Mark Mothersbaugh, is a composer that has worked steadily over a period of many years, I first noticed his name on the opening credits to animated series such as RUGRATS, years ago, but his career began long before that as the composer worked on low budget movies such as REVENGE OF THE NERDS ll, SLAUGHTER HOUSE ROCK, and episodes of The Pee Wee Hermann show, Mothersbaugh is a composer who has an impressive list of credits to his name, but also sadly is a composer that is not a name that is regularly discussed amongst collectors of film and TV music, I was always impressed by his musical prowess and his adaptability whilst he worked on THE RUGRATS as his music would often change direction, style and sound over 30 times in one episode the composer altering his style and approach and being highly inventive and creative writing music to suit every situation in the sometimes 5 or 10 minute episode. He managed to create scores that were expressive and also recognisable as in the people watching (the adults that is) would get it straight away, he would often mimic well known themes in a similar way to composer Alf Clausen did when working on THE SIMPSONS, creating little parodies and pastiches to enhance certain situations, This I think is a true talent and a sign that the composer is capable of thinking on his feet and adapting quickly, it also displayed that Mothersbaugh had a good knowledge of music. His name then began to appear on numerous TV shows and he would scores series of programmes such as SOUTH BEACH, HOTEL MALIBU, SECOND CHANCES and BEAKMANS WORLD during the 1990’s. Bigger projects soon followed, and the composer made a more permanent move into scoring feature films and worked on productions such as, 21 JUMP STREET, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE LEGO MOVIE, 22 JUMP STREET etc, and even returned to scoring THE RUGRATS when they made their big screen appearances. Recently he has written the scores to, PITCH PERFECT 2, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS-THE ROAD CHIP, LEGO THE NINJANGO MOVIE, ME GUSTA, PERA ME ASUSTA and is working on HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3. He also stepped into the shoes of composers such as Patrick Doyle and Brian Tyler for the latest Marvel films production, THOR RAGNAROK. For this he has delivered an invigorating score, the work is a mix of both symphonic and electronic, it contains some pretty impressive epic sounding material but also has to it a more contemporary side, with the composer employing, up tempo percussion and Giorgio Moroder like syths and electric guitars to enhance the action, at the outset of the score, I felt that maybe the producers had done the right thing allowing this composer to score the film, but mid-way through, I have to admit I began to get a little tired of the synthetic sounding material.




A lot of collectors have complained that Marvel movies do not actually contain enough solid themes, well with THOR RAGNAROK, the themes are there well at least there are hints of themes present, but the composer is either not allowed to develop them more fully or does not see the need for them to be developed. Ok don’t get me wrong here, I love the way Mothersbaugh, infuses his score with a kind of mini homage to Brian Tyler, and allows a theme not dissimilar to that of Tyler’s THOR theme to run throughout the work, but again it is just a hint of a theme, where as if he were to have allowed it to grow and develop there might have been something special here to listen to. Towards the end of the score it again begins to return to a more structured and symphonic sounding work, with proud brass flourishes and stirring strings being carried along on a sea of percussive elements that are commanding and thundering. There is even a Jerry Goldsmith sounding cue, that rears its dramatic head in the form of ASGARD IS A PEOPLE, booming percussion, interspersed with jagged brass and underlined by driving strings and choir are fused into an action cue, that is exciting and tense, with a hint of the THOR theme by Tyler being brought in and out of the proceedings as it moves towards its powerful sounding crescendo of a conclusion. After this we are treated to WHERE TO? Which is an uplifting and proud sounding piece again for strings, percussion and brass. But personally, there is too much electronic, too much upbeat nothingness and not enough symphonic, many of the cues sounding like obscure tracks from a KRAFTWERK album. Mixed feelings on this one, which is a shame as Mothersbaugh is in my opinion normally a composer that delivers.




THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM, is a period horror/drama, that fuses both old school Hammer horror moods and atmospheres with contemporary styled scenarios which are present in horror movies that have been released more recently. The cast is particularly strong and each actor/actress brings something to the movie that is undeniably charismatic and believable. Set in the city of London, this atmospheric and suitably dark movie, is directed by Juan Carlos Medina, and focuses upon a series of murders the perpetrator of which is referred to as THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM, the City is place that is filled with fear as the killer leaves a string of cryptic clues which are written in his victim’s blood. Shades of the Jack the Ripper story are present here and anyone with a little knowledge of the Ripper murders will obviously make comparisons at certain points within the films storyline. The authorities have a few leads which they are pursuing, but as public pressure and fear grows, Scotland Yard enrol the help of an experienced detective, who himself has a chequered and somewhat troubled past. Inspector Kildare is portrayed convincingly by the excellent Bill Nighy, who because of his past seems to think he has only been given the assignment by his superiors so he can fail. As the story progresses Kildare enlists the assistance of one of the key witness, s played by Olivia Cooke. Kildare, tries all he can to stop the grotesque murders and close in on the killer in the hope of bringing him or her to justice. This is a great horror story, and one which is akin to many of the glorious Hammer Gothic horrors which were produced during the 1960, s, simply because of its settings and the way in which it is photographed. The musical score is also something that would not sound out of place in a horror movie that was released during the 1960, s it is filled with a strong symphonic presence and oozes melodies as well as being filled with dark and sinewy passages that have the ability to send a cold shudder up one’s spine. Within the score there is a delicate but at the same time icy touch, which is highly effective and creates some wonderfully hypnotic and fearful interludes. The composer, Johan Soderqvist has worked on several movies in which his music has gained recognition, his ability to create atmospheres and invent innovate musical colours and underline sequences and scenes is stunning. Working on such movies as KON TIKI, KING OF DEVILS ISLAND, THE MURDER FARM, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, JAGARNA 2 and TV projects such as THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES and THE ABSCENT ONE the composer displays a multi-faceted approach to scoring film, his soundtracks are all highly original and there is not a style or sound that one can compare him to as his style is all of his own making.



The score for THE LIME HOUSE GOLEM, I would have to mark as one of his finest works for cinema, the composer giving the already tense and fear filled storyline even greater depth and virulent and urgent musical persona. But, Soderqvist’s music for the movie also has to it a richness and an opulent and lavish sound that simply envelopes the listener, it is alluring and becomes an important component of the developing storyline, underlining, supporting and at certain points even overpowering the images and scenario being acted out on screen, this is a powerful work, a commanding and haunting soundtrack, that is almost operatic with its imposing growling brass and swirling strings, light flourishes of harpsichord and lilting woodwind and piano performances, the composer lulling the audience into a false sense of security and then suddenly without warning creating a motif that is filled with dread and doom. Soderqvist music for THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM, in my opinion is thus far this year probably the most interesting, worthy and entertaining score for a motion picture, if it is not nominated for an Oscar or a BAFTA then there is something seriously wrong with the system. Its lush and romantic heart is at times overshadowed by its shadowy and dramatic interludes, but the two styles complement each other making this a highly desirable release, and will be a treasured addition to any film music collection.


Available on Varese Sarabande records.

The Opening
John Is Dead
Marx As The Golem
Aveline And Lizzie
Misery Junction
Dan Offers Lizzie A Job
Dan Leno As The Golem
The Theatre
Give The Public Blood
The Rape
Gissing As The Golem
Dan And Lizzie
What Did She Know About Railways? (Olivia Cooke)
Cree As The Golem
Lizzie And John
Chasing The Manuscript
Uncle’s Secret Room
Race To The Gallows
Mother And Daughter
Following Gissing
The Golem
The Hanging
Ratcliff Murders
The Limehouse Golem End Credits
I’m Waiting For Him Tonight (Douglas Booth)