Tag Archives: daniel licht



Ever kicked yourself because you had a soundtrack in your hands and for some reason you put it back in the rack and walked away, only to re-think the rash act and return to find it gone. Yep been there done that and I even got the T shirt. So as a new occasional series I thought I would add a few reviews under the heading of the one that got away or Soundtracks you might have missed.


It’s a sad fact that composers pass away and when they do we as collectors I think do grieve in a way, I think we realise that there will never be anything new from them and have to come to terms with having their scores in our collection as a lasting memory of their talent. Joel Goldsmith passed away far too soon, he was I think destined for greater things, but alas it was not to be. I first heard his music in LAZERBLAST which he co-wrote with Richard Band and next I got MOON 44 which is a wonderful soundtrack, written in the style of Goldsmith snr, but with just enough of Goldsmith jnr in it to make it an original. The film was a low budget affair but was not awful and Joel Goldsmith’s score was an asset to the production, his commanding and relentless compositions adding power and atmosphere to the movie. It helped that the score was performed by the Graunke Symphony orchestra who’s reputation was then and is now glowing. The score is mainly symphonic, with support coming from the synthetic department, I have to say the composer did borrow significantly from his Fathers RAMBO scores as in broad and bold brass with unrelenting timpani and percussion being present throughout, these elements being underlined by strings and woods and further embellished dark sounding piano and crashing effects all of which combine to create an exciting and exhilarating work. The track FIRST TRAINING FLIGHT is one that I return to many times, this is classic Goldsmith (but which one). Unrelenting and commanding this for me is the highlight of the score, but that does not mean that there are not other high points within the soundtrack, its sounds like a Jerry Goldsmith score from the 1960’s for an all action knock em down and drag em out adventure. The composers subtle use of woods within the track SO LONG FELIX is stunning, and he combines these with electronic other-worldy effects, which are in turn further bolstered via the string section in sinister mood. Then the cue alters direction and transforms into a series of brass fanfare like flourishes that are accompanied by booming percussive support, and finally this mood alters and becomes more synthetic led with strings adding a chilling undertone, the composer fashioning a piece that is apprehensive and unnerving.

If you are a fan of Jerry Goldsmith and you have not had the good fortune to hear MOON 44, please do take time out to sample it, you will not be disappointed. The CD was available on Silva Screen but has been long deleted, however there is the re-issue on BSX which is still available and I know it may not be ideal, but it is on spotify, so at least you may check it out there.

From a futuristic sci-fi tale and score to a soundtrack from a horror movie that was released in 1996.based on the 1984 novel by Stephen King, THINNER was directed by Tom Holland, it focuses upon a high flying lawyer who has an obsession with food and after successfully getting an underworld boss off a charge of murder accidentally runs over a Gypsy, eventually he too is acquitted of any blame but the Gypsies Father places a curse on the lawyer and he begins to loose weight rapidly. His wife becomes concerned that it could be cancer and enlists the help of a Doctor, but her husband then thinks she is having an affair with the doctor. It’s a gripping tale as one might expect from the pen of Stephen King, and has numerous twists and turns within its storyline. The musical score is by composer Daniel Licht, the soundtrack album was released in 1996 on Varese Sarabande,


The score is a dark one which is not surprising, but what is somewhat unusual is that the soundtrack contains some quite lush sounding themes that are more of a romantic tone. I always felt that this was a score that was sadly overlooked, and in many ways, it evokes the style that was present within many of composer Christopher Youngs works from the 1990’s. But saying that every time I listen to the score and hear Licht’s outstanding compositions, I also can hear references to composers such as Elmer Bernstein and to a degree Jerry Goldsmith.


The composer makes effective use of the string section and employs solo violin which is subtle but affecting. It’s a large-scale score with brass, woodwind and percussion contributing the lions share of the performance supported by the ever-present string section which jumps from romantic to swirling and frenzied sometimes within one cue. An accomplished work a classic in my opinion, again the CD might prove difficult to get hold of, but Spotify do have it, sample it I think you will find you will be impressed.




Back to 1985 for the next soundtrack, a horror again and also written by Stephen King, SILVER BULLET was directed by Dan Attias, and starred Corey Haim, Gary Busey and Everett McGill, a horror set in modern day that focused on the legend of the Werewolf. Music came courtesy of Jay Chattaway, and again for horror movie the score contained a number of lilting and more melancholy moments, However the main score that was utilised over the action scenes was high octane and at times atonal, brass, string and percussion feature throughout, with the composer fashioning what I would call a typical sounding horror film soundtrack. Chattaway makes effective use of a harpsichord/celeste effect in the cue MAKING THE SILVER BULLET which is subtle and somewhat delicate in its overall sound and style, this style of scoring is also present in LOOKING FOR MR ONE EYE where delicate guitar takes the lead and is supported by a light and magical sounding keyboard whilst every so often we hear the musical reference to the werewolf which is a far off howling effect.



The soundtrack LP was issued on Varese Sarabande in 1985 with a Varese CD being made available in 2008 as a club release. The score is a fusion of the symphonic and the electronic, but the composer balances these elements well and each medium successfully compliments each other. The composer utilises slicing Physco  inspired sounding strings at times which make you sit up and listen and add a chilling and urgent persona to the proceedings. This one could be a little difficult to come by, as I can’t see it on any digital platform and the CD is now long out of print. Nevertheless, it’s a score worth looking for.




CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT was a contemporary take on the vampire, released in 1991, the film was directed by,  Tony Randel, and was scored by  Daniel Licht.  The plot is basically about the fight between good and evil and focuses upon Cindy and Lucy who  are eighteen and going away to college. As a ritual they must rid themselves of the dirt of their small  home town (Allburg) by swimming in an abandoned church crypt. They jump in and begin talking about sex when Lucy’s crucifix falls into the water and drifts down to land on Czakyr’s (an ancient vampire) head, apparently waking him up.  Later Mark who is a school teacher from a nearby town  gets directed to Allburg to help Lucy and her grandmother, who are suspected to be in trouble. Lucy becomes the target of a town turned into vampires, who crave her ‘virgin blood’. Mark, Lucy and an old wino shack up in an abandoned building outside of town but eventually get lured back to Allburg by the locals. There, with a giant glowing cross spearing the front of their Toyota, they take the town on and battle Czakyr. They win and life is restored to normality.

The composer/musician Daniel Licht was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. And grew up in the suburbs of the city. He attended the ROEPER SCHOOL as well as a summer school at BERKLEE SCHOOL OF MUSIC in Boston. He began playing music at the age of around eight his first instrument being the clarinet. He took up the guitar aged just twelve years and started his career in music while still in high school, often performing with a small jazz ensemble at clubs in the area. He finished high school, and went onto attend Hampshire College in Massachusetts and graduated in composition, jazz and world music. Licht moved to New York City and established himself as a musical artist in the Lower East Side creative music scene. He travelled to Germany, the Netherlands and Northern Europe to perform and compose music for theatre and dance companies. He created scores for such companies as Mercedes Benz and Sony.
He then re-located to Los Angeles and decided to take his old class mate Christopher Young’s advice and started to score motion pictures. The composer first major score for a feature film came in 1991, when he wrote the soundtrack for the horror movie CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT. The soundtrack was a popular one and was issued onto compact disc by Bay Cities records. The composer scored several horror movies during his career, these included, THINNER, BAD MOON, AMITYVILLE A NEW GENERATION and HELLRAISER-BLOODLINE.


It is probably true to say that Licht was one of the most underrated composers working in Hollywood throughout the 1990.s and into the 21 Century, his most prominent work in recent years being for the TV series DEXTER with the composer scoring all seasons of the series. In 2012 Licht started work on the video game series SILENT HILL and remained the principal composer on the project up till 2015. It was also in 2012 that Licht worked on the video game DISHONOURED and later its sequel DISHONOURED-DEATH OF THE OUTSIDER, which was released after he passed away in 2017. Licht died in Topanga, California aged just 60. His score for CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT was hailed as a triumph by soundtrack collectors and critics alike, and it was not long before the score was issued onto CD, it is a highly dramatic score and draws on the style and influences of Christopher Young and James Horner for its principal themes.


But, there is another side to the score which can only be Licht, the composer fashioning and creating his own musical identity and stamping it firmly upon the movie a style that would manifest itself in future projects such as THINNER and BAD MOON. CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT was quite a low budget movie, but this did not deter Licht from utilising full orchestra and choir to create a soundtrack that is grand and sweeping in its style and overall sound.


THE GIRLS THEME is a particularly romantic and melancholy cue, which does evoke the style of James Horner his theme for COCOON coming to mind instantly. The MAIN TITLE is a homage to Vampire movies of a bygone age, with its brisk pace and urgent sounding brass and strings, it could be the opening titles for any of the Universal classic horrors, the titles of the movie are even in black and white and throughout the movie there are many set pieces or even parodies of scenes from earlier horror flicks, likewise Licht at times kind of sends up what audiences have gotten used to as being music for horror movies, but the formula and the approach works and works very well indeed. A highlight cue on the score is track number six, BLOODSUCKERS BALL, Licht introduces a quirky percussive opening and to this adds chanting choir, more percussion, brass and sweeping strings, it is an impressive piece, that works well in the movie but is also affective away from the film’s images.


The track races to its conclusion with snare drums being introduced that set a swifter pace to the proceedings, before it eventually thunders off into the night as it were. CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT may not have been the most illustrious of vampire movies, but rest assured the score by composer Daniel Licht is a grandiose and powerful one. Hopefully one day it will be re-issued for more to savour and enjoy.