Back in 2016, a book came out called Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers, which I finally got around to reviewing in 2018. And then two years after that, in 2020, author J. Blake Fichera released a second volume, continuing his goal of bringing attention to these talented musicians who help enhance the scares and atmosphere in the movies we love. But now, Fichera is taking this one step further, by making a feature length documentary on these composers.
Scored to Death: The Dark Art of Scary Movie Music will be the first feature-length documentary that “explores the fascinating relationship between music and horror cinema.” Starting today, they have launched a Kickstarter campaign that will run through Halloween, hoping to raise the funds to make this project a reality. Production has already started, so fans of movie music need to make sure that it is able to continue.
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Prince of Darkness
Released by Alan Howarth Incorporated, 2008
28 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 134:50 min.
Music Composed by John Carpenter, in association with Alan Howarth
Back in 1988 when this movie first came out, I saw it opening weekend. I mean, it was a new John Carpenter movie after all. But upon that first viewing, I actually didn’t care for it that much. I did love the music, though, right from the opening queue. So while I didn’t care for the movie itself, I immediately started looking for the soundtrack, only to find it impossible to find. Supposedly, Varèse Sarabande released it in 1987, but I could not find it. Years later, I was able to finally score a copy of it from a German release. And after all those years, the score still kicked ass. I also finally came around to really liking the film. I still have a few issues with it, but it is still a damn good movie. Continue reading →
One more thing we can look forward to in 2019 is the continuing proof that print is definitely not dead. Sorry folks, but not even close. Granted, my bank account very well could be, but there are more than a few books coming out this year that I know will be must additions to my library. Not sure where I’m going to be putting them when they do arrive, or when I’ll get around to reading them…
FAB Press announced that they will be publishing the English language edition of Dario Argento’s autobiography, simply called Fear. That is the only details FAB released but since I hadn’t even heard that he was even writing an autobiography (that was actually published in 2014…thanks Troy!), I am more than a little excited about hearing his stories, right from him. I can only imagine the insights and stories we’re going to hear right from the man responsible for so many incredible pieces of cinema.
Add this to the fact that Troy Howarth’s new book, Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento, will be out in 2020, that means we’ll have a few more Argento books for the library shelves. Maybe we’ll even get to see Volume 3 in Howarth’s So Deadly, So Perverse giallo series. Positive thoughts, my fellow book fiends.
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Scored to Death: Conversations with some of Horror’s Greatest Composers
Published by Silman-James Press, 2016. 356 pages.
By J. Blake Fichera
There is something to be said about film scores, something that I think most don’t know, don’t recognize, or even worse, don’t even think about. And that is the effect they have on the viewer. Sometimes a very powerful effect. The first time I can remember a film score having an effect on me was John Williams’ score for Jaws (1975), which I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. While it did bring up the tension and scare factor, I don’t think I made the full connection between the music and emotion it caused. That changed when Star Wars (1977) came out. Then it hit me how powerful of an impact a score can make. Star Wars was the first soundtrack I every purchased and I listened to it over and over. Each time, I could visualize the different parts of the film in my head and it would give me the same emotional reaction as if I was watching the film. It was at that point, I started to become more aware of a film score.
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Released by Varèse Sarabande
18 Tracks with a Total Running Time of 34 min.
Original Music by John Carpenter in Association with Alan Howarth
Another classic soundtrack from Carpenter and Howarth. I don’t know how Carpenter continued to do it all those years ago, coming up with a score that was so simple and never over-the-top or intricate, but almost made them damn effective. And the score for Christine is no different.
Using just a keyboard, they once again create such an eerie score, building tension and atmosphere that some couldn’t do with a full orchestra. Even on a track like #5 Discovery, it is slow with on a few notes but is still able to make in impact, not to mention what it adds to the actual film. When you get to tracks like Moochie’s Death, we get a lot of suspense through the beating pulse along with a little melody in the background, with a few stingers here and there. Highly effective.
At the end of this month, Varèse Sarabande is releasing this on vinyl, with brand new art from Gary Pullin.