The following article was published originally on movie music international on April 23rd 2022. (c) April/23rd/2022. It was as a courtesy to another writer removed as he was working on a project linked to it. However this courtesy by MMI has now been withdrawn and this post will appear in the MMI line up of articles, reviews etc. The article remains the property of Movie music international and the author John Mansell, and any unauthorised copying or use of this article, or part of it will be looked upon as an infringement of copyright and appropriate action will be taken relating to copyright law.
There are so many film scores old and new that do not for some reason get a commercial release, in this new series about unreleased scores we here at MMI will attempt to uncover and bring to your attention many such works.
EVOKING THE ITALIAN MAESTRO’S OF HORROR.
MATT CANNON’s SCORE for BEYOND DARK DREAMS.
Movie Music International. (c) 23/04/2022.
There is something to be said about low budget movies especially it seems if they are of the horror variety. I often find that the lower the budget the better the end results, if that makes any sense whatsoever, I think it’s a case of limited budget so the filmmaker has to do that little bit more or go that extra mile to make a movie that will be convincing and also at the same time entertaining for audiences, a lower budget often requiring the director or producer to become even more inventive and innovative. I am not however saying that all low budget movies are worth watching, but there are a handful of exceptions that are not only surprising but very entertaining.
The horror anthology Beyond Dark Dreams, (2021) is a movie I would urge you to try and watch, and not just for the images on screen, it’s very confident direction or its offbeat storyline. But also, for its impressive musical score, which is the work of young composer/musician Matt Cannon, who wrote, produced and performed the music. His score comes across as an infectious sounding work, with haunting melodies radiating from cues that start out as atonal compositions. It is also a well-balanced work, with the composer fusing both action, atonal and romantic sounding cues with consummate ease.
On listening to the score, I found that it evoked several of the early horror soundtracks that came out of Italy, when I say early, I am not saying the work of director Mario Bava or indeed any other directors who were active in creating the suspense filled horrors from Cinecitta or composers who were also active during the pre-1970’s period such as Carlo Rustichelli (The Long Hair of Death) or Roberto Nicolosi,(Evil Eye, Black Sabbath) but I am thinking more of the steamy and sensual styles as employed by synth/rock band Goblin,(Suspiria) the eloquent yet marvelously atonal works of Stelvio Cipriani, (The Blood Stained Shadow) the jazz influenced easy listening but edgy compositions of Giuliano Sorgini, (The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue) and to a degree Bruno Nicolai (Throne of Fire, Il Conte Dracula, La Notte Che Evelyn Isci Della Tomba) who were all active during the 1970’s scoring horror and Giallo pictures.
There is a malevolent style running through Cannon’s music, that effectively puts one on edge and sends chills up and down your spine. In fact, this otherworldly and unnerving music could easily be taken from an Italian horror directed by the likes of Dario Argento, Jesus Franco, or George A Romero, it has within its perimeters an abundance of atmospheric sounds, which evoke perfectly a sound and style that was realized via synths and electronic instrumentation during the 1970’s and 1980’s by composers such as those already mentioned and also the likes of Wendy Carlos in films such as The Shining.
There is a dark, foreboding, and anxious mood present throughout this score which is effective both in the movie and remains appealing as just music to listen to, ok at times one might be tempted to turn the sound down and check under the bed when listening to the score, but it is still for any film music fan a rewarding listening experience. The composers use of harpsichord sound and organ like passages within the work is stunning and very effective, the spidery and creepy sounds sending out sinister chills and immersing and enhancing the action on screen in sinister and virulent atmospherics. Cannon, adds to this already unnerving mix quirky and uneasy effects, plus sounds that surprise and unsettle the listener. It is a fully synthetic/electronic work, but one would not realize this just on the initial listen as the sounds are at times quite full and even lush giving the impression of being performed by conventional instrumentation.
The use of harpsichord adding much to the proceedings and successfully establishing a ghostlike and chilling persona to the work. (shades of Bruno Nicolai’s La Dama Rossa Uccide Sette Volte). I am hoping that a full soundtrack maybe issued in the future as it is a score so deserving of this and one that I know collectors of horror scores would adore. Matt Cannon is a composer who has worked up until now on low budget horror movies, but each time I hear one of his scores I feel he is evolving and developing as he grows musically and creating interesting and entertaining scores on a regular basis, which as we all know is quite rare these days especially within the horror genre. His style is advancing and establishing itself becoming more and more evident as his career in scoring movies moves on, and I am sure he is a composer who we will be hearing a lot more of in the not-too-distant future. His score for Force to Fear is one to also watch out for, it has to it an eighties retro vibe, and as well as action laced, and dramatic sounding cues contains upbeat and infectiously up- tempo pieces throughout. Although it is another fairly low budget affair being released on Blu-ray, Force to Fear is a well-polished and entertaining production and pays attention to creating realistic fight sequences whilst at the same time focusing upon creating authentic sets and introducing characters that could have been plucked straight from the 1980’s.
The score for Force to Fear will be released soon on compact disc by the ever industrious label Howlin’ Wolf Records in the USA. Who specialise in releasing scores from horror movies. At the moment you can listen to selections from Matt’s score for Beyond Dark Dreams online at the Bandcamp streaming site. Matt Cannon, is also an actor, but prefers to work as a composer, he began scoring low budget films in 2015 when he provided the music for MILF’S vs Zombies, he followed this in 2017 by scoring the (Trespasser’s segment) of 10/31.
He has since 2015 worked on approximately fifteen synth-based film scores, all of which have predominately been within the Horror genre. The style that he employs is at times highly original, but at times we do hear little nods and acknowledgements to the likes of composers such as Jay Chattaway, Alan Silvestri, Brad Fiedel, Harold Faltermeyer, and Alan Howarth. Which is not a bad thing, as we all know just how successful and influential these composers became.