Tag Archives: music

THE MISSING “CREEPSHOW” MUSIC CUES!

Based on sheer unanimous appreciation alone, Creepshow may be one of the greatest horror films ever made. Truly: I’ve never heard one disparaging comment made about it. Inquire, and those who’ve seen it will excitedly describe their favorite segment, their eyes alight and hands animated. For those raised on it, it’s like a plateful of comfort food. And, due to its fall-tinged intro, it has become a Halloween staple. Needless to say, it’s a horror classic.

One of the things that helped cement Creepshow among horror royalty is its incredible score. Composed by frequent Romero collaborator John Harrison (using only a Prophet V synthesizer), the score successfully manages to craft a hauntingly Gothic aura punctuated by goofy camp – no easy task, but one that compliments the vibe of the comic book-inspired film perfectly. Romero himself has said that Harrison’s score delivers on the promise the tagline of the film avows: “the most fun you’ll have being scared”.

Not long ago I discovered Harrison wasn’t solely responsible for creating the amazingly spot-on EC comics-era sensation the score elicited. Many of the recognizable cues, it turned out, were from Capitol Records’ stock catalog. It was a trick Romero had used since the beginning of his career: pacing and editing his films using old stock music, which he often left in once the film was finished. (Just look at Night of the Living Dead‘s score – all stock music, some of which would later find its way into Romero’s Tales from the Darkside television show, as well as, you guessed it, Creepshow.)

Most recently, Waxwork Records released the original Creepshow soundtrack, but it was missing all of those additional stock music cues. In 2014, La-La Records released an “expanded” version of the soundtrack, which included a few of the music pieces, though not many – 14 in all, including only one from “Father’s Day”.

But, thanks to the help of the Internet (and my own dogged searching), I’ve collected almost 30 pieces of missing music cues, including 6 from “Father’s Day”. These pieces were incredibly difficult to track down. There are a few message boards which (thankfully, gratefully) have the music cues listed by name (and Creepshow‘s IMDB page is a wealth of info), but locating the actual audio files proved to be almost impossible. Even though some of these tracks were released on the Creepshow Expanded OST, they don’t even exist on Youtube.

(Complicating the search was the fact that a.) several of the songs have near identical names, and b.) many of the composers worked under different aliases. Whew, exhausting.)

It’s important to hear these cues in full because they’re just incredible. Bill Loose’s work, especially, which is all at once gorgeous, lush, and dramatic. It’s amazing these composers created these beautiful pieces with the knowledge they were to be cataloged anonymously along with hundreds of other pieces for the sole purpose of filling out a record company’s stock music library. It seems almost unjust, in a way – relegating these tunes to a lifetime of obscurity, only to be showcased for literal seconds at a time in the background of some nondescript cartoon or low-budget film.

(And check out Loose’s “Sonar Waves”, specifically about 45 seconds in – any horror fan worth their salt ought to recognize those notes instantly.)

As far as I know, this page is the only place online you can listen to the (almost) entire collection of missing cues from Creepshow in one spot. Unfortunately, it is not complete. I am still missing about 20 tracks, which is mind-boggling. Like I said, these have been hard hard hard to find. But I will continue to update this page as I discover the final, missing cues. Below, the tracks are listed in the order that they appear in the film.

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the fine, informative folks at YowpYowp and Film Score Monthly (specifically, a member named PrimeEvil whose own keyboard handiwork I’ve included below).

I won’t bore you with my blathering any longer. If you’ve read this far, you deserve to be rewarded with the music. Enjoy, and if you happen to have a hot tip on any of the missing tracks, please email me!





 

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“XX” (2017) REVIEW

Since the release and warm reception of both V/H/S and The ABCs of Death in 2012, there have been a proliferation* of anthology-style horror films, more than a few of them sequels to the aforementioned titles. Despite an almost overabundance in those 5 short years, there’s been no real lack of creativity when it comes to theme for these films: the V/H/S series focused on our favorite nostalgic medium, ABCs were alphabetical bursts of horror, and from there Tales of Halloween took place on the spookiest of nights, Southbound dealt with a hellish highway, and Holidays bloodied up some of the most recognizable calendar dates. Continue reading “XX” (2017) REVIEW

“Deathgasm” (2015) REVIEW

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Horror and comedy have been partners in crime since Abbott and Costello were being chased around by the Universal Monsters way back in the 1940s. But no decade helped solidify this magical marriage of genres better than the ’80s. A deluge of funny and scary flicks saturated the market and pretty much perfected the art during this time: The Evil Dead, An American Werewolf in London, Gremlins, The Toxic Avenger, The Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Creeps, The Monster Squad, HouseKiller Klowns from Outer SpaceBeetlejuice. And that’s barely a third of them. I mean, just absolutely everywhere. And while Gremlins may have been the only massive blockbuster among the group, there is no doubt in any horror fans mind the importance of all the aforementioned titles to the history of the genre.

When the ’90s rolled around, however, horror comedies were a little harder to come by. And by the ’00s they barely made a blip on anyone’s radar, save for the crud that was the Scary Movie franchise. Sure, there are some hits buried in that first decade — Club Dread, Shaun of the Dead, Slither, Zombieland — but I still only need a hand and a half to count the passible releases from those 10 long years.

The good news is: horror comedies have slowly been making a comeback! Beginning with 2012’s sleeper meta hit The Cabin in the Woods, horror comedies have been steadily gaining traction once again — which brings us to 2015’s Deathgasm, the latest and greatest the genre has to offer.

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The movie follows Brodie (Milo Cawthorne), a gawky teenaged metalhead who has to go live with his ultra-conservative aunt and uncle after his mom is institutionalized. He also has to attend a new school where he immediately falls for a flaxen-haired dreamgirl named Medina (Kimberly Crossman). To help integrate himself, he starts a metal band with a few classmates and a local badass, Zakk (James Blake). Meanwhile, he’s continually picked on at home and at school by his cousin David (Nick Hoskins-Smith).

Soon, Brodie and Zakk come into possession of some mysterious sheet music written in Latin, and decide to translate it and have their band cover it. In doing so, they (somewhat) unknowingly open the gates of Hell — turning many people into horrific demons and ultimately summoning the D-man himself (I’m talkin’ about Satan, you sapheads.) Now it’s up to the timid Brodie, his crush Medina, and their motley crew of metalheads to stop the demons.

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I’d seen a few mixed reviews from friends online, so I was a little leery about watching it, but let me just say: I loved this movie. It’s the perfect love letter to splatstick flicks like Raimi’s The Evil Dead and Peter Jackson’s Braindead. Plus, it has a cinematic prowess that recalls the techniques of Raimi, and even Edgar Wright: lots of kinetic cuts, lots of fluid edits, and director Jason Lei Howden makes sure that every shot counts. This last part — the way it was shot and edited — may be the most important aspect of all, above the rampant blood and guts. It’s always a terrible idea when horror movies let creative direction take a backseat to whatever story they’re trying to tell, since most horror films rarely have anything new to say. In fact, I’d argue the way a horror film is shot is possibly the most important aspect above anything else. Recent indie faves like It Follows, The Babadook, The Boy, Spring, The Canal — all lauded, yet each story couldn’t be more different from the next. The one thing they have in common? They’re all gorgeously lensed. And that really, really matters.

Ultimately, Deathgasm is just a really fun film that doesn’t take itself — or anything else, for that matter — seriously. The jokes are sharp and they never linger on a punchline too long. Plus: the gore is gore-geous! Split heads, torn limbs, intestines, and blood-puking that makes the cherry pit scene from The Witches of Eastwick look positively tame. I mean, how can you go wrong with a movie about a group of metalheads in corpse paint trying to save their town from demonic hellspawn? You can’t.

Deathgasm is currently on VOD and I say CHECK IT OUT!

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