DARK WAVES (BELLEROFONTE), is an Italian produced fantasy/horror movie which was released in 2015, directed by Domiziano Christopharo who’s more recent contributions include FLESH MANNEQUINS-TOTALLY UNCUT, VIRUS EXTREME CONTAMINATION and the absorbing Giallo like horror THE TRANSPARENT WOMAN. Christopharo is not just a director in fact one could probably refer to him as an all round filmmaker because he is a writer, cinematographer, producer and also worked on special effects, he has turned his hand to editing and acting as well as being able to compose music. His other credits include DOLL SYNDROME, RED KROKODIL, HYDES SECRET NIGHTMARE and BLOODY SIN alongside many others. Composer Alexander Cimini, has provided DARK WAVES with a highly atmospheric score, there are many moods and colours to the music and the soundtrack elevates and supports the story being acted out on screen wonderfully, the music being unobtrusive but at the same time creating deliciously dark yet romantically laced passages which seamlessly weave themselves throughout the storyline adding a greater impact to it. The composer has collaborated with Christopharo before on SHOCK;MY ABSTRACTION OF DEATH in 2013 but most notably on RED KROKODIL in 2012. Cimini too is an individual that is multi talented within the film industry and although he predominantly works as a composer he also regularly works from behind the camera as a director and assistant director, plus he has also worked as an editor and a producer and as a composer has written the theme music for films such as REGALO A SORPRESA and HYDES SECRET NIGHTMARE. Alexander Cimini was born and raised in Germany, his parents owned a restaurant and he resided in Germany until the age of six. The composer recalled that it was the music of Ennio Morricone that inspired him and he would hear soundtracks such as DUCK YOU SUCKER, THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST on the families radio in the car. It was also the piano playing of Richard Clayderman that influenced him and drew him to playing the piano himself. The composers Grandfather was also a composer but sadly he never met him as he died before he was born. The music for DARK WAVES is a score that although being new or contemporary also has to it a sound and style that can be likened to the scores written during the 1970,s by composers such as Morricone, Donaggio and Cipriani. The composers use of a wordless Female vocal (Soprano Monica Boschetti) within the score is affecting and haunting and creates a ghost like mystical musical persona that at times is chilling but also can be mesmerising and beautiful.
This exceptional performance is fused with outstanding violin and cello solo performances by Roberto Noferini and Sebastiano Severi respectively and together these make this score one that should be in every discerning film music aficionados collection. Composer Marco Werba also contributed to the soundtrack by writing a lilting and melodic piece entitled LOVE SONG which is the opening credit theme for the movie, this appears at the end of the compact disc (track 17). This is a score that is delicate, powerful and undeniably romantic with an underlying mood that is fearsome, apprehensive but never overwhelming.
There have been a number of cinematic versions of the classic H.Rider Haggard tale of adventure, mystery and romance SHE. This particular incarnation of the story was released in 2001, Directed by Canadian born Timothy Bond who has mostly worked in television contributing to series such as MUTANT X, GOOSEBUMPS, HERCULES-THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, FOREVER KNIGHT and ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS among others. This particular re-working of SHE tells the tale of Leo Vincey (Ian Duncan) who has received a map from his late Father, the map shows the whereabouts of the legendary lost city of Kor. Vincey accompanied by his partner Roxanne (Marie Baumer) sets out to not only find the City but also to find out the mystery that surrounds his own ancestry. After a while it transpires that Vincey is a direct descendant of an Egyptian priest who dared to fall in love with a Princess and for his crime was executed. On finding the lost city Vincey discovers that the ruling Queen is in fact that same Princess, AYESHA-SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED (Ophelie Winter) who has somehow via magic remained youthful throughout all of the centuries that have passed. When Vincey is presented to the Queen she becomes convinced that he is the reincarnation of her dead lover who has returned to be with her but is enraged and becomes intent on killing him. H. Rider Haggard’s inventive and exciting story has transferred to film well on more than one occasion, in fact one of the first cinematic presentations of the story was in 1925, it was then filmed again in 1935 which is the version that many say is probably the best.
Hammer films in the U.K. also made a version of the story and cast Ursula Andress in the title role who was supported by Hammer stalwart Peter Cushing and John Richardson, the movie was such a success it spawned a sequel THE VENGEANCE OF SHE which sadly was not as lucrative for the house of horror. The story of SHE is one that is filled with romantic and dramatic scenarios, it is steeped in mystery and also has to it an aura that is magical and compelling. The musical score for SHE (2001) was composed and conducted by Italian Maestro Stelvio Cipriani, the Maestro was no stranger to scoring movies which contained such a plethora of action and excitement, after all his career in scoring movies began back in the early 1960,s and has continued to flourish and grow with the composer still active in the film scoring arena today. Cipriani was born in Rome in 1937 and after leaving school decided to train as an accountant, eventually however he decided that it was music that he would follow as a career. He was particularly active during the 1960,s through to the mid 1980,s scoring numerous Italian made westerns and penning one of the most famous themes from that genre A MAN A HORSE AND A GUN which was written for the movie THE STRANGER RETURNS in 1967.
Cipriani excelled when it came to creating infectious and haunting themes for motion pictures his most famous or notable non western score being for the award winning movie THE ANONYMOUS VENETIAN in 1970, a soundtrack which is still today held in high regard by many and remains available as a recording after numerous re-issues etc. The composer is also able to create spine chilling and fearsome musical cues for the horror genre working on movies such as BAY OF BLOOD and BARON BLOOD. Cipriani,s score for SHE is a powerful one, filled with lush and rich sounding thematic material that would not be out of place in one of the many epics as produced by Hollywood during the Golden Age of cinema or even because of its appealing and alluring melodious persona might be mistaken for any of the works of Angelo Lavagnino, Carlo Savina or Carlo Rustichelli when either of the three Maestros worked on Italian made sword and sandal sagas. Mysterious, romantic and filled with drama and apprehension.
It also contains a slightly more contemporary feel in parts with the composer adding at times a modern or upbeat style to the proceedings, the inclusion of which maintains an air of freshness and vitality throughout the work. The composer has over 250 film scores to his credit and his music has been heard more recently on films such as THE MAN FROM UNCLE, DEATH PROOF and GRINDHOUSE.
John Mansell (MMI/IFMCA)
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