Released in 2018, INDIVISIBLE is what many call a Christian film, or a faith-based movie. Sometimes this genre of film can get a little too much for certain people but this particular example has had people actualy changing the way that they behave and has prompted men to become better husbands and better human beings. It is a fact-based story that focuses upon an army Chaplain and his wife who after he returns from war have to fight a kind of war themselves to save their marriage. The atmospheric musical score is by composer Paul Mills, who has penned a truly haunting work to enhance and underline this ever so emotive story. His music has hope and romance within it, there is also a dark and more unsettling element to the soundtrack, which the composer realises via the use of various symphonic and electronic sounds and utilises ethnic sounding instrumentation at times to purvey the required atmosphere and mood. The style of Mills in this case is somewhat like John Williams and also the late Jerry Goldsmith, the opening track begins with a percussion roll that is joined by a patriotic sounding trumpet solo that is underlined and supported by further percussive elements. Short lived but a powerful and attention-grabbing start, which stirs the listen and sets the scene for most of what is to follow. Track number two, FAMILY FORT is a lighter affair with piano and strings creating a carefree and playful theme.


Track number three, TAKEDOWN is just the opposite with the composer fashioning a tense and dramatic piece and combining both conventional and synthetic instrumentation to bring to fruition a growling and unsettling sound. Track seven FALCON BASE is also a dark sounding passage with ethnic sounding instrumentation and voice being underlined by foreboding strings and a drone like sound that creates a nervous atmosphere. INDIVISIBLE is a score that has many musical colours and textures, and also changes direction without one even realising it, we are treated to haunting and fragile sounding tone poems that are filled with melancholy and a sense of hopefulness, then thee are the more shadowy and fearsome sounding pieces, that are vibrant, pulsating and effective, plus we also have a sound that appears every now and then that could be James Horner when he wrote for choir, as in BRAINSTORM or even KRULL. This otherworldly sound is also affecting as much as it is effective. I recommend that you try and check this one out and whilst doing so catch another Paul Mills score RUN THE RACE two scores that I know that you will love.



Released in 2016/2017, BRIMSTONE is a tale of a wrongly accused mute frontierswoman who is hounded and pursued by a preacher who is intent on making her pay for a crime that she did not commit. Set in the Old west, it is a story that makes one’s emotions rise and also a rather gloom filled tale that makes one side with the girl as she is wrongly accused and then hunted by an obsessed so-called man of God. Directed by Martin Koolhaven, who has made a pretty good western here, which rans alongside films such as THE HATEFUL EIGHT and DJANGO both by Tarantino. It is a storyline that is filled with so many twists and turns but they all come together and make sense in the end culminating in a solid and engrossing thriller, drama, western. The film stars Guy Pearce as the driven and insane Preacher with Dakota Fanning as Liz the young woman he is intent on hunting down.




BRIMSTONE is a classy movie and one that will hold your attention from the moment it opens until the end credits roll, photographed wonderfully and directed with a passion. The movie is in sections, with each one becoming more and more terrible as the storyline moves on or develops. “Revelations” opens the proceedings which takes place around three quarters of the way through the movie, confused? Well don’t be it all comes to fruition in the end. “Exodus” covers the midpoint and “Genesis” provides the credibility the central characters journey. I thought that the film being sectioned up as it were would confuse matters, but surprisingly it makes the story and the movie even more attractive and compelling.

The movie is greatly aided by a score by composer/dj/producer Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL), and although I am kind of late to the party with this one, it is also a score that I would recommend that you take a listen to, I am sad that I had missed this one, but it’s a case of another one getting under the radar in a time when so many soundtracks are released, That is probably one of the good things such as Spotify and even I Tunes, they enable one to get a second chance and search out scores that sometimes you were not aware of. This is a score that I have to say is more melodious than anything else I have heard by this composer, there is a deep and rich heart to the work, yes there are obviously darker and more atonal cues present but is this not just the way things are in film music, because if a score was all sweetness and light it probably would not do much to enhance the movie it was written for.


I am just overwhelmed by the amount of melodious and emotive sounding musical passages within this work, it is filled with delicate and at times intricate nuances that are pleasing and haunting, the accent within many of them being on the poignant and focusing upon purveying the fragility and the emotions of the moments. I have not been a great fan of the composers work as many of his scores are electronic and have to them a crashing and grating persona, which I can’t seem to separate from any actual musical content, I suppose it is a case once again of maybe generation, or even the way in which one perceives music in films. I think I am of the school of thinking that music should be a background but also should underline and bring to the surface the raw emotions that are present in a scene or performance, and at times without music do not manifest themselves. BRIMSTONE is an inventive score and contains clever orchestrations and quirks that add much to not only the film when one is watching, but also makes the listening experience away from the images a more enjoyable one. The score is a fusion of darkness, light, joy and the sombre, and although the sombre content does outweigh the moments that are lighter it is still a great work to listen to. The shadowy areas and interludes are shall we say interesting, low and darkly rich strings work their magic throughout, swelling and flowing to create a thickly sinister but at the same time eloquent sound that is appealing and tantalising.

Track number 22 WATCHING OVER ME, is I think my own personal favourite on the album, a lilting piano solo performs a delicate and beautiful theme which the composer bolsters and enhances via the use of strings, which although slightly overwhelm the piano are not in any way totally overpowering, in fact the strings fade slowly and the piano solo can be heard once again after a minute or so before that to fades and stops completely, we then return to the string section, who are given a powerful but subdued theme to purvey, it is gorgeous and highly affecting, the composer creating an adagio that is heart breaking and totally mesmerising.



The same can be said of the track EXODUS, strings again are utilised and rise and fall within the piece to develop a sound that is more akin to the works of the great masters rather than for a movie score, solo violin is used to fashion a highly emotional sound whilst we hear voices in the background which give this performance an even greater impact. Don’t do as I would have done and see the name Junkie XL and dismiss this score, I recommend that you at least check it out…when you do, I know you will be pleasantly surprised.




Released in January 1989, DEEP STAR SIX was looked upon by many as being yet another Alien type clone. Instead of being set in deep space it was set deep in the ocean where a crew of Navy engineers are excavating and area of the sea floor, whilst doing this they accidently disturb a gigantic and highly aggressive sea monster who begins to set about their craft with a view to getting to them. I suppose it is a fair comment to say that this fairly low budget tale was in fact seen as an opportunity to cash in on the success and appeal of films such as ALIEN, but saying that didn’t ALIEN director James Cameron attempt to re-kindle the same sort of scenario four years later in 1989 when he made THE ABYSS? So, I suppose one could say that DEEP STAR SIX could have been the inspiration for that movie and others like it that moved the horror from outer space into the depths and darkness of the Oceans, LEVIATHAN for example which was released two months after DEEP STAR SIX. Although DEEP STAR SIX was a low budget affair, it was not in any way lacking in entertainment value, and recently I re-watched the movie and still enjoyed it, but I am as they say easily pleased. It’s tag line, NOT ALL ALIENS COME FROM SPACE, SAVE YOUR LAST BREATH TO SCREAM, which is also a different take on the ALIEN tag line, IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM. Still sticks in my head. The music for DEEP STAR SIX is the work of composer Harry Manfredini, he is one of those composers who I believe is so talented but never seems to attain the status he so richly deserves, he worked on numerous movies during the 1980’s and also the 1990’s including the FRIDAY THE 13TH series of films, his scores are a fusion of symphonic and electronic, the composer fashioning effective and entertaining works that work both with and without the images on screen. In his career thus far the composer has scored some 100 movies and TV series.


His music for DEEP STAR SIX is in my opinion one of his best scores for film, the opening theme is wonderfully orchestrated, and although it does contain a handful of synthetic elements it is essentially a symphonic piece that is rich in harmonies and filled with melody. The style employed by the composer is verging upon the style of John Barry in places, with rich and sumptuous strings being punctuated and supported by faraway sounding horns that add a sense of the solitary to the proceedings, the theme also contains a magical and somewhat mystical foundation of delicate and fragile sounding chimes etc, on which the composer builds his haunting theme. In fact maybe it also has a gentle nod in there to Jerry Goldsmith at times. The soundtrack was released on INTRADA records (MAF7004D) back in 1989, and it was one of those soundtracks that seemed to disappear quickly, I was fortunate enough to get a copy in London and have treasured it ever since.


It is a score that contains a variety of styles and sounds, the composer pulling out highly dramatic and action fuelled cues as if from nowhere, at times evoking the style of the old B feature creature films that were so popular during the 1950’s and early 1960’s. But I have to say that for the most part it is the luxurious sounding core theme that attracts and entices the listener, I have to say that this is definitely a score that outshines the film it was written for.



Stanley Black was a composer that I feel was sorely overlooked when it comes to film music. Many associate Black with the numerous film music albums that he released back in the 1960’s and 1970’s which were compilations of popular film themes and not necessarily original music written by Black, although he was responsible for the arrangements on these collections. Many of the albums were released on EMI or labels associated with them such as studio two and also a handful I remember (which were the better ones) were on DECCA or Phase 4. These included the standard film music themes such as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Dr Zhivago etc which were not just associated with films but also had a life away from the movies they were composed for via re-workings of them as popular songs etc. The composer/conductor was also responsible for releasing a number of albums of easy listening music as it was often called, his lounge and exotica albums becoming even more popular than his film music collections. Black however penned numerous film scores himself many of which were released during the 1950’s and surprisingly a lot of these were horror or tense thrillers, BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE for example and also THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS, Black also composed an atmospheric soundtrack for JACK THE RIPPER and was capable of creating jazz orientated music for films such as HELL IS THE CITY which contained an upbeat and gritty sounding musical score. His credits were many and they were also for films that were mainly considered as B features but were still of a high quality as was Black’s music.

HELL IS THE CITY had to it a big band sound and a style that was in my opinion ahead of its time for a film score. MANIAC from 1963 also had an upbeat and infectious sounding soundtrack, again Black employing a jazz or big band style to the proceedings but adding to these elements’ strings and heavier more raw sounding brass flourishes to elevate the dramatic content that was required, in many ways I suppose one could say that the style employed by black within thrillers such as the aforementioned and also movies such as THE MAN IN THE BACK SEAT (1961) was influential in Italian thrillers because the big band and orchestral or symphonic fusion was present in the work of composers such as Bruno Nicolai on THE INSATIABLES, and also within works penned by Maestro’s such as Piero Umiliani and later in the 1970’s Franco Micalizzi.


But there is another side to the film music of Stanley Black, take his score for the 1949 movie INTERRUPTED JOURNEY as just one example, this is a highly dramatic work and sounds positively lush and sumptuous as if it had come direct from the pen of Max Steiner, Alfred Newman or Franz Waxman. Which was also the case for his tense and powerful soundtracks for the 1956 thriller PASSPORT TO TREASON and the 1957 production THE VICIOUS CIRCLE. But let us focus upon two of the composers Horror scores. One of these movies is probably well known for all the wrong reasons, as it was not exactly one of the best horrors produced.



BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE was released in 1958 and was met with mixed reaction from critics and fans alike, many look at the movie as a poor mans Hammer production, as it was clearly influenced by the films that had been produced by that studio. But, it was lacking in a number of areas, and did not quite make the grade as a fully-fledged Gothic horror, although entertaining, it was not a vampire movie in the true sense, It is set in the 1870’s in Transylvania (where else) we see a Dr Callistratus (Donald Wolfit) put to death by villagers who believe that he is a vampire, However after his death his loyal but terribly disfigured henchman Carl played by Victor Maddern takes the body of his Master to a surgeon who performs a heart transplant and revives Callistratus, after which both Callistratus and his henchman take refuge in an asylum which is located in a remote area, but soon the Dr, notices he begins to have a taste or thirst for blood, thus he feeds off the inmates of the asylum.



Directed by Henry Cass with a screenplay by Hammer writer Jimmy Sangster the movie was released via Universal studios and although failed to impress at the time of its release it is now looked upon as something of a cult movie, that along with Hammer classics such as DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN has influenced a number of films within the horror genre that have appeared since, It had an impressive cast which included. Barbara Shelley, Bernard Bresslaw, John Le Mesurier, Vincent Ball and Cameron Hall. Black’s score aided the tale greatly, with urgent brass flourishes and swirling strings, the composer producing a James Bernard sounding work, the scores rumbling percussion and driving themes being relentless and impressive, the composer also enlisted flyaway sounding woods and these were enhanced and bolstered by the at times frenzied and ferocious performance of the string section. I would not say that the score was particularly innovative in its overall sound and style, but it worked well within the movie and when listening to the suite that was re-recorded by Chandos records it also has a great listening value to it without the images it was intended to support. So why was the soundtrack never released, well I and others often ask this, the main reason was that music for Horror movies such as this and even the now classic Hammer horrors were not released because at the time they were in cinemas maybe audiences or even film music collectors at the time were not interested in scores that were seen to be non-thematic and mostly action/atonal driven. But collectors now crave scores such as this, and their enthusiasm and craving for them was displayed when the likes of GDI and Silva Screen began to make Hammer horror scores available, sadly it stopped with Hammer.

A Year later in 1959 Stanley Black returned to the horror genre when he scored the Peter Cushing chiller THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS (aka-MANIA in USA). Produced by Triad Productions and directed by John Gilling, the film was another version of the tale of Dr Knox and his relationship with grave robbers Burke and Hare. This story has been filmed several times and in many different guises, but in my opinion THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS and THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS (1985) are the most interesting. Set in Edingburgh in 1828, Knox being a skilled and respected anatomist who has many students flocking to his lectures. But because of the laws at the time there were very few bodies available to experiment on, this frustrated Knox who decided to procure fresh corpses from where ever he could, enter then Burke and Hare played by George Rose and Donald Pleasance respectively, who have discovered maybe a body is worth more dead than it is alive.

Flesh and the Fiends 313


The later movie THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS borrowed heavily from this production; in fact the storylines are basically the same but names etc have been altered. When reading the synopsis for the two productions they are the same, but each movie has its own identity if that makes any sense whatsoever.



The score by Stanley Black, is robust and vibrant to say the least, the composer employing lush but at the same time urgent sounding strings, with brass heralding a dark sounding work that is filled with a variety of moods and ambiances, Black although creating a action led score also fashions a central theme which itself is highly melodic and at times abundantly rich and lush. I would say that this is more thematic than BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE but again listening to it as just music there is something of an entertainment value to it, and also again there are comparisons to be drawn between the work of Black and also the Hammer scores as penned by the likes of James Bernard and Don Banks. A score that would be welcomed along with many others by Black if they were to be released now. Anyone out there listening?

Das Versprechen (aka-THE PROMISE).



An interesting and also entertaining score from 1994, from the German movie Das Versprechen (aka-THE PROMISE). The movie deals with events that take place just after the erection of the Berlin wall in 1961. Five friends plan to escape to West Germany the bid for freedom goes well apart for Konrad one of the five who does not make it over the border and is left behind. Another of the friends Sophie is heartbroken that Konrad was unsuccessful and has been left in East Germany. The story focuses upon the two friends who over a period of the next 28 years try to meet up in spite of the wall. The musical score is by composer Jurgen Kneiper who wrote a varied and also a powerful soundtrack for the movie. Kneiper is probably better known for his acclaimed score for the movie WINGS OF DESIRE, but his music for THE PROMISE is equally innovative and is a superb romantically laced soundtrack which I feel is probably overlooked and grossly underatted. It has to it a sound and style that is filled with poignancy and emotive musical nuances and has too a quality that seems to be lacking in some of the contemporary film scores. The work is totally symphonic the composer utilising musicians from the German Opera Orchestra Berlin, the violin solos are stunningly beautiful and gorgeously romantic and melancholy, woodwind solos too are outstanding and purvey a delicate and fragile air. But there is also a side to the score which oozes a more threatening and darker persona, with percussion and brass being utilised to create a tense and nervous aura.



This can be heard more prominently within the cue (track 2) YEARS OF THE WALL, which is apprehensive and cautious. It builds slowly and projects a mood that is filled with tension, but approx. mid-way through we are treated to a stunning trumpet solo, that is underlined and driven by forthright sounding strings. I can only say that every track on the soundtrack has something that everyone will be drawn to, it is a wonderfully thematic work and literally is overflowing with a rich and lush sounding style and a luxurious sound that would not be out of place in a Hollywood movie from the 1940.s. Plus we also get a great laid back sounding track in the form of FASHION SHOW which could easily be the work of Michel Legrand or even Sid Ramin in those quieter moments from his score for Stiletto.  An excellent work and one that is enriching and rewarding to listen to.