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ABOMINABLE
Released in 2006, by Aleph Records
21 Tracks, with a running time of
Music by Lalo Schifrin

    If you don't the name of Lalo Schifrin, you do know his music.  He is the main behind the theme for Mission Impossible, both the original TV series and the movies.  But as a horror fan, you might know his work on AMITYVILLE HORROR, which is probably one of the best horror scores out there.
    And now, helping out his son who directed ABOMINABLE, Schifrin has created another great score.  It's been quite some time since he has worked on horror film, but he still shows that he knows what makes an effective score.  Just by listening to the different tracks, you can almost tell what is going on in the movie.  That is how good he sets the mood.  There are some tracks that are more action or suspense building.  But other ones, like #6 (There Is Something Out There), creates some great eeriness to it, through the use of come creepy strings.  The master still has it.  Hopefully he will do a few more in the horror genre.

 


THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES
Released in 2005, by Perseverance Records
14 Tracks, with a running time of 39:49 min.
Composed by Basil Kirchin

    One of the earliest movies that I remember where I loved a piece of music from it, was the opening organ music that Dr. Phibes is playing in the beginning of THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES.  Hell, I even recorded it off my video tape on to cassette so I could listen to it by itself.  With Price doing his best Phantom of the Opera, it's one of the many fond memories I have of this film.  Well, that piece of music is here on this soundtrack.
    Which brings me to this soundtrack.  While this isn't filled with the gothic sounds or creepy atmosphere that I usually like my soundtracks, what this does have is memories.  Just listening to this score brings back the film in my mind.  Maybe it's because I've seen it so many times, but it's a great score for a great movie.  The film does have an eerie sense to it, since during these elegant ballroom waltzes, you have a skeleton-faced man dancing with a young and beautiful woman!  But there are moments in the score, like the Dr. Phibes theme, where it does bring a sense of sadness.
    Perservence Records has done another great job with this release.  While the material is from a few different sources, they have done a fine job digitally mastering them here.  Once again, it's nice to see another small label doing such great work for fans of these types of movies.  The disc comes with a 20-page insert that is filled with notes from the composer, the director and also some great artwork from the movie.


AEON FLUX
23 Tracks, with a total running time of 59:30 min.
Composed by Graeme Revell

    Now this is a film that is perfect for Revell's musical style.  Revelle has a great unique industrial style of music, which fits perfect for this new sci-fi flick.  While we haven't seen the movie, Revelle music gives us our own visions of cyberpunk action.  Revelle is at his best with his fast paced, rhythmic beats, fused with strange synthetic sounds filling the your ears.
    But while he does his best with the faster action pieces, he is still able to slow things down enough and create some great mood pieces, even to the point of creepiness.  And even more so, he can combine the two, the eerie slow pieces and the techno-beats, to create a piece of music that can have the action, but also build the tension.  And that is something special.
    The only question I have of Mr. Revelle, is why the hell wasn't contacted to do the soundtrack for UNDERWORLD!?!?!


ALIEN TERRAIN
11 tracks, with a total running time of 41 mins.
Composed by Demetri Fox

    This is another release from Darren Callahan's Phantom Soundtracks.  These are soundtracks to movies that never existed.  But that doesn't mean they are not as entertaining if they were from an actual movie.  What they do is come up with a concept for a movie, a brief outline, even casting actors for photos shoots, then create a soundtrack for that film.
    This time out, they create a more subdue, slow and quiet, but eerie score for a possible alien encounter movie.  Staring out with a piercing piano (which is always a good way to get my attention), the music slowly starts to surround you with this combination of piano and electronic sounds, almost like feedback, giving it an strange combination of a melody but with something futuristic trying to take over or intrude.
    Being very reminiscent of the early works of Howard Shore, this is one score that is wonderful to be playing in the background while reading, working on the computer, or just for a little ambience to put you in the mood for something different, something possibly un-worldly, but something can calm and quiet your nerves while at the same time, making you wonder of the possibilities of what just might going on.


THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
17 Tracks, with a total running time of 61:02 min.
Composed and Conducted by Lalo Schifrin

    We recently got this soundtrack and am simply amazed that we never had gotten this years before.  Schifrin has done an incredible job of creating a truly creepy and scary score.  Listening to this now, reminds me of so many other scores, that came out way after this movie.
    This score shows just how more effective a movie can be with the right score.  This adds so much to the film, with it's eerie strings and choir singing.  And even listening to it on it's own, still gives you the feeling of tension and horror. 
    This is one score that if you are a fan of soundtracks, and don't have this one, you need to order it now.  This is simply a must for horror soundtrack fans.  They don't get much better than this one.

 


ANTIVIRAL
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 42 min.
Released by Lakeshore Records, 2013
Music by E.C. Woodley

    Having not seen the film yet, we're going strictly on this score alone, and not how it might add or enhance the movie.  But right away, we can tell how different this score is from most soundtracks.  It is very quite, slow, subdued, and very unique.  To know that it is from a film directed by David Cronenberg's son makes perfect sense.  The opening track starts out with a slow echoing piano, playing a few notes, before either a violin or an electronic device takes over right before moving into the next track.  And that is what we're in for with the rest of the score.  It is very heavy on the electronic sounds, with vibrating notes holding for long periods of time with other sounds overlapping them, such as more piano or a bass sound, something soft and distance, other times loud and vibrating.
    This score is not one where you would find melodies and typical classic style music, but is more atmospheric background sounds and that is really what sets it apart.  And for me, it makes it a great score to be playing in the background while working on our site, or just to have something there.
    We weren't really aware of Woodley's work, only having seen the film DARK HOURS that he had scored.  But he definitely is one that I will keep an eye (or ear as the case may be) in the future.  And I am even more now interested in seeing ANTIVIRAL to see how this score plays in the film.
    So if you are a fan of electronic mood setting sounds, then you are going to want to seek this score out.


THE BAY
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 47 min.
Released by Lakeshore Records
Music composed by Marcelo Zarvos

    Zarvos score for THE BAY is another one of those soundtracks that is more a soundscape than a soundtrack.  It is more background sounds than music.  I don't mean this in a negative way, but just to say that it doesn't have normal melodies or tunes throughout most of the score.  Again, not necessarily a bad thing.  What Zarvos does do is create a wonderfully sounding background effects, with rumbling bass lines, echoing pianos, and a strange electronic, almost like feedback sounds coming out.
    We really enjoyed the way that Zarvos was able to successfully combine the sounds of the piano (a favorite of ours in any horror soundtrack) with the use of the electronic sounds that he was producing.  They gave a interesting blend between the classic and the newer age of music.  He has created a score that will enhance the actions on the screen, which really is what the soundtrack should be doing in the first place.  Not only enhancing what we are watching, but heightens it to make it even more effective.  And from what we can hear on this soundtrack, it looks like Zarvos is doing a great job.


BEING HUMAN
24 Tracks, with a total running time of 45:39 min.
Released by Silva Screen Music
Music by Richard Wells

    We've been a fan of this British series for about a year now and have really enjoyed it.  It is funny, sad, thrilling, and even a bit scary at times.  So when we got the soundtrack for the first two seasons (sorry...series, since that is what they are called in the UK), we were pleasantly surprised to see that the score follows those emotions as well.  There are plenty of tracks that give you that somber and almost reflective feelings that occur during the more serious and quieter moments in the series, while others are louder and faster, for the action-based scenarios.  One of my favorites here is the 4th track, A Wonderful Thing, which shows the emotional aspect of the show perfectly.
    There are also tracks that are not really music as much as background soundscapes, usually creating the mood of tension or uneasiness.  But each fit perfectly into what we are seeing on screen without overpowering the viewer.  That is the making of a great soundtrack.
    We were not really that familiar with Wells name, but discovered some other horror films in his filmography that we are going to have to check out now.  For more information about this soundtrack, head over to Silva Screen Music.  For more information about Wells, you can get to his official website by clicking HERE.


BIG BAD WOLVES
Released by Moviescore Media, 2014
18 Tracks with a total running time of 54:16 min.
Music Composed by Frank Ilfman

    Until receiving this soundtrack to review, I hadn't even heard of this movie. After reading the synopsis of it, it had me intrigued. What is fascinating is that for a movie that is pretty brutal, about a father torturing a man who think believe is responsible for the sadistic murder of his child, this soundtrack accompanies it is oddly enough very beautiful.
    The opening theme is one that almost seems like a peaceful and gentle piece of music, but you can feel the darker theme to it. About halfway through the opening track, you can even feel the sadness coming through, making this a pretty interesting track hitting on many levels.  When the movie builds up in tension, the music not only follows right along, but is almost there behind us, pushing us into the what is happening on screen. Even when the music is more somber, it still creates the mood that adds to the action on the screen.
    But, even as a stand alone score, we still enjoyed this. Again, having nice reoccurring theme or melody, even without the visuals of the movie, it still creates those moods in your ears and brain..


THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS / TEENAGE MONSTER
Released by Monstrous Movie Music
75 Tracks with a total running time of 77:14 min.
Music Composed by Walter Greene

    For cheesy sci-fi/horror movies from the '50s, you can't do much better than THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS.  Such a fun movie starring John Agar and a giant brain.  The soundtrack is one of those things that just adds to the enjoyment.  Greene created an exciting score for this movie, along with TEENAGE MONSTER, that really adds to the enjoyment of the film.  One of the amazing thing that Greene did here is create some slower music but without the use of any string instruments like a violin.  Using a jazz style for some of the music, it is still able to create the moods needed to help enhance the movie.  From the main title track, you can almost see the title in your head.  A great score can do that for you, and you have one of them here.
    With his score for TEENAGE MONSTER, Greene creates another memorable piece of film music.  Using the same orchestra from BRAIN, he once again created some great theme pieces, making the events on screen more thrilling!
    Monstrous Movie Music have been producing amazing releases for soundtracks that most would have thought would have been long gone and/or forgotten.  The amount of work that must go into each of their releases is just crazy.  This release contains a 20-page booklet that discusses the film, the composer and then the score, going over every single track here....all 75 of them!  You can tell the amount of love and passion that goes into these releases.  They are fighting the good fight in bringing some forgotten scores to the forefront and helping to keep them remembered by older fans, as well as the newer ones.


BLACKTHORN ASYLUM
By Nox Arcana
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:03:13 min.

    With their 10th outing, Nox Arcana once again takes the listener on an audio journey, but this time it's through the darkened hallways of an old abandoned sanitarium, Blackthorn Asylum.  All of the terror, the loneliness, and cries of madness that filled the walls while it was opened, continue to do so years after it was closed down.  All one has to do is listen.
    With their latest eerie soundscape, Nox Arcana hits many different levels throughout this release.  We have the slow and melodic piano echoing through the darkened halls, but also have some more faster paced themes that fit different aspects of the unfortunate souls that were doomed to remain there.  Each track gives us a small insight at some of the horrors that were experienced at this place, even if those experiences happened only in someone's mind.  The terror is none the less...real.
    For more information about this CD, or any of the other Nox Arcana CD's just head over to their website by clicking HERE.  And make sure you tell them we sent you!


BLOOD OF THE DRAGON
By Nox Arcana
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:06:11 min.

    With this release, Nox Arcana takes us on a journey to the time and land of dragons and the mighty warriors who sought to destroy them.  While this CD doesn't have the usual 'horror' theme, which is what we normally prefer, BLOOD OF THE DRAGON has enough darkness flowing through it to appease any horror fan.
    What amazing me the most is the epic sound of this release.  Not to downplay their previous releases, but this one seems much more on a grander scale, coming up with many different layers of sound and music.  I could easily see this as a soundtrack for many a sword & sorcery or barbarian movies.  The different tracks bring to life various journeys and quests for the dragon, filling the listener with visions of smoky caves, wide open & barren lands, and even different cultures.
    While we still love the horror themed ones, I feel that BLOOD OF THE DRAGON is their biggest and best sounding album yet.  Just listen to it and you can almost smell the burning smoke from the Dragon itself.


BORN OF THE NIGHT
By Midnight Syndicate.  An Entity Production
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 47:51 min.

    After a few attempts by my nephew for me to give these Midnight Syndicate guys a spin, I finally gave in and purchased their first cd, BORN OF THE NIGHT.  It only took one play on the computer for me to realize I had been missing out on these guys.
    BORN is a like a soundtrack to a horror movie, but without the movie.  The cd is filled with gothic and atmospheric music.  So much so that I was half expecting to have fog start to seep out of my computer.  From haunting piano and keyboards, to eerie strings, to the little background sounds hiding behind the music, this is one great cd.  Whether you need something for your Halloween party, or just something to set the mood, this disc does just that and more.

 


THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
Released in 2004, by La-La Land Records
24 Tracks, with a running time of 43:44 min.
Composed by Michael Suby

    Uncertainty.  That's the feeling I get from this music.  Some soundtracks give off a feeling of uneasiness, or a creepy feeling.  But what Suby comes up with here is to bring a feeling of uncertainty.  Like you're not sure...Not sure of what's going on...Not sure of what's going to happen...or maybe even where you are...uncertainty.  At times the themes are soothing, but there seems to be a undertone of something hidden or something out of your control.
    With the slow and haunting strings, and the quiet sounds of the piano, Suby gives us a very interesting score here.  It's not one that has themes or catchy sequences, but one that is just plays in the background, setting a great mood.
    La-La Land Records has done another great job with this release.  It comes with a 6-page booklet that contains notes from the writers / directors, and photos from the movie.


BYZANTIUM
Released by Silva Screen Records, 2013
27 Tracks, with a total running time of 63 min.
Music by Javier Navarrete

    With his score for Neil Jordon's new vampire tale, composer Navarrete gives us another great piece of music.  Once again, not going with themes or melodies per say, at least ones that are not played throughout the score, but instead gives us more of a sequences of musical moods.  The score is slow and moody for the most part, with slow and long winded vibrating sounds, mixed with a bit of piano here and there, both softer high notes, along with some deeper darker notes.  While the piano is what seems to be the continuing instrument throughout the score, we also get some wonderful violins, a haunting choir selection, and some strange sounds, almost like metal being dragged very slowly.  There are times when the pacing of the score picks up a bit, but it usually doesn't last long before going into something more softer and peaceful, but yet still has this foreboding hovering over us.
    While not a score that I would be looking for some some easily recognizable melodies, it is a great score to have just playing in the background...to really set some nice and atmospheric mood.


CABIN FEVER
Released in 2003, by La-La Land Records
32 Tracks, with a running time of 1:16:30 min.
Composed by Nathan Barr and Angelo Badalamenti

    Normally, I'm not a big fan of soundtracks that have source music, especially when they use modern day hard rock.  So I wasn't especially happy to hear that this soundtrack was going to have not only an original score, but source music as well.  But fortunately, the source music only takes up a small part of the cd.  I'm sure the music works well in the film, but I just didn't care for it listening to it on the cd.  And it's not really this particular soundtrack, just that I prefer my movie soundtracks to be original scores.
    But for the original score here, I was very impressed.  This is one of those scores that is not really about melodies or themes as much as just about plain atmosphere, and very creepy atmosphere at that.  This soundtrack would be perfect to be played outside during Halloween night to give those trick-or-treaters an added thrill.  It gives off a great feeling of eeriness and the mood that something is just not right, or that something is about to happen...something bad.  Barr and Badalamenti have come up with what a horror soundtrack should sound like.
    I haven't seen the movie yet, but hearing this gives me high hopes that the director seems to be going for the genuine scariness in the movie, way more so than your average horror movie these days.
    The 6-page booklet comes with notes from the director and composer Barr, who discuss how the project came about, and working together on it.  The retail price is $15.98, and be purchased through their website.


CAPTAIN KRONOS: VAMPIRE HUNTER
Released in 2007, by GDI Records
37 tracks, with a total running time of 59:37 min.
Composed & Conducted by Laurie Johnson

    I can't think of another company that has continued to put out amazing releases each time....for movies that are all over 25+ years old!  GDI has continued to release these CDs of classic Hammer movies, and this one is no different.  The sound is amazing, the booklet has an small introduction by Caroline Munro, and a very informative essay by Randall D. Larson, entitled Slayage in the Dark Ages: Music and Myth in Captain Kronos.
    But the real reason were here is the music.  If you are a fan of this movie, then you do need this score.  Like the movie, it is filled with action, drama, romance, and of course suspense, terror and horror.  It is a Hammer film after all.
    This in a limited edition of only 2000 copies.  So if you are interested in this title, I strongly suggest you order it now.  You can order them from Screen Archives Entertainment.


CARNIVAL OF LOST SOULS
by Nox Arcana, 2006
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 102.53 min.

    Last time out, Nox Arcana took us on a journey through the Carpathian mountains with their TRANSYLVANIA cd.  But with their latest release, we don't have to go that far.  Instead, we are taken to a place that is as close as the next town, but often more scary than any distant country.  And that would be a carnival.
    But don't just expect some simple twisted circus music here.  Yes, there are some creeping organ and carousel music.  But there is much more.  As always, they give us that great gothic atmosphere that just seeps out from the speakers.  It's almost like you're actually traveling with this carnival throughout the country.  Each musical piece gives us images of this dark and brooding carnival, one that you wouldn't want to be at alone at night.  Whether you're caught in the Hall of Mirrors, getting your fortune read by Madame Endora, avoiding the Snake Charmer, or just trying to escape the Theatre of Sorrows, you will soon realize you can't escape this nightmare.
    Nox Arcana have once again created a haunting musical score that had me thinking of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.  And with this release, something wicked is coming.  And it' waiting for you to join them.  But as the warning states in the opening, "There's no turning back."


CARNIVAL OF SOULS
Released 1998, by Birdman Publishing
37 Tracks, with a total running time of 49:14 minutes
Composed by Gene Moore

    One of the reason that CARNIVAL OF SOULS is a haunting and chilling movie is because of the soundtrack.  With quite a bit of the movie not having any dialog, the music plays an important part there.  And with most of the music coming from an organ, it gives it even more of a creepy feeling.
    Well, this soundtrack brings all of that creepiness out just by playing it.  There are a few sound clips from the movie which adds nicely to the whole package.  The organ music is like out twisted dream that one might have while falling asleep in a small church.
    Even if you're not a big fan of this movie, this is a great soundtrack.  It's one where the atmosphere just seeps out of the speakers.  Highly recommended.

 


CHILD'S PLAY
Released in 2009, by La-La Land Records
14 Tracks, with a total running time of 64:56 min.
Music Composed by Joe Renzetti

    Oscar winning composer Renzetti delivers a synth score that hits all the bases.  There is a lot of slower atmosphere pieces that are intertwined with the more action based themes.  Not a score of just eerie sounding keys, Renzetti  balances out with the louder and faster paced music.  But one problem with had is that a lot of music is just a low rumbling of sound, with maybe some other notes or sounds coming in and out.  This usually is something that we would enjoy, being of the atmospheric type.  But since it's more background noise or vibration, it just didn't hold our attention for that long.  With the action picks up, and the music follows, then we have more entertaining and engrossing score.  So this one is really a mixed-bag for us.
    But the CD does come with a 14-page book with liner notes by Brian Satterwhite, who talks about the film.  There is also a breakdown of the tracks with Renzetti explaining what the music is doing in the film.


CHILLERAMA: ZOM-B-MOVIE
Released in 2011 by BuySoundtrax
16 Tracks with total running time of 60:48 min.
Music by Bear McCreary

McCreary

    We've been a big fan of McCreary since we got hold of his scores for WRONG TURN 2 and REST STOP: DON'T LOOK BACK.  So we were excited to give this new score a try and see what he has come up with now.  What amazed me the most about this score was it's diversity throughout the CD.  We were used to McCreary's scores being somewhat...simple.  Effective, but not a big sounding or even classically orchestrated.  This is not meant as a complaint since as we've said, we love some of the work he's done.  So hearing this soundtrack, I was very surprised to see such a wide range of musical styles here.
    The main title track sounds like a cross between a early sci-fi horror movie, but then builds into something much broader.  Using what sounds mostly like an electronic score for the first few tracks, McCreary still makes it sound bigger than it is.  It really shows off his skill as a composer to come up with something very new, and yet make it sound so familiar to fans of those older films.
    For the Deathication track, McCreary takes us back to a time of blaxiploition films, or at least that is the feeling I got.  I haven't seen the film yet, so I'm sure the context in the film, but that sure sounds like it.  But then we have a slower piano and flute track that is somber and soothing.  But then we get to Fugue in Z Minor and it sounds like something Bach did in between composing!  Great stuff.
    The CD does have a track or two of original songs, which are humorous and probably work well in the movie, but we tend to forget about those kinds of tracks on soundtracks.
    So even if you haven't see this movie yet, I would go out on a limb and suggest you pick up this one.  It is a throwback to some old style of soundtracks, and once again shows me the sheer talent of Bear McCreary.


CONAN THE BARBARIAN
Released in 1982, by Varese Sarabande
16 Tracks, with a running time 1:07:52 min.
Composed and conducted by Basil Poledouris.

    Granted, this is not really a horror movie, but in my opinion, this is one of the most incredible & powerful movie scores out there.  This is the type of soundtrack that has the power to bring back the emotions from the film, where you can almost feel the action that is going on during the music.  Granted, it might also have something to do with the fact of how many times I've seen this movie.  But none the less...
    With loud, thundering drums, blaring horns, and the chanting choir, this is one unforgettable score.  The score adds so much feeling to the movie, but also brings those same emotions on it's own.  That is the sure sign of a great score.  You can almost feel the ground shake with the oncoming horses in the opening 'Riders of Doom' or the blood being spilled during the track 'Battle on the Mounds'. 
    The cd insert comes with a brief 2-page history of how the score came about.  Of course, this comes highly recommended.


THE CONJURING
Released by La-La Land Records, 2013
25 Tracks with a Total Running time of 46:10 min.
Music by Joseph Bishara

    This soundtrack is a mixed bag for me.  While we haven't seen the movie yet, I can only imagine that this score really enhances the jump scares throughout the film.  The reason for that comment is that most of the score here is loud bursts of sounds.  Some of them come out quickly, while others slowly build up, layering other creepy strings and such in there.  But then there will be a patch of silence or something that is barely audible.  Only to come pouncing on you again.  Don't get me wrong, as I said, I'm sure it blends well with the action on the screen.  But as a stand alone score, it leaves the listener having a hard time telling if it is still playing, and then going deaf when the noise comes pounding through.
    I am a sucker for a good and atmospheric score, with a nice haunting melody.  You don't get that here.  BUT...if you are looking for some ambience of a haunted house, then you might just have found your score.  There are some tracks that are pretty effective in creating that mood, like a wailing siren, or especially the ending of  track 19, Murderous Offering.  Also, the last couple of tracks, Doll Box, which is pretty damn simple and creepy, and 25, with is Family Theme that was written by Mark Isham is the kind of theme that I really enjoy.  It is atmospheric, somber, with something darker in there.
    If you're looking for a nice creepy melody, than this isn't your CD.  Want some powerful background sounds, then this is your CD.


CRAWLSPACE
Released by Intrada
16 Tracks with a total running time of 35:54 min.
Music by Pino Donaggio

    This movie has been a favorite of mine ever since my first viewing, being just blown away not only by Kinski's underplayed psychotic performance (at least on the screen), but also the pretty deep terror that is hidden underneath the layers. So when we got this soundtrack and started to play it, it immediately brought images from the film to mind. Donaggio created such a unique but very familiar sound with the Main Title theme, mainly with the use of the keyboard. But what really makes an impact with the score is the opening track, Falling From Grace With The World, which comes into play several times throughout the score. Pretty haunting, really.
    Donaggio produces a score that not only effective in the movie, but also just has that feel of the old Empire Pictures. It is used to build up the tension and atmosphere, but then has some slower melodic pieces for the slower sequences, such as the piano piece in the Lovers Tonight track. Donaggio never has let me down with his work and its great to see this lesser known title get a little attention. Intrada has made a big fan of this movie very happy right now.


CREEPSHOW
Released in 2003, by La-La Land Records
14 Tracks, with a running time of 1:06:49 min.
Composed and performed by John Harrison

    George Romero and Stephen King made this movie as homage to the old EC comics from the 50’s, such as Tales From The Crypt and Vault of Horror.  Well, listening to John Harrison’s score for this movie is just like reading through the comics yourself.  The eerie sounds both in and around the music is incredible.
    If one was looking for a soundtrack that sounds like it’s from a horror movie, then this is the one.  But that’s not just saying that Harrison came up with your basic spooky sounding music.  Well, he did.  But he made it better than that average spooky music…much better.  What this soundtrack does is just seep atmosphere.  From the evil laughing, the haunting piano, and the growls, this is loaded with the power to bring those chills to the listener.
    This soundtrack was never released in the States on CD, and has been a highly sought after title for quite some time.  If you were one of those who plopped down up to $50 for the Japanese import, I feel sorry for you.  Since now thanks to La-La Land Records, you can get this awesome soundtrack for only $17.00.
    Plus this version has extras from composer John Harrison.  It features three suites from the TV show Tales From The Darkside that he directed and composed the music.  They include "Satanic Piano", "Everybody Needs A Little Love", and "Sorry, Right Number".  There is also some music that Harrison composed for George Romero projects that never came to pass.
    The CD comes with a 10-page booklet, that has notes from Harrison, Romero, and also a short article by Randall D. Larson about the score.
    Even without the extras, this soundtrack really is a must for a collector.  I know I seem to say that a lot, but this really is one of my favorite scores.
    You can order it directly from La-La Land Records website by clicking here.


CRIMSON WINTER
Released by Monolith Graphics
21 Tracks with a total running time of 58 min.
Music Composed and Performed by William Piotrowski

    We've been a follower of Piotrowski's work for many years, due to his work in Nox Arcana, but here we have a solo project from him as he composed AND performed the score for the movie CRIMSON WINTER.  While we always enjoyed Nox Arcana and their music, I think Piotrowski's work really shines here.  Such a diverse score, with long brooding strings, but also some great guitar work, such on the track Echoes of the Past, that builds up the emotion of the score.  From slow and echoing notes from the piano, to the haunting sounds of the violin, he creates a wonderful score that creates a mood of peace and tranquility, but also a very sad longing as well.
    This score is one that can be played on a lazy afternoon when you just want some quiet and peaceful music in the background, but knowing there is so much more going on in the depths of the notes here. Simply put, just a beautiful piece of music.  This score shows the talent and range Piotrowski has and I for one can't wait to see what he does next.


CRY OF THE BANSHEE / EDGAR ALLAN POE SUITE / HORROR EXPRESS
Released by Citadel
14 Tracks, with a total running time of 61:58 min.
Composed & Conducted by Les Baxter and John Cacavas

    This CD is a real gem, for it has music from three different films, and all are worth having in your collection.  The first four tracks are the music that Les Baxter did for AN EVENING WITH EDGAR ALLAN POE, starring Vincent Price.  These were a series of little one-man plays that Price did based on Poe's stories.  Baxter does a great job enhancing what is going on with Price in the film, but even by itself, you can still feel a strong dark presence of mystery and horror.
    The 5 track is over 19 minutes long and is a suite from CRY OF THE BANSHEE, also done by Baxter.  Because of the long running time, the music goes through many different moods and themes.  But all of them a joy to listen to, especially if you're fond of the older and classic style from that era.
    But the last 9 tracks are from HORROR EXPRESS, by John Cacavas.  I have to say that even though I do enjoy the work that Baxter has on this CD, Cacavas gives us one of my favorite scores.  While only lasting about 15 minutes, the music has a very recognizable and memorable score.  Both beautiful and haunting, it sticks in your head long after the music has stopped.  Couldn't recommend this CD enough.


CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE (aka LA CRIPTA E L'INCUBO)
Released in 2011 by Digitmovies
23 Tracks, with a total running time of 48:59 min.
Music composed and conducted by Carlo Savina

    We recently picked up this new release from Digitmovies, even though we didn't really remember the score from the movie.  So why did we buy it?  Because we know that these films usually had a great gothic sounding score for them.  And we were not let down at all.
    Savina created some incredible mood and atmosphere with his score for this 1964 film, which starred Christopher Lee.  Using all of the usual trappings of these types of movies, from the harpsichord to the strange sounds that can come emit from an grand old organ.  But the score is well rounded with love themes as well as the darker brooding themes.  Of course, those are the ones that we enjoy the most.
    Digitmovies has created a great release here, not only releasing the complete score in full stereo for the first time, but also for allowing these amazing scores to be archived and saved for future gothic film fans to listen to and enjoy.  Kudos to them and we hope that they keep up the great work!


CRY WOLF
Released in 2005, by Lakeshore Records
27 tracks, with a total running time of 55:05 min.
Music by Michael Wandmacher

    Here's another first for us.  I had recently reviewed the film CRY WOLF, and thought it was just okay.  But the one thing that really stood out to me was original score.  That's a tough thing to happen, when you are paying more attention to the score to then what's going on in the movie.  But I think that shows how effective this score is.  I wasn't familiar with Wandmacher's name, but had heard of some of the films that he had worked on.
    I think what sets this score apart from others is it's simplicity.  It reminded me kind of John Carpenter's early scores, when you didn't need a lot of music or noise going on to set the mood.  And here, Wandmacher does just that.  Using simple notes on a keyboard or a little cello or violin (I think?) gives some great mood pieces here.
    This is a great score to just put on for some background music, creating some great atmosphere.  Simply put, this is one of the best scores I've heard in quite some time.  Unfortunately, it's pretty tough to find, unless you go online.  But make sure you get this soundtrack, and not the one that music "based on" the movie.   Make sure it's this graphic, and says "Original score".


CUJO
13 Tracks with a total running time of 32 min.
Music by Charles Bernstein

    This score is a perfect example where a theme is created and then repeated in some form throughout the score.  Granted, it doesn't work for some movies, but here it does.  Bernstein has created a very light and melancholy score here, that has those darker elements only because we know what the movie is about.  But it is still a smooth and even soothing melody, with the combination of the piano and the strings.
    But it is not all of this, there are a few tracks that do bring up the tension, especially track # 9, Cujo Pulse, where it really builds up the tension.  Highly effective.  While it is a rather short score, barely running a half hour, I really enjoy this one.  It is a great piece of music just to have on at anytime that is not going to put you in any certain mood, but probably enhance the one you are already in.  You just might not want to have a large Saint Bernard dog around near you when you are listening to this.  You just never know and do you really want to take that chance anyway???


THE DAMNED
Released in 2014 by Lakeshore Records, 2014
22 Tracks with a total running time of 46 min.
Music by Frederik Wiedmann

    Yet another film where I'm reviewing the score even though I haven't seen the film. In fact, never heard of it until now. It didn't take long for the score to grab my attention. On track # 2, The Damned Main Title, Wiedmann does an excellent job in incorporating what sounds like a girl's voice in the background of the music, which starts out slow but then picks up in pace and volume. It adds a great creepy element to it. This is also used in other tracks, such as # 11, No Getting Out. A very effective touch.
    Unfortunately, the rest of the score seems to fall in the same vein of so many other scores these days. Lots of loud pounding, quick jolts to maybe accent a jump scare on screen, and no real theme or repeating melody. Granted, that is just a personal thing that I've always looked for in a score. This is not to say that this isn't an effective score. There are a few tracks that I really enjoyed, usually the slower tempo, more eerie sounding ones, like track # 4, Gallows Hill, or track # 6, Alone. They really builds up an creepy atmosphere to it. But when the score moves in to the tracks that are loud and pounding, it seems to blend in with a lot of the scores these days. Effective, yes. But memorable? Not so much.


DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW
Released in 2011, by 2M1 Records.
17 Tracks with a total running time of 39 min.
Music Composed by Glenn Paxton

    It seemed to take forever to have this movie finally get an actual release on DVD, so we were very surprised to see that the soundtrack had also been released.  Most people remember this movie from their childhood as being one of those films that scared them to death when they first seen it on TV.  So much so that it became this lost cult classic.  So listening to this new soundtrack from this film that we love so much, it is amazing how much feeling and atmosphere from the film comes out in the music.
    There is nothing over the top here.  Nothing fast and furious.  Just a simple score, with a minimal use of instruments that creates an eeriness and suspense to the listener.  Not real melodies or themes here, but just a quiet and moody sounds that work quite well on their own, not to mention how well they work in the movie.  This is a great score to be having playing in the background if you just want to some mood music.
    We weren't familiar with Glenn Paxton's work that much, but since he did a lot of TV stuff in the '70s, I'm sure I've heard his stuff many times before.
    For more information about this CD, head over to 2M1 Records.  Make sure you tell them we sent you!


DARK SHADOWS (2012)
Released in 2012, by WaterTower Music
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 52 mins.
Music Composed Danny Elfman

    Well, after the hope we gained after Elfman's WOLFMAN score, it seems we are back to where we before it.  His score for the latest Tim Burton remake is will probably fit nicely with the film.  But as a stand alone score, I don't feel that it stands out at all.  It seems very generic.  Coming from Elfman, who has made his share of gothic themed scores, I really had hoped that he would have come up with something more...dark and interesting.  Not this time.
    The work that Robert Colbert did for the original series still holds up today as some of the best gothic themed music around.  So why Elfman didn't at least try to use some of that as influence for his score is beyond me.  Again, this is not a bad score.  But you can listen to it a 2-3 times and complete forget what you just heard.  And to me, a great film score is one that you leave the theater with the themes and melodies still in your head.
    Guess Elfman is back on the generic train once again.  Hopefully it is a short trip.


THE DARK SIDE OF LIGHT (aka El Lado Oscuro de la Luz) (2013)
Released in 2014 by Moviescore Media and Kronos Records
20 Tracks, with a total running time of 65 minutes
Music Composed Gus Reyes

    This was a pleasant surprise. I had never heard of this movie, or the composer. But as soon as I started listening to it, it had me. Such a beautiful score, with some underlying creepiness to it. Filled with strings, piano, and vocals like they're coming from a church, it really sets the mood here of something peaceful and quiet. Right from the opening track, starting out with a muffled sound of a piano, then violins (or cello?) coming into to create a soothing piece of music, especially when the vocals kick in.
    While not an overtly horror score, it still has its dark side to it. Some tracks have some louder, pounding sounds breaking through the speakers, but then goes back to the more sedate and calmer music. There were a few tracks that reminded me of Christopher Young's score for HELLRAISER, not that it sounded like it at all, but just kind of gave me that same feeling.
    Reyes does an excellent job here, really creating a beautiful piece of music that is perfect for Horror film scores that might be looking for something not as in-your-face scary, but more just a great mood enhancer.


DAWNING
Released in 2011, by Screamworks Records
10 Tracks, with a total running time off 30:14 mins.
Music Composed by Nathaniel Levisay

    It seems more and more that we are getting to review soundtracks way before being able to see the movies.  What this does is allow one to focus on the actual music, as opposed to the film itself.  So then we look at these just as an original piece of music, hopefully creepy enough for our dark tastes.  And we have found this in Levisay's DAWNING.
    This score features many different themes that we found both creepy and suspenseful.  We always love hearing a piano, which can always add a eeriness to a score, which they do quite well here with the main title.  But using more sounds (almost a touch of industrial) than actual music, Levisay creates an uneasiness that will put the listener on edge.  Something is just not right and the music is emphasizing that feeling.  From reverberating banging, to thundering pounding, to the echo of a piano key, Levisay has created a unique blend of music and an atmospheric soundscape.
    We're looking forward to what Levisay will do next in the horror genre.


DARK HOLLOW
Released in 2006, by Lame Duck Digital
11 tracks, with a total running time of 52.58 min
Music composed and performed by Virgil Franklin

    We're always a sucker for that echoing sounds of a piano.  Throw that in with some creepy organs and strings and you've got my attention.  Virgil is a one man show here, creating some nice and moody atmosphere with his music.  Though it's pretty simple, he still delivers the chills, and sticks to what's creepy.  Don't get me wrong, when I say simple, I mean basic.  Nothing really fancy here, or over produced.  Just some great echoing sounds of piano, strings, and organs, all blending together to raise those hairs on the back of your neck.
    This is great for some nice music to be playing in background, a Halloween party or event, or simply just because. 

 


THE DARK TOWER
by Nox Arcana, 2011
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 65 min.

    It has been over a year since we got to take a musical journey into the unknown, with Nox Arcana leading the way.  But since Joseph Vargo is busy doing so much, with many other projects.  Two of those had come together in the form of an anthology of stories based on his artwork.  Vargo, along with several other writers contributed 13 tales of gothic traditions.  So what does this have to do with this CD?  Simple.  Because Nox Arcana has created a soundtrack for this book.  Each of the 21 tracks features a theme from one of the stories.  Such as Vampire's Kiss or Dark Desire, this cd gives you an audio accompaniment to the stories as you read them.
    And just like all of Nox Arcana's work, as you play the cd, you are waiting for the fog to slowly seem out of your speakers, filling the room with a dark mist, waiting for a dark intruder to enter.  From the use of echoing pianos, to the haunting voices, they have again created a very memorable piece of music.   We get a range of music, from the slow and eerie to the more fast paced, tension building pieces.  Like all of their work, this comes highly recommended.
    You can read more about this CD and Vargo's other work/projects by going to their official site HERE.


DEAD SILENCE
Released by Lakeshore Records
30 Tracks, with a total running time of 45>07 min.
Music composed and preformed by Charlie Clouser

    Okay, so I'm a sucker for a nice eerie piano theme.  But right off the bat, while watching this movie, the score really stood out for me.  Taking similar themes from Carpenter and Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, Clouser has created another haunting score.  This piano melody flows throughout the whole score.  Even when the music starts to  pick up and get a little bit more intense, we still have that creepy melody oozing through.
    While we were huge fans of this movie, I still immediately when out and picked up this score.  It's that powerful and noticeable while watching the movie, that really adds to the chilling-ness of the film, making it a lot more creepy than it would have been without this music.
    This comes highly recommended.  One of the best scores that I've heard in a long time.


THE DEADLY SPAWN
Released in 2005, by Perseverance Records
12 Tracks, with a total running time of 44:20 min.
Music composed, arranged, and produced by Michael Perilstein

    I couldn't believe that someone would actually release a soundtrack CD for this low budget film.  But Perseverance Records once again releases titles that one would never expect to see coming out.  And as usual, they do a great job again.
    Like the film itself, the score is a little low budget.  Nothing fancy here folks, but just some good old fashion music from an electronic organ (or something like it).  But don't let that fool you.  Composer Perilstein manages to come up with a some cool music and themes for this 80's video classic.  I don't think this is a film that you'd want some 60-piece orchestra playing.  From the opening sounds of The Landing Of The Meteorite, it brought back some wonderful images of the beginning of the movie.  The soundtrack also comes with a 12 minute montage of themes from the original score with newer stuff that might have been for a possible sequel.
    The CD also comes with a 12-page insert that contains an interview with special fx and monster maker John Dods, some very strange horror-scopes, and an even stranger "about the composer" section.  Plus the 12 pages are filled with wonderful images from this little classic.
    Huge kudos to Perseverance Records for putting out something so obscure, for fans like me who just love this kind of stuff.  This truly shows that they are doing this for the love of these films, which is always a great thing.


DEEP RISING
Released by Intrada
35 Tracks with a total running time of 1:07:43 min.
Music Composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

    Goldsmith has been composing music for film and television for well over 50 years. That is quite a career. And in that time, he has created some amazing scores, one of which is the Oscar winning score for THE OMEN, not to mention being nominated 17 other times. He also did the score for POLTERGEIST which is another favorite of mine. He's worked in just about every genre over the years and has created some great scores.
    But for me, the score for DEEP RISING works quite well within the movie, but doesn't seem to really shine on its own. It's loud and powerful when it needs to be, building up the suspense and the action of what is going on in the movie at other times, which is really what a good score should do. So in that case, it is a very effective score. But as a stand alone piece of music, there wasn't anything that really struck a chord (if you will) with me to make a lasting impression. I've been listening to this for the last week and it plays just as a nice piece of music. Nothing memorable. Again, doesn't mean its a bad score because I really like this movie and think the score does work while watching the movie. But I don't see it being one that I would want to put on to have playing in the background, like THE OMEN or POLTERGEIST.


THE DEVIL RIDES OUT
Released in 2000 by GDI Records
28 tracks with a total running time of 1:01:26 minutes
Music composed by James Bernard

    Any fan of Hammer films should know the name of James Bernard.  If not, start taking notes.  Bernard was one of the main guys responsible for making Hammer films sound like they did.  He created the music that surrounded the incredible colorful images that we were watching.  Probably his most famous score was that of HORROR OF DRACULA (just DRACULA in the UK) where he would use the name of the film to create the main theme.  The music is one of the things that let audiences know they were watching a Hammer film.
    With DEVIL RIDES OUT, Bernard gives us another classic Hammer score, filled with loud thundering tones, along with the quieter sounds of pianos and horns.  Bernard uses his talents to create another score that fits perfectly with the action that we are watching on screen.  It helps build the tension and atmosphere perfectly.
    This release also included a 11 minute interview with star Christopher Lee as he talks about this film.  While these CDs are way out of print and not the easiest to find, if you can find one, any Hammer Films soundtracks are a must for a serious collector.


THE DEVIL'S REJECTS - Original Score
Released by La-La Land Records
24 Tracks, with a total running time of 59:28 min.
Composed by Tyler Bates

    "The power of music in a film is an amazing thing", says Rob Zombie in his intro in the soundtrack's booklet.  And he couldn't be more right than that.  He understands very well just how important the music can be in a film.  For his follow up to HOUSE OF THE 1000 CORPSES, he decided to have someone else do the soundtrack instead of himself.  And with Tyler Bates, I think he made a great choice.
    Since the movie has it's share of song music, Bates score is mainly mood pieces and use to add and amplify the atmosphere of the film.  And he does an excellent job doing just that.  Filled with strange types of music and sounds, Bates gives us a different type of score.  This isn't your ordinary orchestrate sounding music, but lots of weird and eerie sounds come through the speakers when listening to this.  Great for something to play in the background while working on the computer (as I am while I'm writing this), or whatever.
    And as usual, La-La Land has done an excellent presentation with this release.  The booklet comes with an introduction by Rob Zombie, as well as some notes from Bates.  The rest of the booklet is filled with some great photos from the movie.
    You can order this from La-La Land's website.

THE DEVIL'S REJECTS - Dual Disc Soundtrack
Released by Hip-O Records
29 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:04:56
Various Artists

    In a great companion piece to the original score soundtrack, there is also the soundtrack with the music from the movie.  Fans of the 70's rock with a southern twinge to it will love it.  Zombie has done a great job combining these songs within his movie.  And now you can have the "greatest hits' from the REJECTS movie.
    The one great thing about this movie is that Zombie has now made it possible for me to listen to Freebird again.  I was so sick of that song due to the radio overplay, but now, with the images from the movie flashing through my head, I am no longer turning off the song.  Thanks Rob.
    But besides Freebird, you also have other classics like the Allman Brothers Band's Midnight Rider, Shambala by Three Dog Night, Joe Walsh's Funk #49, and many more.  You also have little audio bits from the movie in between each song, which are great.
    This soundtrack is available without the audio bits, and just with the songs.  Or you can get this dual disc release which has the songs and audio bits, as well as a DVD side to the disc.  This features a great 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes from the movie.  There's little interviews, footage of the movie being made, and all sorts of cool stuff.  It also has trailers and photos.  If you play the soundtrack on your computer from the DVD side, it will play a slideshow of shots from the movie.  Very cool.
    So, obviously, if you are a fan of the movie, you will want both scores.  But I see this one being the most popular.


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. 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. He only worked on DIE as a favor to the director.
    But while the horror genre might not have been his forte, he still composed a great little score here. Filled with a wide mixture of feelings and sounds throughout the score. From the opening Main Title, he already builds the suspense without going over the top. I think that is what I like most about this score is that it is very quiet and underplayed but still effective. There are slow and eerie tracks, like "Visitors of the Mind" that is wonderful, starting out slow and quiet...with some little notes from a piano or deeper cord in the background. Even the more action-paced track "Rooftop Struggle" builds up the tension at a faster pace, but still doesn't over do it like a lot of scores do these days.
    So if you're looking for something a little bit more sedate but still effective, not to mention having a lovely dated feel to it, then you're going to want to add this one to your collection. And is that some killer poster art, or what?!?!


DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK
Released by Lakeshore Records
21 Tracks with a total running time of 54 movies
Music by Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders

    This is a tough one, folks.  A movie score can do many things.  It can enhance and heighten what is going on the screen, almost amplifying it.  Or it can play in the background, very moody and quiet and not really noticed, unless it wasn't there.  This score is the later.  It is a fine piece of music, don't get me wrong.  But since we haven't seen the film yet, we are solely basing our review on the music on it's own, which we always try to do anyway.  There are some fine pieces of music here, some even having sort of a lullaby sound to them, or maybe even a fairy tale quality.  Other tracks that are a little more fast paced and louder will surely help build the action and tension that i happening on the screen.  But as a stand alone soundtrack, it is not that memorable.
    Beltrami & Sanders do well in creating a score that is quiet and soothing for the most part, loud and faster at times, which you can almost picture what is happening in the movie.  We were just hoping for something a little bit more.


DRAG ME TO HELL
Released by Lakeshore Records
14 Tracks, with a total running time of 52:33 min.
Music Composed by Christopher Young

    Ever since he's score for Hellraiser, we've been a fan of Christopher Young.  He never ceases to create an audible journey with his music.  At the time of this review, we had not seen this movie yet, so are reviewing it on the score alone and not how it works within the film.
    From the first track, we were a little worried since it sounded a lot like something that Danny Elfman had done for Raimi on his earlier works, especially Darkman or some super-hero theme motif.  But luckily, it was just that first track.  The rest of the score Young creates some beautiful and eerie music at the same time.  Combining chilling piano and shrieking violins, he creates a very effective score.  There are plenty of slow pieces as well as some more background soundscapes.
    As expected, Young has not disappointed us with his latest horror score.


DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN
Released by Perseverance Records
29 Tracks, with a total running time of 45:10 min.
Composed and Conducted by John Gale

    Perseverance Records have done a great job with their release of this little rarity.  This soundtrack is like a mixture of many types of musical styles.  There are pieces from the big band era, some classical pieces, and some that are damn close to opera.  But that is just what composer John Gale was going for when writing the music for the film.  Hearing some of these brought back some fond memories from the movie, especially hearing Phibes sing the beginning of "Under The Rainbow", which was missing from most prints for a very long time.
    The cd comes with a 10-page booklet where we get to hear from the director Robert Fuest, and also the composer himself, John Gale.  Gale talks about how he came to be part of the film, and also what ideas he came up with and why.  It's a very interesting little read.
    I must also give a lot of praise to Robin Esterhammer and Perseverance Records for taking the time and effort to put out a title that some might not think would be a commercial success.  But like a lot of us, apparently is a true fan of the genre and of the music from it.  We are looking forward to what else they can put out in the future.


EFFECTS
Released by La-La Land Records, 2005
22 tracks, with a total running time of 40.25 min.
Music by John Harrison

    Okay, first of all, we've been a fan of Harrison's music ever since the first time when heard the score for CREEPSHOW.  It's still one of our favorites.  But EFFECTS is a very different type of movie than the creepy and standard horror movie than CREEPSHOW, and was made several years before.
    As he does in most of the scores we're familiar with, Harrison shows that you don't need a huge orchestra or a lot of music to set the mood.  With something just as simple as a piano or organ or even drums, Harrison creates some great and moody music.  In the movie EFFECTS, you're not really sure if what we're seeing is the movie-within-the-movie, or in the movie itself.  And his score blends into that nicely, just adding that slightly uneasy feeling to the mood.
    As always, La-La Land has put out another great release.  This one does have some what I would call novelties on the score, such as some radio commercials and music heard in the movie that Harrison also wrote.  But even with only a 40 minute running time, there are some great bits of music in here.  More and more, I am impressed with Harrison's scores.  He shows what talent can do, even if you don't have the big budget or orchestra behind you.


EVIL DEAD (2013)
Released by La-La Land Records, 2013
17 Tracks, with a total running time of 71.35 mins.
Music Composed and Conducted by Roque Baños

    I had been a fan of Baños' work without even realizing it.  It turns out that he scored some of my favorite Spanish films, such as LA COMUNIDAD (2000),  FRAGILE (2005), his work on the Spanish series Films To Keep You Awake (2006), THE LAST CIRCUS, not to mention Brad Anderson's THE MACHINIST (2004).  So we were pretty excited to be able to review his score for this highly talked about remake to Raimi's cult film.
    Right off the bat, this film sounds a lot bigger than I thought it would.  Lots of stuff going on here, from loud pounding sounds, quiet piano in the background, and even some good old fashion chanting that reminded me of the score from THE OMEN movies.  It is both loud and quite, fast and slow, which really fit into the film nicely.  I have seen the film and don't remember hearing it, but right in the opening track, there is several times when it sounds like an old fashion air-raid siren goes off, starting off slowly, but then building up.  It does this a few times throughout the score, which I actually thought was quite annoying.
    But that aside, Baños does do a good job in scoring this film.  I think I enjoyed the quieter and more somber themes and sequences of the score than the louder, more fast paces parts.  They had more feeling to them, bringing back images of the cabin and the woods, with the fog encrusted trees, bring a peaceful yet eerie feeling to it.  But overall, Baños has created a very good score that fits well with the film.


FEAR NO EVIL
Released by Percepto Records, 2005
16 tracks with a total running time of 37 min.
Music by Frank LaLoggia and David Spear

    This film was the directorial debut of filmmaker Frank LaLoggia, who would later created and direct THE LADY IN WHITE (1988), which is one of my favorite films.  He also scored both of these movies, with Spear adding some to FEAR.  But his music he puts in the film is almost like another actor, since it has such a powerful impact in the movie itself.  For FEAR NO EVIL, which is a low budget film for that time, the music seems like it is from a much bigger Hollywood film.  The score has so many beautiful pieces of music that hits all sorts of cords with the listener, giving it an almost epic feel to it.
    Since the film is about the battle between good and evil, the score hits both sides of that.  There are some tracks that are very peaceful and somber, while others are more darker, but without going over the top.  This is one soundtrack that enhances the movie so much, but is also a great story just to listen to, with some truly beautiful tracks in there.  Very recommended.


FINAL EXAM
Released on LP by American Entertainment Industries, 1981.  No Official CD release as of yet.
13 Tracks with a total running time of 36 min.
Composed by Gary S. Scott

    We picked up a CD-R of this soundtrack at a convention, since it has never seen the light of day on CD...or at least not yet.  And it is one that I hope one day it does because this is a great little score.  Very dated with the use of keyboards, but it still is a pretty effective score.  Scott creates some great moods here, from some spooky sounding cues with a piano, where you can just picture someone being stalked, to something a little more calming, like a love theme, and even a little quirky song called The Executioner's Song with a great line about a guillotine "dripping with the memories of the people it had seen".  Awesome stuff.
    This was Scott's first soundtrack but has worked on LOT on TV, from shows like FAME, 7th HEAVEN, BEVERLY HILLS 90210, to even the likes of WORLD POKER TOUR.  He did work on FREDDY'S NIGHTMARES as well as a low budget film in the '80s called SCREAM BLOODY MURDER.  It really is a shame that Scott didn't work more in the genre since from his first one was a pretty good one.  Especially when doing the soundtrack for a slasher film in the early '80s, you really wanted something memorable and Scott has done just that.
    Of course, I couldn't recommend watching the actual movie though.


THE FOG
Released by Varese Sarabande
8 Tracks, with a running time of 34:01 min.
Composed and performed by John Carpenter

    This is probably the most sought after score of Carpenter's, next to HALLOWEEN of course.  It features the same style of music that Carpenter is known for, lots of repetitive notes.  But that is not a criticism.  Carpenter has always been able to come up with a theme that fits perfectly into his films.  HALLOWEEN is a perfect example.  Something very simply, but works wonders.
    With THE FOG, Carpenter does it again.  But instead of building mainly suspense as he did with the HALLOWEEN score, here the score emits atmosphere that comes rolling out, just like the title character in the film.
    Even with the success of HALLOWEEN, and that music being so recognizable, I still prefer this score.  It's a lot more subtle, and always enjoying to hear.
    The insert contains a 2-page history of the film and score by Carpenter himself.  Can't go wrong here.  A must for the collection.


THE FOG (2-disc set)
Released by Silva Screen Records
34 tracks, with a total running time of 109 minutes.
Composed and performed by John Carpenter

    While most fans would put Carpenter's HALLOWEEN as their favorite of his work, I still prefer THE FOG as my personal favorite.  And that goes for the score that he created as well.  In his early days of filmmaking, Carpenter was able to create a great score that worked so well in his films.  And with the one he did here for THE FOG is my favorite.  It just oozes atmosphere.  Quiet, moody, and immediately sets the stage for something creepy.
    This was always one soundtrack that was highly sought after.  Then when it finally got an release on CD, it quickly went out of print.  But as cool as that release was, it had 8 tracks and was a little over 30 minutes long.  But now Silva Screen Records is changing all of that with the release of their 2-disc version of the score.  As we've said before, if you are a fan of this movie, then you need to add this to your collection.
    This new release not only has the 8 tracks from the original release, but has an additional 5 more tracks, along with a radio interview with Jamie Lee Curtis from one of the previous releases, but there is a 2nd CD with another 20 tracks that has the entire score!  This is one of those scores that you can just have playing in the background at your Halloween party, or just when you want to set the mood for a little sinister and creepy.  Well worth the cost of double dipping on this one.  Order it now.


THE FOG '05
Released 2005 by Varese Sarabande
19 Tracks, with a total running time of 39:20 min.
Music by Graeme Revell

    Taking of the task of composing a score for a classic remake is one thing.  But when the original score was done by John Carpenter, that makes that task even more of a daunting one.  But instead of trying to duplicate the original score, Revell treads out on his own feet.
    We've been a fan of Revell's since his incredible score for THE CROW.  We assumed the sound of that score was due to the feel of the movie.  But Revell's style seems to be more industrial than most, not using conventional orchestra sounds.  And this gives him a distinct style.
    I think that his style works better in films like THE CROW then here in THE FOG.  But that being said, Revell is still able to create some good atmosphere with this score.   The 'chilling-ness' that Revell brings through this music is not like your ordinary 'haunting' score.  He creates that same feeling but with the squeaking, screeches, bumps and grumbling, with a little piano to heighten the effect even more.
    So regardless of what you thought of this remake, you might want to give this a whirl.  You might enjoy it.  I know we have.


FORGET ME NOT
14 Tracks, with a total running time of 19:55 min.
Music by Elia Cmiral

    We've enjoyed Cmiral's work many times before on films like Splinter.  For this horror/thriller film, he uses a combination of quiet piano themes with some stronger and louder industrial type music.  The piano themes, and even the other slower tracks really let the atmosphere sneak through, giving an almost dream like background.  But when the techno style kicks in, it changes the feeling and mood of what we've been listening to.  I'm sure if fits in the movie, but as a score alone, it's kind of jumpy, going from one style to the next.
    We really did enjoy the moodier background theme, which would be great to listen when you want to relax and just veg-out.  But it seemed that the faster paced pieces were just too much of a jump to the opposite side, which we found distracting.  It also didn't help that the score is less than 20 minutes long.  Doesn't give you a lot to go by.
    But none the less, we still enjoy Cmiral's work and look forward to his next project.


FROM BEYOND
Released 2003 by La-La Land Records
13 Tracks, with a total running time of 46:06 min.
Music composed by Richard Band

    This was one of those scores that I had the LP for, and was sorely disappointed when I couldn't play it anymore.  If I had a top ten list, this would definitely be in there.  With it's eerie strings and sounds, it just gives off a great atmospheric and strange feeling of the bizarre.  Richard Band had composed another great score that not only really adds to the film, but it one of those that can be listened to on it's own, and still give off that same feeling you get when watching movie.  That uneasy feeling that something just doesn't seem right...that things are not the way they should be...that something is coming...something FROM BEYOND!
    La-La Land Records have come through again with an exceptional release of this soundtrack.  Containing almost 10 minutes that had not been previously release, this is the definitive edition for fans of this movie.  The packaging comes with a 6-page booklet that contains some notes from Stuart Gordon and Richard Band, as well as a brief history of Band and this score.
     You can order this CD from La-La Land Records' website.


GODZILLA: 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Released 2004 by La-La Land Records
22 Tracks, with a total running time of 46:29 min.
Music composed by Akira Ifukube

    Having recently seen the re-release of the original 1954 version of this uber-classic film, I was very surprised at the musical impact the film has.  Maybe it was the fact that I was able to see it in a theater, but the music had more of an impact on me than before.  Before it was just the famous "Godzilla Theme", which I have always enjoyed.  But there are other parts of the score that are haunting (track 17 - Oxgygen Destroyer), creepy (track 7 - Stormy Ootojima Island), and even very sad (track 20 - Godzilla At The Ocean Floor).
    La-La Land Records releases soundtrack in a wonderful 50th Anniversary package.  The score has been digitally re-mastered, and just sounds incredible.  There is also a 10-page booklet that goes over the history of composer Akira Ifukube and his work with the Godzilla films.  There is also a nice breakdown of each track and how it was used in the film.  For fans of Godzilla, this is a no-brainer.  But even for plain fans of soundtracks, this is a very powerful score, and still amazes me that it came out 50 years ago!


GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS
Released in 2014 by Intrada (in a double CD with MASTER OF THE WORLD)
12 Tracks with a total running time of 34:53 min.
Music by Les Baxter

    Now usually we don't cover Sword & Sandal films here, though we do have a review of CONAN THE BARBARIANS, so it's not THAT far off, right? But there were a couple of reasons we decided to post our review of this score. First off it is from Les Baxter, who I am a big fan of. This guy scored a ton of great movies, including quite a few for Roger Corman and AIP. He was also used to re-score foreign movies that AIP purchased for release here in the states, such as Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY and BLACK SABBATH. He also did this for several sword & sandal films for AIP as well, GOLIATH being I believe the first of many.
    But secondly, this is one of those scores where the music just jumps right out of the speakers and puts you right into the action of the movie. Right when the Main Title (Goliath's March) starts in, you can just feel the action on screen. And I've never even seen the movie!!! That is just how great of a job Baxter does here. Such a big sounding score, filled not only with action sequences, but slower pieces such as Landa (Love Theme) or the Mountains of Mystery. It really shows Baxter's range of what he could do. And with him cranking out so many scores, it has always amazed me that he could always come up with something entertaining.


GRIMM TALES
by Nox Arcana
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 1.05.38 min.

    Once again, Nox Arcana takes us into another dark and brooding world.  Their work is like an audio time machine, taking us to another time, as well as another world.  And with this new release, we are guided down into the dark and mysterious world of fables and dark fairy tales.  Not the nice and safe ones that have been lobotomized over the years, but the true tales that were meant to give children nightmares, in hopes of teaching them to beware of what is out there waiting for them in the world.
    As always, Nox Arcana does an exceptional job creating these incredible audio backdrops for the themes they have chosen.  There's no better way to get into the mood then to play one of their CDs and to have their wicked spell cast over you.
    For information about this release and Nox Arcana, check out their website HERE.

 


HALLOWEEN: THE SOUND OF EVIL - MUSIC FROM THE HALLOWEEN FILM SCORES
Released by BuySoundtrax Records
22 Tracks, with a total running time of 61 min.
Misc. Composers

    Out of all the horror films out there, the theme that John Carpenter created for his little independent movie in 1978 is probably one of the most iconic.  EVERYONE knows that theme when it starts.  And with somewhere around 10 films in the series, that same theme, or a variation of it, still remains as popular as it ever was.  And now, thanks to BuySoundtrax Records, you have a chance to get a little "best of" from a bunch of the films in the series.

    With 22 different tracks, and music from 10 different films in the series, you get a nice mix of the old and new, but since they are all from the same series, there are a lot of similar sounding tracks.  But no matter how many times you've heard them, some of them still remain a classic Halloween season sound.  The disc also includes some fun tracks here as well, like the Silver Shamrock commercial from HALLOWEEN 3: SEASON OF THE WITCH, and Mr. Sandman from HALLOWEEN 2.  My personal favorite is the main theme from HALLOWEEN 2, which I actually like better than the score from the first movie.

    With the work from Carpenter, Alan Howarth, John Ottman, Danny Lux, and Tyler Bates, we really get a wide variety of impressions on this very famous theme.  If you're a fan of this series, and unless you own all the full soundtracks to all the movies in the series, then I think you might need to pick up this one.


HALLOWEEN HORROR HITS
25 Tracks, with a total running time of 74:22 min.

    For your average horror fan, this would be a great disc.  Filled with all the classic horror themes, from the works of John Carpenter, to the theme from The Munsters and The Addams Family, to even the more recent True Blood series themes, this will have many images flowing through your head.  It would be great for your average Halloween party background music.
    Now that being said, if you are a serious collection of horror film music, then you will notice right away that these are not from the original scores, but versions done by someone else.  Not they sound terribly different....but they do sound different.  And if you're use to listening to a score over and over again, you will notice the differences.
    So depending on how picky you are, you just might be able to enjoy this.  Worse case, as we said before, it would make a fun party CD.  You can purchase this CD, and many others, from www.bysoundtrax.com


THE HAMMER FILM MUSIC COLLECTION - VOLUME ONE
Released in 1998, by GDI Records
25 Tracks, with a running time of 55:11 min.
Misc. composers.

    Being a fan of Hammer films, I was ecstatic when I first heard heard about GDI Records putting these out.  They started out with some compilations, and then moved on to full soundtracks.  I'm sure we'll have some of those up here soon.
    But in the meantime, this was the first one that they released.  The music from Hammer Films was one of the things that made them so recognizable.  Just like they all had that Hammer "look" to them, they also had the same sound to them.  With powerful and haunting scores, the music always made an impact with their films.
    Here, there are little themes and bits from a varieties films from Hammer, with some very recognizable themes.  Such as THE DEVIL RIDES OUT or TWINS OF EVIL.  But then there are also some oddities in there, like the opening theme song from MOON ZERO TWO, which we found extremely entertaining.  They all have been digitally restored from the original recordings and sound incredible. 
    The cd comes with a 14 page booklet that gives a brief history of the musical department at Hammer, with an introduction by Roy Skeggs, one time Chairman of Hammer Studios.  You hear about names such as Philip Martel John Hollingsworth, and of course, James Bernard.  The booklet also shows who wrote and conducted each of the pieces of music, with dates to their recordings and film release.
    I couldn't recommend this cd enough.  For fans of Hammer films, and soundtrack lovers alike, this is some of the best music from a period in time that we will probably never see again.


THE HAMMER LEGACY: THE FRANKENSTEIN COLLECTION
Released in 2010 by Silva Screen Records
14 Tracks, with a total running time of 36 min.
Music by Various Artists

    Lets see...a CD packed full of tracks from 7 different Frankenstein pictures from Hammer Films.  I wonder if I'm going to like it?  Of course, if you are a Hammer fan, then you simply have to have this CD in your collection.  From the great talent like James Bernard and the other talented musicians that Hammer hired to work on their scores, they always made their films recognizable just from the music.  When that opening score started, you knew the kind of picture you were in for.  And now, thanks to Silva Screen for giving us Hammer fans something to listen too to take us back to those wonderful cinematic dreams and nightmares!
    The collection consists of single tracks from THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN, FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN, and HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN.  But there are 5 tracks from FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED and 4 from FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MONSTER FROM HELL.
    Once again, highly recommended to classic horror fans as well as Hammer fans.


HANNIBAL - SEASON 1 Vol. 1 & 2
Released by Lakeshore Records
Vol. 1 - 7 Tracks with a total running time of 72 min.
Vol. 2 - 6 Tracks with a total running time of 70 min.
Music by Brian Reitzell

    Released on two separate CDs, there is a track for each of the 13 episodes, which seems to be a 'best of' so to speak of what is in that particular episodes. There is a variety of moods, sounds, and music we get through the tracks. We get shrieking strings, pounding drums, harpsichord, as well as some quiet classic piano and opera. It really runs the gambit on different moods and feelings.
    Reitzell's score for this series is there to support and enhance what is going on screen, which exactly what it does. Listening to these different tracks will bring back memories and images from the series. He also does a great job of making sure the music doesn't try to out do what is on screen and it works and blends together very nicely.
    If you're a fan of this great series, I think you just might enjoy these. If anything, it would nice music to be playing while you have a friend over for dinner!


HEARTLESS
Released in 2011 by Screamworks Records
14 Tracks, with a total running time of 41:32 min.
Music by David Julyan

    David Julyan impressed us already with his subtle score for Neil Marshall's THE DESCENT.  And since we hadn't seen this film HEARTLESS yet, we were curious on the type of score we were going to get this time out.  And what we got was something very similar to THE DESCENT, in that it for most of the score it is very quiet and in the background.  There are a lot of atmospheric elements at play here, with the faint sound of a piano or some strings.  Not really creepy or scary but peaceful or somber most of the times.  There are some more lively tracks for more of the action based sequences of the movie.
    But don't get me wrong.  There still are a few tracks that seem to have something darker trying to get through or come out.  The strings get deeper and stronger, giving you the feeling that something is out there...and might be coming.
    As we expected, Julyan delivers a score that is perfect to have playing in the background for some nice quiet sounds, dark at times, and almost peaceful at others.


HELLRAISER
Released in 1987 by Cinedisc
14 Tracks, with a total running time of 43:08 min.
Music composed by Christopher Young.

    Christopher Young has come up with probably one of my favorite film scores here.   With this haunting score, that accompanies the film so well, it really brings the feelings and mood of the film across so much better.  The music is very simple, but very effective.
    Young has created a score that could give one the ominous feelings just by listening to the music, even if you had never seen the film.  From the eerie strings, to the thundering gongs, or the haunting piano keys, this is simply one great score.  This comes highly recommended!
    Unfortunately, this score has been long out of print.  It was released a few years back, but even that is extremely hard to come across.  But if you can find a copy, don't miss out.


THE HILLS RUN RED
Released by Varese Sarabande
24 Tracks, with a total running time of 45:43 min.
Music by Frederik Wiedmann

    Wiedmann was not a composer that we were too familiar with, and hadn't even see this movie yet.  But a truly effective score doesn't require either of those notions to be met to enjoy a good score. Wiedmann fills this score with a variety of sounds and emotions. Most of them are on the slower and moody ones, which we found most effective. There also seems to be a variety of styles used, using both what seems like a typical orchestrated sound as well something simpler with a basic electronic score. Both are used very effectively, especially the slower, almost like background noises. It gives a real eerie atmosphere to the piece. There's even a track or two that have a bluesy feel to them, which we also enjoyed quite a bit.
    The score does make us more interested to finally see the film, to see how it plays out during the story. While Wiedmann hasn't done that many big movie scores, we're looking forward to hearing what he will be doing in the future.


HOSTEL Part 3
19 Tracks, with a total running time of 54 min.
Music by Frederik Wiedmann

    Not being a fan of the HOSTEL movies, I was looking forward to be able to listen to Wiedmann's score without having to be distracted by the movie.  The first thing that grabbed me with it was the use of strings.  Fast and in your face.  Not all the tracks are like this, but when they do take off, it is something close to listening to heavy metal cellos.  Very entertaining.  This is a style that Wiedmann uses throughout the score, which while is good, by the time we get to the end of score, it seems to be over used.
    But it not just this kind of music on this soundtrack.  There are other tracks that are more slow and even just atmospheric sounds and noises, as oppose to actual music.  He does a good job creating the feeling of tension with the use of the strings, and other strange sounds.
    Overall, I think Wiedmann has created a good score, creating a lot of tension through the music.  I'm sure in the movie, in enhances what we are seeing on the screen.  But as a stand alone score, it does seem a bit repetitive, hearing a lot of the same style of music through.  But as I said, we find that entertaining, but not a score that we would be going to listen to over and over.


HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS / NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS
Released by Rhino, 1996
50 Tracks, with a total running time of 76 min.
Music composed and conducted by Robert Cobert

    If you are even remotely a fan of the original TV series, then you will most likely just this soundtrack.  Using themes from the series, but also creating plenty of new music and gothic melodies, Cobert creates an amazing package for fans of these movie version of the series.   Cobert's way of creating haunting melodies and themes really takes hold of the listener where it stays with them for quite some time.  That was the beauty of Cobert's talent.  And with this packed CD, we get plenty of those themes and cues that will take us back to sitting in front of the television watching this bizarre soap opera that just happened to have a vampire running about!
    With his use of the piercing strings, Cobert is just about able to make the hair on your arms stand straight up, creating such an chilling feeling to the listener.  And with that same skill, he can also creating a beautiful love theme for the characters on the screen.  That is the talent of Robert Cobert.  So once again, if you enjoy the original series and/or the movie versions that were release in the '70s, then you need to add this disc to your collection.


HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES
By Buzz-Works
Created by Jeff Hartz and Nox Arcana.
19 tracks, with a total running time of 44:31 min.

    Once again, Jeff Hartz from Buzz-Works teams up with Nox Arcana to create another fun trip, this time through the old dark house of your nightmares.  HOUSE OF NIGHTMARES is like a collection of themes, noises, and sounds that could accompany the many dark and twisted journeys our brain might take us during our sleep.  There are slow and moody pieces, as well as ones that are a little more face paced and in your face.  But all what we hear on their latest release, it really is the soundtrack for our nightmares.
    For more info, head over to Buzz-Works.

 


HOUSE OF USHER
Released by Intrada
15 tracks with a total running time of 1:02:39 min.
Music composed and conducted by Les Baxter

    Les Baxter has made so many great scores to so many great movies, it really is unbelievable. Just look at all the work he did for Roger Corman and AIP alone, not to mention all the other genre titles he scored. There were quite a few Italian pictures that AIP acquired for US distribution that Baxter was hired to re-score. So if you're a fan of AIP and Corman's work, then you've heard his work...several times I would guess.
    With this score, Baxter took on the difficult role of composing the music for Roger Corman's break from his black and white quickies, to full color widescreen horror! And since this film had no real monster (besides the house, as Corman claimed), the music was even more important to have an impact. And Baxter delivers. While not an overly-horror sounding theme, it does capture the gothic feel of what the movie is about. Baxter was able to avoid the doom & gloom type of music that one might think would be in a film about Roderick Usher and his insanity. But instead, Baxter creates a full sounding score with quiet and somber tracks, like Track 3: Roderick Usher, which is slow and quiet, like the character himself, with a dark sound just underneath. Track 11: House of Evil is another fun piece since it really epitomizes what is going on in the House of Usher....quiet, dark and doom and gloom, ending with some haunting voice work that will surely make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.


THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED
Released by Singular Soundtrack
16 Tracks, with a total running time of 29:40 seconds.
Music Composed, Arranged, and Conducted by Waldo de los Rios.

    For this Spanish thriller, de los Rios uses slower, more classical sounding themes here, but still varying in range and tempo, depending on the action on the screen.  Sine the film is a mystery, there is a lot of slower and quieter paced pieces.  One track in particular, Murder at the Greenhouse, is a hauntingly beautiful piece that really sets the mood for that piece.
    Singular Soundtrack has put this soundtrack on a two disc set that has the original score for the movie, as well as two different versions of the score that de los Rios did for WHO COULD KILL A CHILD?
     This release was only limited to a 1000 copies and be ordered through Screen Archives for only $19.95.  For two scores of this film, plus a complete score for another Spanish classic, that is a great price.


THE HOWLING
Released by La-La Land Records
34 Tracks, with a total running time of 45:58 min.
Music composed by Pino Donaggio

"When I was sent the master for this CD rendition of THE HOWLING score, I hadn't listened to that music for quite a long time.  I must tell you, I couldn't help being astonished, and pleasantly so, by the quality of the result." - Pino Donaggio.
    That quote is in the booklet that comes with the CD.  I guess if the composer is that impressed with the quality of the release, I don't think you could as for more of a compliment.  But as usual, La-La Land has always gave us great releases, and this one is no different.
    It's amazing that his long sought-after score has not had an official release until now.  Fans have been waiting for this for quite some time.  This score is all over the place as far as moods and sounds.  We have some tension, some suspense, some action, everything you could want.
    So now the wait is over.  Head on over to La-La Land and pick it up while you can.  You don't want them to go out-of-print, or maybe you'll have to wait another 25 years.
    The CD comes with a 10 page booklet with an introduction by the composer, and also a nice little article on the movie, the director and the composer.


I, FRANKENSTEIN
Released by Lakeshore Records, 2014
26 Tracks with a total running time of 75 min.
Music by Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil

    The first word that comes to mind when listening to this score is epic.  Right from the Main Title, it had my attention.  I am a sucker for operatic vocals in a score and this one starts with that right away.  Just by the score, you can feel how big this movie is going to look.  Might sound strange, but when you've listened to as many soundtracks as I have and watched as many movies as I have, you can pick up on these things.  With the title character fighting off demons and gargoyles throughout the movie, you need a big score to follow it.
    Klimek and Heil create a very good score here, one filled with quite and somber themes, as well as cranking it up the next level with plenty of pounding percussions, thundering strings, and creating enough action in our minds that we can feel it.  This is exactly what a good score can do.  While I'm not that anxious to see the actual movie, I am going to be curious to see if the music fits into the film the way I think it does.


THE INNKEEPERS
Released by Screamworks Records, 2012
14 tracks, with a total running time of 40 mins.
Music by Jeff Grace

    We have become a huge fan of Grace's work over the last couple of years, when we first reviewed the soundtrack for STAKE LAND that he did.  After that, we started to go back to find his other works, and have enjoyed them all quite a bit.  And his score for THE INNSKEEPERS is no different.
    Like the movie, the score is very somber and slow, but still piles on the atmosphere.  There are a few tracks that are fast paced, most of it is more to set the mood of what is going on.  Filled with lots of long and continuous notes, as if we're waiting for something to happen, slowing building up that suspense, this is one of those scores that is relaxing when you listen to it, but also one that can raise the hair on the back of your neck.
    But on some of the tracks, the pacing picks up, getting the blood pumping.  The music goes from being smooth and quiet to louder and faster, completely changing the mood.  Just like the movie.  We would highly recommend this disc, as with most of what we've heard of Grace's work.


INVASION OF THE SAUCERMEN / IT CONQUERED THE WORLD
Released by Percepto Records
38 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:16:30 min.
Music composed and conducted by Ronald Stein

    For fans of those early AIP movies, you've heard the work of Ronald Stein.  He scored a lot of pictures for them and Roger Corman back in the early days, in the 50's and 60's.  With such classic titles under his belt like SHE-CREATURE, NOT OF THIS EARTH, SPIDER BABY, ATTACK OF THE 50ft WOMAN, Stein was a busy man.  But thanks to the fine folks of Percepto Records, you can enjoy two of the more famous movies that Stein worked on, both on one CD.
    These scores are not your 'scary' type of music.  But they do give you a feeling of those types of movies...the old black & white sci-fi / horror films of that time period.  So while they may not send chills up your spine like some scores do, it does bring up that feeling of enjoyment that we got (and still do) from watching these low budget quickies.
    The CD comes with a beautiful 20-page booklet that is filled with information about the two films, as well as some great photos.  You can order this CD directly from Percepto's website.


ISLAND OF THE FISHMAN (aka SCREAMERS)
Release by Fin de Siecle Media
13 tracks, with total running time of 35.13 min.
Music composed by Luciano Michelini

    Much like the movie itself, this score crosses many genres.  Here we have themes of adventure, horror, action, suspense, and even a love theme.  This film has always been a favorite of mine, so I was amazed to see that someone would have actually released it on CD.  Not like the jazzy / Goblin themes coming from Italy at the time, this is a straight up orchestrated score.  The themes are simple but very effective when it comes to bringing of images from the film.  Of course, it helps when you've seen the film as many times as I have.
    My only complaint for this release is that it's short, running a little over a half hour.  But none the less, in that short time, we do get a wonderful score. 


IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE
Released by Monstrous Movie Music (2011)
26 Tracks, with a total running time of 36:29 min.
Music Composed by Paul Sawtell & Bert Shefter

    We picked up this score recently with a bunch of other old classics and actually thought this one would be the least favorite of the bunch.  But I have to say that we have really been enjoying this one.  Even though it is a science fiction film, the soundtrack is a good old fashion '50s monster movie.  Yeah, we get the typical 'outer space' sounds, but it really plays well here.  And if you didn't know what movie it was from, you'd swear it could be from some haunted house movie.
    The score has plenty of the loud and pounding action scenes with use of horns and drums.  This score is as much as the movie itself is.  It really can bring back memories of these types of films, the ones we grew up with watching them on Saturday afternoon TV shows, or staying up late at night to catch one.
    Monstrous Movie Music has done a great service to movie fans by releasing this CD.  The CD includes a huge sleeve that has tons of information about the film and the music.  This CD comes highly recommended to fans of these types of movies.  And I'm sure fans of more modern day films would get a kick out of these as well.


JACOB
Released by Howlin' Wolf Records
27 Tracks with a total running time of 67 min.
Music Composed by Iain Kelso

    I've been listening to this score for the last couple of weeks and have really been enjoying it. For a small budgeted film like this, the score sounds like it would be something from a much bigger film. The score has a lot of emotion but still remains very simple. No huge orchestra with a big and loud pounding themes. This is more quiet and somber for the most part. One of my favorite instruments is the violin. But after reading more about his score, I learned that the viola is the predominate instrument used here, along with the French horn. The viola, which is sort of in the middle between a violin and a cello, is a little larger than a violin and has a deeper sound. See that...didn't think you'd learn something by reading a soundtrack review, did you?
    Anyway, back to our review. Kelso creates a very emotional but powerful score here with minimal use of instruments. With the main use of the viola, as well as some piano, he creates a soft and soothing mood, one can only assume to accent the main character from the movie. But it is not all pleasant and peaceful music here. When it actions start to build, so does the music. One part that I thought was very effective was pounding chime used. Not sure what exactly the instrument that was used, but sounds as if someone is banging a metal pipe onto another piece of metal or something hard, giving a loud pinging ring to it. Again, something simple, but effective. This is excellent executed in track # 4, Otis Attacks.
    What I really liked and enjoyed about this score was that it sounds so new and different. I listen to a lot of soundtracks. And the bigger the budget the more a lot of them sound the same. Sure they work in the film, but not to memorable. So it's always a treat to hear something that is not only effective, but a real joy to listen to.


JOHN DIES AT THE END
Released by La-La Land Records
16 Tracks with a total running time of 53:23 min.
Music Composed by Brian Tyler

    Trying to describe this movie is tough enough, so when the thought of what this soundtrack was going to sound like had me a little perplexed.  But just as crazy and all over the place the movie is, this soundtrack fits it perfectly.  Filled with a multitude of musical styles, noises, melodies, and more than a couple of themes that make you think you've step into a Italian western, this is one strange soundtrack.  But the beauty of it is that it still works together as a whole, whether you've seen the movie or not.
    The opening track starts out slow and low, with some electronic cues here and there, creating a very somber atmosphere.  But the very next track transports us to what seems like a western feel to it, but still a bit different.  Then our next track has an almost industrial or electronic feel to it.  This happens several times through the score, going back and forth between styles and sounds.  But somehow it works perfectly together.
    While this score might not be a scary or 'horror' theme, it is still entertaining to listen since it so easily creates different moods and feelings with each and every track, which is something that every soundtrack should strive to do.  It is one thing for a score to enhance what we are seeing on the screen, but for one to be able to effect a listener without the visual is a great piece of work.  And Tyler has done just that with his work here.


KING OF THE ANTS
Released by La-La Land Records
19 Tracks, with a total running time of 34:01 min.
Music composed and performed by Bobby Johnston

    When I first started to listen to this score, I was disappointed.  My taste in soundtracks are more towards the classical gothic type scores.  Plus, I'm usually not a big fan of jazz.  But as I started to listen to this score, there was something about it that really hooked into me.  And then it hit me.  This guy is like the American version of Goblin.  His music isn't like normal scores.  It's a series of rhythms and sounds that is blended together, giving off some great atmosphere.
     Johnston is also very unusual musician, using strange objects from bottles to old toy pianos.  This gives this score a very unique, and entertaining sound.
    My only complaint about this release is that it's only a little longer than a 1/2 hour.
    As usual, La-La Land Records has put out another great release here.  If you are fans of Goblin, then you definitely should check out this score!


KING KONG VS GODZILLA
Released by La-La Land Records
33 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:09:57 min.
Music composed by Akira Ifukube

    One of the best things about this release is that it's not just the famous Godzilla theme that we all know and love.  La-La Land has released a soundtrack that encompasses the movie.  When this film was originally released here in the states, most of the original music was replace, using a lot of the score from CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.  But now, we get to hear the original music that Ifukube had created.  And like we said, the whole score.  It ranges from the famous G-theme, to the music of the natives, with their ritual chanting, to navel marches, and everything in between.
    I guess some could be disappointed because of those reason.  But I especially like when soundtracks have these complete scores.  Not only does it immortalize the composer and his music, but it gives the listener a full feel of the entire music.  It's not just the same old themes that you could have on any other Godzilla score.
    As always, La-La has done a superb job here.  The disc contains a 10-page booklet that covers the history of this film and it's score.  There is also a track by track breakdown, going into detail on what each track is about.


KING KONG
Released by Decca Records
21 tracks, with total running time of 1:14:40 min.
Music composed by James Newton Howard

    Like the movie, this score is epic.  Howard runs the gambit of genres here, hitting all the emotional points.  You have some great tension / suspense music, some nice romantic themes, and some music that just gives off a sense of wonder.  In one track, you can have your heart beating with the same pounding beat of the music, and then in another one where the music is so peaceful and calming.
    While we are always preferring the haunting score or creepy soundtrack, it's always nice to hear a score like this that takes us to many different places.  But unfortunately, while Howard does do an adequate job here, the score doesn't stand out on it's own.  There's seems to be nothing that is going to have you humming the theme, or remembering a certain scene from the movie upon hearing that piece of music.  It works fine in the movie, and that's about as far as it goes.
    What happen to Howard Shore???


LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009)
Released in 2009, by La-La Land Records
18 tracks, with a total running time of 46:42 min.
Music by John Murphy

    Not being a fan of the original film, we don't go into this new version with any sort of hope that it's going to be good.  I know that might not be the way to start out a review, but that's just the way it is.  So while we haven't seen this latest remake yet, what we can tell you is that John Murphy's score is sure to enhance the darkened tone that this film has.  Murphy does an excellent job of combining quiet melodies with incidental background music.  The music is always in the background, never really being loud or overpowering.  But just sits behind the action, greatly enhancing the mood of what is going on in the film.
    As a soundtrack release, this is one for a dark and raining night to really put you in the mood.  This kind of score gives me a reason to watch the remake.

 


LEGION OF SHADOWS
by Nox Arcana, Released in 2013
21 tracks with a total running time of 68 min.

    After 10 years of creating some amazing tracks of atmospheric music, the kind that is welcomed in any dungeon or crypt, Nox Arcana has released their latest CD which is a tribute to their fans, entitled Legion of Shadows.  Listening to a Nox Arcana CD is like slipping into an old coat or shirt, something so familiar, so comfortable, and relaxing at the same time.  It immediately brings the listener to a place where darkness envelopes you, but while some would be scared, for people like us, it seems to calm you, creating a peacefulness amongst the sounds coming from your speakers.  The echoing notes from the piano, the low chanting in the background, the wailing moans and screams, all come together to create another masterful piece of atmospheric splendor.
    We've been a fan/follower of Nox Arcana from the very beginning and have enjoyed each and every one of their releases.  And I think it is so cool that they have decided to pay tribute to their fans with their latest CD.  They have once again filled a CD with over an hour's worth of music filled with quiet and peaceful sounds and melodies, that is just perfect for a quiet evening reading some "quant and curious volume of some forgotten lore", or even just as a background filler while you're working on something.  In other words, buy this CD, listen to it's music, and join the Legion of Shadows.  For as they say, we are many.


LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Release by Moviescore Media
21 Tracks
Music composed by Johan Soderqvist

    I had seen this movie before but didn't really remember the score that much.  But after getting it recently, it is probably one of the best scores I've heard to in a long time.  The slow and somber music fits the story and the feeling of the film perfectly.  What I get from this score is the feeling of being alone and isolation, which is why it works in the film so well.  The score slowly seeps out of the speakers, with the quietness of the main character from the movie.  It's quiet, peaceful, but yet still gives off a eerie feeling to it.
    I wasn't familiar with Soderqvist's work before this, but know that he is one that I will be looking out for.  If you're looking for something that isn't necessarily your traditional "scary" sounding score, but is still an effective piece of music, then you definitely want to add this to your collection.
    We highly recommend this score.


LIFEFORCE
Released by BuySoundtrax
Limited 2-disc set, 46 tracks total, with a total running time of 2:23:43 min.
Music composed and conducted by Henry Mancini & Michael Hamen

    Kudos to BuySoundtrax for putting out this exceptional CD release.  Mancini was originally hired to score this film, which he did.  But then the studios edited the movie of about 20 minutes, and Mancini wasn't able to re-do the score to fit the edits.  So Michael Hamen was brought in to add additional music to fill in the gaps.
    So what we get here is a great look at everything.  This CD has the complete score the way it originally was, with Mancini hitting all emotions from action themes to slow and creepy moods.  It also contains the music that Hamen added into the edited version.  And then it has the original soundtrack release as well.  So you have plenty of music to listen to here, but also you have a chance to see the variation and differences from one score to the other.


MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND
Released by Elysee Productions, 2007
34 Tracks, with a total running time of 51:56 min.
Music Composed & Conducted by Tito Arevalo

    Who would ever have thought that the soundtrack for this little cult film would ever get a CD release?  I still can't believe it.  And listening to this score, it brings back the memories and even feelings of this movie.  Just the title music alone brings those images of John Ashley getting ready to do battle with the dreaded chlorophyll monster.  In some moments, you can even feel the camera zooming in and out at an alarming rate.  What fun.
    So while this might not be the soundtrack to play if you are looking some creepy background music.  But if you're looking to return to Blood Island without having to get on a boat, or put one of the movies in, this CD will take you there, both in mind and spirit.  And you don't even need to drink the Green Blood either!
    The CD was put out in a special limited edition of only a 1000 copies.  So if you are slightly interested in getting one, don't wait.  Check out there website HERE, for ordering details.  They have done an incredible job bringing this project to light.  Since this is a cult film, we know the people behind this were doing it for the love of the film, not for profit.  And those are the kind of people that we love to support, since they are doing it for the right reasons.  The booklet comes with 6 pages of background on the film and the score.  It also has some great photos of the film and the people behind it.


MALENKA / 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.  Using primarily an organ for this score creates a multi-layered effects that just seeps with atmosphere.  With this organ, he creates this ghostly feeling, developing different sounds and melodies to enhance the gothic feel of the movie.  Even as a stand alone score, 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.
    Some of the tracks feature the organ that is over laid with different organ sounds.  You will have the sound of a harpsichord, playing a little melody, but then have some mysterious, almost ghost like sounds echoing in the background.  The score also features the main title theme, Malenka, by Giulia Rei on the score.
    This release also features the score for FEAST OF SATAN, which we were not that familiar with.  But since Savina is using the same methods and styles for this score, we immediately fell in love with it.  There is more of a jazz feel on some ot the tracks on this score, but are still entertaining.
    It is so great to see companies like Quartet Records spending the time and effort to put out soundtracks like this obscure title so fans like us can enjoy them for years to come.


THE MAN WHO COLLECTED FOOD
Released by Screamworks Records
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 41 min.
Music composed by Daniel Alcheh

    Screamworks Records seem to be on a roll now, releasing scores for some independent horror films that are just as good, if not better, than the major studios.  We had never heard of this film, let alone the score or the composer Daniel Alcheh.  But being a fan of classical music in general, it was strange to hear that type of music for a movie about obsession and cannibalism.  Didn't think you'd hear those two words together, did you?
    Alcheh has created a beautiful piece of classical music that one would expect to hear at a symphony, but instead is somehow weaved into a movie about cannibalism.  In some of the tracks, you can get that sense of anxiousness and energy with the fast paced strings running like a rabbit's heartbeat.  Other ones are more slow, tension building and setting the mood for something about to happen.
    Overall, we really enjoyed this score, giving us a wide range of music and styles, from the traditional classical music to some really whimsical pieces.  We believe this is Alcheh's only horror film score, but we will be keeping any eye out for him and his work.


MASTERS OF HORROR
Released by Immortal Records
30 tracks.
    This 2 CD set comprises a literal who's who of the current wave of popular hard rock/heavy metal music.  You get 30 bands and 30 songs.  While that is all good and well, what does it have to do with the Masters of Horror show currently airing on the Showtime cable channel?  Not much except a way to market the show towards the crowd that this music appeals to, which is generally in the teenage and early 20's bracket of kids.  Anyone who is a fan of the Masters of Horror (coming on DVD via Anchor Bay in 2006 for those of us not fortunate to have Showtime) show probably won't find much of interest in with these CD's unless of course you are fan of some of the bands.  I say that because their is no horror element to any of these songs at all.
    What you get are many similar sounds of angry guitars and vocals mixed in with some clean singing melodies.  While some fans do have understand the crossover appeal of metal and horror, some of the bands here lean more towards pop music like Andrew W. K. who contributes the song "You Will Remember Tonight"  that is pretty much a waste of space with horrible vocals mixed with piano.  Then for a truly ear splitting experience (and not in a good way!) listen to Scary Kids Scaring Kids (easily one of the worst moniker's I've ever heard!) who sing "What's Up Now" which is a perfect example of garbage pop music masquerading as metal.  Terrible.
    What is interesting is that after listening to so many weak sounding bands hearing Shadows Fall play "This Is My Own" it actually sounds good because it is an example of a real metal song that stands out on a compilation set like this, but more often than not would be another generic tune when played against other bands of their ilk.  Murder By Death's song "End Of The Road" sounds just like a Johnny Cash tune, but the liner notes say they wrote it themselves so perhaps they just ran out of ideas?  Mastodon perform "Megalodon" live from Europe which is one of the few bright spots on this 2 CD set if you can get past the blatant Slayer rifferama.  Buckethead's tune "We Are One" features vocals by Serj Tankian from System Of A Down which means that the song sounds exactly like his band which is pretty dumb if you ask me.
    One highlight is In Flames who contribute "Discover Me Like Emptiness" which is a B-side from their Soundtrack To Your Escape album.  I should also say that special mention goes to the hilarious name of Bear Vs. Shark who sing "Victoria Iceberg" not that the song is any good, but their name cracks me up!
    The packaging is great, with a unique fold-out collage of weird artwork of screaming, tortured faces.  The booklet has some notes by series creator Mick Garris which talks about the link that horror and rock and roll share, which makes a point to discuss John Carpenter's own music, not to mention the scores from The Exorcist, An American Werewolf in London and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for example.  However those films utilize music that enhances the film you are watching, and not distracting you with sounds that take you out of the film with music that doesn't mesh with the images you are seeing.
    For a good example of having bands on the soundtrack that perfectly accompany the film, check out The Devil's Rejects to see how it should be done.  Since I haven't seen any Masters of Horror segments yet, all I can go on is the music spread out over these 2 CD's but I seriously doubt that any of the music on hand here could really add atmosphere to the pictures since I'm almost certain that money is the reason these particular bands were chosen instead of artistic reasons.  That my folks is a damn shame.  Proceed with caution.
Reviewed by Dave Kosanke.


MAY and Other Selected Works
Released by La-La Land Records
32 Tracks, with a total running time of 73.00 min.
Music composed and performed by Jaye Barnes Luckett

    This CD is a mixed bag for me.  Having scores from 5 different movies is great, giving a taste of the different scores of each.  But the problem for me, always looking for that creepy movie score, this release had quite a few tracks that were either songs.  But...since this CD is well over an hour long, there is still enough tracks here to appease my singular appetite.  Luckett does have some creepy melodies throughout this CD.  One track from MAY, which even features star Angela Bettis on vocals, sounds like something from a 70's Italian film.  Very cool.  The brief snippet from  her score for Hooper's THE TOOLBOX MURDERS left me wanting to hear more of it.
    Over all, while there is a lot of "normal" music for my particlar soundtrack tastes, this is a great sampler of a very talented composer, showing that she can hit any theme style.


MIRRORS
Released by Lakeshore Records
25 Tracks
Music by Javier Navarrete

    This is another great example of what a horror soundtrack should sound like.  If it's not a soundtrack that is going to have themes, then it needs to be creepy and scary.  And here, composer Navarrete does a great job.  Using a combination of piano, strings, and different themes, he is able to create a eerie and moody feeling, and also bring some great tension as well.
    I guess my only complaint with this score is the volume varies at times, going from something very quiet and moody to blasting strings and drums.  It is enough to startle you, that's for sure.
    We loved the score he did for Guillermo del Toro's PAN'S LABYRINTH, and with this score, Navarrete is definitely one to keep an eye on....or should we say an ear on.


MIRRORS 2
Released by La-La Land Records
26 Tracks, with a total running time of 51:16 min.
Music composed by Frederik Wiedmann

    Normally, a soundtrack that is very heavy on the strings, with a little bit of piano thrown in, I would be all over it.  But for some reason, this one just didn't click with me.  Is it a bad score?  Not at all.  It is quite good.  The problem I had is that it just didn't stand out.  I'm sure in the context of the movie, it works well, helping set the mood.  But for a good score for me, it really does need to stand on it's own and be memorable.
    We were really impressed with Wiedmann's score he did for THE HILLS RUN RED, and really expected for him to knock our socks off again.  As we said, it is a very good score, but don't see myself listening to it on any regular basis.

 


MISSILE TO THE MOON / FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER
Released by Monstrous Movie Music
56 Tracks with a total running time of 59:52 min.
Music By Nicholas Carras

    MISSILE TO THE MOON is one of those low budget sci-fi movies cranked out in the '50s with cardboard sets, cheesy dialog and substandard acting.  BUT...it also featured giant rock creature and a giant spider, not to mention a parade of young and beautiful Moon women gallivanting around.  So while it is cheesy and not "well made", but damn is it fun.  And one of the things that adds to it, making it better than it really is, is Nicholas Carras' score.  His score is loud, pounding and sometimes even over the top, really enhancing and escalating what is happening on the screen.  For the budget he  had, Carras does an incredible job making a score that really does fit the picture and makes it better, which is just what a score should do.
    Also on this release is Carras' score for FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER.  While his score does try to help this movie, I don't think much of anything could!  But again, his score does at least make the film sound a little better, making the cheese-fest look not as bad as it really is.
    This is another great release by Monstrous Movie Music.  Such care and detail goes into each one of their releases, you can tell these are produced by die hard film fans for other film fans.  Once again, this release comes with a 20-page booklet that gives a brief history of the two movies, as well as a bio of composer Carras.  It also has a track by track breakdown discussing each off the 56 tracks on this release.  If you are a fan of these '50s style of movies, then you really need to add this one to your collection.  So much fun.
    You can learn more about Monstrous Movie Music at their site HERE.


MOTHER'S DAY
Released by Lakeshore Records, 2012
18 Tracks with a total running time of 41 min.
Music by Bobby Johnston

    We first came across Johnston's music when we reviewed his score for Stuart Gordon's KING OF THE ANTS.  Reading about Johnston and his style just amazed me.  Not a traditional musician by any means, since a lot of the sounds that he brings is from items found in every day places.  But none the less, he creates some interesting sounds and music with them.  For his music for MOTHER'S DAY, there seems to be more of a traditional score, but there are plenty of sounds being used that you can tell are not in the traditional sense.  But he is always able to blend them together to create a wonderful composition.
    While at this time, we have not seen this film, through the music we can feel the tension, the suspense, and the atmosphere that is being portrayed on screen.  You don't really have any repeating melodies here, but there is a constant feeling of uneasiness that comes through the music.  With the use of strings, and the darker, more solemn feeling, Johnston has once again created a mood piece that will blend beautifully to a film with a darker tone.  We always look forward to Johnston's work and are always amazed at what he comes up with.


NECRONOMICON
By Nox Arcana.
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 50:03 min.

    With their 2nd release, Nox Arcana delve into the world of H.P. Lovecraft.  Just like their first release, they continue to conjure up dark and eerie images through their music.  While this one is still has the creepy atmosphere music like their first one, to me it offered something a little different as well.
    In keeping with the Lovecraft theme of the CD, there were a few tracks that gave me the feeling of tension.  Tension, not like that of suspense, but of maybe knowing what you’ve done and now what the consequences now are.  Images of someone reading long forgotten words in some dark and drearier cellar, and then having something, or some…thing, coming, or rising, or breaking through into this world, seemed to pour out from the music.
    So if you’re a fan of gothic and atmospheric music, add Nox Arcana’s latest release, Necronomicon to your list.  Just be careful where and when you listen to it….in case you conjure up some unwanted guests….
    You can check out their website HERE for more information.


NIGHTMARE CASTLE
Release by GDM Music, 2006
7 Tracks with a total running time of 39 min.
Music by Ennio Morricone

    If you have a black and white Italian gothic movie starring Barbara Steele, how could you possible make it even better?  Have Ennio Morricone do the score for  it, that's how.  This is probably one of my favorites of Morricone's score.  Going from a classical piano score for the main theme of the movie to going to an thundering sound of what sounds like an old church organ, then going to the shrieking sounds of violins and other string instruments, and then even to vocals with ghostly moaning and singing, Morricone has created just an amazing piece of work here.  This is one that not only enhances what we are seeing on the screen, making it even more creepy, but even as a stand alone score, it is just filled with dark emotions.  We just love this.
    With a strong feel of Bach on some of the tracks, but still showing quite a bit more what he can do here, Morricone has made a great movie even better with this incredible score.  But then again, that is the whole point to a film score, right?  But when one can live on its own, just like the ghosts of these movies, it is even more amazing and appeasing.


NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
Released in 2009, by La-La Land Records
26 Tracks, with a total running time of 71:26 min.
Music by Barry DeVorzon

    To tie in with the recently released (and long overdue) DVD release of this movie, La-La Land Records has given us Creep fans something even more to enjoy with this soundtrack release.  It really is amazing how simply but yet how effective this synth score that DeVorzon had come up with.  I'm usually one to prefer a big orchestrated score, but when something is done this well, it's hard to ignore.  It blends perfectly in the movie, which does date this movie, but in a very good way.  Most of the score gives us slow and atmospheric tones, but there are a few where the pace is picked up a bit giving us some tension.  And we even get a love theme too!
    But not only does it fit well during the movie, but it is also a great piece of mood music to listen when you want to get into a 'creepy' mood.  You can even here the sound they used for the creeps in the music.  Very cool.
    The CD comes with some bonus tracks, like a couple of alternate pieces, but also the regular music that was used within the film, such as Duke Ellington's Solitude.  There is also a wonderful 18-page liner notes from Daniel Schweiger, filled with great photos and information about the film and the score.
    Once again, La-La Land Records has taken the time and effort to give the fans of this cult movie something to enjoy along with the DVD release.  And for this, the fans are forever thankful!


NIGHT OF THE DEVILS
Released in 2004 by Digitmovies
24 Tracks with a total running time of 54:49 min.
Music composed and conducted by Giorgio Gaslini

    This 1972 film by Giorgio Ferroni was based on the same story that was used in Mario Bava's BLACK SABBATH (1963).  The opening theme from Gaslini is very similar to many of the giallo themes, but like the film itself, has a dreamy, unworldly quality and sound to it.  With the use of many different instruments, Gaslini gives us a very memorable score.  From flutes to organs to the sound of a woman humming, all pull us into the story.
    Gaslini only worked on a handful of films, including doing some work on Argento's DEEP RED (1975), but has surely made an impression with this reviewer on the scores that he did work on, especially NIGHT OF THE DEVILS.
    You can order this CD from Screen Archives by clicking HERE.


NORTH POINT
Released in 2012 by Phantom Soundtracks
16 Tracks with a total running of 31 min.
Music composed by Christopher LaPorte

    Phantom Soundtracks is a great company that creates soundtracks for movies that don't exist.  And they do a great job at it as well.  Their latest is a soundtrack for a noir type of film.  The music here is a variety of types, which really hit all the genres, some at the same time.  There are some somber moody pieces, but seem to have something going on in the background that gives you that uneasy feeling or just that something is a bit off.  It almost sounds like if you were to mix some slow jazz with some electronic industrial music.  Not something loud and fast, but where you sort of have that feedback buzz or something going on in the background.  But it comes off as a great mood piece.
    We've been impressed with everything that Phantom Soundtracks has been putting out and this is no different.
    Check out their website HERE.


OCULUS
Released in 2014 by Varèse Sarabande Records
35 Tracks with a total running time of 70 min.
Music by The Newton Brothers

    I wasn't familiar the Newton Brothers until this score. This is another opportunity for me to review the score before actually seeing the movie. Sometimes I prefer this since it lets the music stand on its own, as opposed to be used to enhance the film. But this is one of those scores that really needs to be incorporated with the visual elements, which I'm sure it works quite well, since it does bring in some very strong moods and feelings. But unfortunately, as a stand alone score, it is mainly vibrating pulses, tones and notes, and seemed to be used to in conjunction with what might be going on the screen. While these do seem to set the mode for a visual display, on their own, they seem a little lacking to really hook the listener in.
    Definitely some talent going on here with the Brothers, and I'm sure this score works well with the movie. But for a stand alone soundtrack, one to have playing in the background, while might bring up dark and/or uneasy feelings, it just  doesn't have something that memorable to really drag in the listener.


THE PACT
Released in 2012 by Screamworks Records
14 Tracks, with a total running time of 35 min.
Music composed by Ronen Landa

    Landa is a composer that I wasn't familiar with before hearing this score.  But is one that I will have to keep tabs on from now on.  This isn't a musical score with melodies and such, as much as it is a series of sounds to enhance what we are seeing on the screen.  And those sounds we have are pretty damn good.  We know nothing about the film before reviewing this, but the score alone has got un intrigued.
    There are some hints of a piano every now and then that really sets the mood.  Then we have some violent string action going on that puts the tension way over the top.  So there is quite the mixture of emotions that we are hitting here.  But anytime the piano shows up, like on the Shattered Glass track, it immediately grabs my attention.  I guess that might be one of my weaknesses when it comes to scores, if you have a slow echoing piano in there, you've pretty much got my attention.
    But besides the piano, we hear other sounds coming from this score.  There are a few faster tracks, but for the most part the mood is slow, with growling sounds emitting from our speakers, making you feel that something is definitely coming, and whatever it is, it is not good.


PENNY DREADFUL
Released by Varèse Sarabande Records
29 Tracks, with a total running time of 72 min.
Music by Abel Korzeniowski

    In describing what composer Korzeniowski was trying to do when writing the music for this Showtime series, he stated "I started looking for an expression of dark beauty, something that can be terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time - a poisonous infatuation." And I think he nailed it pretty damn well.
    Right from the first note of the Main Title, this score grabbed me. While a lot of soundtracks these days seem to be just audio accompaniment to what is happening on the screen, as opposed to being actual music, Korzeniowski has created interesting musical cues that really come to life. While we haven't seen any of this series, you can still feel the mood that the composer creates with the different tracks. A few of the tracks are named after characters in the series, and you can get a senses of them just from the music, which I think is a great way to enhance them and what is happening on screen.
    It is so refreshing to hear a score that is not filled with fast paced and thundering booms to try and jolt the scares from the audience, but to hear one that uses slow, melodic and creepy notes to really build the atmosphere. Well done, Korzeniowski. Not only have you delivered a great score, but you really have me anxious to see this series.


PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Releaesd in 1999 by DRG Records
15 Tracks with a total running time of 53:03 min.
Music by Ennio Morricone

    Having the great Ennio Morricone score your movie has to make the movie even better, right?  Well, this score is the only thing worth watching this movie for.  But this review is for the soundtrack, not the movie, so let's get to that.  Morricone has created a wonderful score for this movie.  Filled with some beautiful music, some sad and somber tracks, especially the Sighs and Sighs theme, which is used a few times throughout the soundtrack.  I think this theme really captures the mood of the movie and sets the atmosphere of the character of the Phantom.
    The rest of the score is filled with classic style music, mainly with softer melodies.  There is some use of a pipe organ, as if almost playing tribute to the original PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.  There is also tracks that are more background sounds rather than actual music.  But they fit into the film quite well, enhancing what we are watching, which is really what the score should be doing.
    As we mentioned, while we are not a huge fan of this movie, the score is done quite well, with some very memorable melodies and themes.  Of course, when you have Morricone doing your score, how could it be anything else?


PHANTOMS OF THE HIGH SEAS
By Nox Arcana
21 Tracks

    Nox Arcana has set sail on their 10th voyage into another entertaining soundscape with Phantom of the High Seas.  Hard to believe that these guys crank out such wonderful scores so quickly.  This time out, they take on a theme of pirates and ghostly ships that sail the darkened seas.  But if you're thinking that this is going to be a bunch of drunken pirate songs, you're wrong.  As always, Nox Arcana creates beautiful and haunting sounds and melodies with a central theme.  So even if you're not a big pirate fan, you can still enjoy this CD.
    The CD is filled with tales of the haunted sea, surrounded by the eerie sounds of ghosts, organs, creaking boards, and howling winds.  Yet again, Nox Arcana takes us on a musical journey that is one that you'll return to time and time again.

 


THE PHANTOM OF THE ORGAN / THE VAMPYRE AT THE HARPSICHORD
Originally Released 1973-74.  Re-released in 2000 by Electric Lemon
15 Tracks, with a total running time of

    Back in the early 70's, these gothic musical scores were released.  One featured music on a big old organ, like something you would hear at a funeral or gothic cathedral.  The other featured some great eerie music played on a harpsichord.  I had no idea that they had been re-mastered and put on CD.  But thanks to the fine folks at Electric Lemon, they are now released both on one CD.
    The first part with the organ feels like you're in a funeral parlor from a distant time, or a some old abandoned church that has this eerie sounds pouring out from the bowels of the basement caverns.  The second part with the harpsichord, gives us chills just listening to the echoing sounds of the notes being played.  They both really are like soundtracks for those old monster movies that use to stay up late to watch on the TV.
    If you are a fan of Nox Arcana, or just any atmospheric and gothic music, then this CD is for you.  Filled with haunting sounds from the organ and the harpsichord, this is great background music for those late nights at the computer or whatever you might do late at night.  Highly recommended.


PIRANHA 3DD
Released by Lakeshore Records, 2012
18 Tracks, with a total running time of 44 min.
Music by Elia Cmiral

    This review is a tough call.  We've been a fan of Cmiral's work for some time now.  With over 40 scores to his credit, including many horror titles such as STIGMATA, WRONG TURN, and SPLINTER, he's a talented man.  We like the fact that he usually doesn't take a traditional approach to film scores.  It gives us something different than we're expecting.  His latest score is for a film that we really have no desire to see.  We really didn't care for the first film (the remake, not the original '78 film) and this new one doesn't look any better.  But since Cmiral took this score completely series in the concept instead of going over the top like the movie, as a stand alone score, it holds it's own.
    There are several tracks here that would fit into any action/horror film.  His use of piano and violins or cellos does a great job creating either a slower moody piece or a riveting action sequence.  Though, while listening to the track "Trident Aria", you can almost picture the large breasts bouncing around in slow motion.  Shame too since it is a beautiful piece of music.  Same with "Bathtub Dream", where it starts off with a beautiful and haunting echoing piano, then moves in and out of a blurring fast paced strings.  Great mood piece.


PSYCHO II
Released by Intrada
31 Tracks with a total running time of 1:14:30 min.
Composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith

    For a movie that has such an iconic musical theme to it, one would expect that Jerry Goldsmith would have tried to come up with something to have that same impact. He doesn't. But was that on purpose? Because Hermann's original score is so iconic, it seemed that Goldsmith was going to do something quite different. In fact, so different that through most of it, you might not even realize this is a score for a horror film, let alone for one that features Norman Bates. But that is the beauty of this score. It feels like he tried to create a peaceful piece of music that is sometimes interrupted with bouts of anger or shock, much like what Normal's character is going through in the movie. While this does work quite well in the movie, as a stand-alone score, it just didn't have the hook to keep me coming back to listen to this again and again. Don't get me wrong, it is a great score, but not one that I would re-visit that often on its own.

    This recently released expanded version of Goldsmith's score of Richard Franklin's sequel to Hitchcock's masterpiece gives us a few more musical items to listen to that were not on the original release. There are a couple of Beethoven pieces are included, that Normal is seen playing in the film, as well as a couple of alternate pieces that were never used in the film.

    The bottom line is that if you are a fan of this series, then yes, you will need to include this version in our collection. It is a very well done score that gives us something completely different than what we'd expect, but works so well in the film itself. We just wished it had a better theme, or melody that would keep us wanting to come back to it.


PULSE
24 Tracks, with a total running time of 38.07 min.
Music composed by Elia Cmiral

    We had seen the original version of PULSE and didn't care that much for it.  So we won't be running out and seeing this latest American remake of it.
    But, once again Cmiral has done a great job creating mood and atmosphere with this score.   Since we kind of know what the film is about, it's easy to see how well this score will fit in.  With more of an industrial feel to it, we get  slow notes, echoing pianos, and then other times we get a vibrating...pulsing sounds that really sets the mood for this score.  Sort of a like technology going bad.  There's some sounds that almost seem familiar, but are giving a slight twisted or vibe to them, making them into something darker.
    The score makes it feel like something darker is just outside of your reach, trying to break through.  Which fits into the theme of this film perfectly.

 


RAZORBACK
Released in 1984
13 Tracks with a total running time of 38 min.
Music Composed and Performed by Iva Davies

    Sometimes it is these smaller movies that you don't really think about that can really impress you when it comes to simple things like the soundtrack.  We picked up a copy of this one recently at a convention, not knowing if it was any good or not, but since I'm a sucker for soundtracks and the price was right, I figured I'd give it a try.  Composed and performed by Iva Davies, who is most well known for being in a band called Icehouse, being one of the biggest rock stars in Australia.  This film was the first time he worked on a soundtrack, only doing a couple more throughout his long career in the music business.
    Similar to the movie itself, the score is very simple.  It sounds like it was all done on a keyboard, but is still able to come up with some great sounds and themes throughout the score.  Again, using only a keyboard, Davies is able to come up with a score that some themes, some great cues that mesh perfectly in the movie, helping to create suspense, terror and action, which is what a good soundtrack should do.  Because of the use of the keyboard, there are a few similarities with the works of John Carpenter, but not in anyway that could be construed as stealing his methods or designs.  Davies delivers a strong and effect score here.
    While this may be a very simple sounding score, I think it is highly memorable and is worth seeking out.  Granted, one of the original releases might set you back a few $$, it is a great example how something so simple can still be very effective.


RE-ANIMATOR: THE DEFINITIVE EDITION
Released 2003 by La-La Land Records
16 Tracks, with a total running time of 52:43 min.
Music composed by Richard Band

    During the first few seconds of this soundtrack, it brings back the days of Empire Pictures.  It just has...that sound that was so familiar to all of those films.  And it brings back a lot of happy memories.
    Okay, let's get it out of the way first.  Yea, it is the music from PSYCHO.  But according to composer Band, it was obvious that he was 'borrowing' the main theme, as sort of joke.  And I do agree with him.  If he was going to plagiarize it, you'd think he'd try to hide it a little better.  Besides, I actually think it fits pretty well in the film.  And to be honest, when I hear that music, I tend to think of this film first anyway.
    And now that is out of the way, back to the review.  Let's face it, the film is a classic of the genre, and the soundtrack is as well.  Band does a great job of jumping between an eerie atmospheric theme to a quirky and almost comedic theme at times, much like the movie.
    The CD comes with a 5-page booklet that contains intros by Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, and Brian Yuzna, and also has a brief interview with Band himself.  On the CD is also a 14 minute interview with Band, who discusses working on the score, the use of the motif from PSYCHO, and more.
    You can order this CD from La-La Land Records' website.


THE REAPING
Released by Varese Sarabande
21 Tracks, with a total running time 48:19 min.
Music Composed by John Frizzell

    We are becoming more and more familiar with Frizzell's work, and have been enjoying it more and more.  With this score, Frizzell creates a score that is somber, yet has a darker side.  And sometimes that is at the same time, like we're listening to two scores.   At times we have a quiet piano melody.  But then in the background we start to hear scratching strings.  We also get more aggressive tracks that have more tension there, that even chants that are reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith's THE OMEN.  Frizzell does a great job combining them.
    Frizzell has worked in this genre many times before, such as ALIEN RESURRECTION and PRIMEVAL.  And with each new score, we are becoming more and more of a dedicated fan of his music.


REST STOP: DON'T LOOK BACK
Released by La-La Land Records
20 Tracks, with a total running time of 64:38 min.
Music composed by Bear McCreary

    Once again, I am amazed at the incredible sounds that Bear McCreary comes up with.  Giving this score a very southern-blues sound, he still is able to use that style to create some pretty creepy music.  Even using a banjo, no less.  He blew us away with his score for WRONG TURN 2, and has done it once again.
    My only problem I would have is that there is too many regular songs on the CD, 5 in all, when I'd rather have the background music.  That being said, there is one song on here called "Jesus, He Forgive You Too" which is a riot.  The singer is listed as Rev. Buford "Buck" Davis, but damn if that doesn't sound like Weird Al Yankovic.
    None the less, I would highly impressed with this score, and would recommend it to not only horror soundtrack fans, but also to blues fans.  This is the type of score that is going to be me to rent this sequel to a so-so movie.


THE RING / THE RING 2
Released by Decca Records
12 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:03:11 min.
Music composed by Han Zimmer, Henning Lohner, Martin Tillman

    The beginning of this score shows all that you need for a great creepy score is a piano, a cello, and a violin (and I am guessing on those instruments).  The composers do an incredible job giving us one eerie sounding score with a very minimum amount of sound.  The problem is there’s nothing to say what was composed by whom?
    And unfortunately, the last part of this CD is quite a bit different than the beginning.  While the CD does contain scores from both movies, there’s no way to tell which movie is from which movie.  I’m assuming the drastic change in style would be the 2nd film, but I’m not sure.  While the first half, up until track 9, is filled with your traditional creepy sounding score.  Once you hit track 9, it turns into something like a cross between gothic/jass/industrial.  Now maybe I wouldn’t have mind as much if it wasn’t for that I really enjoyed the first part of the CD, and the style of the music.  Then when this other parts start up, it kind of broke the mood for me.
    But other than the change in music style, we really enjoyed the first part of CD and would recommend it to those who enjoy the moody and atmospheric scores.


THE RITE
Released by Silva Screen Music
13 tracks, with a total running time of 56:18 min.
Music by Alex Heffes

    Hefffes is a composer that I was not familiar with before receiving this CD for review.  Looking at his bio, it is obvious that he has quite the accomplished career.  But this one seems to be his first entry in the horror genre, hence, why I haven't heard of him.  But after listening to his score for THE RITE, one can immediately tell why he is considered one of the leading composers in the U.K., having worked on such films as the Oscar winning LAST KING OF SCOTLAND.
    The first track starts off with a great little piano melody that immediately gets my attention.  Yes, I am a sucker for that.  But Heffes blends the piano with other strange sounds, which might be a violin or cello,  but also could be electronic.  But he swirls them together in a somber and moody opening track that got my attention right away.  The rest of the score using this same technique of incorporating different sounds and instruments to give a memorable score.  Even during the louder or faster themes or sections, he maintains that same somber feeling.
    At times, it reminds me of Michael Wandmacher's score for CRY WOLF, mainly due to the soft melody.  We would recommend this not just for horror fans, but for any fans of film scores.


ROCK 'N' ROLL NIGHTMARE
Released by La-La Land Records
27 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:08:15 min.
Music composed by Jon Mikl Thor & performed by Thor & The Tritonz

    Who could have ever imaged that there would be a soundtrack release of this 80's heavy metal horror film?  Being an old 80's metal head myself, I really enjoyed hearing this.  You can almost smell the hairspray when you listen to it!
    This CD is split up between the score track and musical numbers from the band.  The score sounds like it was done on a Casio, much like a lot of the horror movies that came out in the 80's.  Nothing great here, but still gives some effective atmosphere.
    But the real highlight of the soundtrack is the songs from the band.  These are a real hoot.  With titles like "We Live To Rock" and "We Accept The Challenge", it brings back a lot of memories.  Granted, they are very dated, and probably won't be enjoyed by the younger crowd.  But from a nostalgic reason, I enjoyed them.  The tracks sound like they were recorded yesterday, and are very crisp and clean.  The songs probably sound better on here then when they were first recorded.
    But the real praise goes out to Synapse Films, who put out the special edition DVD and La-La Land Records for putting out this CD release.  It's companies like these that bring these almost forgotten films back into the public eye....for better or worse.  These guys are doing this for the love of it, not to make a quick buck.  It's just great to see that there are people still doing this for the love of the genre.  Keep up the great work!


ROSEMARY'S BABY
Released by La-La Land Records
36 Tracks with a total running time of 71:21 min.
Composed by Christopher Komeda

    Certain classic horror movies have that reputation that anything that has to do with them is great, such as a motion picture soundtrack.  But Christopher Komeda's score for Roman Polanski's ROSEMARY'S BABY is one that holds that statement to be true.  Coming from a jazz background, Komeda is able to hook the listener, right from the very first track with the lullaby theme (which has vocals from actress Mia Farrow).  From the piano work, the strings, the chanting, it all comes together to give one incredible and powerful score.  There is so much emotion here that brings the atmosphere from the movie right into your ears.  You get that feeling of uneasiness, that flows perfectly underneath some beautiful music, such as the lullaby.
    La-La Land Records has created the ultimate release of this score.  Featuring over 70 minutes of music, this release has it all.  It has the original soundtrack album, then the film score, then some source music, and then even a couple of bonus tracks.  There is also a 20+ booklet with background on the score, Komeda, and even a breakdown of each track on this release.  A must have for horror fans.


SALEM'S LOT
Released by Intrada
84 Tracks, with a total running time of 99:53 min.
Music Composed and Conducted by Harry Sukman

    If you're one of those that grew up in the '70s, then you remember the made-for-TV movies back then were just as entertaining as the theatrical releases.  At least they were to this kid!  One of the things that I always enjoyed from these movies were the soundtracks.  They just had this same sound and style to them, that made them easy to recognize, as well as be very effective in the film itself.
    Intrada has given fans of this movie a great gift.  They have a 2-disc release of Sukman's music featuring almost a 100 minutes of music.  Because the original movie was aired over two nights, each disc of the soundtrack covers each of the 2-part series.  The score is filled with all sorts of musical genres.  There are plenty of scary sounding themes and cues.  Hell, even the main title theme from both CDs is pretty creepy sounding.  There are a few cues that almost remind me of the old Dark Shadows series.  Lots of gothic fun here.  There is also 7 different alternate tracks for different things.  There are some slightly different versions that were used for the version that was made to be released theatrically.  There are also some alternate tracks that were never used for some sequences.
    The price for this 2-disc release is a bit steep at $29.95, but when you think a normal soundtrack can run you $20 for one disc, and the fact that you get almost 100 minutes of music, it really is worth the money.


SCARY MOVIE V
Released by Lakeshore Records
20 Tracks with a total running time of 29 min.
Music by James L. Venable

    Getting this score to review didn't exactly get me excited since I'm not a big fan of this series.  But Venable does such a good job here that by listening to the music, you'd never know this was for a comedy.  Seriously.  Venable comes up with a wide variety of cues and tracks to create an atmospheric score.  From loud pounding notes, to the wonderful haunting sounds of a piano, he really creates a score that could be used for any horror film.
    We weren't too familiar with Venable's work, with the only real other horror title in his filmography was the 2005 film VENOM.  He has done a lot of work with animated shows and some light comedies, but we are impressed with this score here.

 


SEED OF CHUCKY
Released by La-La Land Records
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 53:58 min.
Music composed by Pino Donaggio.

    After a 12 year absence, legendary composer Pino Donaggio returns to whip up another fine score, this time to the unlikely recipient Seed Of Chucky.
    While some may scoff at doing a score to such low brow entertainment as Seed Of Chucky, Mr. Donaggio obviously saw enough potential in the project to deliver his music that reflects much of what he has done in the past with some new elements.
    While the tone of the film is whimsical and chuck full of black humor, Donaggio takes a dark route with his music (under the collaboration of the London Symphony Orchestra). The opening track which plays over the main title is filled with menace, and from that point on the rest of the CD follows suit.
    Truth be told some elements from past work crops up here, notably some cues lifted straight from Carrie (parts of the track 'Glen's Escape' in particular). However with the tracks 'Made In Japan' and 'Konichiwa' Donaggio offers up some Oriental flavor that echoes the plight of lead character Glen who thinks he is Japanese due to the 'Made In Japan' imprint on his arm.
    Finally for the track 'Our Jennifer' Donaggio comes up with some soothing jazz that offers a brief respite from the brooding tone established with the majority of the tracks. The final track on the CD is a boring rap song that really is out of place here (even though it does play during the film). Aside from that, fans of Donaggio's work should find plenty to savor here, even if the film itself isn't your cup of tea. Kudos to La-La Land Records for bringing this satisfying score into the hands of the fans, because who knows when Mr. Donaggio will bring his magic back to the cinema.
    Review by Dave Kosanke.


SHE DEMONS / THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER
Released by Monstrous Movie Music
53 Tracks with a total running time of 58:33 min.
Music Composed by Nicholas Carras & Guenther Kauer

    Once again, Monstrous Movie Music has delivered a great release with this double-feature of sci-fi monsters fun.  The first score, for SHE DEMONS, was done by Nicholas Carras and starts off right with a bang with the Main Title theme.  I just love these older movies because even the score tells you how much fun it is going to be.  Just hearing it can take you back to a little kid sitting in front of the black & white TV on a Saturday afternoon waiting for the commercials to end so the movie would start.  And here, Carras does a great job filling in the little moments in between the action, or even enhancing it.  It really is an important part for a score like this, since back then when the budgets weren't huge, there was a lot of filler and stuff going on between the dialog.  So it really was up to the composer to help move those scenes along.  With the use of banging drums, horns, and strings, Carras comes up with a fun score that puts you back in time.
    The other one on this release is Kauer's score for THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER.  Right off the bat, we hear this catchy 4-note sequence that is the main theme for the title creature.  If you haven't seen this movie, not a lot happens, as in a lot of these low budget '50s movies, so when the monster appears, it is up to the composer to make the impact even greater.  And here, Kauer does an excellent job.  Just like in the first score, it is a style of movie scores that really is like a time machine and is one of the elements that make watching these movies today so much fun.
    As always, the little booklet that comes with the release is filled with information about the composers and their scores.  MMM continues to produce incredible pieces of musical history for their fans.  Can't wait for the next one.


SHADOW OF THE RAVEN
By  Nox Arcana
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:02:57 min.

    Nox Arcana returns to the darken realm of horrors with SHADOW.  Taking guidance from one of the true masters of horrors, Edgar Allan Poe, this album goes through various stories and themes that Poe wrote about.  This gives the listener an audio journey through a very dark and troubled mind.  We are given musical journeys to the House of Usher, taste some vintage Amontillado, and fight off madness as we hear the constant beating of the Tell-Tale Heart.
    With this album, the haunting sound of the piano seems to come to the forefront, which is makes this one of my favorite releases from Nox Arcana.  I've always loved the eerie and echoing sound of the piano, especially when it is given haunting notes to play.  And with SHADOW, they do just that.
    Nox Arcana continues to deliver dark and entertaining soundscapes with each of their releases.  For more information about this CD, along with all of their other releases, check out the official website HERE.  If you haven't experienced their music yet, with the Halloween season upon us, now is the perfect time to start.


SHUTTER
Released by Lakeshore Records
18 Tracks, with a total running time of 45:24 min.
Music composed by Nathan Barr.

    Since this film is about ghosts, it's only appropriate that this score would be filled with haunting sounds of piano and strings.  And for that part it works.  The somber music that Barr has created here isn't something that is overtly creepy sounding, but when used in conjunction with a scary story, it can created an effective result.  But the cool thing about this score is that it can be enjoyed by someone who is looking for some creepy music, or by someone who is just looking for some quiet and maybe a little darker.
    I could have done without the little love song that was included here, but that's just me.  While we are not really looking forward to seeing another American remake of an Asian film, with Barr's music behind it, it just might get me to rent it.

 


THE SIGNAL
Released by Varèse Sarabande Records
22 tracks with a total running time of 49 min.
Music by Nima Fakhrara

    One of the things I love about getting soundtracks to review is getting the opportunity to not only hear scores that I might not have otherwise, but more importantly learning about some composers that might not have every crossed my path. And I would be at a lost if I had never heard of Nima Fakhrara and his score for THE SIGNAL. This is another one that I had never even heard of before getting this score. So I really didn't know the movie was about. But what I learned in the press release about Fakhrara just fascinated me.
    Fakhrara didn't just compose the music for this score, he actually built three different instruments that "became the signature sound of the project." This is the kind of stuff that blows my mind, someone with no musical background whatsoever.
    But let's get to the score, which is really why you're hear. The score somewhat reminds me of Michael Wandmacher's score for CRY WOLF, in that it quiet and almost soothing with this pulsing notes, sometimes almost like a echo repeated. But overall it is a graceful piece of music that is great for some background atmosphere. Occasionally the beat and tempo picks up, but for the most part it is a very somber but very enjoyable score. One would automatically think this is done on an electronic keyboard, which is a shame since he built his own instruments. Just crazy.
    Sure, this definitely isn't a 'horror' score, and doesn't have the usually trappings for those types of movies. But it is still a very interesting and very pleasant piece of music. I can only imagine what kind of impact it adds to the actual movie.
    Fakhrara is definitely a composer that I will be paying attention to and seeing what he does next.


SILENT HILL: REVELATIONS
Released by Lakeshore Records
14 tracks with a total running time of 65 mins.
Music composed by Jeff Danna & Akira Yamaoka

    We honestly didn't even know there was a new SILENT HILL movie coming out when we received this soundtrack to review.  While we had seen the first movie when it first came out, we don't know anything about this new one.  So the first track here piqued our interests right off the bat with a mixture of sounds and styles.  Almost part industrial or electronic sounding, with something like a growling coming from someone's bowels, but then quickly moving into something quiet and peaceful, with a soothing piano and strings.  The rest of the score is similar as well.  A track will start off slow and peaceful, but then something darker comes seeping through with an electronic pounding or grating that slowly takes over the feel of the track.  The whole soundtrack is like this.  The loudness is a great contrast to the more subdue and quieter sequences.
    We weren't that familiar with Danna's work before besides his score for the first SILENT HILL movie, but he definitely has a great feel for blending a few different styles of music to make them work together.


SLEEPY HOLLOW
Released in 1999 by Hollywood Records
19 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:07:59 min.
Music composed by Danny Elfman

    There once was a time when the name Danny Elfman doing a movie score was something to be excited about.  There are several of my favorites that bare his name.  But that was before his was doing soundtracks for what seems to of been 50% of all the movies coming out.  His name kept popping up everywhere.  And it seemed that a lot of the themes sounded quite similar, or just not standing out.
    Unfortunately, that is the case with this score.  While it does fit well in to the film, it just doesn't seem to have anything that makes it truly stand out.  As usual, the score does add to the atmosphere of the picture, but that's about it and not much else.  It just seems very basic.
    Now this may seem a little critical, but I have come to expect much more from Elfman.  In the past, he has created some great work, such as in BATMAN, NIGHTBREED, and what I would consider his tour-de-force, A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.  SLEEPY HOLLOW just seems a little plain.  Not a bad score, but just not a great one.
    The insert folds out, and has photos and illustrations from the film.


SOMETHING WICKED
Released in 2014 by Lakeshore Records
23 Tracks with a total running time of 39 min.
Music by Kyle Newmaster

    One of my favorite things about film scores are ones that have a theme or melody, and Newmaster hits all of those notes with his score for this film SOMETHING WICKED. More of a suspense/thriller than horror (or is it?), Newmaster does a good job of creating some very intense moods with the use of strings, using quick and fast pulsing cords to build the tension, sometimes starting slow and moving faster and faster to reach the breaking point. But then he gives some quiet and slow piano music for a little break here and there, which is a nice change and helps even out the mood.
    With the score starting out with a beautiful little piano tune, with the slow strings in the background, seems peaceful and serene, but slowly gives you that feeling that something dark is waiting there for you, just below the surface.
    Newmaster is a new name in the composer world for me, though he has worked on quite a few films. But he is one that I will be interested in hearing more from, especially if he works on another horror title.


SPIKES
Released in 2010 by Phantom Soundtracks
26 Tracks
Music Darren Callahan

    "Real Music / Fake Films".  That is what Phantom Soundtracks is about.  We've reviewed CD scores before that were soundscapes and creepy music for Halloween nights and whatnot.  But this is the first time we've reviewed a soundtrack for a movie that doesn't exist.  The bottom line is that this music makes me now want to see the film.
    Darren Callahan has crafted a score that is very reminiscent of the early works of John Carpenter and even a touch of Italian progressive band Goblin.  He fills each track with some great mood and atmosphere with the use of rhythm and sound.  Being a fan of that early style of electronic music, we really enjoyed what he has created.  You can almost see the credits during the opening theme.  If he ever does score a horror film, we would definitely be excited to check it out.  For more information, head over to their website HERE.


SPLINTER
Released in 2008, by BSK Records
17 Tracks, with total running time of 37:11 min.
Music by Elia Cmiral

    Cmiral has come up with a very action based, industrial sounding score for this new horror movie.  So as a horror soundtrack, it does little to give any scares.  But as an industrial, mechanical action theme, it does what it sets out to be.  Since we hadn't see the movie, we can tell by this music that there is going to be a lot of action more than the creepy and suspense type of film.   The score does have some slower and moody parts, but even those are still more percussion based, with an electronic feel to them.
    This is not a bad score mind you, in fact it's pretty good and I'm sure works well in the film.  But for us, we are always looking at a stand alone score, one that we don't need to be watching the film.  That is after all, why someone would buy the soundtrack.  So if you're looking for some background music for an industrial party, then you will enjoy this.  But if you're looking for a creepy score, keep looking.


STAKE LAND
Release in 2011, by Screamworks Records
26 Tracks with total running time of 48 min.
Music by Jeff Grace.

    While we have seen some of the other films that Grace had scored, this is the first one that we have had the chance to review.  And lucky for us, it is a real gem.  STAKE LAND is about a post-apocalyptic world.  Grace's score gives us just that feeling.  Feeling of alone...down...desperate.  The film shows us a world that there just might not be any hope left, and Grace score accompanies that feeling perfectly.  There are some action based themes or sequences in here, but mainly it is a slow and moody score, filled with wonderfully dark and brooding strings.
    While it is not a score that will leave you with an uplifting mood, this is not to say that it is dark and depressing.  But almost filling you with an emptiness, or uncertainty.  This is why it fits the movie so well.
    We are looking forward to seeking out more of Grace's work, as well as seeing what else Screamworks Records will be unleashing on the public's ears.


STAY ALIVE
Released in 2006, by Nicabella Records Inc.
18 Tracks, with a total running time of 39:15 min.
Music by John Frizzell

    While the concept and the look of this movie doesn't really appeal to me, I always love to see what the score can produce in our minds.  And since we've never seen this film before this review, it gives us a great chance to experience the music first hand.
    Frizzell take a traditional score, but then seems to break it up and modify it, combining it with more of a industrial/techno feel to it.  In some cases it works.  Other times, it seemed to sound too much the same.  The parts where he goes for the quiet creepy score, with just the strings and a little piano, he creates some great music and mood here.  Other tracts seemed to be more fast tension based.  While these are okay, we really think the better tracks is when he slows it down and leaves out the industrial feel.

 


STONEHEARST ASYLUM
Released in 2014
31 Tracks with a total running time of 78 min.
Music by John Debney

    The great thing about getting a soundtrack to review to a movie that I haven't seen before is going into it completely blind...or deaf as the case my be. Debney does an excellent job here hitting all the right moods and feelings with his score. It is creepy at times, tense and unsettling at others, or just sounds of foreboding, such as Track 5, 'Seeing the Asylum'. Just with the score, we can immediately get the dark and ominous feelings about this place from the title that we're about to enter. But then there are tracks of pleasant music such as track 7, 'Eliza Plays'.
    Debney shows a real range of emotion here with this score. It is not just an overpowering of loud and thundering notes that a lot of scores do these days, but there is actual music here. Good music. Music that creates an atmosphere even without a visual companion. That is a sign of a great score. Because then when it does accompany the visuals, it makes the impact even more powerful.
    Debney has worked in just about every genre, including a few horror titles in there, one of them being a great score for the 1999 flick END OF DAYS.


THE STRANGERS
Released in 2008
19 Tracks with a total running time of 45:53 min.
Music Composed by tomandandy

    It's been a long time since we've gotten a soundtrack to review that blew us away like this one did.  Even though we haven't seen the movie, tomandandy have created a incredible soundscape of creepy and eerie background music.  It doesn't sound like your typical "scary" music either.  But just long, soft and slow sounds that fill the air.  There's no themes or anything like that here.  But just 45 minutes of great atmosphere.
    We aren't too familiar with the work of tomandandy (Andy Milburn & Thomas Hadju), but know we will be looking into their other works.  Plus, we know we will be checking out this movie once it comes out as well.  If the music is this good, I'm sure it will only help the movie.


SUPERNATURAL
Released in 2006
25 Tracks, for a total running time of 43:23 min.
Music by Chris Lennertz

    We had never bothered with this new TV show, SUPERNATURAL, only because we figured since it was made-for-TV, it wasn't going to be worth our time.  But after listening to this score, that has changed.  Lennertz has created a beautifully haunting score here.  His wonderful blend of a slow echoing piano and long and sad strings and gives the listener atmosphere rushing through their head.
    I guess that shows just how good a score is if it's going to get me to check out this show.  Plus it doesn't hurt the fact that Lennertz's score received an Emmy nomination this year.  And after listening to it, you can tell why.  Highly recommended.


TERROR TRACT
Released in 2004 by La-La Land Records
25 Tracks, with a total running time of 47:19 min.
Music composed by Brian Tyler

    TERROR TRACT was a low budget made-for-TV movie back in 2000.  While we've never seen the movie, from what we've read, the budget apparently wasn't the only thing in the lower quantity.
    That is where we were surprised with this soundtrack.  This does not sound like a score for a low-budget film, but of one with a considerable bigger one.  The score starts out with a strong opening with the main title, and offers some good suspense building music throughout.  There are a few sequences that reminded me other other film scores...a little bit of CREEPSHOW, a little bit of HELLRAISER.
    But that being said, there just wasn't enough impact here to really make this score stand out.  I'm sure it adds wonderfully to the film and gives it much more of a bigger sound that it deserves.  But on it's own, it's kind of basic or standard.
    Released by La-La Land Records, who give this release a nice little fold-out booklet with notes from the composer, the directors, and a rave review from Cinemusic.net.


THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003)
Released in 2003 by La-La Land Records
18 Tracks, with a total running time of 50:25 min.
Music composed by Steve Jablonsky

    This is another first for us.  For THEY, it was the first time we reviewed a soundtrack before seeing the film.  Now, this if the first time that we are reviewing a soundtrack after seeing the movie...and hating it!  So we have made sure that we have taken our time and give this CD a good listening before we trash it...just kidding.
    What we did was put out of mind what movie this was the soundtrack for, and just listened for the atmosphere.  And it was there.  No real themes or melodies here, just mood music, with bits of suspense thrown in for good measure.  The music gives off a good dark feeling, a sense of coming dread.  It does have it's 'chase' music which is done well too.  But I think the real highlight of the score is the slower, more quieter, underlying music.  I think that sets more of an atmosphere than the 'chase' music.  Jablonsky does gives us an adequate score here.  He enhances what is going on in the film, which is what a soundtrack should do.  But sometimes, the soundtrack can bring those feelings out without having the visual.  Jablonsky comes close to that here.
    I wouldn't say that this is a very 'recognizable' score, like JAWS or even HELLRAISER or RE-ANIMATOR.  This isn't one that you could hear and immediately know what it's from.  But I don't think they really set out to do that.  I think they set out to add much more atmosphere to the film.  And that is exactly what they did.  But unfortunately for me, no amount of added atmosphere could save that movie.
    La-La Land Records have put out another great new release here.  It comes with a 6-page booklet that has information about the film, the composer, and notes from the director.
    You can order this CD from La-La Land Records' website.


THEATER OF ILLUSION
by Nox Arcana, 2010
21 tracks

    With their 11th release, Nox Arcana has done something a little different it seems.  While all under the theme of magic, dark illusions, and the mysterious creators of these images of trickery, each track seems to stand on its own, as opposed to combining to one long story.  Each track gives us a different trick, a different glimpse into the work of the dark enchanters and those of slight of hand.  From illusions to hypnotists, this soundscape lays out a theme each of them, filled with the usual dark and fun music that we expect from Nox Aracana.  Filled with pianos, chimes, chants, and everything else you'd need for a nice quite nice, in your dark and fogged filled theater of your mind.
    You can get more information about this release, as well as their others from their website HERE.

 


THEY
Released in 2003 by La-La Land Records
20 Tracks, with a total running time of 41:09 min.
Music composed by Elia Cmiral

    This is a first.  This is the first time that I have reviewed a soundtrack before I had actually seen the movie.  But I must say, that if one thing that listening to this CD has done, it is make me want to see the movie.
    For this soundtrack, Cmiral gives us a sense of an underlying darkness, the feeling that something is out there...waiting.  The soundtrack is really more about creating atmosphere as oppose to themes or music.  And at this, Cmiral does a great job.  One of the tracks on the CD is called Something Lurks, and I think that best describes the feel of this music.  At times we feel tension, while at other times a haunting fear that something is just out of sight, or behind the corner, or under the bed, and is about to spring out at us at any second.
    I'm relatively new to the work of Cmiral, though I did enjoy his work on STIGMATA.  The CD comes with a 6-page booklet that gives us a little background on composer Cmiral.
    You can order this CD from La-La Land Records' website.


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

    Soundtrack fans know that the original release of the score for Carpenter's THE THING has been long out-of-print, fetching some pretty hefty prices on ebay.  But now with this new re-issue, not only is it now available again, but we get to hear tracks that weren't on the original release, and extra 10 minutes worth!  Plus, they have organized the track listing to follow the film, where the original release did not have that.
    Our only problem whenever we have a score that has been re-recorded, there is always that chance that it will not sound the same as we remember, especially us soundtrack fans that have listened to the original release many, many times.  Like some other band covering a song.  Yea, all the notes are the same, but it just doesn't have the same sound.  But fortunately, there is only 1 track out of the 16 here that really sounds different enough to immediately tell apart.
    The score is now in order the way it plays in the film, as well as adding in quite a few more tracks that were never on the original release.  Some will sound immediately familiar when you hear them, especially if you've seen the movie as many times as we have.  Being one of our favorite films, it also makes this one of our favorite scores as well.  The combination of Carpenter and Morricone is amazing.  They both do a great job of building that suspense throughout the movie, no matter if the music is that of the repetitive notes, pounding like your heart, or the electronic notes screeching out of your speakers, it does the job.  This release comes HIGHLY recommended.  And you just might want to pick this one up before it goes out-of-print!


THE 13th HOUR
By Midnight Syndicate.  An Entity Production 2005
25 Tracks, with a total running time of 56:12 min

    It's been almost 3 years since the Syndicate boys have released a horror themed CD.  They did release their Dungeons and Dragons CD, which was good, but just not the thing for us horror fans.  But with the 13th HOUR, they are back with a vengeance.
    Continuing the theme from their GATES OF DELIRIUM release, THE 13th HOUR delves deeper into the Haverghast Asylum.  Once again, they conjure up some haunting melodies, eerie background sounds and noises, and everything you need to create your own little haunted house right in your own home.  The opening melody in track 3, Time Outside of Time, almost creates it's own visuals in your head.  You'd swear this is the opening theme to some classic ghost story movie.  Once again, why isn't Tim Burton knocking on their door???
    You can check out their website HERE.


TRANSYLVANIA
by Nox Arcana, 2005
21 tracks, with a total running time of 55:45

    The problem with this latest from Nox Arcana, is that they are setting the bar higher and higher with each release.  Each one just gets better than the last one.  It makes me wonder how long they can keep doing this???  I guess we'll just have to keep waiting!
    As much as we enjoyed being lead into the dark crypts of Lovecraft's world with Necronomicon, with Transylvania, they take us on a wonderfully dark journey through the land of the Carpathian mountains, filled with bats, howling winds and wolves.  Their musical storytelling, with the spoken words, the chanting, and the wonderful organ music, is something that all horror and gothic fans will enjoy.
    Nox Arcana continues to deliver great music for those Halloween nights, or any dark and gloomy evenings, when you want to add a little bit more atmosphere to your night.  Or even to bring some of that darkness to you in the blinding daylight hours as well.


TRIANGLE
Released by Moviescore Media, 2009
21 Tracks with a total running time of 48 min.
Music composed Christian Henson, featuring Dot Allison

    The score for this starts out with a haunting lullaby that just takes root in your brain.  Much like the film, the score is very dream-like, with soft and slow notes, blending in and out of our ears.  This is one of those scores that is just great to have playing in the background while I'm working on this site.  Just a quiet and peaceful score, but also has such a brooding dark element to it as well.  With a lot of vocal notes, almost like a instrument itself, it creates a eerie and haunting mood.  There are some tracks that really give off sort of an impending element of doom or darkness, which fits perfectly in with the movie.  Throw in some piano tracks and it makes this score even better than before.
    This is one of those soundtracks that is such a joy to listen to.  It is not loud and overpowering or filled with distracting music.  But just a quiet and somber stream of haunting music that is like a thick fog oozing out of your speakers.  Highly recommend this soundtrack.


TRICK 'r TREAT
Released in 2009 by La-La Land Records
18 Tracks with a total running time of 59:18 min.
Music composed by Douglas Pipes

    Douglas Pipes is a relative newcomer to scoring films, really coming into view with his score for Monster House.  With Michael Dougherty's cinematic ode to the Halloween holiday, Pipes fills in the cracks and crevices with a haunting score, filled with both quiet themes and chants, to loud shrieking strings.  The score hits all parts of styles.  There's the slow and creepy melodies as well as heart-racing cords that jerk you out of your seat.  And they all work perfectly in the film.
    Since Dougherty's plan was to make a good old fashion Halloween anthology film, which he does in spades, he made it even better by getting Douglas Pipes to create a wonderful score for it.
    The CD comes with a booklet with wonderful introduction by Dougherty.  This is one CD that will be getting played quite often this Halloween.


TRIGGER MAN / THE ROOST
Released by Moviescore Media
Composed by Jeff Grace
21 Tracks with a total running time of 43 min.

    It is funny how a soundtrack can make you want to revisit a movie that you turned off just a few minutes in because it looked pretty bad.  That is what happened with me and Ti West's TRIGGER MAN.  But recently I had picked up the soundtrack that had Jeff Grace's score for both TRIGGER MAN and West's THE ROOST.   I had liked THE ROOST and it was a great deal on the CD so I bought it.  Needless too say, Grace's score for TRIGGER MAN is amazing.  Very moody, with a slight blues feel to it, with also a sound that reminds me a little of a Howard Shore's score.  It is a very quiet score for the most part, but just seeps out atmosphere.  He blends a little music with some background sounds or noises perfectly, giving us a very effective and creepy score.
    For THE ROOST, it is a slight different in that it is more of a musical score, with the violin seeming to be the main instrument.  Which we definitely don't have a problem with.  There still is some "noise" music going on, but nowhere near as much as on TRIGGER MAN.  But here, Grace really tries to cut that violin in half sometimes, giving us high pitched screeching flying out of our speakers.  But again, highly effective.
    Highly recommended.


I Wanna Do Bad Things With You and other music from the HBO TV series True Blood
Released in 2011 by BuySoundtrax
5 Tracks, with a total running time of 16:14 min.

    This EP has left me a bit cold, and makes me wanna do bad things to whoever came up with the idea for this completely unnecessary release! First, we get two alternate versions of Jace Everett's signature theme song for True Blood, "Bad Things." One version features lead vocals by Jazz singer Katie Campbell, and is basically the same song only with a female singer. The second version replaces the vocals altogether with a harmonica performed by Tommy Morgan, and is obviously just filler for this EP! Next, we get two versions of the "Love Theme From True Blood." Lisbeth Scott, a collaborator of TB score composer Nathan Barr, performs a simple piano version of the piece that stays the closest to Barr's original vision, and is not surprisingly the best track here. However, Korean Pianist Joohyun Park's version of the track is a New Age musical mess that once again feels like filler for the EP. Finally, Park also tackles another New Age version of the "Goodbye, Godric" track and the results are slightly better, but that's not saying much. I simply can't justify any reason for this release to exist other than as a cash in for die hard fans. Honestly, if music from True Blood is what you crave, then you'd be much better served by hunting down the absolutely brilliant scores for Season's 1 & 2 by Nathan Barr! They are far superior in every possible way!!!
Reviewed by Ryan Olson.


Music From the TWILIGHT Saga
Released in 2011 by BuySoundTrax Records
20 Tracks with a total running time of 55 min.

    Trust me, just like you, I never imagined that I would be reviewing anything from the TWILIGHT series here.  But when someone sends you something for review, we feel obligated to do just that.  Usually in cases like this, I would try to pawn this off on one of my buddies, but I know this is the kind of thing that could break life-long friendships.  So I jumped on this grenade myself.
    Being a huge fan of classic music, and since I had never seen any of the TWILIGHT movies, it was easy to see this just as a piece of classic music.  Since the violin and piano are two of my favorite instruments when it comes to classical music, which along with the cello are the main instruments used on this score, it was easy to be able to listen and enjoy it.  Obviously, this score wouldn't fall under a scary themed music or atmospheric soundscapes.  This is from a love story after all.  So all the non-horror element being gone, I still found the music to be relaxing.  The music is taken from all three of the TWILIGHT films.
    Sure, probably not one that I would listen to again, if you are a fan of those movies and of soundtracks, then I'm guessing you've already purchased this CD by now.


2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS
    The soundtrack to Tim Sullivan's sequel to 2001 Maniacs (itself a semi-remake of the H.G. Lewis cult classic) entitled Field of Screams has a lot to offer music wise.  You get a decent dose of banjo popping hillbilly fun courtesy of Ahmed Best & Clifford Allen Wagner who perform some of the funnier & shorter cuts on the disc.  In between each track is a soundbyte from the film itself, the best of which emanate from Bill Moseley (who replaced Robert England).  In fact Moseley himself wrote and sings "Lord Let Me Help You Decide" which is entertaining in its own right, simply because Moseley seems to be having a great time on the track.  Also look out for the talented Lin Shaye who also gets to share the spotlight with some amusing dialogue and even 'sings' part of the song "Cannibals." The rest of the music is a mixed bag of contemporary rock, pop and even some hip hop.  One track entitled "Go Zombie" is a techno tune sung by Zombie Girl which should please horror freaks with its horror movie lyrics.  The last ten tracks on the disc comprise the actual soundtrack portion of the movie (i.e. atmospheric & varied music with no vocals or sound bytes) by Patrick Copeland which don't lend itself too well when sampled on their own, as opposed to being incorporated while watching the movie.  However the rest of the music plays a little better on its own, since its use in the film doesn't always work well with the visuals on display.  Be that as it may, if you enjoy more modern music this soundtrack might be more appealing rather than an actual soundtrack album since it just doesn't give off that vibe.  As far as the merits of the film itself...well that's another story for another time!
Reviewed by Dave Kosanke.


THE UNBORN
Release in 2009 by Lakeshore Records
20 Tracks with a total running time of 41:12 min.
Music by Ramin Djawadi

    This score is a great blend of a traditional sounding score that sounds like it has a darker score trying to bleed through.  Through most of the slower tracks, we hear soft and slow music, but then hear something as if it's trying to cross over into this music and take over.  A great example is in the track Mom's Room.
    There are also several more action based tracks with immediately put the listener into a faster paced feeling of anxiety and tension.  Plus, we've always been a sucker for a nice eerie piano, and Djawadi uses that several times during this score with maximum impact.
    While we're not really that familiar with Djawadi's work, we are going to have to look more into his.

 


UNDEAD
Released in 2005 by La-La Land Records
17 Tracks, with a total running time of 51:40 min.
Music composed by Cliff Bradley

    It had been quite some time since seeing the movie when I put in the soundtrack to listen to for this review.  The directors’ wanted the score to have that quirky 50’s sci-fi movie feel to it.  And composer Cliff Bradley has done just that.  Sounding a little like some early Tim Burton / Danny Elfman stuff, Bradley has done a wonderful job here.  We usually prefer the spooky and eerie sounding scores, but still enjoyed this one.
    The sign of a great soundtrack is when you can pick our part of the movie just by the type of music is playing.  Just by listening to the 2nd track, 'Welcome to Berkeley', you can almost feel like you’re riding through a small town.  The whole score is a lot like that.  My only complaint would be that we only get to hear the 'Marion' theme a couple of times in the movie, which is a very cool bluesy guitar riff. Oh well, can't have everything.
    So while you won't get a creepy sounding score here, though it does have a few moments, what you do get is still an entertaining score that fits so well for this type of movie.


UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS
Released in 2009 by Lakeshore Records
11 Tracks with a total running time of 36:00 min.
Music by Paul Haslinger

    Upon a little research, we discovered the Haslinger was one of the members of Tangerine Dream, who gave us the incredible score for NEAR DARK.  I guess we didn't know as much as thought!  But after leaving TD, Haslinger has been hard at work on many, many other scores, including the score for the original Underworld film.
    I do enjoy the way that here, like he did with the first film, he does a great job combining regular orchestral music with a tough of the industrial sound, giving it a slightly different sound.
    Unfortunately, while this is a good score, this didn't leave me with any lasting impact.  Since this is the prequel to the Romero/Juliet tale, the score is as epic in themes as the film.  We get the action based music, along with the slower, more romantic themes as well.  There is some good music in there, that I'm sure works well blended into the film.  But as a stand alone score, we'd have to say it's average.


UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING
Released in 2012
25 Tracks with a total running time of 59:00 min.
Music by Paul Haslinger

    We've been a fan of the most part of the UNDERWORLD series and have enjoyed Haslinger's work on them, though we always hoped for a real stand out score, but just havne't gotten it yet.  And that is no different.  Haslinger has always been able to combine an industrial sound to a regular film score and do it quite well.  That is the one thing that we really enjoy about his work in the series.  But overall, while the score probably works really well with the movie, as a stand alone score it just doesn't have that lasting punch that we are always looking for.  That is not meant as a criticism when it comes to a film score.  The whole point is to enhance what is happening on the screen.  But here, we are reviewing the score on it's own feet.  So we expect a little more from them.  Something that is going to make the score stick inside your head.  Or at least create certain feelings and images in your head when it is played.
    Once again, this is not a bad score and if you are a big fan of the series, you will probably enjoy it.  But I still think Haslinger can create something that has more of a last impact than what we are hearing here.


THE UNINVITED
Released in 2009 by Lakeshore Records
15 Tracks, with a total running time of 48:44 min.
Music Composed by Christopher Young

    We've been a fan of Christopher Young's work ever since his brilliant score for Hellraiser....one of our favorites.  So even though we have not seen this movie, we were looking forward to the musical journey Young would take us on.  Young once again strikes gold with this score.  Young has a incredible way of producing such emotional scores.  On this score, we have it all: haunting pianos and violins, and the ghostly choir pulling it all together.  There's not a lot of repeated themes or melodies here, but a continuous stream of spectral and scary music flowing out of the speakers that makes this a great CD.
    This is one CD that begs to be played while your alone, working late at night.  If this doesn't create an atmosphere of mystery for you, then you might want to check your pulse.


VAN HELSING'S CURSE: OCULUS INFERNUM
Released by Koch Records
10 Tracks, with a total running time of 41:43 min.
Concept and Story by Dee Snider

    Yea, I know this isn't really a movie soundtrack.  But it is a soundtrack perfect for the Halloween season, or for any time for that matter.  Mr. Snider has come up with an incredible musical opera for horror fans.  Taking musical cues from classic soundtracks like THE EXORCIST and THE OMEN, and combining them with an awesome re-vision of Black Sabbath's namesake song, Snider and company have created something special.  All of this great music wrapped together with a tale of good vs evil.
    If you have not heard this yet, and you are a fan of horror movie music, you should seek this out.  You can check out their website HERE.

 


WHEN A STRANGER CALLS
By James Michael Dooley
10 Tracks, with a total running time of 32:44 min.

    In this latest entry of Hollywood remakes, composer Dooley takes on the task of creating suspense with his score.  And he does do a good job of that here.  With either the wailing strings, eerie piano, or the pounding drums, he has your heart pumping fast or ready to skip a beat while your waiting for something to jump out.
    But while this is an adequate score for this type of movie, and probably works quite well in the film itself, by itself, there's nothing that really sets this apart.  It just seems like your standard suspense/thriller score.  Not to say that it's bad by no means, but just that it doesn't stand on it's own, or at least make it different from the other countless suspense scores out there.

 

 


WHILE SHE WAS OUT
By Paul Haslinger, with music also by Roxy Music & Joy Division
17 Tracks

    This was another movie that we had no idea what it was about before getting this score to review.  We found out that it was a thriller, so that was good enough for us.  There are some regular music tracks that we personally could have done with out.  But the score by Haslinger really sets the tone for this movie.  It's filled with long and winding strings and eerie piano that bring the suspenseful atmosphere right to the front.  The music is slow and quiet, but sets the tone perfectly.  But even when the music picks up the pace for more of the action/suspense scenes, Haslinger is still able to keep us audibly on the edge of our seats.
    We like the creepy and scary sounding scores and this one fits right in there.   Nicely done.

 


WHO COULD KILL A CHILD?
Released by Singular Soundtrack 2010
54 tracks total, with a complete running time of 1:52:13.
Music composed, arranged, and conducted by Waldo de los Rios

    Singular Soundtrack has put this soundtrack on a two disc set that has the complete original score for the movie (67:08 min.) as well as the album version (44:05 min.)  The 2nd disc also has the original score for THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1969).  You can read our review of that by clicking HERE.
    de los Rios had created a haunting score for this very powerful film.  Using a wide range of sounds, from dreading strings, or pounding drums, screeching horns, and even children's voices (which makes the score even more creepy), he fills this dark picture with the perfect musical accompaniment.  A couple of the tracks start out as a pleasant melody, such as track 13 - The Old Man, which starts out almost like children's song, but turns much darker, following the action of the film.
    This release was only limited to a 1000 copies and be ordered through Screen Archives for only $19.95.  For two scores of this film, plus a complete score for another Spanish classic, that is a great price.


THE WICKER MAN
Released by Silva Screen Music
16 Tracks, with a total running time of 39 minutes.
Music and Songs composed by Paul Giovanni

    This soundtrack is going to be for a selected bunch.  If you are  looking for some creepy background music that you can put on for atmosphere, then you are going to be disappointed.  But if you're looking for the actual music and songs from this classic movie then you will really enjoy this release.  It is filled with all the folk songs and tunes that fill this movie, that on one hand make you think of some old fashion folk music festival, but then remember the context of them from the movie and it brings on a whole different meaning to it.
    The first 11 tracks are called "Songs from Summerisle Ballads of Seduction, Fertility and Ritual Slaughter".  How's that for a title listing?  The remaining 5 tracks feature incidental music from the film, including a few audio bits from the actual movie.

 


THE WICKER TREE
Released by Silva Screen Records
2-disc set, with 38 tracks total

Described as a "companion" to The Wicker Man rather than a sequel or continuation of the original story, The Wicker Tree touches on the same themes as The Wicker Man. But don't expect the soundtrack to do the same. Where The Wicker Man relied heavily on gaelic folk arrangements (intended to do more than hint at the pre-Christian orientation of the residents of SummerIsle), The Wicker Tree soundtrack is firmly planted (sorry) in Bernard Herrmann territory.

Silva Screen does a great job representing the entire soundtrack with its deluxe two-disc edition, up to and including the dreadful born-again rock numbers and ballads performed by the film's promise-ring wearing protagonists. One of those, "Follow Me", manages to veer (briefly) into John Barry territory, the opening of which is a sort-of nu country riff on Barry's underwater music for the Bond film, You Only Live Twice. But chances are you'll be skipping over these in favor of the more orchestral sounds on the album.

Those who are hoping for the types of songs heard in The Wicker Man performed by Paul Giovanni and Magnet;  "Corn Rigs", "The Landlord's Daughter", or "Willow's Song" will surely be disappointed. There's not a trace of those songs, for better or worse. However, anyone who prefers the work of Bernard Herrmann and similar material will find much to like about the soundtrack to The Wicker Tree.

Reviewed by Joe Wallace


WINTER'S EVE
By Nox Arcana
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:06:09 min.

    Nox Arcana returns to the dark and cold of a winter's night, or Eve as the title puts it.  Like their previous Winter's Knight CD, this is not filled with the dark and gloomy sounds that they normally put out.  But like their previous take on the winter season, the talent of Nox Arcana shows through no matter what theme they are creating.  The beauty of their work is that it really can transcend genres.  All of them have haunting and memorable melodies, that stay with you long after the CD is gone.  But even more so than the melody that stays with you, it's the mood of the music.  And that is the real talent of Nox Arcana.
    With this CD, they continue their music for the winter season, filling our ears with soothing sounds of pianos, strings, and singing.  Even when taking on traditional songs like Greensleeves, they put their little touch on it, but still gives us something calming and relaxing to listen to.  Perfect for this time of year.
    You can order this CD, as well as all their other titles, or just to get more information about them, by visiting their website by clicking HERE.


WINTER'S KNIGHT
By Nox Arcana
21 Tracks, with a total running time of 1:03:50 min.

    This latest release from Nox Arcana may not have the eerie, creepy music from their previous two releases, but that's not to say it's not haunting.  With this cd, they went into more of a gothic or ghostly sounds for the winter holidays.  This is not a Christmas album by no means.  But one that gives off the feeling of quite and moody nights in the woods, with a light snow falling under the full moon.
    If you're a fan of their previous works, then this will fit nicely in your collection.  They have done another excellent job of giving us fans some great background music to listen to set the mood.
    For more information about this CD or the band, check out their website HERE.

 

 


WOLF CREEK 2
Released in 2014 by Lakeshore Records
19 Tracks with a total running time of 67 min.
Music Composed by Johnny Klimek

    This is one of those scores that probably works great while watching the movie. Plenty of loud, vibrating notes and sounds bursting through the speakers, almost like a siren. The score is more of sound effects and musical cues, as opposed to anything that might resemble a melody or music even. Just noise. Okay, there are a few tracks that have some music that is not "noise", like track #3 - Watering Hole. It is a nice piece of peaceful and somber music. But most of the rest is a lot of slower notes giving the sense of foreboding, building up in pitch and volume, assuming accenting the action on screen.
    Now, I am not trying to be negative here because as I mentioned it probably works really well in the movie. But it is not the type of score that I would want to listen to on it's own over and over again. Yes, the scores are made for the movies, not as a stand alone piece of music. I get that. But I think that when one can do both, which there are plenty of them that do, then I think it is a win-win.
    Does it mean that this isn't a good score? I'll let you know once I see the movie.


THE WOLFMAN
By Danny Elfman
19 Tracks, with a total running time of 66:06 mins.

    The last soundtrack from Danny Elfman that we bought was his score from SLEEPY HOLLOW.  And from our review posted on this page, you can tell that we were not too impressed with it.  So we really haven't been keeping track of what films he's been working on.  But once THE WOLFMAN came out, we knew we'd have to pick up the score no matter what and give it a chance.  Boy, am I glad we did.
    Taking cues from the music and feel from the old Hammer films, Elfman has given us an incredible gothic and moody score.  Sure, there are a few cues that sound very similar to other scores, especially the main hook from John Williams' score from DRACULA (1979).  But none the less, Elfman does a great job bringing the violins and other strings that really set the mood and tone for this movie.  Being a huge sucker for violin themes, we were really happy with hearing them used over and over here.  Throw in some cellos and other strings, and we're good to go.  From the action based themes to the slower and atmospheric cues, it's great to see Elfman come up with a score that shows that he still has that talent left in there.  We had almost given up hope.


THE WOMAN IN BLACK
by Marco Beltrami
22 Tracks, with a total running time of 55:00 min.

    With the return of Hammer Films, one of the things that made their films so noticeable and memorable was the music.  When the music started, you knew it was from Hammer.  So we were excited both for this movie, but also to see if the music would be as predominate as before.  The answer is....sort of.  The film is very atmospheric and has plenty of jump scares.  The soundtrack is the same way.  Nothing really action based here, but nice and slow strings and pianos, moving quietly through the mist.  There is an occasional loud bang of a notes, to coincide with a visual jump scare in the movie.  The music works well during the film, blending with the slow and creepy build up of the story, occasionally getting very loud to accentuate something on screen.
    The only thing that we missed with this score is a theme or melody, or some sort of musical hook that would catch the listener.  This score is wonderful to listen to, and does fit perfectly into the film, but lacks anything that would give it lasting staying power, or one that would be haunting the halls of your mind days after listening to it.


WRONG TURN 2
By Bear McCreary
16 Tracks, with a total running time of 52:07 min.

    If you would have told me that I was going to hear a scary soundtrack that featured a banjo for the main instrument, I would have thought you were crazy.  I understood why McCreary would try something like that, since the movie dealt with a backwoods mutated hillbilly family.  But a banjo?  Scary?  Please.
    But after listening to this CD, and then watching the movie, I was complete blown away how effective it was.  Now this might not be the best CD that you'd throw in to get into a creepy mood, but as a soundtrack it compliments the film perfectly.  Plus, after watching the movie,  it's really pretty cool just to listen to it, and does give off some pretty creepy sounds.  The opening Main Title sounds like a Morricone western score made in Louisiana.
    Still just amazed at that banjo...
    La-La Land Records have put this CD out, and once again have done a wonderful job with it's release.


THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE
By Mark Snow
23 Tracks

    This is one of those scores that I'm sure works well within the movie.  But as a stand alone score, I found it a little lacking.  Not that it's a bad score, and it is filled with a variety of themes from some creepy to more mainstream action / tension type.  But to listen to it on it's own, it's a little flat.
    Since this was for The X-Files, I guess I had expected something a little more creepy or at least more atmopsheric.  I'm sure  X-Files fans will enjoy it none the less.

 

 


ZOMBIE INFLUX
by Jeff Hartz, with Nox Arcana
19 Tracks, with a total running time of 45:19 min.

    Collaborating with Nox Arcana, Jeff Hartz has created a fun little audio tribute to George Romero and the zombie genre.  Along with some good atmospheric background music, this CD has news reports about the doomsday virus which seems to be taking over the world.  It's kind of like if a zombie outbreak was to really happen, this would be the soundtrack.  As usual with anything Nox Arcana is involved with, the production value is top notch and great to have this playing in the background during any haunted or Halloween event.


THE DEFINITIVE HORROR MOVIE COLLECTION
By Misc. Composers
4 Discs, 60 Tracks

    If you are looking for a horror movie greatest hits, then you have happened upon the right collection.  This 4-disc set contains themes from movies ranging back to 1922 to the present day.  You have themes from all the classics like the original Dracula, to the infamous theme from The Exorcist, to even foreign flicks like Let the Right One In.  If you're just starting out in collection film music, this is also a great place to start, giving you a taste of many different styles and different composers.
    But....the only problem we had with this collection is that these are not from the actual soundtracks, but redone.  For most of them, you wouldn't know the differences.  But for someone who has listened to the original scores over and over again over the years, when you hear a "cover" of it, you can tell.
    That being said, I do think this is a great way for someone who is starting to get interested in film scores to get a jump on the game, and to find out what scores they need to seek out.  Each track is from an important movie in the genre, with a few humorous ones, like the theme from Ghostbusters, thrown in there just for fun.