There has in recent years been a veritable onslaught of movies of the shock/horror variety. THE CONJURING,PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and SINISTER to name but three. These horror fests and others like them have in effect given the horror genre more credence as they are not just slasher tales or things that go bump in the night fests, but they contain storylines(some based on true events) that require a certain amount of thought and concentration from watching audiences, so in effect they have been instrumental in aiding the evolvement of the genre. Along with these thinking mans tales of horror also comes a new direction in the musical scores for these types of films and the score for OCULUS by the Newton brothers is certainly no exception to this trend. OCULUS contains a vibrant and pulsating soundtrack which is a mix of sound design synthetic and symphonic, the composing duo who have become ever more active over the past 5 years in the writing of music for films and have produced a score that is edgy, foreboding, harrowing, apprehensive and just downright scary. The fusion of both synthetic and symphonic elements within the score is seamless and highly original, the music and musical sounds although being atonal and at times quite harsh still retain elements of melody which do rise to the surface giving the listener a respite from the fearsome and malevolent sound that is achieved throughout the majority of the work. The score comprises of metal scrapes, off key instrumentation and a constant pulse that runs throughout the work representing the ever present mirror. Track number 4, YOU PROMISED ME is one of the more calming interludes, strings perform a slow adagio that is short lived but also highly affecting, creating an atmosphere that posses a slight touch of melancholy and relays a sense of solitude or reflection. This theme or at least a variation of it returns in track number 33, A MOTHERS EMBRACE, on this occasion it is introduced and interspersed with more ominous sounding music but the theme rises and swells becoming more romantic, emotive and fulsome. Track 35, is a little more up tempo but still retains the rich darkness and fearful atmosphere of the score, re mixed by Paul Okenfold, OCULUS-REMIX, is an interesting take on certain elements of the main score, children’s choir being brought into the equation to lend an even more sinister air to the proceedings. The Newton brothers have certainly created a soundtrack that is attention grabbing and also a score that has a unique and individual sound to it. Okenfold also worked on the final track on the CD a vocal which is performed by Greta, this is an enticing and also a little bit of an unsettling listen, but saying this it is probably a cue that will be returned to many times, it is haunting and infectious with a slight offbeat backing, the composition building and moving slowly but surely to its conclusion. The soundtrack Cd is made up of a number of short and sharp cues all of which combine to make up a really chilling but attractive listening experience.







The score works superbly in the movie and as a fan of quality film music I have to say it certainly has more than a few glorious moments away from the images it was intended to enhance. Available on Varese Sarabande.




Born Agnes Elizabeth Lutyens on July 9th 1906,in Bloomsbury London. She began her musical studies in Paris and then continued these at the Royal College of Music.  She was to become the first Female composer to write music for films in Gt Britain. During the early 1930s she made various attempts to break into the world of film scoring, but it was finally via the efforts of Muir Mathieson that she actually became involved in film music, it was because of this well know British movie music icon that Lutyens was given her first scoring assignment in 1944, this was not a full motion picture score however, but was for a Royal Air force newsreel film for which she provided a march entitled BUSTLE for WAAF,s. The march which was similar in style to the quirky theme and scores that Malcolm Arnold composed for the St Trinians films was received well.


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It was at around the same period that Lutyens also composed music for Crown Film Unit productions in which the composer decided to give the documentaries she worked on music that has more of an epic sound abandoning at this time her normal 12 tone style approach to composition. After this she became in demand and worked on a further four documentaries and with these completed she was commissioned to work on numerous short films. Her approach to scoring films was somewhat different from other composers working in film during this time, Lutyens preferring to wait until the movie was completed or in its rough cut stage before even viewing it and then deciding what music should be provided, her outlook and opinion of music in film was that it should not be overpowering or overbearing but should underline and maybe punctuate discreetly. Whilst other composers at this time such as  Bliss, saw music as a more integral component and also an equal part of the film making process with composers being involved at times long before the cameras had started to roll. In 1960, Lutyens began to work more regularly on actual movies her first foray into this area of music for the moving image being DON’T BOTHER TO KNOCK, it was at this time that Phil Martell began to work with Lutyens and he would conduct the majority of her work for the cinema and was of the opinion that She had a natural flair and aptitude to create music for film.



It was Martell, who eventually mentored Lutyens and guided her in the art of film scoring and at times was the voice of restraint when Lutyens occasionally employed a more experimental style. But it was her 12 tone system that attracted Hammer films to Lutyens as a composer as her sound and style proved to be more than effective and the collaboration between Hammer and the composer was a very productive one and it is probably true to say that it was Elizabeth Lutyens music for horror films that brought her recognition and also monetary security. DR TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS, THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING, THE SKULL and TERRORNAUTS all benefited from Lutyens original and distinctive sound. She passed away on April 14th 1983.