Soundtrack Review: Dracula (1979) Deluxe Edition

Dracula (1979)
Released by Varese Sarabande, 2018
2-discs, 37 tracks total, with a total running time of 1:48:49
Music Composed and Conducted by John Williams

When I started to really get into soundtracks, one of the first horror ones that caught my eyes . . . or ears, technically, was John Williams score for the ’79 version of Dracula, starring Frank Langella. Now because of Jaws (1975) and more importantly Star Wars (1977), I knew the name John Williams pretty well. The soundtrack for Star Wars was the first soundtrack I ever bought and listened to that endlessly. After seeing this version of Dracula, I also fell in love with the score. That opening track alone is enough to capture your imagination. It immediately draws you in with that amazing opening cue and never let’s go. It has been one of my favorite scores, even after all these years. And . . . while this may upset some Williams’ fans, even after I started to notice and realize some of the similarities between this score and the one he did for Star Wars, that was done two years before, it has not changed my love of this soundtrack.

Williams is able to give musical feelings to what is happening on screen, from the romantic angles to the more eerie and creepy sequences, often using the main theme hook from the first opening minutes throughout different parts. I’ve always enjoyed scores that have a running theme throughout the score, not only making it memorable, but it immediately brings in that same feeling. Since this was a big, budgeted film, the score sounds like it. With a full orchestra, the combination of the strings and the horn section, giving us different sounding variation of the main theme, I feel it brings the passion out from the screen into our ears. There are little moments that you can feel the sadness of the main character, for being alive for centuries, as well as feeling his power. Williams was a popular composer back then and this is another example of why.

Originally released with just 11 tracks, running about 36 minutes, Varese Sarabande finally released the complete score in this deluxe 2-disc set. The first disc has the complete score with extended and alternate versions. The second disc has the original 11 track score. Definitely a must for fans of this film, and of Williams.

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