With the release of a new version of Stephen Kings IT due in cinemas I thought I would return to the score for the original which was issued in 1990 and was the work of accomplished composer. conductor and arranger Richard Bellis, I recall having the score on a cassette tape many moons ago, in fact it was sent to me by the composer’s office to listen to and review in the days of the Goldsmith Society and their fanzine LEGEND. Of course, I replaced the very worn out cassette tape with a shiny new Compact disc when the score was re-issued in that format, it would have been re-miss of me not to. The score for IT, is I think one of the composers best works for cinema/TV, it evokes a tense and chilling atmosphere that was present within many of the more vintage movies from the 1960, s and prior to that. Bellis managed to conjure up a mood and a sound that was uncanny, in that it was melodic in a strange kind of way and was in the same instant sinister and unsettling. I must admit that I did not see the movie for some time after listening to the score, so could only imagine the horrors that might be unfolding to the composers pulsating score. The work is a fusion of both symphonic and synthetic, at times sounding not unlike the works of Goldsmith and Williams, but there is also an originality running throughout the work, which is achieved via cleverly done orchestration and utilisation of solo instruments at key points within the soundtrack. The composer makes affective use of solo piano for example, giving the listener at least a few moments respite from the sinister and virulent passages that make up most of the score, this is as one would expect an edgy and jumpy work, and after seeing the movie after hearing the score I must say the music compliments, supports and elevates the scenarios unfolding on screen wonderfully. It is difficult to review a score that many collectors are all acquainted with already, but to say that IT was a landmark score for Bellis is an understatement, and to also say that this is a must have release is also understated. I love the way in which the composer fuses both electronic with conventional instrumentation, the two mediums blending and entwining to create a soundtrack of high quality and a work that is theme laden throughout, yes, it is a score for a horror movie, but the composer also infuses a more melancholy and lighter side into the proceedings, so it’s not all non-stop crash bang wallop.
One of my favourite cues is THE SPIDERS WEB which certainly pulls out all the stops and goes for the full on scare the hell out you approach with no holds barred, but saying this it still remains structured and thematic, again I have to say it reminds me of music from horror movies of many moons ago, as in Hammer or AIP movies from the 1960,s and 70,s. Strings combine with percussion and brass to launch head on and unrelenting into a frenzy of sounds that conjure up all sorts of horrors and scenarios. It is a score that I would recommend to any film music collector, a wonderfully written soundtrack that stands on its own away from the frightening images it was penned for and is also an affective and effecting background to a film that still brings forth foreboding and night mares. The Intrada 2 disc set is a treat for the ears, go order it now.