Recently I have been looking hard and listening intently to film scores that have been realized via electronic means. When film scoring started to become a medium that was not always fully symphonic, I have to admit to being somewhat blinkered and unaccepting of any score that was not performed by conventional as we call it now instrumentation. However in recent decades synths and electronics have improved vastly and become so superior that it is at times very difficult to separate live performances from synthetic renditions. This week Intrada records released an expanded edition of Jay Chattaway’s score for the Stephen King penned horror Silver Bullet. I still have the original Varese Sarabande LP record in my collection, and have longed for the composer’s score to be released in full, Intrada as always have once again stepped up to the mark and produced a wonderful edition of this score, the composer adding texture, colour, and a deep sense of apprehension and foreboding to an already tense and fearsome storyline. Things may have improved as in technical areas since this movie and its score were released, but this in my opinion is one of the best horror scores of the 1980’s. It is also a score that many contemporary composers look at to gain inspiration and also to emulate Chattaway’s innovative style.  


Disabled pre-teen Marty Coslaw is convinced he knows who – or what – is behind the numerous grisly murders happening in his small hometown in Maine. Running around in his motorized wheelchair, given to him by his alcoholic Uncle Red and christened the Silver Bullet, Marty seeks proof of the existence of werewolves. Needing convincing are Marty’s loving but frustrated sister, his mom, the town Sheriff, the reverend and especially Uncle Red. One of those individuals is indeed a bona fide werewolf. Stephen King’s tale melds terror with friendship in equal quantities in the 1985 shocker, which also includes tinges of family nostalgia tucked behind the jumps, shocks and scares. Composer Jay Chattaway anchors his score around a highly melodic major-key theme that he wrote to accompany the Silver Bullet, this theme plays both in scenes with Marty on the move and in the end, serves as a freewheeling vocal. Another more emotional element of the score comes with a minor-key theme, which is more a series of chords, that the composer layers and subtly weaves into the storyline that has to it a sense of melancholy and brings a bittersweet reverberation to key points in the movie, it is  particularly noticeable when Marty’s sister seeks evidence supporting his claims and, becomes a highlight, when Uncle Red has another Silver Bullet prepared, which this time is the variety that one loads into a weapon. These quieter moments are complimented by a handful of more intense and harrowing sounding cues that the composer utilises to support and lead into the mysterious and gruesome killings.


These more action led moments include some feisty and edgy sounding chase cues, that reach their peak in a showdown between Marty and Uncle Red vs. the Werewolf. The score I think encompasses many styles it is without a doubt an inventive work, that is composed for both the symphonic and the synthetic elements.  The symphonic performances combining with the synths or at times on their own to create interconnected and at times attractive thematic material, which the composer using throughout to weave a consistent and rewarding sound. This edition of the score from Intrada is a an expanded one, and is also remastered to a high standard from the original three-channel stereo mixes made by Alec Head in April & May 1985 at The Carriage House. John Takis provides easy to read and informative notes,  whilst Kay Marshall has designed some strong packaging with a flipper-style booklet cover. This is an Intrada Special Collection CD and is available while quantities and interest remain. Highly recommended.

Available now click here for details..

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