I'm a huge fan of horror scores - especially those that extensively use melody and thematics in addition to your usual roaster of stingers and crashes to, you know, to give the score (and film) duality and whatnot. Some examples:
Richard Band's MUTANT, THE ALCHEMIST and HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW. James Horner's DEADLY BLESSING. Daniel Licht's CHILDREN OF THE CORN 2 and BAD MOON. Leonard Rosenman's PROPHECY. Mark Mckenzie's WARLOCK: THE ARMAGEDDON. Charles Bernstein's CUJO and DEADLY FRIEND. Pino Donaggio's CARRIE, PIRANHA, DON'T LOOK NOW, etc. Christopher Young's INVADERS FROM MARS (among other, more 'darkly elegant' works). Jerry Goldsmith's THE OMEN and POLTERGEIST. David Shire's MONKEYSHINES. Harry Manfredini's DEEPSTAR SIX.
Just a few of the many (released) examples to illustrate my point. Now let's discuss a few gems that NEED A RELEASE DAMMIT!!!
1.) RAWHEAD REX by Colin Towns. A more epic, sweeping score you will never find for a mediocre monster movie. This badly needs a release. It was recorded in London with what sounds like at least a 90 piece ensemble. I contacted Towns a while back about this and sadly, he's really not in any rush to get this one released. I'd be thrilled just to own a suite of the main and end title cues. Damn shame. Collins is a brilliantly talented composer badly under-represented on album (check out his score for THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE - friggin' gorgeous stuff!) [url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaQ1FpTq-6E [/url]
2.) SAVAGE HARVEST and THE SLAYER by Robert Folk. Folk is a brilliant composer in my eye, and these two scores - his first two ever, actually - are superb examples of his ability. The Slayer was performed by the National Philharmonic, and it's an incredibly dramatic, sweeping work to accompany a muddy slasher flick. Check out a VHS rip of the end credits: [url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOe5HzVFkYo&feature=related [/url] Savage Harvest is a movie about killer lions. Folk approached it with a very sad, sweeping thematic voice. The end title cue is really gorgeous, heartbreaking even. Definitely needs a release - a superb mixture of relentless orchestral carnage and sweeping majesty. The entire film is up on Youtube, but the sound quality is offensively bad and does the music an immense disservice. Not sure of the whereabouts of the elements of these scores. I'll sent Folk an email to inquire but never heard back.
3.) THE PACK by Lee Holdridge. A terrific, frenzied and extremely dynamic score from one of the most underrated guys out there. The action/horror material is probably the most violent stuff he's ever written, but contrasting that is not only a lovely family theme and a sweeping title theme, but a gorgeous, absolutely heartbreaking theme for the family dog in this "nature turns on man" flick. The performance of this later theme over the end title is far, far too beautiful for a horror film. I recently wrote to Holdridge and asked about this score - he said that Buysoundtrax recently brought it up with him for a possible release, but he said they may need to do some major surgery on the tapes as they're very old. We'll see. Here's the entire film on Youtube below. There is actually a bootleg of the score floating around out there (it includes some alternate takes interestingly enough), but the quality is piss-poor. [url] http://www.youtube.com/watchv=nvXgX0W9zKc&feature=PlayList&p=27AA126C0652D53D&index=0&playnext=1 [/url]
EMBRYO by Gil Melle. Really beautiful and dramatic title theme in this one. Like nearly everything he's done - no release whatsoever. The film is in the public domain, but as to the state or whereabout of the master elements, well that's anyone's guess. Complete film is here: [url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSoRP5wXVAA [/url]
DNA by Christopher L. Stone. This is a fantastic, highly thematic action-horror score for the lousy Predator rip-off from 1997. Lots of ethnic elements and sweeping interludes. An A-lister couldn't have done with one any better if you ask me. A DVD rip of the end titles is up on youtube: [url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx_SUHCmZf0 [/url]
CURTAINS by Paul Zaza. A lovely title theme and lots of eerie, woodwind-laden suspense music. Here's a VHS rip of the end titles below. Who knows if this one exists anymore or not. [url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fxu2mT058FU [/url]
WAXWORKS by Roger Bellon. This strange 1988 horror comedy has a varied, dramatic and occasionally pop-influenced orchestral score. There's baroque-sounding love theme that emerges later in the film, best heard at 3:40 into the video posted below. It's really...freaking gorgeous. The whole score is great and worth checking out. I recently inquired with Mr. Bellon and he said that there's actually a company (didn't mention whom) that's interested in releasing this one actually. Hopefully we'll get it soon then! [url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TASzcLzcZe0 [/url]
IT by RIchard Bellis. I think this is an obvious one. Beautiful, lamentful main theme for piano, strings and trumpet balancing some truly frightening synth stuff. There's an 18 minutes suite (an excellent one at that) available on the composer's promo, highlights of which can be found below: [url] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa503nGtfAY [/url]
I'll continue to update the list. Thoughts, comments, recommendations?
I have suggested THE SLAYER many times to, I think, every single soundtrack producer/label out there but so far nothing happened. Could be a rights thing again because the score was recorded with the NPO so re-use fees should be no bigger problem.
Good post, willy! Nice write-up instead of just a list! Great to see Gil Mellé's intriguing score for EMBRYO get a mention. Also unreleased are his top-notch powerhouse scores for THE SENTINEL and FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (for TV, but released in cinemas in the UK). Looking forward to hearing his work on the new FSM TV Omnibus.
SBD, yes, I've mentioned how great Lalo Schifrin's THE MANITOU is hundreds of times before. It's a very varied work and would make a great listen on CD.
And just to repeat myself further, I'll keep bangin' on about Les Baxter's HOUSE OF USHER and PIT AND THE PENDULUM until that guy opens the box in his attic. Some lovely, tortured melodies in there amongst all the avant-gardisms!
May as well mention the grand-daddy of all Hammers - James Bernard's (HORROR OF) DRACULA. No re-recording has done this justice, but I fear the tapes have turned to what Drac looked like at the end of the film.
Forgot to mention some others that I'd mentioned a million times before. So, again -
From the wonderfully weird, bizarrely bonkers world of bananas Basil Kirchin - his hypnotically beautiful bass based, throbbingly thrilling achievements for THE MUTATIONS (spellbinding) and THE SHUTTERED ROOM (close your eyes to the film and just imagine you're at a great freeform jazz concert)! THE ABOMINABLE DR PHIBES is his only score release.
From the hugely interesting chaotic cacophony that was Elisabeth Lutyens - her compellingly creepy small-scale chamber and percussion scores for THE SKULL and DR TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS. THE SKULL is her only score release, but it's only 20 mins of re-recording, and the sound's a bit distant. We want the actual skull of the Marquis de Sade!
Some of these have been released, but I'd very much like to see complete or expanded versions:
A Nightmare On Elm Street III - Badalamenti & additional cues The box - Win Butler & co Cat's Eye - Alan Silvestri Child's Play 2 - Graeme Revell Children of the Corn III - Daniel Licht Critters 4 - Peter Robinson Cujo - Charles Bernstein Dark City - Trevor Jones Exorcist III - Barry Devorzon It - Richard Bellis Jaws IV the Revenge - Michael Small Ninth Configuration - Barry Devorzon Psycho II - Jerry Goldsmith Psycho III - Carter Burwell Reincarnation of Peter Proud - Jerry Goldsmith Salem's Lot - Harry Sukman The Dark Half - Christopher Young The Shining - Wendy Carlos The Thing - John Carpenter & Morricone The Town that Dreaded Sundown - Jaime Mendoza-Nava
WOW!! Some great titles listed in here. I'd like to add, or endorse, the following; TOURIST TRAP (PINO DONAGGIO) THE FAN (PD) THE PACK (LEE HOLDRIDGE) AMITYVILLE 2 (LALO SCHIFRIN) 'SALEM'S LOT (HARRY SUKMAN)