Soundtrack Review: House of Usher

houseofushercdHouse of Usher
Released by Intrada
15 tracks with a total running time of 1:02:39 min.
Music composed and conducted by Les Baxter

Les Baxter has made so many great scores to so many great movies, it really hard to comprehend. Just look at all the work he did for Roger Corman and AIP alone, not to mention all the other genre titles he scored, and see that it is very impressive. There were quite a few Italian pictures that AIP acquired for US distribution that Baxter was hired to re-score. So if you’re a fan of AIP and Corman’s work, then you’ve heard his work… several times I would guess.

With this particular score, Baxter took on the difficult role of composing the music for Roger Corman’s break from his black and white quickies, to full color widescreen horror! And since this film had no real monster (besides the house, as Corman claimed), the music was even more important to have an impact. And Baxter delivers. While not an overly-horror sounding theme, it does capture the gothic feel of what the movie is about. Baxter was able to avoid the doom & gloom type of music that one might think would be in a film about Roderick Usher and his insanity. Instead, Baxter creates a full sounding score with quiet and somber tracks, like Track 3 “Roderick Usher”, which is slow and quiet, like the character himself, with a dark sound just underneath. Track 11 “House of Evil” is another fun piece since it really epitomizes what is going on in the House of Usher… quiet, dark and doom and gloom, ending with some haunting voice work that will surely make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

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