This really must be the year for special edition soundtracks for Dracula films. Recently Varèse Sarabande had released a 2-CD special edition set of John Williams’ score for the 1979 version of Dracula, which we promptly pre-ordered the minute we heard that news since that has always been a favorite score of mine. And now, thanks to the fine folks at La-La Land Records, they will be releasing a 3-CD set for Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), giving us fans almost 3 1/2 hours of this incredible music from Wojciech Kilar.
What Still Remains
Released by Lakeshore Records, 2018
21 Tracks, with a Total Running Time of 41 min.
Music by Jonathan Beard
There are some scores that are in your face, with a pounding emitting from the speakers, almost like an audio assault. But personally, the ones that are more quiet and subdued, slowly creeping into your head instead of bursting in, are the ones that I’m more drawn to. It seems that is what composer Beard was going for with this score. There are a lot of strings used here, and a bit of piano, that create a perfect blend of music and sounds that while are more on the quiet side, they still can move you. Some tracks come across more like metal scraping in the distance, or some sort of wind chime from hell. But all works in creating this great ambiance. Continue reading
More Music from the Further
Released by Void Recordings, 2018.
27 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 50:41 min.
Music By Joseph Bishara
What we have here are unreleased and/or developmental pieces from the first three Insidious pictures, that are on “display” here for audiences to hear. It is interesting to hear parts of scores, as opposed to hearing it as a whole. But it still works.
I’ve always found that there are two different types of scores. Sometimes they are intermixed or sometimes they keep themselves separate. One of them is more of an orchestrated score, filled with melodies and themes, that grab hold with an emotional hook to the listener. Then there are those that are more…sounds. Some might call them noise but I think that takes away any decision on how it should sound or that it isn’t planned. It could be a low rumbling or buzzing sound. It could just the sound of a bow being slowly rubbed across the strings on a cello. No melody, not theme, just a sound to hook into an emotion as well, but using a different approach. Some might have a preference, but it doesn’t mean that either way is more effective than the other.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Released by Lakeshore Records, 2018
13 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 31 min.
Music by Fabio Frizzi
I must admit, seeing the offer to review the soundtrack for the latest Puppet Master movie didn’t fill me with excitement. But when I saw the composer was none other than Fabio Frizzi, the Italian maestro who composed the scores for films like Fulci’s The Psychic (1977), Zombie (1979), City of the Living Dead (1980), The Beyond (1981), not to mention a few other classics, I quickly changed my mind. And I’m glad I did because he once showed me that you can never judge a book by its cover. Or a score by its title., as the case may be.
The score for Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a smaller and simple score, much like I expected, but Frizzi is still able to create a great mood here. The opening title track is a beautiful piece of music, simple and elegant, and not what you’d think you’d hear for a Puppet Master film. But right when the second track picks up, Third Floor Hallway, the atmosphere kicks in. We have a slow and low sound of the keyboard, with a low pounding in the background. Then a violin (maybe?) kicks in bringing up the eerie factor slightly higher. About halfway through this track, we hear some bells, like from a wind chime or doll’s toy, which at first might sound innocent, but the way it is used along with the already existing sounds, it just makes it plain creepy.
Malenka / The Feast of Satan
Released by Quartet Records
30 Tracks with a total running time of 65:39 min.
Music composed by Carlo Savina
Savina’s score for Amando de Ossorio’s 1969 film Malenka (aka Fangs of the Living Dead) is a real treat and a great way to step back in time to one of those gothic vampire pictures that we grew up with on late night television. Using primarily an organ for this score, it creates a multi-layered effects that just seeps with atmosphere. He creates this ghostly or almost other-worldly feeling, if that makes any sense, developing different sounds and melodies to enhance the gothic feel of the movie. Even as a standalone piece of music, you can’t help but be transported back to the 40 years ago, to an old run down castle, with the fog slowly covering the grounds, where you are told not to venture out at night.
Die Sister, Die!
Released by Intrada
15 Tracks with a total running time of 50:44 min.
Music composed by Hugo Friedhofer
It never ceases to amaze me at some of the titles that not only get released on DVD these days, but even more so when the soundtrack for an obscure horror flick from the early ’70s gets a release! Intrada has done an amazing thing in acquiring and releasing this entertaining score from Oscar winning composer Friedhofer. Just try finding this title in a film guide! Friedhofer had been composing music for film since the ’20s, really only working in the horror genre a couple of times. He did score the 1944 version of The Lodger, as well as William Castle’s Homicidal (1961). But he had been nominated for an Oscar 8 times in his career, winning once for the 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). He only worked on Die as a favor to the director.
Released by Screamworks Records, 2016
15 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 39 min.
Music Composed by Frank Ilfman
I just love it when I stumbled across a soundtrack from a film that I’ve never heard before but just love it. I picked up a copy of Ilfman’s score for Sensoria because it was on sale at one of the online soundtrack places I frequent often. I’ve enjoyed Ilfman’s scores for Big Bad Wolves and Ghost Stories and this was cheap enough so I figured I’d take the chance.