Was it realy 1988 when HAUNTED SUMMER was released? Well, I guess it was, for those who do not know the movie it was a film that focused upon supposed happenings during the summer of 1816, when Poet Percy Shelley was travelling the European continent with his lover Mary Godwin, accompanied by Mary’s half-sister Claire Clairmont. On their travels they meet with the poet and notorious philanderer Lord Byron who invites them to stay with him at a villa which he has rented for the summer in Switzerland. Byron and Shelley debate many things including the nature of all the evils in the world and Byron decides that he will introduce them to part of his world, which involves the taking of opium and also sexual antics. Byron wanting to reveal their inner selves and reveal the truth that is inside them and is covered by their social masks. HAUNTED SUMMER was one of many movies that was released around about this time that set themselves at the Villa Deodati writers workshop, the meetings there which are said to be the inspiration or at least led up to Mary Shelley penning the classic tale of horror FRANKENSTEIN two years later. Films that also dealt with this event included GOTHIC and FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND, plus there was also a Spanish production entitled ROWING WITH THE WIND released in the same year which is certainly worth a look. The sequence of events is also referred to in the 2017 biopic MARY SHELLEY. The music for HAUNTED SUMMER is by composer Christopher Young, and what strikes one about the score is that although this too is a horror movie the music apart from a handful of cues is fairly romantic sounding, the composer utilising electronic instrumentation alongside conventional symphonic performances to achieve a sound and style that is stunning and highly inventive. Young creates an innovative and positively charged score in which the composer fashions sinewy sounding passages and chilling choral sections which are all brought together by the string section and the use of hauntingly sinister sounding piano. There is an air of mystery and also an atmosphere that can be described as virulent but compellingly attractive and hypnotic.
The soundtrack was originally issued on Cerebus records back in 1989, and then later in the same year a CD was made available on Silva Screen, more recently an expanded version of the score was released on LA LA LAND records in 2010 and then in 2018 Cerebus re-issued the soundtrack on LP. The score is still available on LA LA LAND as far as I can see, and it is certainly a work that your collection is crying out for. There are so many elegant and eloquent sounding themes within it, and when I first heard the music it was like I was seeing another side to composer Christopher Young.
I actually feel that this is one of his finest works and shows of his versatility and also his talent for writing both inventive, orignal and romantic compositions. When we speak of Young invariably we turn to the horror genre, and I know HAUNTED SUMMER is kind of a horror movie, but it is I think also a love story of sorts which is reflected in the composers wonderfully tantalising and haunting themes and his beautifully written tone poems that grace and perpetuate the soundtrack. The score also contains tormented and twisted musical passages again reflecting the scenarios purveyed within the film. Check out the diverse and intricate compositions in track eleven on the LA LA LAND release HAUNTINGS, which is almost nineteen minutes of music and sounds that are at times disturbing, re-assuring and also unnerving. A gem of a soundtrack, and one you should all listen to at least twenty times. Highly recommended.