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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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13 Days of Sequels: PET SEMATARY II

With 13 Days of Sequels I’ll be reviewing horror sequels every weekday for the last two weeks of October. You can view all entries HERE.

Also, full disclosure: this is a reprint of a piece I’d already written about Pet Sematary II, which can be found in its original format here.

It can’t be easy making a sequel.

There are so many things you have to consider when crafting a follow-up: does it continue following the ‘rules’ set forth in the original film? Does it follow those rules yet subvert expectations? Will it appease the original film’s rabid fanbase while still offering something for people new to the series? Is it bigger and better than the first, but not so much so as to make a (inevitable) third entry a moot point? There are so many things to consider, one would think to skip the sequel route altogether. But then if we did that, we’d have no Jason X, Seed of Chucky, or Jaws: The Revenge, and the world would be a lot less fun. Continue reading 13 Days of Sequels: PET SEMATARY II

HORROR NERD OF THE MONTH: Arnie!

When we ‘re first introduced to our bespectacled bore, Arnie Cunningham, he’s frantically running from his house hurrying to catch his ride to school. In the process, he rips open the bag of trash he’s taking out – spilling it all over the driveway and his mother’s feet. She shoos him on, and he waddles off – arms akimbo, glasses sliding off his face – to his friend’s car. It’s the quintessential “Yes, this character is a nerd with a capital N” introduction, something that I’ve covered here before. Continue reading HORROR NERD OF THE MONTH: Arnie!

GUILTY PLEASURES – “Thinner”

With “Guilty Pleasures”, I revisit some horror flicks that fans have almost unanimously derided and labeled “unlikeable”, but are ones that I inexplicably get a kick out of. This time around, it’s Thinner.

thinner

Successfully adapting a Stephen King work for the big screen has to be harder than learning a creole language over the weekend. Hell, even Stephen King himself couldn’t adapt his own work! He wrote the screenplay for and directed Maximum Overdrive, (which was based on his own short story, Trucks) and it was still a huge disaster. And yet as loud and clear of a message that is, warning optimistic directors to just “turn back now!”, they still continually try and fail to bring King’s written words to jumping, animated life. There are a few success stories, sure — but the batting average ain’t great. Continue reading GUILTY PLEASURES – “Thinner”