* (Halloween countdown post #17)
“Posessor” By Jim Williams (2020)
What good could the scion of body horror make? Brandon Cronenberg, son of famed director David Cronenberg had shown us his scope in Antiviral but nothing could prepare audiences for Possessor. Composed by frequent Ben Wheatley collaborator Jim Williams, the tight electronic score for Possessor accentuates the paranoia and mind games of the film. This is a jarring and minimal score underscoring the schizophrenic atmosphere of the film that the mind of others is a prison.
“C.H.U.D.” By Martin Cooper & David A. Hughes (1984)
I adored this film as a child, and it was how I understood New York City as full of sewers, artists and corrupt cops. Part creature feature and part environmental treatise with an insane cast of John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, John Goodman to name a few wandering around for direction. It is the score that anchors the piece, composed by Martin Cooper and David Hughes of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. Using tight drum machine driven beats with haunting synth patterns the duo obscure their origins but allude to them in many ways. Written at the same time as OMD’s Junk Culture the synth work shows and soars above the toxic sludge of the film.
“Session 9” By Climax Golden Twins (2001)
Moody dark ambient excellence for Brad Anderson’s psychological horror film about an asbestos abatement crew sent to work on a vacant asylum. Filmed in the actual Danvers State Asylum, Climax Golden Twins craft a wonderful bleak electronic ambient atmosphere that suits the decaying mood of the environs with the added mental trauma and stress. A gem if you haven’t heard it or seen it.
“Werewolf Woman” By Lallo Gori (1976)
This was one I didn’t know until a recent reissue campaign on Mondo brought it to my attention. Directed by Rino Di Silvestro, known for initiating the women in prison films, Di Silvestro attempted in earnest to make a werewolf film trapped within its time; zooms, exploitation, but it’s not without merit. However, the score, composed by established screen composer Lallo Gori is a incredibly smooth jazzy affair with slight disco beats, droney synths and exotica all together reminiscent of something that would inspire early AIR records.
“Hereditary” By Colin Stetson (2018)
Obvioulsy this film has gathered around it a rightful reverence in the horror pantheon, full of mysterious familial relationships to the occult and sacrifice. None of this would have been possible without experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson’s haunting score. Stetson performs a clever slight-of-hand through out his work for Hereditary turning clarinets into a string section, strings into the sound of bats, bringing the audience to reflect on the situation of how the microcosm of the family can hold a broadening sinister set of relationships.
“Zombie 2” By Fabio Frizzi (1979)
I am shocked I haven’t included this amazing soundtrack within my write ups. Fabio Frizzi is an absolute master of the horror score and his work on Lucio Fulci’s Zombie 2 is such an oversight on my part. Frizzi was a long-time collaborator with Lucio Fulci, composing scores for Four of the Apocalypse and other spaghetti westerns this marked their first horror collaboration. Bleak and brutal, Frizzi’s score for Zombie 2 showcases the minimal drum machine, mellorton and dreamy synth and xylophone exotica that defines the films exotic island location.
“Candyman” By Robert AA Lowe (2021)
I have such a soft spot for Candyman and hearing the continuation would return this year I was so excited. I lived down the street from the Cabrini Green projects in Chicago, and only thought a Chicagoan could capture the claustrophobic and atmosphere of the space and time and was immensely pleased and surprised that Robert AA Lowe would do this. Robert AA Lowe is known for his work in Lichens and from his time in the 90 Day Men, and his unsettling score assists the film in ways only a maestro could – syncopating the themes with strange vocalizations, modular synths and a haunting atmosphere on par or even beyon what Philip Glass’ score for the 1992 original.
“Short Night of the Glass Dolls” by Ennio Morricone (1971)
This is one of my favorite giallos of all time. The directorial debut of Also Lado (Last Stop on the Night Train, Who Saw Her Die?), a soundtrack by the maestro Enio Morricone, and stellar performances by Ingrid Thulin and Jean Sorel. Set in communist Prague, the narrator sits paralyzed ruminating on the decadence and death. Morricone’s score is full of jarring atonal stabs and strange vocalizations of pleasure and pain. It is a masterwork of the giallo genre.
“Nightmare City” by Stelvio Cipriani (1980)
I was a child of the 1980s video store boom, this lead me to films like Nightmare City or Incubo or as I knew it City of the Walking Dead, which like C.H.U.D. delved into the ramifications of radiation and nuclear holocaust but as a zombie source. Soundtrack composer Stelvio Cipriani passed away in 2018, however his attachment to jazz and soundtracks had him composing for spaghetti westerns in the 1960s including work eventually with director Umberto Lenzi. I absolutely love this score and its strange atmospheric funk and this film is one of his best and an interesting entry into the zombie canon.
“Blood Rage” by Richard Einhorn (1987)
I have a soft spot for Richard Einhorn’s scores, going back to Shock Waves and Don’t go in the House, but it is Blood Rage that really brings my attention. Also known as, Nightmare at Shadow Woods and Slasher, Blood Rage is a stalker film that is unnerving yet unique in its approach to the genre. Einhorn uses discoteque beats and some haunting chord progressions that seem more composed and downright danceable compared to his strange sound experiments in other sound work. Although the opening title sequence alludes to his haunting synth experiments in Shock Waves.
MIXCLOUD OF PAST DEAD AIR RADIO SHOWS:
TUNE IN HALLOWEEN AT MIDNIGHT EST TO WLOY.ORG TO HEAR THE NEW 2 HOUR EPISODE OF MY RADIO SHOW DEAD AIR.
Terence Hannum is a Baltimore based musician, visual artist and writer. Playing solo and in groups Locrian, The Holy Circle, Axebreaker AND MOTHER OF SIGHS. For the past eight years he DJs the horror soundtrack radio show DEAD AIR on WLOY and publishes a zine under the same name covering notable horror soundtracks.
p.s. Hey. I’m super proud and happy to close out the DC’s Halloween festivities for this year — tomorrow is the slaves’ day, which may or may not count — with the guest-host-age of the great musician/composer (Locrian, The Holy Circle, a.o.) and visual artist Terence Hannum who returns (see: last year) to devise us a timely and beautiful post of curated horror soundtracks that could not possibly set the scary scene better, as you will now discover if you haven’t. My profound thanks to Terence, and you all enjoy the shit out his concoction, and please do say a few words to him in your comments if you feel so inclined. ** David, Thanks, it went really well, I think. I do in fact give a shit that you’re feeling better, pal. Good! Thank you for the ever so timely and luscious poem. You had me at ‘kangaroo meat’. ** _Black_Acrylic, I don’t know Dexter Dalwood’s paintings at all. Very curious. I’ll explore his oeuvre when I’m done here. How did the Zoom feedback go? I hope it bolstered you and yours, my friend. ** Dominick, Hi, D!!!!! Thanks, yeah, we keep getting great feedback on the Haunt. so we’re ever more pleased. We’re looking into doing it London and Geneva, we’ll see. And weird was definitely a goal. Weird is very underrated. It’s true: being in Tokyo (or anywhere in Japan) with an endless expense account … it could not get better. Or hardly. Have huge fun with Anita, which I’m utterly certain you will. Great! Love bring the ghost of Wolfgang Abel and Mario Furlan’s victim to your love’s birthday party with a transparent bow around his neck, G. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. I haven’t been in touch with Roger Clarke for a while. It’s more than understandable when people bail on Facebook, as he did while back, but it does make staying in touch with certain friends a lot more difficult unfortunately. I’ll check in with him. Good idea. Everyone, Steve’s review of Rebecca Hall’s PASSING is just out. I hope seeing your parents lifts your spirits the way familial converging is supposed to do in fairytales and so on. No, I haven’t heard about those Canadian dispensaries. It’s true you could buy psychedelic mushrooms in ‘coffee shops’ along with pot and hash in Amsterdam for a while, but, yeah, I think one too many tourists jumped out of windows while coincidentally on said mushrooms, and I do believe that was the end of that. ** Right. Enjoy Terence’s amazing Halloween score, everybody, and I’ll see you tomorrow.