At last, an official commercial release of this wonderful score by Welsh born composer Michael J. Lewis. The composer himself issued a promotional compact disc of the music from this British comedy horror a few years ago. Which became deleted fairly swiftly and also became a rare and very hard to find item. Collectors will therefore welcome this release with open arms. I will say if you are one of the very few collectors of soundtracks that maybe have not heard this score, then you are in for a treat, and in a way I envy you for being about to discover this now classic work for the first time. As with the majority of Michael J. Lewis’s works for the cinema THEATER OF BLOOD contains not only highly dramatically passages that fit the events occurring up on the screen like the proverbial glove but it also contains some of the most alluring and elegant melodies that I have had the privilege to hear since I began collecting film music in nineteen hundred and something or other. The movie itself was an entertaining jaunt and one, which I went more than once to see at the cinema. Vincent Price was his normal over the top self, hammy and glorious in every way playing a spurned thespian that had been treated badly, or so he thought by critics etc. The cast list was like a who’s who from British cinema, Ian Hendry, Diana Rigg, Harry Andrews, Jack Hawkins, Robert Morley, Michael Hordern, Dennis Price and Coral Browne producing marvelous performances all of which were underlined, enhanced and complimented by the composers surging yet unobtrusive score. I am certain that this particular issue of the soundtrack has better sound quality, although saying this the promo version also hard pretty sharp and crisp sound.
As is the norm with La La Land releases the compact disc is presented very well, the booklet containing numerous stills from the movie and some excellent liner notes from the renowned film music word-smith Randall D. Larson. Which are informative and interesting. The composers haunting theme for Edwina manifests itself on a number of occasions within the score, Lewis adding little nuances or arranging the composition in a different fashion so it remains fresh, vibrant and above all else melodic. This central theme is in many ways similar to the composers principal melody for THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT, Lewis masterfully employs strings, recorders and flutes with underlying harpsichord flourishes which at times bring a touch of grace to the already elegant sound of the work. The theme itself is a simple one, but is also an endearing and obviously an enduring one. I cannot recommend this release enough, and I hope that maybe more Michael J Lewis will be considered for commercial release. He is a sadly underrated and unjustly under utilized composer, who’s music for Film, Television and Theater should be heard by all.