes one or two times through the series before you notice it's actually Hanyuu's Verbal Tic, with the morbid creepiness turned up. No, seriously.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has a few as well. The ones that stick out most are "worldend solo" and "Wingless."
  • Mystic Messenger has a very creepy music box theme that plays during eerie moments or bad endings.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! has a very unsettling rendition of "Okay, Everyone" that plays during Sayori's Suicide. The melody alternates between a tinny, broken music box and a synthesized One-Woman Wail, to emphasize the surreal nature of the scene.
  • In Chapter 2 of Deltarune, when confronting Noelle in the hospital during the epilogue of a Weird Route playthrough, the interaction is underscored by a song referred to in the game's files as "flashback_exerpt.ogg", a minor-key music box arpeggio atop a skeletal version of Noelle's leitmotif and a droning synth string version of "THE HOLY".
  • Song of Horror: The plot revolves around a music box that plays a song intimately tied to an Eldritch Abomination called "the Presence". Anyone that hears it becomes a target to be spirited away by the Presence, and locations where it has been played become haunted by its manifestations, even decades afterwards. The whole plot centers around finding out about the music box, where it came from, and ultimately, how to get rid of it.
  • Night of the Living Robot: A slow music box rendition of "Mr. Sandman" is played over the title screen, which is completely dark save for a moonlit window and a jack-o-lantern.

  • In Silent Hill: Promise Vanessa finds a music box on the roof of the hotel that plays a tune she recognizes.
  • "Clockwork Melody" and "Clockwork Sorrow" from the fifth Homestuck album are versions of the "Endless Climb" song played that come across as this. "Clockwork Contrivance," too, to a much lesser extent.

    Web Original 
  • The title theme to Rob Dyke's YouTube series, "Seriously Strange", sounds like it's being played on a music box, just enough off-key to match the bizarre topics discussed in each episode.
  • Carson Marenka uses this in several horror shorts, such as "Trainspotting at Night".

    Web Videos 
  • The announcement of the Cell Games in Dragon Ball Z Abridged is finished off with an incredibly creepy remix of Cell's theme from the Bruce Faulconer soundtrack. Made even more chilling by the fact that it's used to accompany the following line:
    Cell: Feel free to pray to your god. But, spoilers: I won't be listening.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has this for background music at times.
    • Used more prominently (and creepily) in "The Puppetmaster."
    • A music box played in the background when Katara showed everyone the picture of "Baby Zuko," but it trailed off when Zuko revealed who it really was.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Heard during Patrick's Break the Cutie moment in the episode "Nature Pants": "If I can't have you as a friend, I'm gonna make you a trophy!"
    • Also, this song.
  • In Storm Hawks, when Cyclonis is looking at an old picture of herself, a Nostalgic Music Box is playing, but it shifts to an ominous tune as the camera pans to her sinister-looking grandmother, who is also in the photo.
  • One Aladdin: The Series episode featured Mirage, the incarnation of evil, using a magical music box that put the entire city under a sleep charm. The tune is quite nice, but also creepy at the same time.
  • In Kaijudo, whenever Razorkinder Puppet is summoned, one of these plays.


Video Example(s):


Amphibia - All In

The closing credits for the episode "All In" feature Amphibia's moon slowly descending towards the planet with a broken version of Anne's Theme playing.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

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