There is no denying that Camp Crystal Lake has a dark history, one that Sean Orton is intent on ignoring. Despite being warned against returning to his childhood Camp, Sean’s desire to save his family name proves to be even stronger. Sean rechristens the grounds as Camp Trinity Pointe, and with a group of friends, he attempts to rebuild it into a haven of safety with no traces of the tragedy and occurrences from the past left behind. But the evil that still lingers within the camp is a stark reminder that history always seems to have a habit of repeating itself and reminds us that revenge is a dish best served cold. Right on cue for the Halloween season comes My Special Boy which is a tense, sinister, and gruesome horror. Music is by a talented young composer Frank Dormani, who fuses and mix sounds of mayhem and chaos with slightly less chilling compositions to create a score that is filled with inventive pieces.
He has created an effective score that draws from the rich heritage of horror film scores created by the likes of Marco Beltrami, and Christopher Young, with hints of the styles as created by Joseph Bishara, and Mark Korven in more recent horrific excursions. Dark and foreboding, atonal yet alluring this a brilliantly written score that entices and unsettles at the same time.
Whilst in the movie Feed, a group of social media experts are hired to help an old family business to thrive, by creating compelling stories about an old witch myth. But they soon find themselves stuck on a tiny island in a lake in which the ancient Swedish witch is said to live. Music is by Oscar Fogelstrom, who has produced a pulsating and edgy score, via electronic elements, the suitably unsettling, harrowing, and foreboding sounds are perfect for the films storyline and add much to its overall impact. The music takes us to the precipice at times abruptly halting leaving us teetering over the edge, but mostly pushing us over it. Superb horror score.
In season one of Amazon’s The Devils Hour, a woman who wakes up every night at exactly 3.33am, in the middle of the so-called devil’s hour which is said to be between 3am and 4am. This is a series that will get you hooked, but please do not think it is something that is easy to digest as it is a series that you must focus upon or you will miss sections or even a line of dialogue and it will confuse you totally, This is a well crafted story that has transferred well to the small screen, Peter Capaldi is excellent and it is him I think that makes the story stand out so much. Mention must also be made of child performer Benjamin Chivers who plays Isaac, I also think the reason that this sometimes hard to follow is because in the first handful of episodes they move around in different time frames, so it can as I say become a little discombobulating.
But hang in there it is so worth it, this is an intelligent and mesmerizing viewing experience. The musical score too is wonderfully attractive, and yes it has a lot of dark moments but there are also some interludes that have to them an otherworldly atmosphere and a emotive and near melancholy persona to them. Music is by the composing duo The Newton Brothers, who are not really brothers, but you know that, Right?
These inventive composers blend and combine layers of sound and music to achieve effective pieces that support and add depth to the proceedings, underlining and creating a malevolent and darkly ominous soundtrack. They have also fashioned a great opening theme, which sets the scene for each episode, and draws the audience into the darkness. Well worth a listen.
The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself has arrived on Netflix beginning is airing on October 28th. The series is based on the Half Bad series of books by Sally Green and contains a varied and effective soundtrack by British female pop duo Lets Eat Grandma formed in 2013 by musicians Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth. Their score was released simultaneously on digital platforms. “Working on the OST for The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself has certainly been a very informative process and a wonderful new experience which has shaped and broadened the way we write and think about music. We’re always looking for ways to move forward musically, and we think being part of a bigger project with lots of other people all working creatively in different ways has been so valuable and inspiring.” Said the duo. And I have to say that it is a good score, both within the series and away from it, I would not say that this is traditional horror score material as we might know it, but its inventive and original which is all one can really ask for. It creates tension, underlines moments of shock and elevates these perfectly. At times I was reminded of the works of Simonetti, Frizzi, and Morricone, as they utilize instrumentation that is very similar and experiment with voices, giving the score a kind of off kilter style that adds even more of a chill to the work. Interesting and I would say yes, I recommend you take a listen.
Jane and Mike visit her family’s cabin in the mountains. Mike envisions a vibrant future in this idyllic place, but the surroundings bring forth remnants of Jane’s mysterious past, culminating in a transformative experience for them both. That is the outline of the plot for the horror short Pony, the soundtrack of which is released on digital platforms, it is being a score for a short very brief and contains just five cues with a running time of nearly eleven minutes. It is in my opinion a nice work, and I hope to hear more from its composer Lefteris Loannou very soon, it is engaging, melodic, affecting and haunting. The composer utilizing piano, cello and a small string ensemble to fashion his subtle but tantalizing soundtrack.
Something Behind the Walls contains a synth score realised by Andrew Joslyn, that is reminiscent of many of the 1980’s soundtracks that were produced for horror flicks from back then, dark drone like sounds and crashing chords are the order of the day, with half heard sounds and synth voices creating eerie and dark atmospheres. Which are effective in the movie, but not that appealing when listened to away from images. Again, its film music, so that is its job after all. So, a good score, but one that probably will not make many playlists.
Well, I hope you enjoy your Halloween, I am the one indoors with the lights out and the curtains closed, in the hope that those pesky kids will think I am not in. In the UK its Guy Fawkes next, then Christmas, so get ready for magic, sparkle, and those melancholy sounding Christmas soundtracks oh yes and the occasional ghost story.
Howlin’ Wolf Records proudly presents Rocky Gray’s score for 10/31 PART III, the third installment in the gruesomely popular 10/31 Anthology Series, with segments directed by renowned cult-cinema directors Michael Ballif (THE WITCHING SEASON, THEY LIVE INSIDE US), Jacob Perrett (WEIRD FICTION, CREATURE IN THE DARK), Brad Twigg (KILLER CAMPOUT, SHRIEKSHOW), Zane Hershberger (FORCE TO FEAR, and 10/31 PART II segment “Treaters”). 10/31 PART III is a perfectly eerie companion to create your own spooky Halloween ambiance. The soundtrack pays homage to great synth scores from the ’80s which came from the likes of Charles Bernstein, John Carpenter, Alan Howarth, Brad Fidel, and Craig Safan., and also nods in the direction of composers such as Christopher Young and Jerry Goldsmith.
The score for 10/31 Part lll is also accented by flourishes and malevolent sounding undercurrents that evoke those brilliantly vibrant scores realized by the iconic Italian band Goblin and the gifted composer and musician Fabio Frizzi.
Rocky Gray is an award-winning composer of over thirty features, shorts, and video games. An accomplished musician, he was the original drummer for the multi-platinum goth rock band Evanescence, and later also performed as drummer and lead guitarist for We Are TheFallen and Living Sacrifice, respectively. He most recently earned rave reviews and a “Best Score” win for THE BARN II at the 2022 Genre-Blast Film Festival.
10/31 PART III is beautifully packaged in a jewel case with a twenty four-page booklet including a foreword by film music journalist John Mansell and notes from segment directors (Ballif, Perrett, Twigg, Hershberger) and also from composer Rocky Gray, all presented against a frighteningly colourful web of All Hallows’ Eve imagery with jack-o-lanterns, witches, bats, monsters, and demons.
The booklet features original cover artwork by Gaz Jackson at Sinister Arts and beautiful packaging designs by Howlin’ Wolf Records’ acclaimed Art Director, Luis Miguel Rojas. This is eerie and atmospheric score which unusually for a horror movie has a life away from the images on screen, standing on its own two feet as music that can be savoured and listened to as just music. The CD is available NOW from the Howlin’ Wolf Website. Click here to listen to samples and order your copy A. S. A. P. in time for Halloween. Howlin’ Wolf Records – 10/31 Part III page (howlinwolfrecords.com)
Composer Rocky Gray took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us here at Movie Music International.
Movie Music International.
Can I begin by asking how you became involved with scoring movies and was it difficult moving into scoring from being a drummer in various bands.
I had wanted to get into scoring movies for a long time but didn’t really know how to go about getting in touch with film makers to submit music, that just seemed so out of reach.
In 2014 I had this idea to create a record that would serve as a demo to show film makers what I could do because at that point I was only known for doing rock music. So, I created the Accursed record and decided I would search facebook and indiegogo campaigns for new independent horror movies that were still early in production and find out if they had a composer yet. Just trying to get my foot in the door and get a resume going.
The Barn would be the first film that I got from this, and it worked out perfectly. A few songs from Accursed ended up on the soundtrack along with all the original tracks made specifically for the movie so I was ecstatic to finally be in that world. It hasn’t stopped since then.
You are involved with the 10/31 series. Is it difficult working on an anthology and multiple directors as opposed to working on 1 storyline and 1 director?
I love working with multiple directors on one film. Not that I dislike working with one director but it’s great to have all of these great ideas and challenges one after the other and the segments aren’t long so there’s never a dull moment. 1 film, 1 director has its own challenges and those can be fun too but anthologies are my favourites for sure.
Do you have a set routine when scoring a picture as do you prefer to have a core theme and be able to build the score upon this or do you like to work on stabs etc first?
For me every film has its own way of telling me how I am going to score it. I just start from the top and roll with what they give me. The first scene will let me know what instruments are going to be my main palette and if it’s going to be aggressive or more ambient. Unless you do some kind of time jump where it starts out in the woods with a coven of witches in the 1600’s then jumps to 2022 in the city then things would obviously change in the pallette but your themes stay the same but with different instruments. It can go so many ways and that’s the joy of it.
What artists would you say have influenced you or inspired you in your career?
John Carpenter, Tyler Bates, Charlie Clouser, Danny Elfman, Douglas Pipes, Jerry Goldsmith, Christopher Young to name a few.
You are known more for your horror scores, but are there any genres of film that you would like to be involved with scoring ?
I have done a straight dramas and comedies and none of them are as fun as horror. With a good horror film, you can have drama and comedy so it’s the best of all the worlds for me. I haven’t done an action/adventure film so maybe that could be fun.
What would you say is the purpose of music in film?
To help tell the story. Stay out of the way when needed, even be totally silent, and when called for be as in your face as needed.
10/31 part3 is released on Howlin’ Wolf records do you have input into what music will be released on to any recordings?
I’m so happy to have Howlin’ Wolf Records put the soundtrack out. They have done such an amazing job with it.Yes, I have complete control of all of my soundtrack recordings.
How many times do you like to see a project before starting to experiment with sounds and music?
Once. Then I go back through and put in markers where all the music happens with some additional notes.
Have you encountered a temp track on any movies you have scored. If so did you find this helpful or distracting?
I’ve had temp scores on a few projects, and it is helpful to know what they think works for the scene. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I have a different idea and will show them what I think and see if they approve. Most of the time they are on board with my idea. I think having a temp track is better than having no idea what they want but if they trust you with just going for it, that’s great too.
How much music did you write for 10/31 and is it all on the soundtrack release?
Yes, all the music from the film is on the cd. It is edited down so it listenable in a stand-alone format but yes, it’s all there minus a long drone or something that was helpful for the scene but not very interesting to listen to on its own. The only thing that is not on the soundtrack cd is the faux trailer music and that may show up on the digital release.
Do you still perform, if so how do you manage to divide your time between scoring movies and performing with bands?
I don’t perform live that much anymore. My band Living Sacrifice, that I play guitar for, does maybe two shows a year so there’s not a ton of time dedicated to rehearsals and performing live. The band I play drums for, We Are The Fallen, haven’t played in like forever but if they pick back up there’s not a lot of prep in that stuff so it’s an easy transition doing the band stuff and working on the movies.
Do you have a favourite movie score of your own or by another composer?
I don’t have one favourite record. I listen to so many great composers. In the Mouth of Madness from John Carpenter is great. Tyler Bates’ Halloween II soundtrack is great. Dead Silence from Charlie Clouser, The Exorcism of Emily Rose from Christopher Young. All such amazing, inspiring records.
How much time do you normally have to work on a movie or can this vary on each individual project ?
I like to have four to six weeks, but in some cases, stuff happens and it’s like I need this next week. I am never happy about that but if I like the movie, it’s a little easier to jump in and make it happen. that just happened with The Barn II. I had the main title theme done for a long time to promote the movie. They started filming then things are delayed and the next thing you know the movie is being edited scene by scene and I’m doing music in chunks trying to make it in time for the premiere and a festival showing. A week later it premiers and it wins Best Score at Genre Blast Film Festival. I guess it worked out. Not how I would like to do it but it’s what we had to do to get it done in a crunch. But yeah, four to six weeks is what I would like to have.
What is your preferred set up when working on a movie?
My DAW is Studio One 6 Professional running on a 27″ iMac with Samsung T5 and T7 ssd drives.
What is next for you?
I just recently completed the score for a film called Locked In with my son Abraham Gray, our first movie score together so that was a blast. I just did the Halloween update music for Killing Floor 2 video game that is out now. Next is a winter update for that game. We will start production on 10/31 Part 4 early next year.
Many thanks to Rocky for his time and agreeing to answer our questions.
Welcome to another soundtrack supplement Soundtrack Supplement number seventy now. As you can image Halloween related films and TV material is coming thick and fast, or is that trick and fast? (see what I did there). Two Netflix films this week have had their soundtracks released digitally, The School for Good and Evil and TheCurse of Bridge Hollow. Both are great works composed by Theodore Shapiro and Christopher Lennertz respectively.
The score for The Curse of Bridge Hollow is certainly a homage to John Williams and the likes of John Debney and Bruce Broughton, the score is windswept and lush with hints of mischievous interludes, it is a grandiose yet contemporary sounding work, filled with lush and lavish themes that just seem to surround and enthrall, plus it has a more personal and up-tempo side to it, the composer creating beautiful tone poems alongside madcap and frenzied passages which are so haunting and driven.
I don’t think I have got goosebumps like this over the sound of a Halloween score since the original Hocus Pocus. I just love the various styles and levels of intensity within the score, one minute it is filled with a mystical and magical air the next there is a full-on action cue going on, the composer makes effective use of a Danny Elfman childlike choir (shades of Edward Scissorhands) throughout that brings so much atmosphere and adds colour and texture to the proceedings.
This is in the main a traditional sounding score, with strings, percussion and brass taking on the lion’s share of the performance, the booming and powerful themes are a sheer joy, with the comedic styles creeping in here and there making it an entertaining listen.
I recommend that you take a listen ASAP and take a look at the movie on Netflix, because it’s a really enjoyable Halloween romp for kids of all ages, and pays homage to many films within the horror genre such as Walking Dead, Killer Clowns, Monster Squad, Aracnophobia, and Pumpkin head, albeit in a very tongue in cheek way.
There is even a nod to the vampire movies as made by Hammer with the obligatory rubber bat dive bombing various characters in the storyline well I say rubber bat but it’s a little more hi tech than those used back in the day, but it evoked memories of those comical looking bats on strings. It’s an entertaining movie and one that I did enjoy.
The School for Good and Evil is also now available to watch and it’s a movie I found quite entertaining. This is a little darker than The Curse of Bridge Hollow. The story opens in the village of Gavaldon, where we find two misfits and best friends, Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie), who share the unlikeliest of bonds.
Sophie, a golden-haired seamstress, dreams of escaping her dreary life to become a princess, while Agatha with her grim aesthetic and offbeat mother, has the makings of a real witch.
One night under an ominous looking blood red moon, a powerful force sweeps them away to TheSchool for Good and Evil – where the true stories behind every great fairy tale begin. But things do not go quite to plan with Sophie being dropped into the School for Evil, run by the glamorous and acid-tongued Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron), and Agatha in the School for Good, overseen by the sunny and kind Professor Dovey (Kerry Washington). As if navigating classes with the offspring of the Wicked Witch (Freya Parks), Captain Hook (Earl Cave), and King Arthur (Jamie Flatters) wasn’t hard enough, according to the Schoolmaster (Laurence Fishburne), only true love’s kiss can change the rules and send the girls to their rightful schools and destiny.
But when a dark and dangerous figure (Kit Young) with mysterious ties to Sophie re-emerges and threatens to destroy the school and the world beyond entirely – the only way to a happy ending is to survive their real life fairy-tale first.
Theodore Shapiro’s score is wonderfully dark and mysterious with touches of those sparkly sounds that we associate with the world of the fairy tale, it’s a soundtrack that I found appealing and entertaining, the composer creating powerful and also melodically haunting compositions, it’s a commanding score, in which the composer utilizes brass, thundering percussive elements, dark sounding organ, and choir, with strings filling the work with gloriously thematic material that is affecting as well as effective in the support and enhancement of the movie.
The waltz at the start of the movie is also impressive. This is in a word a superbly dark and wickedly succulent and thematic score and one I recommend to you without reservations whatsoever. Watching the movie and the music working with the images and unfolding storyline is I think a masterclass in scoring film, as the music supports wonderfully but also adds so much depth and creates numerous moods and atmospheres that bring the story and its many twists, turns and surprises to life.
Heading away from all Hollows eve and everything connected with it for a moment and into something a little more calming, and to a new version of the delightful tale of Belle and Sebastien, in Belle Et Sebastien-Nouvelle Generation, which has a hypnotizing score penned by David Menke. It’s a charming and wonderfully melodic work with unassuming themes and beautiful affecting compositions that weave their undeniable magic upon the listener. It’s a gracious and entertaining work, that also has its fair share of darker and action led cues as in Loups, and Gas Cherche Belle, which also has a spaghetti western influence within it performed by a dark sounding electric guitar.
Then there are cues such as Poursuite, which start out dark and ominous in their mood but gradually become lighter. Above all it is the fragility and the slightness of the thematic material here that is the attraction, lilting and subtle melodies warm one’s heart, whilst the more fearsome and dramatic cues also entertain on another level. Worth a listen and available on digital platforms.
Batman and Superman– Battle of the Super Sons, has a high octane and imposing score which is the work of Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis, it’s a highly entertaining and richly anthem like soundtrack, filled with so many action cues, that for me at least evoked memories of the style of Jerry Goldsmith, and Elmer Bernstein, with action cues oozing an abundance of rich and vibrant thematic material.
The animated series is also an interesting and entertaining one, the music is available now on digital platforms. And has a running time of over an hour and includes twenty cues from the score.
A little while ago I spoke of the beguiling score for the BBC documentary Elizabeth the Unseen Queen, in the hope that the music would be released, well it is now I am pleased to say available on digital platforms, and hopefully will also be released on compact disc in the very near future. click here for a reminder of the article on the score and on the composer David Schweitzer.
There is also another wonderful film and score coming in November dedicated to her Majesty. Portrait of the Queen will be released on November 21st and has another marvellous and affecting score by Italian Maestro Remo Anzovino. The soundtrack will also be released on digital platforms and a CD release will follow.
Remo Anzovino is currently one of the most influential composers and pianists in the contemporary instrumental music scene. His style is the result of a long experience in composing for the cinema, theatre, and advertising. His songs have no lyrics, but are a glorious fusion between classical music, jazz, world music and film music.
Born in 1976 from Neapolitan parents, he received in 2019 Nastro D’Argento prize from Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists – special mention “music of the Art” for his soundtracks. As a composer, through record projects and film soundtracks, has linked his name to characters, “monuments” and facts of history, as well as art, literature and sport of universal value such as Frida Kahlo, Napoleon Bonaparte, Pompeii, Dante Alighieri – Inferno Canto XXIII, the Vajont disaster, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Muhammed Ali, Pier Paolo Pasolini, “The Infinito “by Giacomo Leopardi, the Nazi obsession with degenerate art, Buster Keaton, Galileo Galilei, Tina Modotti and the Co-Cathedral of Taranto designed by Gio Ponti.
He has released sixteen recordings which include studio albums and soundtracks, he is the author of the famous 9 October 1963 – Suite for Vajont and penned the music for the Unesco #iosonooceano campaign. His music has been synchronized by famous commercial brands for their advertising campaigns and by noted Italian television broadcasts. Many artists have collaborated with him: Franz Di Cioccio of PFM, Roy Paci, Lo Stato Sociale, Pappi Corsicato, Angele Dubeau, London Session Orchestra, Vardan Grigoryan, Masatsugu Shinozaki, Nadia Ratsimandresy, Giuliano Sangiorgi, Gino Paoli, Oliviero Toscani , Mauro Ermanno Giovanardi, Enzo Gragnaniello, Tony Esposito, Danilo Rossi, Dino Pedriali, Lino Capolicchio, Three Merry Dead Boys, Davide Toffolo, Simone Cristicchi, Taketo Gohara, Paolo Baldini, Vincenzo Vasi, Gabriele Mirabassi, Italian String Orchestra, Chorus Polyphonic of Ruda, Luisa Prandina, Gianfranco Grisi, Alessandro “Asso” Stefana, Lelio Luttazzi Foundation, Dj Aladyn, Dargen D’Amico, Roberto Dellera, Emanuela Audisio, Didi Gnocchi, Fabrizio Ferri, Gianmarco Tognazzi and Marco Goldin.
Parallel to his recording and scoring he has developed an intense concert career in Italy and all over the world, establishing himself as an exceptional live performer and purveyor of beautiful and affecting tone poems, dramatic and powerful action cues, and richly thematic and ingratiating compositions. The composer is available for your film, TV series or production, his music elevates and underlines superbly, and will add more atmospherics to any cinematic project.
As a ruthless invader threatens to enslave their people and destroy the Kaaba, a sacred sanctuary, the people of Mecca take up arms. Only able to muster a small force against the massive army, defeat seems all but inevitable. Aws, a seemingly simple potter fighting to protect his family, is forced to reveal his dark past when he discovers amongst the defenders a long-lost friend believed to be dead – a warrior named Zurara. As fear threatens to break their resolve, Aws’ strength of faith compels him to stand and fight.
Aws battles his own doubts and fears as he tries to unite his friends and compatriots on the eve of battle. Abraha’s army is fast approaching, and the fate of Mecca and its people hangs in the balance. Will the people of Mecca defeat the colossal army with nothing but their simple defences and their love for their city?
That is the plot for the animated feature The Journey which has a commanding and alluring scored penned by Japanese composer Kaoru Wada, in which he utilizes a plethora of ethnic instrumentation and sounds to realise a score that is wonderfully attractive and varied, the work literally overflows with dramatic, melancholy, and romantic moods. Which are aided greatly by the composer’s use of imposing choral performances which from time to time during the work are employed. The music perfectly sets the scene for this Arabic tale. Also known for Ninja Scroll and the scores for the twenty-four-episode TV series Yashahime-Princes Half Demon, Wada is an accomplished composer.
The Journey is a score that I recommend you check out, available now on various digital platforms.
Ever since I heard Ryuichi Sakamoto’s haunting score for Merry Christmas Mister Lawrence I have followed his career with interest and have been rewarded and totally mesmerized by this composer’s talent and versatility. This is not just through his movie scores but also via his many studio albums and non-film compositions. Showing on Netflix now is the anime series Exception, which Sakamoto has scored, as with every work by this composer it is a collection of varied and inspired compositions and is a fusion of melodic and experimental compositions.
The composer supporting via a single piercing synthetic sound or underlining a moment with strange and tormented noises or even creating a heartfelt ambience with a sad and affecting sounding solo instrument and at times a combination of all of these. This is in my humble opinion one of the composers most accomplished and at the same time complex works, but I know you will find it a rewarding listen. It is at times a score that evokes feelings of melancholy, loneliness and maybe torment, but it works both with the animated images and as a work to just sit and listen too. Worth a listen and again its on the likes of Spotify.
Hilma is a biographic drama about the life of Hilma Af Klint who is now recognized as being one of the Western world’s first abstract artists. now recognized as one of the Western world’s first abstract artists. The film has been sensitively scored by composer Jon Ekstrand, who’s score infiltrates and invades the subconscious of the listener whilst at the same time subtly enhancing the fascinating and illuminating story that is unfolding on screen.
It is not a grand or overbearing work, but instead works because of its simplicity and its light and delicate touch, the composer adding his music like an artist’s adds brush strokes to a blank canvas, Ekstrand’s music is perfect for the movie, the composer adding textures and colours that are ingratiating and affecting, and in certain areas is evocative of the composers work on other movies such as I am Greta, and Life. The score is available now on digital platforms.
Potionomics is a new video game that was released on October 17th 2022, in which players assume the role of a penniless witch named Sylvia who must transform her debt-ridden potion shop into a thriving business. The score is by composer Greg Nicolett, and it is one that I will say straight away is recommended. To me it sounds fully symphonic which nowadays is always a good start, many of the tracks have featured soloists such as Patti Rudisill on violin, and the voices that are Atemisia, what I liked about the score was that it is so varied, the music I do not think fitting into any one genre or having a particular sound, it sounds like the composer just went for it and created a score that first and foremost served the game.
I really enjoyed the score, which in some cues is sweeping and grand, yet in others is upbeat and contemporary sounding, with comedic, romantic, swashbuckling, adventurous, dramatic, and mysterious styles and moods being realized. If you are looking for an enjoyable and innovative listen, then this is certainly the one for you.
The score for the short Benito is released on Plaza Mayor, music is by composer Navid Hejazi, is is a subtle and at the same time quietly brooding work, that colours and enhances the story of a young Benito Pérez Galdós, set in the summer of 1864. It is the story of Galdos who lives a deep love that will determine his destiny and his literature. The score is mesmerizing and affecting, with the composer fashioning layers of emotion and creating haunting tone poems, which at times have to them a John Barry-esque style, with solo piano being underlined by layered strings. The music is touching, poignant and emotive. Recommended.
Maggie and Jimmy have never met, but they keep showing up in each other’s dreams. As they navigate memories, traumas, hopes and desires in sleep and the waking world, they’ll discover the truth of their linked destiny. Dreaming Grand Avenue was released back in 2020, but the score has just popped up on digital outlets, music is by Seth Boustead. Piano figures large within the score acting as a foundation throughout in many of the cues, the composer adding to these piano performances a scattering of strings, that are more of a background than anything. But the combination of strings and piano with other instrumentation such as woods and a mournful sounding cello has the desired affect and grabs one’s attention. It is a low-key work for the most part but is well worth experiencing.
The composer occasionally rearing his dramatic sounding musical head in cues such as the short lived but effective Sell your Soul. There is a treat within the score which evokes vintage scores and classics with the composers Dream Nocturne, that has to it an aura of romanticism to it that could easily be the work of Rachmaninoff.
The Emigrants was released in 2021. Based on the book by Vilhelm Moberg (published in 1949) depicting a few people emigrating from Sweden to the United States in the 1840 – early 1850. Karl Oskar is a poor farmer in Somåland in the mid-1800s, and when the harves fails and hunger rages, he decides to travel to the promised land of America with his wife Kristina and their remaining children into an uncertain and unknown future. Music is by the highly talented and renowned composer Johan Soderqvist, the score is filled with highly emotional compositions, performed by strings and augmented by woods, at times a scattering of brass and subtle use of guitar and elements of light percussion. Released on digital platforms.
Another highly emotive and affecting soundtrack is Forever and a Day which has music by Edward Antonio and is released on Plaza Mayor. Whilst listening I did have recollections of James Newton Howards superb score to The Man in the Moon, as the instrumentation is quite similar, I am not however saying that the music is the same, but it had that kind of style and sound about it. It is a intimate and fragile sounding work, and one which deserves to be savoured.
Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power is a documentary about the politics of cinematic shot design, and how this meta-level of filmmaking affects and intersects with the twin epidemics of sexual abuse/assault and employment discrimination against women, especially in the film industry. Brainwashed contains over 175 clips from A list movies from 1896-the present, as well as interviews with important women professionals including Laura Mulvey, Julie Dash, Penelope Spheeris, Rosanna Arquette, Charlyne Yi, Joey Soloway, Catherine Hardwicke, Eliza Hittman and many others.
The gripping and atmospheric sounding score is by Sharon Farber, in which she pays a homage to the style of Bernard Herrmann, most notably Vertigo and there are also shades of Goldsmith’s Basic Instinct soundtrack present.
But saying this the score is still an original and inventive work, with the composer placing her own unique musical fingerprint upon the film, creating tense and uneasy passages. Available on digital platforms via Movie Score Media this is one you must listen to.
Another documentary that has a score well worth a listen is Exposing Muybridge which tells the story of trailblazing 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who changed the world with his camera. Muybridge set the course for the development of cinema when he became the first photographer to capture something moving faster than the human eye can see–Leland Stanford’s galloping horses. He also produced a sprawling and spectacular landscape catalogue, ranging from Alaska to Central America, Utah to California. Artful, resilient, selfish, naive, eccentric, deceitful–Muybridge is a complicated, imperfect man and his story drips with ambition and success, loss and betrayal, near death experiences and even murder. “The machine cannot lie,” Stanford declared of Muybridge’s pioneering motion images. But what about the photographer? More than a century after his death, Muybridge’s photographs have never ceased to seduce cutting-edge artists, scientists, innovators, and general viewers alike. Released on Movie Score Media on digital platforms, the score is by Chad Cannon and will be available soon.
There is over an hour of music to enjoy here, it’s a soundtrack I have to say I enjoyed, the composer including so many inventive and entertaining cues along the way. Thanks, MSM for this little gem. Movie Score Media will also be releasing the score for Teach Me if you Can, (aka The Prof) by Remi Boubal, which is a charming soundtrack. Again, I recommend that you look and listen to this one as it is available now.
Remi Boubal also has another score released which is for the movie Plan 75, that deals with a controversial subject, with a nod to the fabled Japanese practice of oyasute, which itself was rooted in Buddhist teachings, the film conjures a mythical modern Japan where an aging society has devised a plan to re-balance itself economically by informing its citizens older than seventy-five of the option of euthanasia.
A 78-year-old woman faces the question of whether she should carry on or seemingly serve her society through self-sacrifice.
Cave Rescue I think is the second movie as well as a TV Mini-series to be released this year about the incredible events that took place in Thailand when a youth football team of twelve boys, aged between eleven and sixteen, and their Twenty Five-year-old coach were trapped deep inside a cave in Northern part of the country, thousands of volunteers and soldiers from around the world united in a race against time to find them. Once the boys are found alive which was ten days later, the only way out was an impossible five-hour dive-swim that only expert cave divers could survive. In Ireland, airplane factory electrician and recreational cave diver Jim Warny gets the call: “How soon can you be here?”; Arriving in Thailand, Jim steps off the plane and into the cave – a knife-edge three-day mission is underway. Based on these true events, Cave Rescue tells the thrilling story of the largest international rescue mission of modern times, from the unique perspective of the men and women facing life-and-death decisions and displaying selfless determination and sacrifice, culminating in a triumphant outcome against all the odds.
The music for this drama is the work of Olivier Lliboutry, the music, and the sounds that the composer has realized for the film are amazingly effective, with the composer utilizing a water sound that he incorporates into the score giving it a greater and more resounding impact. An atmospheric and stirring soundtrack, that includes moments of melancholy it is a score that actual makes one feel slightly claustrophobic at times. The music is released on digital platforms now by Plaza Mayor.
Till is a profoundly emotional film about the true story of Mamie Till Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14 year old son, Emmett Till, who, in 1955, was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world.
Music for the film is by award winning composer Abel Korzeniowski, one track from the score entitled This is my Boy was released on digital platforms on October 14th with the full score being released soon. Keep an eye out for it.
Five months after the maternal death of his partner, a man is at a crossroads with how to raise their baby. That’s the storyline of the touching and emotive new movie Pattern which is directed by Ivan Madeira. Music is by Anthony William Wallace, who has penned a very interesting score, that combines symphonic and electronic to realise a score that contains numerous musical twists and turns and encompasses a handful of styles and musical genres.
These include melodic and melancholy to uneasy and apprehensive sounds, the composer combining these and at times even turning them upside down and inside out to arrive at an innovative solution, I personally like the use of female wordless voice which brings a sense of calm to the proceedings, not that this an action score but at times the sound of a lone female voice is welcome. Available now on digital platforms as is Syndrome E the music from the six-part TV series as scored by French composer Nathaniel Mechaly this is also a combination of both conventional instrumentation that is performed alongside electronic and synthetic elements.
The composer makes effective use of choir in certain cues which brings a chilling and uneasy air to the proceedings, there are dark and foreboding tones that lay the foundation for the majority of the score, but there are also some lighter and more melodic interludes such as the cues Bain Glace and Histoire Sombre, which although do maintain an unsettling style are a welcomed melodious respite to some of the more sinister and fearsome sounding material. I think that this is an accomplished work, and one that you really should check out.
And whilst there listen to the composer’s other works that are on digital platforms. Nathaniel Mechaly studied the cello, chamber music and electroacoustic composing in Paris, Marseille, and Boulogne National Academies of Music. Nathaniel Mechaly signed his first cinematic score in 2004 with Raphaël Nadjari ‘s film Avanim and later went on to compose music for many other films including Revolver for Guy Ritchie and contributed to the success of the Taken trilogy (1, 2 and 3) (music won 5 BMI Awards in London and L.A.). Nathaniel Méchaly is also an accomplished composer in music for theatre and contemporary dance.
In 2014, he was granted with Shigeru Umebayashi the Best Composer Award at the Asian Film Festival and a Best Original Soundtrack Award at the Hong-Kong Film Festival for their work on film The Grandmaster. In 2019 he scored Swoon, which was a popular soundtrack with many film music collectors.
In the movie South of Heaven, convicted felon Jimmy gets early parole after serving twelve years for armed robbery. Upon his release, he vows to give Annie, his childhood love, now dying from cancer, the best last year of her life – unfortunately it’s turns out that its not that simple. Music for this action and crime drama is the work of David Fleming, who you may remember for his involvement on scores such as Dune, The Unforgivable, and Hillbilly Elegy with a certain Mr Zimmer.
This is a score that has many stylistic faces as in the composer fashions lilting and poignant themes performed on piano but also manages to segue into harsher and more hard-hitting pieces realized by a mix of synthetic instrumentation and a handful of conventional live performances which are combined seamlessly and effectively. There are a few cues which I thought maybe were a little off the wall and out of place and leaned more towards soundscape rather than music, but maybe working with Hans Zimmer has rubbed off and influenced the composer? Overall though it’s not a bad score, it’s on digital platforms so go take a listen.
“Storage” is a short psychological thriller about a woman and a high school cheerleader trapped in a storage facility. Music is by Ryan Mclean, who has previously worked on movies such as What’s in the Woods, Broken Vessels and the TV series History Alive. His score for this tense thriller is impressively dark and edgy, the composer managing to create a suitably fraught and harrowing atmosphere in a very short time span, there is some interesting orchestration within the score, the composer utilising an array of unusual sounds to fashion an ominous mood for the movie. Short and sweet or maybe not so sweet in this case, but affecting and inventive.
Netflix are now showing another impressive horror themed series entitled The Watcher, which is a seven-episode series that follows a married couple moving into their dream home and begin to be threatened by terrifying letters from a stalker, signed – The Watcher. The music is very atmospheric and work extremely within the series, and to a degree is effective when listening to it away from the images. But it is probably a score that is best heard in the context of the series as the action unfolds and the tension and dramas build.
The score is by Morgan Kibby and David Klotz, who do a fantastic job of creating suitably scary and apprehensive passages and interludes, they utilize female voices within the score which bring an uncomfortable and unsettling ambience to the proceedings. I enjoyed it.
On November 4th, Silva Screen Records UK will release Mark Isham: Music for Film CD and digital album, available on all major digital streaming platforms. Presented by Film Fest Gent, this is the ninth album from the now well established and critically acclaimed Silva Screen Records series. The album spotlights some of Isham’s best work, and for the first time an entire album is devoted to the composer’s film and television scores.
Interview with the Vampire is a title that I always associate with the talented Maestro Elliot Goldenthal, his score was and still is in my own personal top 5 soundtracks. So, when I heard that there would be a TV series based around the story, I was slightly sceptical about the score that would be realized for it.
The scoring duties fell to Daniel Hart, who I must say has done an admirable job, he has produced a melodic, romantic yet unsettling work which for me works very well. There are I think gentle nods to Goldenthal at times, but maybe that is me wanting to hear these. The composer successfully merges both contemporary sounds with more established styles and comes up with a soundtrack that is supportive and entertaining both in the series and away from it. The music is a combination of electronic soundscape and symphonic, worth a listen.
Cabinet of Curiosities is a new series that starts to air on Netflix soon, it is like a Twilight Zone/Tales from the Crypt format, with stories of horror, and mayhem selected by filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. A trailer for the series gave many a glimpse of its oozing practical makeup effects, stacked cast and new creepy-crawlies. In the series, the filmmaker acts as a guide, passing the torch to a new filmmaker for each episode. “Welcome to my cabinet of curiosities,” he says at the end of the trailer. The spooky proceedings begin on October. 25th, two of the eight episodes will be released each day; and by Halloween, will be able to engage in a scary fest of unmentionable tales and shocking stories, that will enthrall, unsettle and entertain. What is attractive I think for film music fans is there are so many composers attached to this project, many already established and associated with the genre of horror in film.
The outstanding, slightly chilling but kind of irreverent and quirky entertaining main title theme is the work of Holly Amber Church, who’s music is always a bonus for any production no matter what the genre maybe. The powerful and haunting music that she has provided to open each episode sets the scene perfectly and invites the listener in to sample more of the same.
On hearing the theme I was reminded of something that Jerry Goldsmith once said about writing a good opening theme for a TV show, it has to straight away get peoples notice and as soon as it starts they will know to get out of the kitchen or stop what they are doing because their TV show is starting, I think that Holly Amber Church has done this with this jaunty and infectious tune.
Composers that feature throughout the series include Christopher Young, Tim Davies, Jeff Danna, Daniel Luppi, Michael Yezerski, Anne Chmelewsky, Daniel Lopatin, and Jed Kurzel so an impressive musical department. All of whom create a smorgasbord of effective and startling compositions alongside many pieces that are less fraught and shocking. He soundtrack is available on digital platforms and has a healthy running time of one hour and forty six minutes, totally absorbing, and wonderfully rich, dark and infectious. Recommended oh yes.
Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, The Banshees of Inisherin, follows lifelong friends Padraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship. A stunned Padraic, aided by his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and troubled young islander Dominic (Barry Keoghan), endeavour to repair the relationship, refusing to take no for an answer.
But Padraic’s repeated efforts only strengthen his former friend’s resolve and when Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events swiftly escalate, with shocking consequences. Music is by Carter Burwell who once again treats us to a charming and subtle score, it is an intimate at times low key affair, but works so well within the film, underlining and supporting on all levels. Burwell for me is such an underrated composer, and a Maestro who produces consistently very good music, In, this one of his most recent assignments he does not disappoint.
On Spotify CAM/SUGAR have posted a compilation of the music of Ennio Morricone, there is probably nothing there that devotees of the Maestro do not already have, but it’s a great playlist and one that you can just press play on and be taken back in time to hear all the wonderful themes and musical passages that the Maestro penned which were originally released on CAM.
Back to physical releases now and to the ever-industrious Spanish soundtrack specialist Quartet, who have been as busy as ever. Adding a few releases to their ever growing and impressive catalogue. that I know will be of interest, Elmer Bernstein’s classic western score for The Scalphunters is now available on CD, but not as you have heard it before. Due to the success of the film and its score, Bernstein re-recorded a short, 28-minute album for United Artists Records. This recording was reissued on LP and, later, several times on CD, often paired with another western or another Bernstein work, but the score as heard in the film has been unreleased until today.This new edition includes the original album recording, remastered from first-generation tapes, as well as the original score recorded at the Samuel Goldwyn Stage from mono elements recently discovered at MGM/UA, and all painstakingly restored and mastered by Chris Malone. The package includes a 20-page full-colour booklet with liner notes by Jeff Bond, so this is definitely one for your collection.
The label will also be releasing a five LP record set of the Rambo soundtracks as composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Based on David Morrell’s 1972 novel of the same name, First Blood stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo. The Ted Kotcheff directed film was released in 1982 and immediately became a megahit that generated two sequels in 1985 and 1988, completing a trilogy until the character was brought back by Stallone in 2008 and 2019. The iconic character of Rambo evolved from a persecuted Vietnam veteran in the first film to a reluctant government operative and then a mercenary in Afghanistan in the later instalments.
Jerry Goldsmith wrote a stunning, dark, and heavy, almost crushing score for First Blood, although he also composed a memorable melancholy theme (“It’s A Long Road”) that identified Rambo’s solitude and loneliness.
The series and music turned more towards action and adventure in Rambo-First Blood Part ll, and then in Rambo III, included exotic nuances and impressive forays of action music, that now rank among Goldsmith’s greatest efforts in the genre. The box set will be available on November 17th, but you can pre-order now. Also available from Quartet on CD is an expanded edition of the score for Arabian Nights by Ennio Morricone.
The Black Pharaoh, The Savage, and the Princess, is a new animated feature film that includes three tales, three eras, and three worlds, an epic from ancient Egypt, a medieval legend from France, an 18th century fantasy in Ottoman costumes and Turkish palaces, to be carried away by contrasting dreams, populated by magnificent and grandiose gods, revolting tyrants, cheerful protectors, cunning lovers, princes and princesses who do as they want – in an incredible explosion of colours. All of which are presented in an animated production that is squarely aimed at families.
The movie has a score that is composed, arranged, and orchestrated by Pascal Le Pennec (Slocum, Louise en Hiver, Le Tableau), the feature’s music draws on Michel Ocelot’s multiple imaginations and worlds of expression. Structured around three tales, Pascal Le Pennec’s score brilliantly sets to music the captivating stories and colourful drawings of one of the greatest French animators. Le Pennec is an interpreter, concert performer and composer, Pascal Le Pennec first worked in contemporary music (numerous creations), musical theatre (with Jérôme Deschamps, Macha Makeïeff, Pierre Santini…), singing (Allain Leprest, Romain Didier, Régine, Hélène Delavault, Philippe Meyer…). Pascal Le Pennec has also collaborated with many directors, and composed for various cinematographic and audio-visual productions such as the feature films Le Tableau (SACEM Prize for the best original music at the Tübingen-Stuttgart International Francophone film festival in 2012) and Louise en Hiver (Prize for the best soundtrack at the Festival Voix d’Étoiles in 2016 and nominated to France Musique-SACEM Prize for best original music in 2017) by director Jean-François Laguionie, or short films such as Les Souvernirs (CNC Quality Prize in 2013) directed by Renaud Martin. Honoured this year with the Cristal d’honneur at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
The soundtrack from The Black Pharaoh, the Savage and the Princess is available now on digital platforms, it is a wonderfully lyrical and richly thematic soundtrack performed by The National Orchestra of Brittany (ONB) under the baton of Johannes Le Pennec. Recorded in Rennes in April 2022, the talented musicians of the Orchestra were able to capture and restore Pascal Le Pennec’s vibrant compositions in a truly authentic tone. It is a score that is majestic, mysterious, and romantic, and one that I recommend you take a listen to.
The composer commented “I wanted the music to transport people and the audience to those times but to transport them also from a sensitive point of view.” Well on listening to this magnificent score I think that the composer has achieved everything he set out to do.
Rosaline is a comedic twist on Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet in which the classic love story is told from the perspective of Juliet’s cousin Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever), who just happens to be Romeo’s recent ex-girlfriend. Crushed when Romeo (Kyle Allen) parts ways with her after he meets Juliet (Isabela Merced). Which leads sharp but idealistic Rosaline scheming to foil the famous romance and win back her lover. Music for this Hulu production is the work of Drum and Lace, and Ian Hultquist. Drum & Lace, aka Sofia degli Alessandri-Hultquist, is an Italian composer, sound artist and performer that writes and creates music for film and media. Fusing together sampled field recordings, chamber instruments and lush layers of synths, she creates heavily textural and beat driven music, greatly drawing from film music, music concrete and modern electronica.
Her ambient and chamber work also gathers great inspiration from nature and natural sound, as well as the juxtaposition of unlikely sounds with one another. Her feature-length film scoring credits include Netflix film Night Teeth (directed by Adam Randall), campy-thriller Deadly Illusions (directed by Anna Elizabeth James, Netflix) and upcoming drama Summering (directed by James Ponsoldt) which will be premiering at Sundance Film Festival 2022. Television credits include AppleTV+ Original Series “Dickinson” (created by Alena Smith), seasons 3 and 4 of NBC Good Girls (created by Jenna Bans & Bill Krebs) and I Know What You Did Last Summer (created by Sara Goodman) for Amazon Prime Video. Rosaline successfully combines renaissance styles of music with contemporary hip hop and trip hop beats.
The composers creating an atmospheric and pulsating soundtrack, which adds an enormous amount of support to the images and the storyline that is unfolding on screen. They also incorporate into the score familiar songs and tunes, which work wonderfully. Available on digital platforms now.
Composer Nathan Barr has scored Prey for the Devil, as far as I can see no soundtrack album has been hinted at which is a shame as the composer is arising star in the film music community and has worked on numerous movies and TV productions. Barr is a unique breed of composer. In addition to writing his scores, he also performs all of the instruments heard in many of his compositions.
Skilled in many styles and genres, ranging from orchestral to rock, Barr is known for his collection and inclusion of rare and unusual instruments from around the world, such as human bone trumpets from Tibet, dismantled pianos, a rare Glass harmonica and gourd cellos, among many others. Nathan began studying music in Tokyo, Japan at the age of four. He grew up surrounded by eclectic music, ranging from Kabuki Theatre to the sounds of his mother performing on the koto and piano, and his father playing the banjo, guitar and shakuhachi. His interest in the art form was further influenced by extensive travels around the world, where he experienced music, ranging from Bali’s Kecak Orchestras to China’s Beijing Opera. Barr went on to study at Skidmore College, and toured Italy and Switzerland with the Juilliard Cello Ensemble in the summer of 1993.In recent years he has been involved with TV projects such as True Blood and The Great and has worked on well over thirty feature films. Which include, Cabin Fever, Hostel, Hostel Part ll, and The Last Exorcism. Let’s hope his score for Prey for The Devil will be out soon.
Now for something as they say completely different that brings together the sinister spawn of spooky-obsessed hitmakers – responsible for crafting songs like “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry,“Halo” by Beyonce, “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, and “Levitating” by Dua Lipa – and the terrifying orchestrations and interludes by master film score composer Christopher Young (Hellraiser, Nightmare On Elm Street 2, Sinister, etc.) –
‘Scream Warriors’ was mixed in Dolby Atmos, creating an immersive listening experience by revealing incredible details that can be heard and felt all around you. “Think of the album as a soundtrack to a horror film that hasn’t been made yet. We really tried to create a listening experience that was ground-breaking and pushed the boundaries of an audio-visual listening experience. We wrote the music and then collaborated with Christopher and his team to orchestrate, and sound design a universe of sonics that fully support the album’s story narrative – before, after, in between, and even within our songs.” comments LVCRFT songwriter Evan Kidd Bogart, AKA Lil’ Punkin, who when he isn’t writing ghoulish hits can be found writing smashes for the living like “Halo” by Beyoncé.
This is indeed a listening experience like no other, with the two differing musical worlds coming together to create what many would say is a new genre of music. It could be a film score but then “No” listen closer is it a greatest hits album of popular songs? Rock, Trip Hop, Rap, and sinister and harrowing tones, the contemporary world of popular music being enhanced and elevated by a strong orchestral presence that boasts inventive and innovative musical notions.
At times I was reminded of Michael Abels ground-breaking score for the horror movie US, (listen to Kill Room to see what I mean) but either way this is a collection that successfully combines styles and sounds that one would think are exact opposites, but they work and work superbly. For details click here https://lvcrft.net/
Going back in time quite a way now because I caught a post on a social media page by a fellow collector that made me go to my LP collection and dig out an album by Hugo Montenegro, released in 1968, which was a collection of music from The Good the Bad and the Ugly and the other two dollar movies as scored by Ennio Morricone. Montenegro certainly put his style and stamp on these renditions of Morricone’s themes, and because soundtrack albums from films such as these were not more readily available people including some serious collectors were under the impression that these were the originals.
The single of The Good the Bad and the Ugly reaching number one in the UK pop charts in 1968. What Montenegro did was great because he brought the music of Morricone to the masses, and the rest as they say is history. The album contained eleven tracks and had a running time of twenty-eight minutes. Montenegro purveying his own arrangements and upbeat pop influenced versions of tracks from For a Few Dollars More and A Fistful of Dollars. At the time I thought this was a brilliant album, but how things change and listening to it right now I think how did I ever think that this was the original music? But it’s an entertaining compilation and is now available on digital platforms.
Montenegro was a talented arranger, and composer and we have to I think be grateful that he decided to record GBU. Montenegro released so many compilation albums and best of collections, but they all basically were the same just sequenced differently or with one or two additional tracks included. I wish he had received more commissions to write original scores, as his music for films such as The Undefeated is wonderfully robust and thematic and filled with Americana references.
Staying with cover versions and compilation albums, are you of an age where you can recall Geoff Love and his orchestra and those brilliant Big Movie Themes Albums on Music for Pleasure, they were great value for money in those days being just 13 shillings and 11d. We had Big Western Movie themes, vol 1 and 2, Big Western TV themes, Big Terror Themes, you name it Geoff and his orchestra were not afraid to tackle it. And even released other albums under the name of Manuel and the music of the Mountains, which were far more expensive. Montenegro, Love, Mancini, Goodwin, and Leroy Holmes were essential in those early days of collecting as many of the original scores were not released. So, it was a way of hearing the music or at least an arrangement of it until many years later in some cases when the original scores saw the light of day. Listening to them now is a little uncomfortable as some of the renditions were nothing like the originals. But needs must and we needed to hear that music in some form or another. Nowadays they say we are lucky because we can type in a title or an artist and up pops a long list of what is available, but I think I speak for many when I say its not half as much fun as it was back then. Discovering gems and rarities in little back street shops for less than a quid. Those were certainly the days in the 1970’s when imports were first brought into the London shops such as Harlequin and the original Dean Street records with Derek and Michael Jones behind the counter. And these jewels of musical excellence such as The Blue Max, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, The Five Man Army, and so many others were yours for just £3.15p.+ 50p p and p.
HALLOWEEN MEETS THE HUNGER GAMES IN A DEADLY GAME OF CAT AND MOUSE.
The horror genre is something that you either love or hate, if you love it you can never it seems get enough of sinister and unmentionable horrors and occurrences, if on the other hand you hate it well, you are probably the one with your fingers in your ears, your eyes tightly closed and hiding behind the couch. And that is just after hearing the opening music.
The Furies is not as some thought a gentile and sweet story about Furry little animals who are on holiday in Australia. No, The Furies is a 2019 extremely violent slasher/horror movie that is set in the harsh Australian outback and bush. I will add to this that if you in any way squeamish please do not even think about watching the film stay behind the couch I,ll call you when it’s all over, if I can breathe or speak that is. Written and directed by Tony D’Aquino, The Furies is a relentless blood fest filled with macabre, and gory killings that are shown in all their gut-wrenching glory with very few holds barred.
Its storyline begins with young women being randomly kidnapped in the street and after which they find themselves as unwilling participants in a deadly game of cat and mouse where women are the quarry and are hunted down by masked men. It is I suppose a slasher, survival movie but there is when you take a closer look much more to this shocking and graphic film with what many said was gratuitous violence encapsulated in a driving, unrelenting, near 90 minutes that contains harrowing, startingly, and upsetting images.
The director is a well know horror film fanatic or maybe connoisseur is a better way of putting it, and this affection for the horror genre certainly shows in the content of The Furies. D’Aquino draws on his knowledge and love of the 1980’s slasher films and puts some of the elements from these into practise alongside his own original ideas. It is a homage to those flicks from the late 1970’s, 80’s and the 90’s when Freddy Kruger, first appeared in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Michael Myers began his vicious and manic trick or treating at Halloween, The Texas ChainsawMassacre hit cinema screens leaving an indelible imprint of terror and mayhem upon many, and when Drew Barrymore picked up the phone and was asked “What’s your favourite scary movie”.
The Furies is a gruesome yet alluring movie, it’s one of those films when you know full well you should look away but find it so hard to do so in case you miss anything. Set in a rural area of Australia, which is uninhabited or at least this is what it looks like. A group of young girls are taken to the bush after being abducted by a handful of unknown males and are literally dumped in the middle of nowhere. Its soon apparent that this is a situation that will not end well, and you get the distinct feeling it’s the women who will be the ones who will come off worse.
As the scenario unfolds and progresses it is as if the women have been placed in a video game situation, but this is a video game that is very real and very dangerous as we see them pursued and, in some cases, cut down and savagely killed by various killers in an array of grotesque looking masks, which evoked shades of Friday the 13thand that film franchises central character Jason Voorhees.
On watching the movie, I felt that apart from the killings and the girls trying to avoid being dispatched by their pursuers the storyline was quite simple and straightforward, at times containing little glimpses of comedy that came shining through to ease the tension just a little. As with all horror movies especially slashers the prey does not behave in a rational way in the situation, they find themselves in, so instead of sticking together (safety in numbers etc) the women decide to split up (Not a good idea). But this just adds to the tension, slightly macabre entertainment value, chaos, and brutality that is being acted out on screen.
The Furies, is probably not Oscar material, but it is not aimed at the mainstream. It’s an independent production and is more for the discerning horror connoisseur who are certainly not put off by buckets of blood and the odd eye scooping and head exploding moment. It has since its release achieved a small cult following but saying that everyone who has seen it does come away with many lingering memories of their viewing experience, and if you mention the film there always seems to be someone who knows it. It’s a carve em up rather than a shoot em up, with solid performances throughout, the director doing a brilliant job of helming the production and composer Kenneth Lampl fashioning a musical score that is just perfect. His driving and powerful music underlining and elevating the moments of violence and supporting the uneasy atmosphere, whilst at the same time creating levels of unease that add to the overall impact of the movie.
Surprisingly the score has never been released, until now that is. The composer’s amazingly potent soundtrack is coming soon to a record store near you via the label Scare flair records, (click here for their website). www.scareflair.com
Initially the score will be issued on LP record and cassette, which is something that I think some collectors will find appealing. The LP will be pressed in two colours Pink (Beauty) and Teal (Beast) those who know the movie will also be aware of the significance of this. The colour of the LP is random, and you will not be able to request a particular colour when ordering. The cassettes will be super limited items as there will only be a total of fifty. Twenty-five being pink and twenty-five are blue, these will come with a black slipcase that looks like the black coffins which is another link to the film’s storyline. One side says Beauty and the other Beast. Both LPs and Cassettes will not be available until December/January (a great Christmas pressie or New Year gift for anyone).
But I recommend you go over and sign up on the website as you would not want to be disappointed, and whilst there check out the other releases, which include Knightriders the George A Romero movie with a score by Donald Rubinstein and Before and After the Bomb music by Antoni Maiovvi.
Another up-and-coming release on Scare Flair is the score for the Friday the 13th fan film Never Hike Alone. A film that has had over 8 million views on YouTube and part 2 was recently crowdfunded in 2 days. Music for part one is by Trevor Vaughn and Ryan Perez-Daple.
The label tells me that they are planning a vinyl release of Il Grande Duello by composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov, this is a superb Italian western score which has to it many affiliations to the sound of the Maestro Ennio Morricone, Bacalov utilizing the unique aural talents of Edda dell Orso, the distinct and flawless sound of l Cantori Moderni under the direction of Alessandro Alessandroni plus the harmonica playing of Franco De Gemini who performed that wailing and somewhat tormented harmonica sound for Leone’s Once Upon a time in the West as scored by Morricone.
The Grand Duel is not what I would call textbook Spaghetti Western music, as it is more romantic and melodic than many of the scores within the genre as in Bacalov’s Django Instead possibly taking its lead from Once Upon a Time in the West.
A style that the composer also employed on the movie A Man Called Noon and to a certain degree on Gold of the Bravados. Il Grande Duello is a remarkably haunting soundtrack and will be good to see on vinyl in an updated edition. Liner notes for the soundtrack are by Mike Malloy, who wrote the biography on the star of the movie Lee Van Cleef.
So much to look forward to.
FILM AND TELEVISION MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD. WITH MOVIE REVIEWS AND NEWS FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE.