* (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.
@ Terence, thank you for this spooktacular selection! Many previously undiscovered delights to be found here.
The new episode of Play Therapy is online here via Tak Tent Radio! Ben ‘Jack Your Body’ Robinson is back to bring you novelty French vocoder fun, EBM Goth darkness and some Hi NRG thrills too.
You got it, it’s good to be back!
Terence, Great soundtrack.
Dennis, I told Rigby about it and he was quite chuffed. I thought he’d jump into the comments, but seems he didn’t. He laughed and thought the post had gone the way of the dodo.
Looks like David might get his Door Dash back. The two violations were reviewed and they determined that he did indeed deliver them to the people and on time. That would be a good thing.
Just got word from a friend that The French Dispatch has expanded to more regular theaters. She and I will be seeing it soon. Seems it got the highest per-screen attendance/sales of any “art” movie so far during the pandemic. That’s probably why. A lot of people are liking it and some of course are hating it. I’ll give it a chance.
Yeah, tomorrow should be fun. Thanks. I hope you have a good weekend too.
I will try and see ‘Possessor’ it looks like a good film…. hadn’t heard of it before this post… one of my fave soundtracks is ‘Manhunter’ I still love it after all these years…although I’m currently listening to ‘Skippy the Bush Kangaroo 1968 – 1970 Opening and Closing Theme’ for kicks….
I’m glad you like the poem!!!
Our weekend away has been cancelled due to bad weather and my co-video situation…..
I do feel quite angry actually Dennis that I’m not going away so I’m gonna go against the grain and say an anecdote that I thought I shouldn’t really say… thinking on the shopping centre I mentioned some posts back… a terrible event that occurred in 1993…. you know how M. Night Shyamalan puts himself in all his films…. I imagined watching the old CCTV footage all these years later and suddenly spot him in the background…. and I’m like “what the fuck??????” then it hits me “did he direct the whole thing??????” “can you imagine??????” … nah….. he’s a very nice guy I like him a lot…..
It is quite annoying to check everyday and see 2 lines…( on appearing a robotic voice speaks out…) “you have co-video and must remain at home for the duration!”
never mind!!!! anyway Den have a great Friday evening!! xx all the best David
I absolutely adore Manhunter, and it’s an interesting score. I actually think I haven’t featured it on my radio show, and I should remedy that. In a similar vein I will suggest the recently reissued score for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
Cheers Terence x
One of my favorite horror movie songs is the opening title music for THE BLOB (1958):
A tad twee I guess but I think it’s catchy ha ha…
I love the film The Blob, and even have a special place in my heart for the remake (1988) – and have featured that score on my radio show. Kind of a hidden gem.
Thanks for this intriguing soundtrack lineup, Terence. I’ve only seen Possessor, Session 9, and Hereditary (didn’t know that Stetson, who used to live in SF, did the soundtrack). Will check out more.
Hope you have a festive weekend planned, Dennis. Really liked the Velvet Underground doc last night. Of horror(ish) movies, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night was easily the highlight, very Jarmusch, but in Persian. Was a bit disappointed in Broadcast Signal Intrusion, though a knowledgeable friend is much more enthusiastic. Alone With You was also disappointing, but worth checking out. They should have asked me to rewrite the endings, haha.
Hi Dennis, I’m so sad that I can’t be at your IRL book launch tonight. I am of course there in spirit. Please let us know how it goes and if there will be a recording of it. I’m certain it’s incredibly sublime & I’m so sad I’m not there. I hope the lucky people who are there tonight will shower you and I WISHED with the love that you both deserve. Oh, and happy Halloween [a thousand skull emojis]
Thank you Terence Hannum! I’ve got all the lights shut off in my room and listening to the ‘Hereditary’ score right now. And damn, this marks the end of the halloween revelries here? Things go by so fast…
Dennis, I sent a comment yesterday but my internet had been ropey all day so I think it probably got lost somewhere between here and you. All I wanted to say was that I enjoyed chilling with the ghosts yesterday, and thank you for your Thursday wish! In terms of news…well there’s not an awful lot. just been waiting to get paid, which I have been today at last, but otherwise has kept me here, so I’ve just been reading, going back to some old projects, and otherwise hanging out on the internet. Could be worse. There’s a cool forest out the back of the town here which I walked into today. Really glad to read that you’re pleased with your haunt thing! Wishing you a Friday that gives you a torch to reveal its entire Egyptian tomb of freaky splendour, xT
That is the only way to listen! And it’s sad when the month ends, especially on the blog! But we’ll always keep Halloween in our hearts, right!?
THE BEST HORROR SOUNDTRACK OF THEM ALL!
For sure. I tend to give Goblin way too many spots on my lists and may have included them on my first list for Dennis. May I recommend Goblin’s score for “Contamination” AND the new score for the “Suspiria” reboot/remake – I really like it.