Horror 365 Movie(s) 255: CatalAugust Day 17, Scores & Soundtracks

Since I talked about sound design recently, I’ve been thinking about movie scores and soundtracks, so I figgerred that was a good enough reason to list a few of ’em.  thought I’d revisit that idea with a few killer, scores and soundtracks. I covered a few musicals recently, so I’ve kept them off this list.

After the first two entries, the list also tends to become more and more soundtrack heavy. Hopefully that won’t ear-ritate anyone (I wish I’d come up with that myself, but I didn’t. My favorite esteemed colleague came up with that after reading the post on sound. I’m just annoyed that I missed it the first time around).

#7 The Shining

Kubrick, like Tobe Hooper and Texas Chainsaw, was quite the sadist with the score of this movie (I’m assuming he had input. This is Kubrick we’re talkin’ about). Oh sure, the scare chord when Jack Nicholson kills Scatman Crothers is très Psycho, but the overall score is disconcerting in the sense that it mixes pre-existing classical and 30s big band music along with other more atonal compositions. All of this just helps reinforce that this place ain’t right.

#6 Anything Bernard Herrmann Does

The jewel in the crown here is obviously Psycho, but he did a number of Hitchcock films including Marnie, Vertigo, and North By Northwest. He was also a sound cosultant on The Birds. His non-Hitchcock films include Hangover Square, A Hatful Of Rain, Sister, It’s Alive (I didn’t expect that one either), and some obscure, minor project called Citizen Kane or something. But my favorite of his that isn’t a Hitchcock film is The Day The Earth Stood Still, and not just because it has a theremin.

#5 House Of 1,000 Corpses

Lots of Rob Zombie music in here. Duh. What can I say? I’m a fan of his work in both media. Plus there’s just something about horror and metal…they’re like milk and Oreos, burgers and fries, peanut butter and bologna.

#4 Beetlejuice

I love Danny Elfman and was a huge fan of Oingo Boingo. He was able to breathe some new life into what a movie score could do, and my favorite example of that is Beetlejuice, especially in the sense of interspersing elements of the score with already existing music. As will happen again later (disastrously in this case) with “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Wayne’s World, “Banana Boat Song” has never been the same.

#3 Return Of The Living Dead

Punk, metal, horror, yes please. T.S.O.L., The Flesh Eaters, and best of all, both The Damned and The Cramps. You don’t see these folks, especially Lux Interior and Poison Ivy, showin’ up on many soundtracks.

#2 Fear No Evil

More punk! And this one predates ROTLD. The movie itself is pretty bad, but it has its moments, including death by dodgeball (which Wes Craven and Kristy Swanson will revisit with a basketball in Deadly Friend). But the soundtrack–Bob Geldof, The B-52s, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Talking Heads, Ramones, and The Cramps again! Punk heaven.

Honorable Mentions

Baby Driver (yeah, it ain’t a horror movie. That’s why it didn’t make the actual list. But wowzers. In some ways it even surpasses the #1 entry), Ginger Snaps, Idle Hands, Strangeland

#1 Heavy Metal

The movie itself doesn’t hold up quite as well as I’d like it to (still significantly better than Fear No Evil though), but damn, that soundtrack covers quite a range. Everyone is on it, from Journey to Stevie Nicks to Judas Priest to Don Felder to Devo and their version (my all time very most fav-o-rite-est) of “Workin’ In A Coalmine.” This was the first time I’d seen a movie that used music this way, and it still remains a high water mark.

There ya go audiophiles. I know I’m just scratchin’ the surface, so what’d I miss? What movie scores and/or soundtracks are on your playlist? Let me know in the Comments.

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