Soundtrack supplement this time opens with three very entertaining releases from the ever industrious Dragons Domain, in no particular order because all are releases that you should own the label have released Vampirella by Joel Goldsmith, Adventures in Dinosaur City by Frederic Ensign Teetsal and the third instalment of the Mark Snow collection. So I am going to start with Joel Goldsmith’s atmospheric score for the movie Vampirella.
The score has never been released before and it is one that I know many fans were craving. The movie which was released in 1996 was directed by Jim Wynorski, and starred Talisa Soto in the title role. The film also featured the Who rock band front man Roger Daltrey, as well as Richard Joseph Paul, Brian Bloom, Corinna Harney, Rusty Meyers, Lee de Broux, Tom Deters, Lenny Juliano, Angus Scrimm along with John Landis and John Terlesky. The story of Vampirella was already well established before the movie made it to the screen in fact the character made her first appearance in the late 1960.’s in a magazine. She hailed from a distant planet named Drakulon and wore a rather fetching if not racy looking blood red costume that shall we say did not leave a lot to the imagination. The on-screen incarnation of the character was brought to life by Roger Corman who had worked alongside Wynorski previously and as far back as 1981.
The score by Joel Goldsmith seems to be a mix or fusion of both electronic components and a scattering of more conventional instrumentation. The composer has fashioned a score that is filled with a rich and vibrant air and also contains a number of themes. At times I did find myself thinking of past Goldsmith scores such as Moon 44, as the score for Vampirella did evoke this same sound and style on occasion. The opening theme also kind of reminded me of a western flavoured sound, but sometimes you know I hear western music in everything.
It’s a good score and I have to say it kept me interested throughout, I was waiting to hear the next cue at times but was loathed to move it forward in case I missed out on anything in the track I was listening to. Its certainly an inventive and varied score, yes, it is filled with eerie sounds and also laced with dark and affecting atmospherics, but the innovative and inventiveness of the composer make this a soundtrack that you will want to add to your collection. Recommended.
Next up is Adventures in Dinosaur City, I have to say not familiar with this at all, which is a good thing, because hearing something new is always great. The movie was released in 1991 and was a mix of both live action and animation, A group of youngsters are magically sent back into prehistory and meet the real-life counterparts to their favourite cartoon characters: who just happen to be a group of friendly dinosaurs. The kids team up with the creatures and start solving crimes, so a children’s movie but one I am sure appealed to kids of all ages. The mood and sound of the music straight away purveys a sound of urgency and is in the same ilk as music from a vintage horror from the Universal studio, but after its initial opening flourishes the music alters becoming less urgent and taking on the musical persona or style of Danny Elfman, with a jaunty piano (shades of Beetlejuice) providing the foundation of the piece, whilst strings and brass are added and enhanced with percussive elements to make it sound grand in one way and also having to it a comedic quality at the same time. It is a score that I enjoyed, and there are some nice little nuances and interludes where the composer creates several themes that re-occur along the way.
The last score I heard from this composer was also released on Dragons Domain, The Haunting of Morella is excellent, and if you have not already purchased it you should as soon as possible. Adventures in Dinosaur City is a lighter sounding score, but this obviously reflects the subject matter of the project. It is a fun score, and one I think you will enjoy.
The Mark Snow collection-volume three is entitled Southern Gothic and contains two scores from the composer. The first which runs from track one through to track twelve is from the 1994 TV movie Murder between Friends, the score contains some dark and sinister sounding cues that are at times scattered with bluesy or folk orientated nuances, but the overall mood of the score focuses upon the apprehensive and it is filled with a tense and foreboding atmosphere. Mainly electronic in its sound but this I think adds to the dark and threatening mood, the composer adding here and there an unexpected sound or a underlying percussive rumbling. The second score is taken from Shadows of Desire which was shown on the CBS channel in 1994, this score is lighter than the first, with the composer employing solo piano and harmonica on occasion to create a more subdued and calming style, the composer also brings into play some nice string arrangements that compliment and support both piano and harmonica.
The composer is in my opinion highly underrated and maybe the success of his theme and scores for the X Files series and movie have slightly hidden his ample talents from many collectors who just see him as the composer of that series. This is a nice pairing of scores as it displays Snow’s versatility and his ability to create music to suit differing storylines. Again recommended.
Haymaker is a movie that follows a retired Muay Thai fighter who is working as a doorman, one night he rescues an attractive transgender performer from a thug, which leads him to eventually become her bodyguard, and after a while a trusted friend. The relationship between them leads the bodyguard character to make an unexpected return to fighting, risking not only his relationship, but his life. It’s a story that contains elements that look at both human dignity and love. The music is by composer Christopher Thomas, (Woman Rebel, Lost and Don’t Look Back) who has provided the movie with a surprisingly rich melodic and sensitive sounding score. Its one of those soundtracks that one would probably look at and think well this will be all synth tracks and maybe filled with hip hop influenced tracks, but no, check it out, this is an accomplished score and one that is affecting and highly emotive, the use of solo cello and violin at times is quite breath-taking and oozes poignancy. The composers use of percussion in track The Fight/Finale is also inventive and effective. Please check this score out it is wonderful. Available on digital platforms.
Now for something completely different as they say, Barb and Star go to the Vista Del Mar, I did say it was different. Music for this complete nonsense movie is the work of Christopher Lennertz, and although the movie is a complete nonsensical 1 hour and fifty minutes of 100 jokes a minute with approx 99 of them falling flat on their face, the score is well….. the score is Excellent. The composer pulls out all the stops and throws everything and anything he can lay his hands into this mixing pot underlining and supporting chases, madcap scenarios, and other such like unpredictable and outlandish situations. Just listen to the cue Jet Ski Battle if you don’t believe me. The soundtrack is as entertaining as the movie and I mean that in a good way as I have to say the movie was fun, the music is brilliantly well done and because at times its over the top and as mental as the script of the film it works so well, complimenting, enhancing and at times becoming part of the lunacy. Check it out everyone, fantastic stuff. Also wanted to mention the composers score for the new Tom and Jerry movie, again entertaining stuff. Deany Bean is Dead was released in 2018, but the soundtrack by Cindy O’Connor (who shared a credit with Mark Isham on the Once Upon a Time TV series) appeared this week on digital platforms, and as we were talking of a little off beat story line, how about this one. A down-on-her-luck woman tries to win back her ex-boyfriend at his engagement party without revealing that her recently strangled boss is in the trunk of her car. Yep, I did warn you. The score for this movie is brilliantly done, entirely engrossing and totally irreverent. It has cheeky little passages that are filled with apprehension but also tinged with a quirky comedic element.
Lots of pizzicato strings, and fleeting woodwind lines, but there is just something about the music that is appealing and draws the listener in. Once heard I am sure you will be captivated by it and will be returning to it again and again. Check it out…
Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols’ task to launch a national blitz for NASA, recruiting 8,000 of the nation’s best and brightest, including the trailblazing astronauts who became the first African American, Asian and Latino men and women to fly in space. Ids the subject of this excellent documentary Woman in Motion. Which covers the importance of her role in Star Trek TV series and movies and goes into great depth about her efforts to spearhead STEM in which she dedicated herself to persuading NASA to diversify in the selection of candidates who would become astronauts. The score for the documentary is epic at times and provided by composer Colin O’Malley. It is a smorgasbord of sounds and styles and all I am going to say is just listen to it. Emotive, inspiring, rich, and thematic as well as being filled to overflowing with a sense of hope and integrity. Please do not pass this one by.
There are atmospheric and disturbing sounds galore within the next score, composer Gavin Keese serves up a liberal helping of edgy and predominantly unsettling sounds for the movie What Lies Below, which is released by Movie Score Media. In fact, the composer does not take his foot off the sinister or tense button for most of his score for the movie. Its not one for the faint-hearted listener or indeed the collector who leans more towards the melodic and romantic sounding score, it is a relentless collection of sounds that are jagged, startling, and effective. So be warned available on digital platforms.
The same can be said for Vigil which has a score by Michael Yezerski, the music or musical sounds employed here in my opinion are not entertaining but grating, it is a score that I listened to from start to finish, but I have to be honest ad say I wont be returning to it, its certainly atmospheric, but is this music, no I think not, it’s a soundscape a collection of sounds that are mostly jarring and had me reaching for the volume control. Not for me.
But Blood of Zeus is, this is an excellent soundtrack by composer Paul Edward Francis. And is filled to the brim with proud and epic sounding themes, choir, full on strings, thundering percussion, brass the works, if you like your film music big, grand and richly theme led this is for you, enough said go get it. It is an animated Netflix production, so why not tune in too.
Also worthy of mention is Sam Dinley’s score for Romeo and Juliet. Stunning is the word best used to describe it, again available on digital platforms find it and enjoy.