The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961) is a much underrated Sci-Fi classic, and it is probably due to it being released by British Lion rather than Hammer films that many fans of the genre have yet to actually discover it. It’s a movie that I think has to looked at and judged by the many films that went before it in the 1950’s such as the iconic movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) as it would be pointless comparing it to the massive budget special effects brimming productions which appeared in later years. Such as Knowing ,The Day After Tomorrow,  and 2012,

The fascination that mankind has had with the end of the world as we know it, is quite scary, why would one want to destroy the thing that supports life and this I think is probably a rather unhealthy obsession, but it makes great subject matter for books and of course movies, the ultimate end of the planet being by natural disasters, man-made Armageddon, or even alien invasion, has always fascinated and in most cases produced top class cinema and literature. Even films such as Planet of the Apes (1968) and the more recent The Road, (2009) both set in post-apocalyptic times did not fail to entice audiences, with the former spawning many sequels and a remake plus an entire new series.  

The idea for the film was something that came to director Val Guest during the early days of the Cold War in the mid 1950’s and, it is the style of movie making from this decade that Guest seemed to enter into when helming The Day the Earth Caught Fire. Two years previous we had seen On The Beach, which was a story set after a nuclear war had taken place between the major powers in the northern hemisphere and the global effects it had, with the people of Australia awaiting their ultimate fate as the fallout of the war began to approach them.

The Day the Earth Caught Fire opens with a tinted effect screen, a lone figure walks through a deserted city which we later find out is London, the tinted effect depicts perfectly a searing and unbearable heat, and straight away intrigues and draws in any watching audience. The lone figure is that of a cynical journalist Peter Stenning played by Edward Judd. He makes to his desk at the daily express, but because of the heat is unable to type anything the rubber platen on his typewriter melted by the intense heat. He then picks up the phone which is answered by a young girl Jennie Craig (Janet Munro) on the switchboard, who puts him through to another journalist who begins to take down Stenning’s dictation. The film them moves from present day to a flashback of the events that have led to the moment and the print then is altered to black and white.

On watching the movie again recently on Talking Pictures I was surprised how impressive the movie remained, not at all effected by the many contemporary productions are their gimmicky effects and over the top budgets. This is good old fashion sci-fi entertainment, (if there is such a thing) which I think is made even more effective and eerie because of the black and white photography. In many ways the film was shot in a semi documentary fashion, and although there are very few re-enacted disaster scenes and it relies upon footage of real catastrophes, the tension is handled effectively in the newspaper’s office where most of the action takes place, with its overlapping and loud dialogue and the constant flow of new information on the developing situation also there is the development of the romantic story in the midst of violence and terror in the streets with stock footage of unrest around the world being utilized to great effect.

Granted some of the performances Judd’s included do tend to be a bit hammy, but with actors such as Leo McKern on hand things do balance out. But there is a realism an authenticity about the story and the way in which it is conveyed that just makes the film alluring. There is even an appearance of a very young Michael Caine for a millisecond in a crowd scene as a policeman (before the heady days of Zulu, and The Ipcress File). The film had no original score, instead library tracks were used with the music credit going to Stanley Black, and another credit being given to Monty Norman for the Beat-Nik music (which I thought was amusing) considering that Norman would be credited for one of the most iconic film themes just months later in the form of The James Bond Theme from the first James Bond adventure Dr. No.(1962). Although the movie is probably not as highly regarded as other sci-fi films from around the same time outside of the UK, it is still an entertaining watch and I think if it had been released by Hammer films instead of British lion maybe the interest would have been even greater, also when released in America it was billed as a B movie by Universal pictures. Despite this the film still garnered an award in the UK for its screenplay. The director Val Guest wanted to highlight the actions of power crazed governments in Moscow and Washington at the time who seemed hell bent on either dominating or destroying each other. Which is something that is sadly still relevant today, and I think always will be.

The story is about two nuclear explosions one by Russia the other by the USA, the result is that the earth is tilted off its axis and is sent towards the sun. Despite an obvious lack of budget, Val Guest (creator of other genre milestones such as The Quatermass Experiment and The Abominable Snowman for Hammer) did everything possible to make this film look like a fascinating and paranoiac drama. The images of a wilting London, engulfed in fog and seared by heat are more than atmospheric they are brilliant.

Plus, Guest brings into the equation well thought out extra elements, such as new epidemics because of water shortness. Overall, a film that is entertaining but also thought provoking.


Dragon’s Domain Records presents CHUCK CIRINO: EROTIC THRILLERS, featuring music composed by Chuck Cirino (CHOPPING MALL, NOT OF THIS EARTH, DEATHSTALKER II and RETURN OF SWAMP THING ) for two films from his filmography, SINS OF DESIRE and HAUNTING FEAR.

The success of BASIC INSTINCT in 1992 saw an incredible boom of like-minded erotic thrillers in the home video market. Released almost a year later, SINS OF DESIRE was directed by Jim Wynorski (CHOPPING MALL, NOT OF THIS EARTH, DEATHSTALKER II and RETURN OF SWAMP THING), written by Peter Liapis and Mark Thomas McGee, starring Gail Thackray, John Henry Richardson, Delia Sheppard, Tanya Roberts, Carrie Stevens, Nick Cassavetes, Jan-Michael Vincent, Becky LeBeau, Monique Parent and Ace Mask.

SINS OF DESIRE begins with Monica (Thackray), who is a patient of Dr. Callister (Richardson), a sex therapist. While she’s unconscious, Callister takes advantage of her and she panics, forcing him to kill her by accident. Callister and his wife, Jessica (Sheppard), also a doctor, bury Monica. Unknown to them, Monic was investigating their clinic for her boss, Mitchum (Cassavettes), a private detective. The Callisters hire a hitman (Vincent) to kill Mitchum. When he fails, they kill the hitman. After a former patient of Callister’s kills herself, her sister, Kay (Roberts) goes undercover as a nurse at the clinic to find out what happened. As Kay gets closer to the truth, she also gets closer to Mitchum.

Based on the classic Edgar Allan Poe story ‘Premature Burial’, HAUNTING FEAR was written and directed Fred Olen Ray, starring Brinke Steven, Jan-Michael Vincent, John Henry Richardson, Delia Sheppard, Karen Black, Robert Clarke, Robert Quarry, Michael Berryman and Hoke Howell. Released in 1990, the film follows Victoria (Stevens), who has an irrational fear of being buried alive. Victoria consults her doctor (Clarke) and is given medication to help her sleep but this only amplifies her fears. Unable to help her, Dr. Carlton refers her to another doctor, Harcourt (Black), who begins using hypnotism to deal with Victoria’s mental block. Victoria’s husband, Terry (Richardson) has been secretly having an affair with his secretary, Lisa (Sheppard) and has racked up some serious debt. Terry conceives of a plan to kill Victoria and use the inheritance to pay off his debt. Terry and Lisa decide to bury Victoria alive in order to scare her to death but their plan backfires and Victoria returns for some bloody vengeance.

Chuck Cirino

Chuck Cirino did not start his career as a composer, but rather as a programmer in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania for a Public Access cable TV station, where he learned how to create TV shows by himself, without a crew. In his spare time, he experimented with the station’s video equipment and created a series of genre productions that allowed him the opportunity to learn how to incorporate special effects into his work. After relocating to California, Cirino transitioned into directing high-end special effects television commercials. His first work as composer was for the 1980 cult film GYPSY ANGELS, which starred Vanna White and Richard Roundtree. Since then he has scored films for Roger Corman, directed music videos for bands like Earth, Wind & Fire and The Dickies’ KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, and has recorded over 40 music soundtracks for feature films including SORCERESS, HARD TO DIE, TRANSYLVANIA TWIST, and many others. Most recently, he has scored A DOGGONE CHRISTMAS, A DOGGONE HOLLYWOOD and A DOGGONE ADVENTURE.

Chuck has worked as a producer, director, filmmaker, videographer, animator, special effects technician, editor, and composer. He executive produces and directs WEIRD TV, a television series featuring weird Americans, bizarre news, unbelievable events and outlandish skits. Chuck’s credits also include executive producer and director of the Sci Fi Channel projects, WORLDWIDE WEIRD and WARPED IN SPACE, and BABERELLAS, an independent Sci Fi feature distributed by Xenon Pictures.

Chuck also produced BURNING MAN 1994, the very first documentary on the subject. Chuck works and resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Flordilyn and a cat, Too Too. His spare time is spent growing an experimental back-yard, permaculture food forest. The music has been mastered by James Nelson at Digital Outland and the liner notes have been written by noted author Randall Larson, with the participation of the composer.

Also from Dragon’s Domain CRAIG SAFAN: HORROR MACABRE VOLUME 2, featuring music composed by Craig Safan for two projects from his extensive filmography. CRAIG SAFAN: HORROR MACABRE VOLUME 2 includes music from NIGHTMARES, the 1983 horror anthology, along with SEDUCED BY MADNESS: THE DIANE BORCHARDT STORY, a 1996 television film.

Released in 1983, NIGHTMARES had its origins in a short-lived weekly television series titled DARKROOM on ABC hosted by James Coburn in which two horrific tales unfolded back-to-back within its hour-long time slot. The show was conceived in the vein of other short horror-thriller programs such as ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, THRILLER, THE OUTER LIMITS, and NIGHT GALLERY.

In the year following the success of DARKROOM, rival network NBC moved to capitalize on anthology storytelling by commissioning Christopher Crowe and Jeffrey Bloom, who had written and directed a handful of episodes of DARKROOM, to write four short scripts to be assembled into a two-hour unnamed pilot directed by Joseph Sargent. Bolstered by distinguished acting talent including Emilio Estevez, Lance Henriksen, Christina Raines, William Sanderson, Veronica Cartwright, and Richard Masur, the completed pilot demonstrated genuine potential for the network. However, there was a small problem. The executives at NBC deemed the episodes too intense for television audiences. The television pilot was summarily scrapped in favor of resurrecting the anthology as a theatrical motion picture called NIGHTMARES released by Universal Pictures.

The music for NIGHTMARES was composed by Craig Safan, who had also composed most of the episodic music for DARKROOM. Safan had already made a name for himself scoring THE GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE and FADE TO BLACK and would further his career by authoring beloved scores for THE LAST STARFIGHTER, REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN and all two-hundred and seventy-one episodes of the hit television series CHEERS. Safan had just come off a particularly heartbreaking project when his entire score for WOLFEN was rejected and replaced by a score from another composer. Safan’s music for NIGHTMARES is a calculated blend of aleatoric orchestral music coupled with a heavy dose of synthesizers during one of the film’s most memorable segments.

SEDUCED BY MADNESS aired on the NBC network in 1996, presented in two episodes and starred the legendary Ann-Margret along with Peter Coyote, Leslie Hope, Christian Campbell, Hedy Burress, Tobey Maguire, Freddy Rodriguez, Cliff De Young, Dean Norris, Tomas Arana and Kurt Fuller. Ann-Margret plays Diane Kay Borchardt, a Wisconsin teacher’s aide convicted of hiring her students to spy on and eventually kill her estranged husband. SEDUCED BY MADNESS dramatizes the events leading to Borchardt’s conviction, life in prison without the possibility of parole until she has served forty-five years in prison. For SEDUCED BY MADNESS, Safan composed a chamber score—comprised primarily of strings, winds, and percussion.

Emmy-nominated and eight-time ASCAP award-winning composer Craig Safan has scored more than one hundred feature films, television and documentaries, has had more than 50 soundtrack albums of his music produced, as well as having three original albums of his own impressionistic music released. He’s been commissioned to compose for ballet as well as for live performance of silent films and was given the Poledouris Film Music Legend Award at the 2014 International Film Music Festival in Cordoba, Spain.

Mastered by James Nelson of Digital Outland. The booklet contains liner notes written by author and composer Brian Satterwhite and includes comments from the composer.




“A driving, thematic, and energetic listening experience”(mmi)

Original score from the 2022 horror thriller feature film directed by Adrian Langley, starring Roger Clark, Luke Baines and Kayla Radomski, produced by Buffalo Film-Works and Crossroad Productions, released by Blue Fox Entertainment (USA).

THE STORY: Trapped in a bunker during World War I, a group of soldiers are faced with an ungodly presence that slowly turns them against each other.

THE SCORE: “Bunker was a blast to work on. When the director, Adrian, first contacted me he specifically wanted to have a score in the neoclassical world. It needed to oscillate from pure horror to something far more classical in orientation. He challenged me by asking, ‘If a composer from the 40s wrote a horror score, what would it sound like?’. With that challenge I dove in and started creating. In addition to recording the score with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, I incorporated an instrument I affectionately call, the Piano Guts which is the soundboard of an upright piano with it’s strings still on it. I plucked it, struck it, bowed it, and rubbed it to create some wild noises and textures. That made for a wild soundscape for this body horror extravaganza.” – Andrew Morgan Smith.

THE COMPOSER: Composer Andrew Morgan Smith studied composition and music media at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As a media composer, he started his career writing for SyFy movies and has now branched out into Indie film and other TV content. His credits include such hit films for the channel as A Sort of Homecoming, Zombie Shark, and A Deadly Affair. Andrew is no stranger to the world of horror scoring – his music for Jeepers Creepers 3 and You Might Be the Killer are also available from ScreamWorks Records.

MMS23008 BUNKER (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Release date (digital): February 24, 2023
Release date (CD): TBC.


“Another rich and adventurous score from a composer that always entertains and enthrals”. (mmi).

Original score from the 2023 family adventure feature film (original title: Pertsa ja Kilu: Faaraon sormus) directed by Taavi Vartia, starring Pauli Kesälä, Leon Ruokola and Alina Tomnikov, produced by Taavi Vartia Tuotannot and released by Nelonen Media (Finland).

THE STORY: A movie about the power of friendship and courage during an exciting and thrilling adventure. A story about growing up, the fear of loss and finding yourself.

THE SCORE: “I’m always looking for new angles to take on in film scores, so when director Taavi Vartia suggested I use an electric guitar on Rangers of the Lost Ring, I had a ton of fun going on a journey from modern rock through 80s action movies, to even the Bond movies of the 60s. And then with the Budapest Art Orchestra beautifully performing many of our soaring adventure moments, I really got to play with many wonderful timbres in this score.” – Panu Aaltio

THE COMPOSER: Rangers of the Lost Ring marks the twelfth MovieScore Media release with Panu Aaltio for whom the label released the acclaimed Tale of a Forest (2012), Tale of a Lake (2016) and Tale of the Sleeping Giants (2021), all three of which won the Best Original Score for a Documentary award of the IFMCA. The string of collaborations include The Home of Dark Butterflies (2009), Finland’s official submission for the 2009 Academy Awards and the epic Dawn of the Dragonslayer (2009), the adventure scores for The Island of Secrets (2015) and Finders of the Lost Yacht (2021), as well as Super Furball (2018) and its sequel, Super Furball Saves the Future (2022). Training as a cellist since the age of six, Aaltio also studied music technology and classical composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and film music at the USC where he received the Harry Warren scholarship for Excellence in Film Scoring.

MMS23004 RAIDERS OF THE LOST RING (Pertsa ja Kilu: Faaraon sormus) (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Music Composed by PANU AALTIO
Release date (digital): February 24, 2023
Release date (CD): TBC.