Both “The Shining” and “Frozen II” hold a special place for music in their cinematic stylings. “The Shining” has one of the greatest film scores of all time, courtesy of the great Wendy Carlos, who was a one-woman revolution in the realm of electronic music. “Frozen II,” meanwhile, is, of course, a musical — and, while it didn’t produce any hits on par with “Let It Go,” it did have its share of Lopez family bops, most notably including “Into the Unknown.”
Interestingly, those with a good ear might notice that a musical pattern from “Into the Unknown” also occurs in “The Shining.” The wistful melody that Elsa (Idina Menzel) hears repeatedly throughout the song, sung by Norwegian singer Aurora, is actually the Gregorian chant “Dies Irae,” which tells of the Christian Judgment Day (via Quartz). As songwriter Robert Lopez told Vanity Fair, he and Kristen Anderson-Lopez decided Elsa should be awakened by a motif that evoked “death and danger,” as “Dies Irae” has throughout musical and film history.
Lopez himself made note of the fact that the hymn is used at the beginning of “The Shining.” It’s the creepy musical piece that plays over the opening titles, as we see the Torrance family driving through the chilly Colorado landscape. And it’s a testament to Carlos’ brilliance that she managed to make that “Shining” version sound so unlike anything you’d expect to hear in a kids’ movie.