Many of you like me remember the great movies of the 1950’s and the 1960’s and categorize many of these as classics with iconic scores by composers who went onto become household names, if you were a soundtrack collector that is. One composer who I remember because of just one score is Russell Garcia, who wrote the music for the George Pal movie The Time Machine. The movie which was produced and directed by George Pal was released in 1960. At first the film was entitled H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, because it was based upon the 1895 novella by the author, its, a movie that attracted the attention of many, and I can also remember seeing it in the cinema when it was re-released a few years after its initial run.

It’s a movie that also shows up on TV regularly and each time I just must sit and watch it from beginning to end. I think it was more the movie that I was firstly attracted to but as my interest in music for film grew, I discovered the music that Russell Garcia had penned for the film. I suppose it is also a good thing that my focus on the movie and its storyline was not distracted by the musical score, it was something that I took for granted because it was not only good and supportive of the movie but was an important and integral part of the unfolding and ever-changing storyline. They often say that if you notice the music in a movie then it is not really doing what it is supposed to. So, I guess that Garcia’s music for The Time Machine, was working with and for the movie. His rich and dramatic symphonic compositions were to become a regular listen for me when I finally added the soundtrack to my collection.

Russell Garcia.

In 1987 the composer recreated his atmospheric and breath-taking score when he conducted the Graunke Symphony Orchestra in Munich. The result of these sessions was a re-recording of the score. Now some thirty-five years on we are once again to be treated to this brilliant score, which has been superbly re-mastered from the original digital stereo elements, this latest edition of the score contains previously unreleased material. With Garcia’s suite from Atlantis, The Lost Continent included which he also re-recorded.

This stunning compact disc release is packaged in a jewel case and contains an informative and colourful twenty-page booklet. The booklet contains an interview with the composer and background information on the movie and its score written by the producer of the disc Arnold Leibovit. It also has attractive cover art which has been designed by Jim Titus.

It’s a limited-edition release and one that every film music fan should own and is available now. The Time Machine, the movie I think stands out as one of George Pal’s most accomplished pieces of cinema, and as a fantastic slice of science fiction in film full stop. The film is one that you just cannot stop watching, and stars Rod Taylor, as a Victorian scientist, who I have always assumed was H. G. Wells? He invents a machine that hurtles him through time to the far distant future world in the year 802,701 where we find that mankind has evolved into two species.

A gentle surface-dwelling, vegetarian, childlike, pacifist race called the Eloi, and the brutal, beastly, meat eating, Morlocks who live beneath the Earth and prey upon the weaker and more subdued race that live on the surface, feeding on them.

The movie also starred Yvette Mimieux and Alan Young, Young. I think was probably the most liked character in the story and we see the relationship between his character Filby and Rod Taylor’s time traveller develop and grow over the years and at various stages of the film, with Taylor moving back and forward in time experiencing the past and being shocked at times by the future of the earth.

Gene Warren and Tim Baar received the Oscar for Best Special Effects which was mainly due to the time-lapse photographic sequences, that effectively and convincingly show the world rapidly altering, most effectively via a tailor’s dummy in a shop window, where we see the fashions changing as the time traveller journeys to the future accompanied by Garcia’ music which has a slightly more comedic tone to it in places during this sequence.

The imagery and the sets are wonderful, and the direction is nothing short of brilliant. Russell Garcia’s score fuses the dramatic with the romantic and adds much to the overall mood and atmosphere of the film. The composer captures the frightening and brutal world of the Morlocks, but at the same time underlines the beautiful and for the most part carefree world of the Eloi.


It also provides a strong and slightly darker musical persona for the Time Machine itself, which is driving as well as melodic. Overall, the music has to it full and rich sound that is lavish at key moments within the movie, with the composer utilising the string section to great effect. .

Garcia’s lilting theme for Filby is subtle and filled with melancholy and tenderness. Which conveys the warmth of the friendship between him and George (Rod Taylor’s character )throughout the movie.

Australian actor Rod Taylor as H George Wells .

The theme that the composer created for Weena, which is the Love theme from the score, is beautiful and gracious. Again the string section is utilised to maximum effect. Garcia’s driving and highly dramatic action cues for the movie are fairly typical of the style that many other composes employed when scoring films during this period, but work wonderfully punctuating and adding tense and nervous support to the time travellers violent encounters with the Morlocks.

Percussion is combined with rasping brass flourishes and swirling strings to underline the ferocious creatures as they attempt to kill the time traveller. The score is wonderfully expressive and sensitive, and I am pleased that this glorious music has at last been re-issued in its re-mastered and complete form. The soundtrack is available now from,  The Time Machine – Puppetoon Productions  Be quick though it is a limited edition.


The cerebral horror/thriller is probably a genre that above all effects cinema audiences the most, or at least it did during the late 1960’s through to the 1980’s. The stories that were doing the rounds during this period got inside the audiences heads and worked their psychotic magic upon them. I have selected a quartet of British movies that are categorized as horror, but rather than the gory or the gothic elements that we all know and love so much, instead depend on the unseen and the imagination using the element of suggestion as opposed to the out and out horror in your face path. The films rely upon the audience mainly picking up on the vulnerability of the central characters or at least the thoughts that they may be having at times seeing and hearing things or people that may not be exist except to the person who can see them. “It’s all in the Mind” is a well-known saying, and it is one’s own mind that can very often play tricks and can also convince you that certain occurrences etc have taken place, are taking place when others say they are not. We are after all Victims of our own Imagination.


The movie opens in London, where we see a twenty-two-year-old Peggy played by Judy Geeson who is recovering from a nervous breakdown, she meets and eventually marries a schoolteacher Robert Heller played by actor Ralph Bates. Robert works in the countryside at a private school owned by headmaster Michael Carmichael (Peter Cushing), who is married to Molly Carmichael (Joan Collins). Peggy thinks the move to the country will be good for her and on the eve of moving with her husband, Peggy spends the night at the boarding house of Mrs. Beamish (Gillian Lind) where she is attacked in her room by a man wearing black leather gloves who has a mechanical arm. Mrs. Beamish calls the doctor, but no one believes Peggy and it is put down to her being in recovery from her breakdown. The next morning, still shaken and feeling scared she heads to the country with her husband and moves into the cottage in the grounds of the school. It’s not long before Peggy is attacked again by the same man, on this occasion even her husband is reluctant to believe her, but she is adamant that the attack happened, and she has not imagined it.

She is then introduced to her husband’s headmaster (Cushing) and realizes that he has a mechanical arm. This is an intriguing motion picture and one of Hammers better non gothic efforts directed by Jimmy Sangster. It’s a movie which I think has affiliations with the Italian Giallo to a certain extent, especially the black gloved hand in the storyline. Cushing as always is excellent in a different role for him  as the creepy headmaster and Ralph Bates too was perfectly cast and a favourite actor of the director. Bates was set for greater things but sadly died far too early. Judy Geeson also put in a believable performance as the nervous and on the edge central character. 

 Overall, the movie was an entertaining and edgy thriller, but it is one that often forgotten or at least an overlooked movie from the house of horror. Its plot is not that hard to work out and I would think that most dedicated followers of Thriller/Horror movies would get the plots conclusion sorted out quickly, but it is still an interesting Hammer production. With the end goal being to send the central character (Geeson) insane and drive her to do things that she normally would not contemplate. So, it’s probably true to say that it’s not the most innovative Hammer movie and does have certain similarities to the acclaimed French movie Les Diaboliques, with director Sangster delivering several startlingly frightening moments that revolve around the unforgettable black gloved mechanical arm and shattered glasses as worn by Peter Cushing’s character.

The film also had links to another Hammer production which was written by Sangster entitled Taste of Fear that was released in 1961. The plot was different, but one can see similarities in the later movie with the central character supposedly hallucinating or imagining events. There is never a moment within the movie and you will be fixated as the storyline is develops with its punchy and relentless events.

The tense and harrowing musical score written by the late accomplished pianist and composer John McCabe is quite stunning, McCabe who was more a composer of what was termed serious music for concert hall performance was offered the project by Hammer’s MD at the time Phil Martell.  Sadly, the soundtrack for the movie was never released in its entirety, but a suite of music from McCabe’s dark and edgy score did make an appearance on a Hammer long playing record which was Hammer Presents Dracula on the EMI label, the A side containing a story of Dracula introduced by Bill Mitchell and then narrated by Christopher Lee, the B side however was something of a revelation for Hammer fans as it contained four symphonic suites from Hammer movies.

The Four Faces of Evil (hence the title of this article) as they were called were Fear in the Night, John McCabe, She, James Bernard, The Vampire Lovers, Harry Robinson and Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde by David Whittaker. Why was it a revelation for Hammer fans? Well, up until that moment none of Hammer’s music had been released, yes these were re-recordings but at least fans had them at last.

John McCabe’s at times frenzied music for Fear in the Night is possibly one of the studios best scores, Hammer or at least Hammer’s musical directors such as John Hollingsworth, Phil Martell, and for a short while Marcus Dodds, seemed to have a knack for selecting the right composer for the right movie.


WE PROMISE…you will be trapped in an endless nightmare that would terrify even Hitchcock!

That’s just one of the taglines for a superbly scary movie entitled And Soon the Darkness, which was released in 1970. Directed by Robert Fuest, this is a supremely intense and jumpy movie. But even if the title does suggest a horror set at night this is filmed mainly in the daylight hours, but it does not stop it hitting all the right spots and achieving its frightening and edge of the seat goals. Two young English nurses go on a cycling holiday in rural France, but on route they begin to disagree on which way they are going.Jane played by Pamela Franklin insists that its far better to stick to a schedule so that the make good progress, but Cathy played by Michelle Dotrice has other ideas and wants to take a more leisurely pace, they argue and Cathy goes her own way, but after a while when her friend does not return Jane begins to become concerned.

Worried that she could have had an accident or worse, Jane returns to the last place she saw Cathy, but there is no sign of her, Jane begins to frantically search for her friend but with limited knowledge of the area and speaking very little French she is not sure who she can turn to for help. This is a classy and above average thriller with horror connotations. The cast is excellent, and the movie delivers on every level. At times the pace of the film can be a little slow, but I think this adds to the impact and the atmosphere of the movie.

I have to say in my opinion there are very few films from this period that deal with the subjects that are included here, written by Brian Clemens and Terry Nation who both contributed to the development of TV favourites such as The Avengers and Doctor Who respectively. But And Soon the Darkness is quite different from these, and compared to both The Avengers and Doctor Who, has a low key and minimalist appearance.

The deliberately slow pacing of the storyline adds to the tension and the frustration felt by central character Jane. It is largely a movie that relies on building the tension rather than showing any violence, until the end that is. The movie is well directed, and I think it is the director and cinematographer that are mainly responsible for the high levels of anxiety, suspense and fear that are present.

The setting too adds much to the plot and generating an uneasy mood, because although it looks quaint, inviting, and rural, via the score by Laurie Johnson and the numerous clever camera angles employed the audience see it as a dangerous and unfriendly place.

There are several stand out performances in the movie as well as that of Pamela Franklin, such as Sandor Elas as the detective Paul Salmon and John Nettleton as the sinister Gendarme, the story was given a new lease of life in 2010, this time two American girls are travelling in Argentina when one goes missing, but this remake was not as tense or as affecting as the original.

Laurie Johnson

For the most part Laurie Johnson provides the movie with a sinister ang highly apprehensive sounding soundtrack, but also includes some more up-beat musical pieces such as the end title’s theme which has to it more of an easy listening persona. Again, no soundtrack was issued and now all these years later I for one do not think it ever will be. An entertaining watch and a film that has one guessing and experiencing frustration and tension all at the same time.

The Scream you can hear is your own.


Just one of the taglines for the 1971 horror Fright. A movie that did surprisingly well considering it was shown as a B feature in most cinema’s when it was released. The film had a story written by Tudor Gates and was directed by Peter Collinson. Its cast were like a who’s who of British acting talents of the time, Susan George, Dennis Waterman, George Cole, Honor Blackman, Ian Bannen, John Gregson, and Maurice Kaufman all gave sterling performances. Bannen was wonderfully convincing as Brian Halston the estranged husband of Honor Blackman, who has remarried, but her son’s biological father is Halston. The Lloyds (Blackman and Cole) hire a young babysitter Amanda (Susan George) as they are going on a night out, but unbeknown to them Halston (Bannen) has escaped from a nearby mental asylum and is making his way to the house to take his son and also to murder his ex-wife. Its not long after the Lloyds leave for their night out that things begin to start happening, the house where Amanda is babysitting is a gloomy and rather dark abode, and its not long before Amanda begins to hear things and because of the house starts to imagine things, but is she really imagining them?

Bannen arrives at the house and after seeing Amanda notices some resemblance between her and his ex-wife. This makes him decide to kill Amanda, mistaking her for the character portrayed by Blackman in the film. There are some excellent tense and harrowing moments in Fright but saying this the last forty five minutes of the movie becomes rather monotonous and if this makes sense there is so much going on but at the same time the pace slows and its hard to separate scenarios etc.

There also seems to be too much being said, the script become too wordy, because if the case were actions speak louder than words then this probably would have been a better movie. The movie also jumps from the house and what is going on there to the Lloyds and what they are doing on a night out in town. I thought the opening forty minutes or so of the film contained real promise, but the plot and the even the direction then falls apart slightly which is rather disappointing because this could have been a great horror/thriller.

Director Collison manages to successfully build up the tension and create a thick and foreboding atmosphere in the initial opening thirty minutes or so of the movie, and successfully utilises various sound effects to ramp up and multiply that tense and nervous mood considerably. One perfect example of this involves the use of dripping water which is effective as in it becomes frustrating and somewhat annoying for the watching audience, but I think that the highlight of the film comes with one of the first scenes where we the audience see that Amanda’s boyfriend (Waterman) is being observed and followed.

The scene is masterfully filmed and directed, and again for me personally smacks at the appearance of the Italian Giallo, with the unseen stalker being seen by the audience only with the person being stalked completely oblivious to the fact. The sequence very cleverly draws the watching audience into the storyline and effectively makes them protagonists in the scene that is unfolding before them. The musical score was by Scottish born composer Harry Robinson, who put his own musical stamp upon the production, which included a haunting and ghostly sounding vocal performance by Nannette and a uneasy sounding whistling on the soundtrack.

I would not say that Fright should be considered as one of the composers better scores, but it like the movie had its high points and managed to enhance and elevate various key moments in the movie as it progressed, and the storyline developed.


Robinson had prior to scoring Fright worked on The Oblong Box (1969) for American International Pictures and The Vampire Lovers (1970) which was a joint production between AIP and Hammer. Robinson had also scored numerous children’s film foundation movies as well as acting as an arranger for the likes of Tommy Steele in the 1960’s.

In the same year that he worked on Fright the composer also scored Lust for a Vampire and Twins of Evil which were both mildly successful Hammer creations. It was also in 1971 that Robinson wrote the atmospheric music for Countess Dracula, a film that surprisingly failed to create much interest at the box office.

Harry Robinson.

Two of the composers Hammer scores were released onto compact disc by GDI records, these were Vampire Lovers, and Twins of Evil. With tracks from others such as Demons of the Mind, Countess Dracula, and Lust for a Vampire featuring on compilation albums released by the same label and later re-released on a few other labels. Fright is a film that I would say is worth a watch, even if its just to see Susan George in action and in this case screaming her head off, which is always a bonus. It’s also worth checking out her performance in Die Screaming Marianne also released in 1971.

How Could She Know that the Morning Would Never Come?


Another Peter Collinson directed thriller/horror was Hammer’s 1972 movie Straight on Till Morning. Again, the director handled the subject matter well, and it is probably true to say that this was a better movie in most ways than Fright. It’s another movie from the 1970’s that had an impressive line-up of cast members with Rita Tushingham, and Shane Briant taking the lead roles, who are wonderfully supported throughout by the likes of Tom Bell, Annie Ross and James Bolam.

The films storyline focuses upon a young woman Brenda played by Tushingham who lives with her mum in Liverpool and writes fairy tales for children. She one day announces to her mother that she is leaving and moving to London where she hopes to find a man to Father a child. Brenda meets a young guy Peter (Briant) and is convinced that he is the one for her, the man she has been waiting for, but does it all work out well, (what do you think?).

It’s a Hammer production and a psychological thriller, does that answer the question?  I always felt that the style of the film was a crossover or a fusion of the Kitchen Sink Dramas that were so popular in Britain during the 1960’s and films such as Up The Junction, Here we Go Round the Mulberry Bush etc, which incorporated the pop culture of swinging sixties as they were called, add to this the cerebral or thinking man’s horror as served up by Hammer and I think what you have is Straight on Till Morning.  Brenda finds herself a rather grotty bedsit and also manages to get a job in a busy fashion boutique, after a while she manages to get out of the bedsit and rent a room in one of her co-workers named Caroline (Katya Wyeth) flat.

Brenda is desperate to meet a man and via her connections with Caroline who has many parties thinks this would be a good way to do so. She literally bumps into a young man named Peter, but he is at first seemingly uninterested in Brenda and is it looks to her as if he is already in a relationship with an older woman who has a drink problem.  Brenda and Peter’s paths cross a few times and soon because of an incident with Peter’s dog Brenda finally admits to him that she likes him a lot.  Peter asks her to move in with him, but whilst Brenda goes to collect her things to take to Peter’s address Peter kills his dog with a utility knife, Peter then also kills Caroline with the same knife after having sex with her. The reason behind the two killings is that Peter thinks that the dog and Caroline are far to pretty. Brenda returns home, but we do not see what Peter has done with the bodies of the dog or Caroline, it is presumed that he must have buried them in the garden. Brenda has been to have a total makeover to look pretty for Peter, he straight away tells her he loves her the way she was, and proceeds to tell her a fairy tale which is sprinkled with flashbacks that seem to imply that he has murdered many times and they have all been females. Brenda’s Mother begins to worry as she has not heard from her daughter so she informs the police who post a missing persons notice in newspaper, Peter see’s these and tells Brenda she must not go out. All the signs point to Brenda being pregnant, and both her and Peter seem to be happy, but its not long before Peter takes Brenda into a room and plays her a tape recording of him killing both Caroline and the dog, Brenda becomes uncontrollably hysterical, but Peter insists he is not going to harm her and they are going to stay together. However soon after we see Peter sitting in the house alone with no sign of Brenda.

At the time of its release the movie received mixed reviews and reaction from critics, but in later years has been referred to as a cult movie, I am not sure about this description but it’s a film that is worth watching. Director Collinson went onto direct The Spiral Staircase, A Man Called Noon, and Tomorrow Never Comes, amongst others. The music for Straight on Till Morning was composed by Roland Shaw, now Shaw I think we all know because of his many easy listening/jazz albums and because of his film theme compilations, most notably his arrangements of the James Bond themes of John Barry.

The music for Straight on Till Morning is a lightly jazz-oriented work, and has easy listening elements throughout, of course being a horror story it did call for some darker and more sinister sounding passages which the composer provided. Its another one of those Hammer scores that never got a release, and I am convinced that this and many other soundtracks penned for Hammer productions are sitting gathering dust somewhere. Hopefully one day they will be discovered and brushed off for all to hear.


A record label that has been very industrious in recent years is Howlin’ Wolf, the labels soundtrack releases are predominantly of horror scores with a few exceptions, and although most of these scores are synth or electronically realized they are of a high quality and are also highly entertaining. I am going to look and a listen of course to a handful of releases on the label, some old some new. I thought I would start with the score for Silent Night Deadly Night, which is a two compact disc set, and contains music by Perry Botkin on disc one and a selection of the original songs from the movie on disc two which are by Morgan Ames, this set is the 35TH Anniversary edition of the soundtrack from the movie which was directed by Charles E Sellier.
Botkin composed a typically 1980’s sounding electronic score for the movie and fashioned a menacing and apprehensive sound that accompanied and enhanced the storyline to great effect. The composer utilised a child’s voice to open the score which for me straight away sends those shivers creeping up the spine, Botkin also utilised sinewy and dark sounding musical textures to create a forebodingly uneasy atmosphere, with piano playing what is a surprisingly melodic and somewhat romantic musical theme for a horror movie, the opening cue sets the scene for much of what is to follow, with Botkin employing half heard hints of themes and a menacing collection of sounds and electronic stabs throughout that relay a sense of the sinister, madness, and frenzied interludes. In many ways the score resembles the work of other composers such as Brad Fiedel, Jay Chattaway, and to a degree the sound that we associate with Wendy Carlos in particular the mood and atmosphere that is conjured up within her 1980 soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The music for Silent Night Deadly Night contains various levels of malevolence, that become unnervingly intense and even more sinister and chilling as the work develops, but at the same time it has to it a beguiling and attractive style, which does become melodic and Vangelis like as in track number five Caught in the Act, which for the majority of its duration is shady and threatening, but it does take a short break where the composer introduces a lighter and more ambience, yes it is short lived but is something of a welcomed respite to allow ones heart rate to get back to something that resembles normal. Track number ten Erotic Dream, is also slightly less urgent with the composer introducing a floaty sounding style that introduces the track but soon segues into a more tense and fraught sounding composition, I love the way in which the composer utilises familiar festive tunes such as Joy To The World and We Wish You a Merry Christmas, to establish some kind of calm and add a sense of ease and  familiarity into the proceedings, but these are short lived and essentially lull one into a false sense of security before once again returning to a tense and chilling musical persona, with jangling effects and ominous bass punctuation.
It is an inventive score, with orchestration becoming quite complex at key points within the work that heightens the already tense and edge of the seat atmosphere. The soundscape is like a swirling whirlpool of sounds that drag the listener in and eventually overwhelm their senses and put their nerves on edge. A great horror score and an interesting soundtrack. The film benefits greatly from Botkin’s atmospheric and earthy sounding score, as it underlines and adds a searing and harrowing dimension to the unfolding storyline on screen. The compact disc release is presented well, with informative liner notes by the composer Botkin, the co-executive producers Scott Schneid, Dennis Whitbread and screen writer Michael Hickey. The second CD is also well worth a listen and is a must have for fans movie music macabre.  
 A homeless war-veteran with a chequered past must rely on a side of himself once thought buried when he and his companions are targeted by three vicious psychopaths wearing Santa suits on Christmas Day. That’s the plot for the 2016 movie Good Tidings, Which has a score that is credited on the compact disc release from Howlin Wolf Records to Jean Michel Noir, which is an alias for Liam W. Ashcroft, who is an actor as well as a composer and has a role in the movie as Moe. The score is highly charged and filled with a unsettling and chilling ambience, the composer adds a breathing sound to the proceedings which certainly does the trick in creating a sense of unease. Again ,this is a synth and electronic based score, containing highly atmospheric and affecting sounds both musical and otherwise. The composer essentially adds layers of sounds that build and go onto become part of the action that is unfolding on screen, at times I was reminded of the style and sound that the band Goblin employed in many of their scores for the Italian horrors of Argento and others. And there are also some cues that have to them a Kraftwerk like sound as in track number five Festivities, which starts out up-beat before altering into a more sinister mode. Like Perry Botkin in Silent Night Deadly Night, the composer on Good Tidings integrates a Christmas standard The Carol of the Bell in this case, into his score, but it is an arrangement of the tune that is very different to what we are used to with dark and guttural voices adding to its fearsome persona.  Another effective horror score that probably would not have been released if it were not for Howlin’ Wolf. Presented well with eye catching cover art and a scattering of stills throughout the booklet that also includes liner notes from the composer. Check it out.

From a fully electronically realised soundtrack to one that is a fusion of symphonic and synthetic. The Prowler whichwas released under the title ofRosemary’s Killer in some countries has a musical score by the much-underrated composer Richard Einhorn, I say that it is a fusion of the electronic and the conventional, but really it is in the main symphonic which calls on a handful of electronic effects that are added to increase tension and bolster the atmospherics of the excellent music. Einhorn created an edgy work for the movie, with the emphasise being upon the string and brass sections of the orchestra. Directed by Joseph Zito in 1981, the movie begins with the return home of a WW II veteran who was the recipient of a “Dear John Letter”. It’s not long after he returns that he swiftly dispatches a courting couple in a Gazebo, the story then jumps forward to the present day where a college celebration becomes a hunting ground for a dark figure dressed in army fatigues, who begins to stalk the people of a small town in New Jersey reliving the murder that he committed thirty-five years previous. Einhorn’s score punctuates and underlines adding musical full stops and commas to the storyline, it is in my opinion one of the great horror scores from the 1980’s and listening to it today it still packs a punch and remains entertaining and innovative, the composer invented fresh and original sounding compositions for the score, and the way in which he combined brass, woods, and strings was totally effective and perfect for the movie. The compact disc released by Howlin’ Wolf is as per usual up to the excellent standard we expect from the label, being filled with stills and illustrations plus highly informative notes from Ian Zapczynski which includes an interview with the composer. This is a must have item.  

Another Einhorn score on Howlin’ Wolf records is Don’t go in the House, no I mean it please don’t go in, but as we all know what happens in horror movies when someone says things like this, yes, we do exactly the opposite to what we are told. The score for Don’t Go in the House is more of an electronic affair than The Prowler, the composer I think successfully creates a apprehensive and spine chilling soundtrack for the movie, again I was reminded of the Italian school of horror film scores as in Goblin, Frizzi, Cipriani, Micalizzi, and Nicolai, and there are certain similarities between it and the score for Phantasm which was released in the same year.

Richard Einhorn.

Einhorn takes a simple sound or a hint of a melody in this case a six note motif that is somewhat childlike or could be the opening of a sweet melody,and uses this to fashion a piece that plays over and over in the background, eventually entering the subconscious of the watching audience and at times relaxing them and allowing them to let their guard down but all the time the composer is working towards a more sinister and threatening musical crescendo as he adds layers of tense searing synth lines that are punctuated and supported by percussive effects.  I love the way in which Einhorn utilises unusual sounds to enhance the storyline and underline that something is not right here. I suppose the movie which was released in 1979 can be categorised as a slasher film, and centres on a victim of child abuse played by actor Dan Grimaldi, who grows up to become a delusional construction worker. Who stalks women at discos, takes them home, chains them up in a special steel-walled room and sets them on fire. Which brings a whole new meaning to the saying hot date. The music is at times frenzied in a laid-back way? I am not sure how to describe it, because it is highly effective within the movie, but its also quite easy to become stressed whilst listening to the score away from the images, its relentless in building tension and the composer repeats and repeats the pattern of the music as in repeating for example the six-note motif, which also becomes harrowing. It’s like at times the track is building but is not really going anywhere, but it’s a masterful score that aids the apprehension and the development of the plot, the music is at times sinewy, dark and has to it an other-worldly persona. It’s also a work that easily fits the category “Ahead of its time” the composer creating sounds and a style that would be imitated and built upon by many other composers when working on horror movies. Recommended.

Other scores released on the Howlin’ Wolf label that I found interesting, and entertaining were the atmospheric and chilling soundtrack for The Witching Season by Randin Graves and Slasher Dave, which I already reviewed in one of last years Soundtrack Supplements.

Semih Tareen’s inventive and pulsating music for Holiday Hell,

Jamie Blanks Storm Warning and returning to Randin Graves for his score for They Live Inside Us. All are well constructed and superbly edgy and chilling horror scores that every horror music fan you should own. I look forward to more from the label in the not too distant future.


Blood on the Crown or to give the film its original title Just Noise, is a 2021 production that tells of the valiant and desperate fight that the people of Malta put up to gain independence from the British in 1919.A process which was sadly not successful at the time but is something that should be related to the many who are not aware of what happened. It began when the people began to start protesting over the price of bread and took to the streets to let their feelings be known, a date that is etched in the history of Malta is June 7th, which is a date when things began to become more unsettled on the island. Blood on the Crown is in no way the average war movie and it tells the story of those days in 1919 plainly and truthfully. It is a movie that focuses upon the facts and also the brutality of the British against the people of Malta, who’s fight for independence began just after the first world war, which was a time when Britain were keen to hang onto as many territories that they deemed to be part of their Empire, it was a time of change in the world and after the devastating great war in Europe, countries such as Britain, France and Germany were desperate to remain in control of what they saw as their countries. The story displays that the British stop short of nothing to maintain their grip upon Malta, which led to acts of brutal and unnecessary violence against people who wanted their freedom to live their own lives.

Directed by Davide Ferrario, the movie stars Harvey Keital and Malcolm McDowell who both give admirable performances. The cast also includes many Maltese actors who also give their all in this tale of the tyranny and savagery employed by the pompous British Empire towards ordinary people who simply wanted the right to govern their own country. The film is a remarkable production that is beautifully filmed and  one that successfully opens the silenced pages of history, and clearly shows the British for what they truly were, cruel, undermining and controlling. It’s a movie that makes me ashamed to be British and shows how much the overbearing Empire of Great Britain were despised not just in Malta but throughout the world because of their draconian rules and their oppression towards human beings.

It’s like the audience are given a window into these blatant acts of violence and downright cowardice by the British as they are attempting to quell the spirit and resolve of the Maltese, but it was this attitude and these cruel acts that also increased that resolve and heightened their determination to gain their freedom.

I think it is a movie that asks the question “How far would you go to stop others being free”? Obviously, the British at this time thought that there was no limit in the way that they could crush the Maltese fight for independence. The movie is filled with at times shocking scenes of children and women being shot down by British soldiers, but also at last allows the truth to be known from this ignored period in history.

The music for the movie is the work of composer Laurent Eyquem, who has fashioned a score that enhances and punctuates the action on screen and provides an emotive and at times understated accompaniment for the unfolding storyline and its characters. The composer performed the piano sections on the score and utilized performers from around the world that were recorded remotely because it was at the height of the covid pandemic.

”I had performers from Russia and the US, sadly no credits can be provided because of certain restrictions, so the orchestra is hybrid, with about fifteen players and synth to provide the effect of having a larger orchestra”. The composer told me.

The score is wonderfully thematic, the composer creating haunting and appealing compositions throughout. It is one of the best scores from the end of a year that has been difficult and like a breath of fresh musical air for any film music fan. There is a richness and deeply emotional style to the music, the composer applying ethnic sounding instrumentation at times for greater effect. The sound of bouzouki creeping into the proceedings at various stages, but its not the bouzouki as we hear it in older scores such as Topkapi, or Zorba which is bouncy and joyous. This time it has to it a sound that is both dramatic, and apprehensive, at times veering into the domain of the sinister and harsh. The accordion too is rather somber sounding, filled with a mod that oozes melancholy. There are also some atmospheric and gentle guitar solo performances throughout, the composer combining these with the accordion and a lilting and heartfelt violin solo.

A dark mood is purveyed at times with the composer employing low key strings which he from time to time invigorates with strummed bouzouki. A solo female soprano is used effectively, and for me becomes one of the high points of the score, this along with a highly affecting and melodic piano led theme that is enhanced by soft strings and guitar make this a soundtrack worth listening to. But, sadly at this moment in time there is no recording available but let’s hope that this will change soon. A great score filled with a sense of the romantic, that also has feelings of desperation and determination embedded within its makeup, and one that should be released.        


It is that time again, here are the winners of the MMI recognition Awards for 2021.









CRUELLA. Music by Nicholas Britell.


COPPELIA, Music by Maurizio Malagnini.


RICCARDO MARCHESE (Traces of Madness).


THE KING’S MAN. Music by Matthew Margeson and Dominic Lewis.




















DUNE. Music by Hans Zimmer.


LOCKE AND KEY. (Season 2.). Music by Torin Borrowdale.



STEPHANIE’S SUITE, from the soundtrack of TRACES OF MADNESS.

Music by Riccardo Marchese.