THE MONSTER FILM SCORES OF CHRIS RIDENHOUR.

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I am pleased that Movie score Media have made the music of this composer available on compact disc and also as downloads. I have on various occasions noticed the name of Chris Ridenhour a few times on the credits of movies and television features and have always been of the opinion that the music he produced was always pretty good, and it has always supported the movies adequately and enhanced the proceedings on screen well. Now most of the films are low budget, but please do not dismiss them or their respective scores without investigating them. This is one compilation of three that Movie score media have issued and all are very good but it was this one in particular that caught my eye and then my ears. This particular collection boasts music from six productions all of which feature highly implausible plots and some pretty weird monster action. The composer however seems to be able to step up to the mark on each occasion creating not only interesting but entertaining musical solutions and punctuations to each and every situation. The music from the productions are featured as suites in four out of six of the examples and the last two cues on the compact disc are an Overture and a main theme. Movie Score Media decided to present the music in this way as a homage to the original Bernard Herrmann long playing record compilation which were so popular during the 1970,s on Decca/Phase 4, as the composer has said he has found inspiration from these recordings at times and been motivated by the . The collection begins with MEGA SHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUS; this was released in 2009, and has been aired regularly on the SYFY channel. It has attained something of a cult following amongst fans of mega monsters and has also become the best known and most lucrative movie for The Asylum Company who produced it. At times verging on the fantastic and un-realistic but at the same time remaining exciting and heart bursting in places it is a movie that entertains at many levels and has been as alluring and watch-able as a number of the Godzilla sagas that have been produced over the years. The composers score is an important part of the movie as it is quite a prominent feature throughout, Ridenhour utilises themes which are based upon the classics to accompany and identify each of the mega monsters as they lurk and clash for dominance of the waters that surround the California coast line.

The composer integrates sections of the works of Beethoven and also Bach into his score and uses these as the foundation for the thematic properties which escort both Shark and Octopus in their deadly battle and also depict the carnage and destruction that it causes, PRELUDE AND FUGUE IN D SHARK MINOR is particularly effect both in the context of the movie and also when listened to away fro the images. The score has been condensed down into a showcase suite that was edited by the composer and Mikael Carlsson which runs for just under 18 minutes. A suite that certainly features many of the soundtracks musical highlights. It is primarily an unrelenting action score, with hard hitting almost frantic passages, which is hardly surprising given the subject matter of the movie, but saying this there is still glimmers of melody and some solid themes.  The next selection on the compact disc comes from the 2009 production, HAUNTING OF WINCHESTER HOUSE, a ghost story about a family who take up residence in an old mansion, but soon find out all is not as it should be as they do battle with a malevolent power that abducts their daughter. The composer has created an almost childlike and pensive theme for the movie which he builds upon and returns to throughout the work, it is heard in various arrangements and performed on varying instruments at one stage the theme is given a vintage sound to it via the use of a 1920,s record. Again this is essentially an action/horror score which has numerous twists, turns and musical stabs that jump out at the listener and do much to enhance and support the story that is unfolding up on the screen bringing a sense of urgency to the proceedings.  Again the composer felt that he was inspired by the music of Herrmann on this one and also with some influences being taken on board from Rota and Prokofiev. There is spine chilling use of strings within the suite and these are bolstered and underlined by percussive and electronic support. Swirling strings and growling brass sounds combine to create an atmosphere that is not just edgy but has a definite dark and virulent air to it.
Section three is from the 2010 release, MEGA PIRANHA, which is a kind of sequel to MEGA SHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUS, where a strain of giant Piranha escape the Amazon and make their way towards Florida, eating everything in their path. The score was written in just four days, and features a great deal of action/atonal music and musical sounds, plus the composer integrated a highly percussive jungle rhythm, choral sounds and driving strings which when combined create some breakneck musical moments, it is an aggressive sounding work that also incorporates some interesting heavy metal influences. Considering the deadline the composer had on this score, he did a great job of creating a work that encompasses so many styles and sounds.
Section four, is from SHERLOCK HOLMES, where the sleuth faces his ultimate challenge of protecting London from the ravages of an array of ferocious and frightening monsters, a fantastic tale which the composer scored in a suitable fashion, creating an action packed soundtrack that also includes subtle and light-hearted moments. The action music however does loose its appeal at certain points within the suite as it becomes rather too busy and harsh at times all sections seemingly melting into each other and becoming rather repetitive, but saying this the composer does pull a few good moments and themes out of his hat. Track five, is the Overture from MEGA PYTHON VS GATOROID, another tale of giant reptiles doing battle, a short cue running just over a minute, action fuelled again with driving string effects and brass taking on the majority of the workload. Track 6, is 2010, MOBY DICK, once again very high octane material which is rousing as well as being action based. Overall this is an enjoyable collection of suites from the scores of Ridenhour.

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