Soundtrack Review: Symptoms

Symptoms (1974)
Released by Dragon’s Domain Records
10 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 38:59 min.
Music Composed by John Scott

The violin has always been one of my favorite instruments when it comes to setting an eerie mood, which is the first thing we hear when the score starts. Then composer Scott takes it up a notch, using some wind instruments (maybe a clarinet?) to further add some suspense, before going into some slow and echoing piano notes. All of this in the first track.

This isn’t a score that is going to fill you with a sense of terror or dread. But what it does hit is a lot of different levels of mood. There are several pieces that are very somber and almost peaceful, but then we’ll get a change where it almost tells the listener that something is about to upset that mood. The way the bass tones, sounding like from either a standup bass or maybe a cello, gives that deeper and darker sound to give more depth into what we’re feeling.

When we get to track # 6, Searching the Attic / Anne is Murdered, it starts out with this haunting vocal on its own, then some strings come in that help it builds up more suspense. Then comes the deep tones of the cellos, picking up the tempo a bit, again building even more suspense. Once the vocals come back in, at a higher pitch now, along with some strings, it builds until a frightening climax. Just a great piece of effective music.

It’s a shame that this film is not too well known, because not only is a great little film, but the score is also pretty wonderful. Again, not using the typical elements of a composition to “scare” the audience, but it still creates that effective mood, to help enhance what we are seeing on screen. And here, Scott does that quite well.

One thought on “Soundtrack Review: Symptoms

  1. Great review John, I don’t own many movie soundtracks , but I am a big fan of the film (and many others from Jose Larraz) so I will be seeking this one out!

    Liked by 2 people

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