I have to say from the outset I know very little about the movie TheExorcism of God, apart from what I gleamed from a few clips and the trailers that have been circulating plus reading up on the film as well. From what I have seen I think that this is an impressive Exorcism movie, if impressive is the correct way to describe an Exorcism movie that is. But it is more than just a film about an Exorcism, as the storyline touches on many other factors and explores the feelings and conscious of the central character.
The special effects seem to be well done and one sequence involving a possessed woman I thought was brilliantly done. Apart from this I have very little info, but I will I know be watching it asap. The plot is as follows, Father Peter Williams portrayed by Will Beinbrink is an American exorcist, who was possessed by the demon Balban who he was trying to expel from a young woman and for which he is forced, against his will, to commit the most terrible sacrilege. Eighteen years later he is still trying to keep his guilt buried by doing charity work for the poor and helping the children in a small town in Mexico.
Peter discovers that the demon has returned this time it has possessed a young woman named Esperanza (Maria Gabriela di Faria), and in addition to this it unleashes a deadly illness among the town’s children. But the demon’s true ambition is to possess Peter’s soul. To exorcise Esperanza, Peter must confess his sin, but if he does this, he knows that he will condemn himself not only to a fate of excommunication, but also to sacrifice his faith, his home, his soul, and the chance to save the people he cares about most.
The cast also includes the excellent Joseph Marcel as Father Michael Lewis, who attempts to help Peter. What I have been impressed with is the films musical score, which is the work of two composers Elik Alvarez and Yoncarlos Medina. The music as one would expect is dark, foreboding and at times creates an uncomfortable mood, it has a brooding, malevolent, and chilling aura about it, which is unpredictable and unsettling, the composer’s utilizing both symphonic, choral, and electronic means to bring this to fruition. There is also a haunting guitar solo in the tracks You are a Saint and the introduction of the cue Resurrection, which offer brief moments of respite within the score add to these moments that express highly spiritual and emotional auras that are conveyed by cello or solo violin, which establish a lighter side to the mostly dark and forbidding soundtrack. It is a well-structured and accomplished work that contains rich thematic material that is impressive and at the same time unnerving to listen to just as music. The score is not only powerful but also has to it a beguiling and attractive style, the composers layering tense and nervous nuances to build an atmosphere that is overflowing with heart bursting moments of terror and chaos, but also containing colours and textures that are emotive and poignant.
It seems as if the music is drawing one into the plot and I cannot wait to see how this score works with the movie itself. The soundtrack will be released digitally via Movie Score Media on April 1st and is most certainly worth checking out.
Three horror movies released in 1986, all had a connection. Troll, Terrorvision, and FromBeyond were all fairly-low budget movies, but also all contained effectively atmospheric musical scores by composer Richard Band. Band was very busy during the 1980.s and into the 1990’s scoring in the main sci fi and horror movies all of which had limited budgets. However, this never seemed to deter Band from creating large scale sounding symphonic works that enhanced the proceedings on screen. I think this is the reason that the composer was to become so busy and in demand. His ability to work quickly and to fashion commanding and innovative soundtracks was attractive to producers of movies and TV.
Many of his scores being performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Band is still as industrious nowadays creating powerful soundtracks for a wide variety of motion pictures and TV series. The three movies I have mentioned are all horrors, but three very different horrors. Terrorvision for example is more of a sci-fi horror which focuses upon the central character Stan who installs satellite TV for his family, which is a good thing one would think.
But, soon things become a little unnerving as Stan starts to pick up a signal from another planet and his television system becomes the gateway between earth and the aliens. A creature comes to his apartment but only Stan’s son Sherman sees it, his parents finding it hard to believe that the child is telling the truth.
Then there is Troll, in which we see a Troll King take up residence in an apartment block in San Francisco, the same apartment block where the Potter family have just taken up residence. Harry Potter Sr, (yes Harry Potter, but not The Harry Potter) and his wife Anne are bringing the packages to the apartment and their son Harry Jr (no this is not The Harry Potter either) and his younger sister Wendy Anne stay on the sidewalk. Wendy becomes curious about her new home and decides to explore going into the laundry room, where she encounters wicked troll Torok who uses his evil magic ring to possess her. Torok then proceeds to use the girls form to transform the dwellers and the apartment into trolls and builds his kingdom within it. Harry Jr. feels that something is wrong with his sister and seeks out a good witch Eunice St.Clair who by a stroke of luck also lives in the building.
It’s an entertaining movie and does contain some real moments of terror and apprehension.
Last but by no means least is From Beyond, Dr. Edward Pretorius and his assistant, the physician Crawford Tillinghast, have developed the Resonator, a machine to stimulate the sixth sense through the pineal gland. When Crawford activates the apparatus, he sees creatures flying in the air and he summons Dr. Pretorius. The experiment goes out of control and Dr. Pretorius refuses to turn off the Resonator.
Meanwhile their neighbour calls the police, and when the police officers arrive, they see Crawford trying to escape from his house and Dr. Pretorius beheaded. Crawford is sent to a mental institution under the supervision of the sadistic Dr. Bloch. However, the prominent psychiatrist Dr. Katherine Mc Michaels requests the custody of Crawford and Detective Bubba Brownlee that is investigating the bizarre case decides to stay with them. Katherine goes with Crawford and Bubba to see the Resonator and after reactivating the machine. Dr. Pretorius returns in mutant form and viciously attacks them, which heralds a long and gory night of violence which is filled with weird life forms.
The score for From Beyond, is an inventive one, the composer fashioning atmospheric and sinewy sounding themes that work effectively with the images on screen and support and underline the unlikely but disturbing storyline. The music has to it a Bernard Herrmann-esque/Jerry Goldsmith sound, with dark and commanding strings becoming the foundation and the most utilised instrumentation of the score, the composer embellishing these further with percussive elements and brass that are further driven by timpani and added electronic support.
The soundtrack was re-issued in 2021 with extra music and improved quality sound after being re-mastered. The re-issue is available on most digital platforms. Band’s score is oozing with mystery and malevolence, with shadowy sounding nuances and unnerving passages that realise an uneasy and foreboding persona.
To Troll now, I think that this along with Band’s superb The Pit and The Pendulum and Mutant are amongst my favourites by the composer. The use of choir within this score is as effective as the satanic choruses that were penned by Jerry Goldsmith for The Omen trilogy, maybe not as powerful but just as chilling and sinister sounding and just as affecting. The score is relatively short as in duration, but the music plays an important role within the movie that also becomes integral to the storyline.
The theme for the Troll, is masterful, and is at times dark and fearsome, add to this Danny Elman-like voices (before Danny Elfman wrote his first score by the way) has a dual atmospheric effect, as it is both threatening but nervously comedic. Band utilises to great effect strings, percussion and those choral performances as the score and the storyline develop. The combination of strings, electronic effects and choir has a superbly dark and sinister effect. The composer driving the action and underlining key moments with music that is frantic and chaotic in a melodic way.
The score is sectioned into five cues that are all entitled Cantos, the last track on the score Cantos V being the most driving and commanding, filled with an ominous and unrelenting air, in which choir and percussion are supported by brass flourishes and fast paced strings, but this action frenzy soon turns to a more settled and calm mood as the track reaches its conclusion and becomes the films hopeful sounding end titles. The five-track soundtrack is available on digital platforms and on compact disc. And the expanded Intrada release is sometimes available on various selling sites.
The score for Terrorvision leans towards a more electronic sounding work, but this is no way means that Band is not as inventive. In fact at times the score is probably one of his most innovative, and in keeping with the tech subject matter of the movie.
Band also employs rock like cues some of which are vocals by Fibonaccis. Not really my thing but work well in the context of the movie. The soundtrack is available on the likes of Spotify. All three releases are worth a listen and if you’re not a Richard Band fan I think you might be after savouring these.
The Afterparty is an Apple TV series that focuses upon a murder mystery at a high school reunion. Each of the eight episodes features a retelling of the same night told through a different character’s eyes, each having its own unique visual style and film genre to match the teller’s personality. The music for the series is by Daniel Pemberton, and once again this British composer has created a score that is totally supportive, and captivating. Punctuating the various scenarios within the storylines and various plots, it has a slight comedic lilt to it, with a somewhat jaunty yet sinister mood being purveyed.
I love the way in which Pemberton projects and embellishes the storyline with his compositions, the music going hand in hand with the various sequences and episodes purveying perfectly a dark but at the same time awkward musical persona.
There are times when his strings resemble the sound achieved by the late John Barry, piercing but melodic. One for your collection its an enticing and entertaining listen and available now on digital platforms, don’t pass this one by. The album also includes a handful of vocal tracks, but these go well with Pemberton’s at times upbeat and dramatic score.
Pinar Toprak is a composer who many of us have followed for a few years now, this Turkish born composer has written numerous film scores that maybe have not been fully appreciated by a handful of film music fans, her latest work is for The Lost City, which is a score of many styles, it’s a score that one can listen to and become lost in as it is a work that one becomes caught up with not realising sometimes that the tracks have finished or new ones have started, it totally grabs you and is an entertaining and rewarding listen. Available now on digital Platforms.
I don’t know about you but in recent months I seem to have got more enthused about a re-release of a classic score even a premiere release of a score from back in the day, maybe it is an age thing? Either way it is saying something when a vintage soundtrack is more appealing than something more contemporary. I don’t get excited about the endless synth layering of so-called A list composer’s, but do become slightly more alert when I hear that something such as a John Barry or Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack could get a release for the first time. Yep it’s definitely an age thing…..or maybe it’s a craving for melodic, cohesive and thematic movie music? So, to our next soundtrack release, which I am glad to report does contain themes in their abundance mostly of a comedic or mischievous type, but still very entertaining.
Disney’s latest addition to the Ice Age cycle, which will be screened on Disney +. Ice Age Scrat Tales, is a simply charming score, the composer Batu Sener, fashioning a soundtrack that is just so much fun and also one that fits the action on screen like a proverbial glove. The score also contains some melancholy moments which are filled with a fragility and have to them haunting and delicate nuances. There are plenty of those kind of Mickey Mouse moments that we associate with animation, with the composer going suitably over the top and even weaving a rendition of Rock a Bye Baby into the fabric of the score in the track, Lofi Scrat Beats to Sleep/Chill Too which is the second cue on the recording.
It is I think a clever and rewarding score and one that I am confident that collectors will return to on many occasions, its an uplifting and at times a riotous sounding soundtrack which is all the more reason to give it a listen, the music being the punctuation to the storyline adding the musical commas, exclamation marks, question marks and full stops and at times becoming a musical punchline to an episode or sequence.
Staying with Disney plus and to a documentary Among the Stars, which is a behind-the-scenes access to the critically important NASA mission of repairing a $2 billion science experiment, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which aims to reveal the origins of the universe. The music for documentaries has in the past two decades come into its own with top composers adding their musical prowess to various productions. The music for Among the Stars is for the most part understated, but certainly effective and affecting. Composer Colin Stretson scored the documentary in 2021 and the music is stunningly supportive throughout, never being intrusive but always enhancing and elevating the images on screen. By the sound of the score, it is mostly electronic or synthetic, but this in this case does not take anything away from the effectiveness of the music.
It is upbeat and has to it a wonderfully relaxing and thematic air which the composer layers throughout. It is also available on digital platforms.
Staying at dizzy heights for the next score and to the 2022 movie Beyond the Summit, which has a score by Paula Olaz, the film tells the story of a man seeking to finally reach his goal of climbing Annapurna, but has an accident, and a woman climber who has been taking refuge tries to help him.
The score is subtle and low key, with the composer utilising solo cello and woodwinds to purvey an atmosphere that is inspiring but also has numerous moments that ooze apprehension and melancholy. The composer collaborated with Pascal Gaigne in 2021 on the score for Nora and has also recently scored Oihana both of which like Beyond the Summit are available on the likes of Spotify via Movie Score Media.
The popular series Bridgerton is back for a second season on Netflix, and so too is composer Kris Bowers. His music for this series is I think very different from his other work for TV and film, and this displays just how versatile the composer is.
The music is quite regal sounding and has an immediate engagement with the listener, it is one of those soundtracks that as soon as you hear it are hooked. Bowers is a shining light for the younger generation of film music composers and a beacon of originality in movie music now. He has worked on so many high-profile assignments all of which are from very different genres. Recommended.
Another period drama I do like is The Gilded Cage and the score by Harry and Rupert Gregson Williams is a triumph, it is a fully symphonic work with such eloquent and rich sounding themes that run throughout the work, the HBO series is now showing at a small screen near you and the rapturous, and lavish score is available on digital platforms.
Composer Helene Blazy has created a beguiling score for Sans Toi, the work being highly emotive with the composer combining cello, Piano, and a small string ensemble to fashion a poignant and beautiful soundtrack. She further embellishes and expands this style and sound with a scattering of synthetic elements, but it is the solo performances via piano and cello that are the most affecting.
These are simple themes but so, effective, brimming with a sorrowful but also a hopeful sound that washes over the listener mesmerizing, hypnotising, and haunting them. You must listen to this and whilst you are a digital platform doing that check out her Film Music vols 1 to 3, you will not be disappointed.
Composer Elmer Bernstein would have reached his 100th Birthday on April 4th this year, so I thought I would just highlight a few of his scores that are available on digital platforms. To say that he was an innovator and a composer who set the scene for many others is something of an understatement. He is probably one of the most well-known composers of film music of the 20th Century. Bernstein was much in demand throughout his career and penned the themes and scores for numerous movies that are now considered classics. Born in New York in 1922, he studied piano at the Juilliard school of music under the guidance of Henrietta Michelson. He also began to study composition under the tutelage of Roger Sessions, Israel Citkowitz ,and Stepan Wolpe. During the second world war, Bernstein served in the American Air force and it whilst there he began to do arrangements for the Glenn Miller Band. Working on these arrangements led Bernstein to writing his own music for radio.
After the war Bernstein spent several years as a concert pianist, but he decided that this was not musical route he wanted to pursue, he was more interested in composing and was drawn to the idea of writing for film and television. He scored his first motion picture in 1950 which was a film entitled Saturday Hero. This was followed by Boots Malone a year later and then in 1952 he scored Sudden Fear. Between 1952 and 1955 the composer worked on fourteen assignments mostly for movies but he also wrote music for documentaries. It was in 1955 that Bernstein got his break into the big time when he was asked to provide the score for The Man with the Golden Arm, directed by esteemed film maker Otto Preminger. This was Bernstein’s landmark score, and he received much acclaim and admiration from his peers for the use of jazz on the soundtrack.
The composers next assignment would gain him even more recognition. In 1956 Cecil B De Mille asked Bernstein to write the score for The Ten Commandments, this was a major film score, with the composer utilising a large symphony orchestra as well as choir and an array of ethnic instrumentation. After the success of The Ten Commandments, Bernstein became much in demand and the remainder of the 1950’s proved to be a particularly busy time for the composer. He worked on films such as, The Buccaneer, The Sweet Smell of Success, The Tin Star, Drango, Kings Go Forth, Gods Little Acre and Men in War and provided the TV series Johnny Staccatto, with its memorable and infectious theme.
As the 1960’s dawned Bernstein wrote the score for one of cinema’s most iconic westerns, The Magnificent Seven, the theme from which is probably the most well-known and recognisable for a movie. Bernstein fashioned a score that was awash with themes that incorporated Copland-ish flourishes and also composed provided a score that was overflowing with pure Americana fused with Hispanic sounding passages, the result was stunning, and it is a work that is still to this day popular and instantly recognisable. He scored his final movie in 2002 which was Far From Heaven, the score earning him an Academy Award Nomination for best original score. Elmer Bernstein passed away on August 24th 2004. Since his death the composer has gained even more followers via many of his scores becoming available on digital platforms, scores such as Stripes, Kings of the Sun, Ghostbusters and so many more, and thanks to likes of Spotify and Apple music we are able to type in Elmer Bernstein and again sample the delights and sweeping rich thematic music of Bernstein.
With scores such as The Comancheros, The Great Escape, Saddle the Wind, The Return of theSeven, Walk on the Wild side, To Kill a Mockingbird, Zulu Dawn, The Rat Race, Desire under the Elms, Anna Lucasia, Summer and Smoke, and so many more including jazz and film music compilations.
When I first saw that The Ipcress File was to be a TV series on the ITV network, I was kind of dubious. Why? Well, I think because the original movie with Michael Caine, is such a classic piece of British cinema, and of course contains that atmospheric John Barry score. But what we must do in such cases is to completely put the original movie out of our heads, yes difficult but to give the new version at least a fighting chance it’s something that must be done. It’s obvious that people of a certain age will be comparing it with the original, but we must resist this. Right from episode one I was hooked. I think that the series is well made and is so atmospheric and tense which is what TheIpcress File is all about I think that you will agree.
Ok its not Michael Caine, but Joe Cole in my opinion does a brilliant job in his portrayal of Harry Palmer. With some solid performances from Lucy Boynton and Tom Holland. The production goes into tantalising detail about the cold war and the tense and nervous atmosphere during the 1960’s that had become part of daily life with The Soviet Union facing off against the West.
It re-creates the mood that was prevalent during this period, the uncertainty, and the real danger of an apocalyptic war between The United States and its NATO allies and Russia and her allies (the Warsaw Pact). A mood that has recently has again become uppermost in the minds of many since the war in Ukraine.
The atmosphere and the nerve-jangling moods within the series are bolstered and supported marvellously by the musical score by composer Tom Hodge. He has produced a soundtrack that adds layers of tense and nervous energy throughout, the music underlining and fully supporting the action and the scenarios that are being acted out on screen. Again, forget the John Barry score whilst listening to Hodge’s brooding and affecting tones as he laces subtle musical passages into the storyline, do not try and compare the Barry work with the new score because they are both totally different, although saying this there are a handful of sounds that do hint at a style that is quite close to that of John Barry.
I say close but I suppose what I mean is that they hint of the stark and sobering style that Barry employed back in the day, I found that this came to fruition in the track Preparation for War, with subtle brass underlined with strings and breathy woods and again in A Token of Gratitude , this edgy and mysterious approach adds much to the respective scenes and builds a greater depth of atmospherics.
Tom Hodge’s score for the series is brilliantly put together and is just perfect for the storyline, it accompanies and augments rather than overwhelms or suffocates the storyline as it develops and unfolds, the music developing and opening up more fully as it progresses, adding a tenser and more threatening persona to the series.
It’s a work that is darkly affecting and filled with apprehension, at times there are hints of themes that never seem to develop fully, but this I think is a master stroke as it leaves the audience sitting on the edge of their seat or dangling in mid-air unsure of what is going to happen next. The Ipcress File soundtrack by Tom Hodge is now available on digital platforms and will be issued on Lakeshore Records as well, it is an accomplished work that is full of surprises and creates a mood that has the listener living on a knife edge. Highly Recommended.
A cave-girl from outer space wreaks havoc after she is brought to life by a top-secret super-weapon that transforms drawings into real people. This is the plot behind the movie Saturnalia.
Directed by Joshua Kennedy, who also stars in the film, this fantasy movie that is just a bit of fun but that’s something we all need these days I think. The music is by the ever-industrious Reber Clark and again he has produced a soundtrack that is quite stunning. It is a little different from his other scores but this I think shows how adaptable and how talented he is as a composer of music for film.
On listening to the score, I was reminded a little of the styles of Lalo Schifrin and Jerry Goldsmith, but there are also themes and musical passages that are evocative of Bernard Herrmann present as well as a kind of 1960’s vibe that shines through and establishes itself in the opening vocal, which I have to say had a certain Don Ellis Moon Zero Two beat to it. It’s a soundtrack that I think caters for just about everyone, drama and also action cues are served up in abundance but there are comedic and romantic sounding cues mixed in along the way. Above all it’s an entertaining listen, every track being lively and filled with energy.
One minute the style is rock led then in comes a smoother more sophisticated atmosphere but also, we get a big band sound vibe, and this is combined with full on drama, that at times takes one back to the 1950’s B movies era, so things never get boring because the score is relentless and robust.
We are treated to some great disco and funky cues complete with retro sounding organ and electric guitars that were it seems used in every movie during the 1970’s.
There is even a little nod in there to John Barry, amazing music. It’s a wonderful score and one that I know you will love. Check it out on Bandcamp, or why not buy the CD direct from the composer.