Soundtrack Review: The Thing (1982)

The Thing (Re-Release)
Released in 2011 by BuySoundtrax Records
16 Tracks with a total running time of 61 min.
Music by Ennio Morricone & John Carpenter

I can’t believe I had never reviewed this score here! Next to Carpenter’s score for The Fog, this has been my favorite of his work. Yes, this is a collaboration between him and Ennio Morricone, but since I’m not sure either of them came out and said specifically who did each of the bits of music, I’m going to concentrate this review on the score as a whole. Though, I will say that when I first bought the LB soundtrack to this, listening to it over and over again, I do remember thinking “damn . . . there are some parts in here that sound a LOT like something Carpenter would have done!”

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Ennio Morricone – Rest in Peace

Ennio Morricone - RIPWow. This one is a bitch to accept. Yes, the Maestro was 91, but for the hours and hours that I, as well as millions of other film lovers, have been entranced by his music, it still hurts. Even if we just talked about the scores he did for horror and giallo genres, from Dario Argento’s first trilogy of films, Fulci’s A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Mario Caiano’s Nightmare Castle, Aldo Lado’s Short Night of Glass Dolls, to even John Carpenter’s The Thing, his scores always made an impact. That is not even getting into what he did for the western. Even if people didn’t know Morricone’s name or what movies he scored, if you started to play the opening theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, they would know it.

So when we read of the news yesterday morning of his passing, I immediately had the opening music from his score for Argento’s Phantom of the Opera in my head. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful and sad piece of music so it just kind of fit today.

There really isn’t much more I could say, other than thank you, Maestro, for the countless musical memories and emotions that you’re work has given us fans. Rest in Peace, and know that your legacy will live on for as long as people are watching movies.

Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words

Ennio Morricone In His Own WordsI know I may be a little late to the party on this one (and kind of pissed at myself that I’m just finding out about this) but there is a book about this amazing composer out now, called Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words. Whether you are a fan of western soundtracks, horror, and any of the other genres Morricone worked on, you know he created an unbelievable amount of magic through his music. For me, going back to films like Nightmare Castle to the work he did with Dario Argento, his scores are always amazing.

According to the description, Morricone and Alessandro De Rosa had a years-long discussion of “life, music, and the marvelous and unpredictable ways that the two come into contact with and influence each other.” Published by Oxford University Press last March, this 368 page book covers the Maestros work and those he collaborated with, names like Leone, Carpenter, De Palma, Almodóvar, Polanski, and many more. According to Morricone himself, this is “beyond a shadow of a doubt the best book ever written about me, the most authentic, the most detailed and well curated. The truest.” How can you argue with that?

I know this will be among my next order with Amazon and I can’t wait to dig into it.

Movie Review: Nightmare Castle

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(1965)
Directed by Mario Caiano
Starring Barbara Steele, Paul Muller, Helga Liné, Laurence Clift,
Giuseppe Addobbati, Rik Battaglia

In 1960, Barbara Steele starred in Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, which set her on her path of being a horror icon. Over the next few years, she starred in many gothic horror films in Italy. When she appeared in Mario Caiano’s first entry into this sub-genre, it wasn’t her first rodeo. Before that point, Caiano’s work mainly consisted in the westerns and peplum (sword & sandal) genre. It is pretty surprising that he and co-writer Fabio De Agostini came up with such a great story, with plenty of strange angles, and filled the picture with so much atmosphere that I’m surprised that the fog doesn’t just ooze out of your television when you’re watching it. The original title is Amanti d’oltretomba, but it has been released under the titles The Faceless Monster and Night of the Doomed. But now, thanks to Severin, you can get the uncut and original version under Nightmare Castle.
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Movie Review: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)
Directed Dario Argento
Starring Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salemo, Eva Renzi, Umberto Raho, Renato Romano, Giuseppe Castellano

Bird Crystal Plumage 6

This is a very important title to Italian horror fans. It is, of course, the directorial debut of Dario Argento, and what would be the first film in his ‘animal trilogy’. It was this picture that would start Argento down his path as one of the most popular Italian directors, whose career has spanned more than five decades. Sure, some might frown upon some of Argento’s later films, even from the last couple of decades. But no matter how bad you might consider those films, that doesn’t change the fact that the titles in the early part of his career still are stunning classics and, more importantly, still effective today. As Troy Howarth points out in his commentary that is featured on this new disc from Arrow Video, “His reputation as one of the most influential and imaginative of genre filmmakers can never be taken away from him.” So there you go.

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Nightmare Castle Comes to Blu-ray!

nightmare-castleAs horror fans, we all know that Barbara Steele made a few gothic horror flicks in her day. Some of the plots might even sound a bit similar….I mean, how many films can you make about ghosts coming back from the dead for revenge? Well…quite a few it seems. But the difference with these films is that they were made by talented filmmakers! So it didn’t matter if the plot had been used several times before, it was still a great movie. A prime example of that is Nightmare Castle

Sure, we all know and love Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, which was the film to catapult Steele into her path towards being a Queen of gothic horror, but I have to say that Nightmare Castle is one of my favorites of hers. The tale is about a deceitful wife and her lover who are tortured to death by her sadistic husband. But the story doesn’t end there, when they come back to haunt the husband and his new wife. With some incredible music by Ennio Morricone, and co-starring Paul Muller and the beautiful Helga Liné, I couldn’t recommend this film enough.

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