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Music Review: The Definitive Horror Music Collection

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OK, so how many of you can recall the not-too-distant days when horror movies had entirely original scores? No, I don’t mean the modern soundtrack kind (that which amounts to little more than a mixtape of various recording artists whom record labels are keen to promote). I mean the Guy-Sits-Down-And-Writes-Music-Specifically-For-The-Movie kind that are usually performed by whole orchestras by conductors. Sometimes even with choirs. Other times, said scores are written and performed by progressive rock groups from Italy, or composed by the filmmaker himself with a synthesizer.

The folks at Silva Screen Records most assuredly remember horror movie scores — and one of their latest releases, The Definitive Horror Music Collection, is proof.

The 4-CD set assembles some of the most memorable and iconic horror movie themes ever written, and spans an impressive 87 year gap to boot. The set begins, interestingly enough, with the more modern contributions (2009-2001) to the horror score history book. The end theme from Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell kicks off the festivities, paving the way for highlights from Twilight, Dexter, Let The Right One In, and Saw to name a few.

Disc Two (1999-1984) has a few less-than-memorable pieces at the beginning Films like The Mummy and The Haunting did absolutely nothing for me, either cinematically or musically, and so their incidental scores are of little appeal to me — though it’s nice to have such a wide assortment nonetheless. The second disc picks up considerably as we venture back into the earlier years, bringing compositions from Army Of Darkness, Hellraiser, and Ghostbusters into play.

Disc Three (1983-1977) is by and far my favorite out of the whole set. Opening with the main theme from Nightmare On Elm Street, Disc Three continues its haunting slew of tunes with tracks from several John Carpenter films (including Christine, The Thing, and the first two Halloween entries) as well as a few Brian DePalma picks (Dressed To Kill and The Fury). Dracula (1979) and Alien are also represented here, but for me, the inclusion of Goblin’s creepy Suspiria theme is the money shot.

Lastly, we have Disc Four (1976-1922), which opens with favorites from The Omen and The Exorcist and moves back to the illustrious days of Hammer horror films like (Horror Of) Dracula. The earliest entries here are from The Thing (From Another World), The Bride Of Frankenstein, and Nosferatu (1922). Mixed in-between them all are tracks from Rosemary‘s Baby and Twisted Nerve.

And now, the bad news (for some): the tracks included on The Definitive Horror Music Collection are not the original recordings. They are all performed by the likes of The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, London Music Works, Gareth Williams, Mark Ayres, and the like.

Some of the differences between the original recordings and the newer ones are subtle at best. Other dissimilarities will stand out like a bull in a china shop to the trained ear. But, in all honesty, despite these not being 100% original, the performers in question do a mostly superb job of keeping the scores as authentic as can be. And, with a price tag of under $40, the 2 ½-hour-plus The Definitive Horror Music Collection is ideal for a Halloween or horror themed party, or as a gift to the horror music aficionado in your life.

• Disc 1
1. Drag Me to Hell – “End Titles” (7:16)
2. Twilight – “Edward At Her Bed (Bella's Lullaby)” (3:33)
3. Let the Right One In (Låt Den Rätte Komma In) – “Eli's Theme” (2:42)
4. Cloverfield – “Roar!” (5:36)
5. Sunshine - “Adagio in D Minor” (4:27)
6. Zodiac - “Graysmith's Theme”( 2:56)
7. Dexter - “Main Title” (1:44)
8. Pan's Labyrinth - “The Labyrinth” (4:03)
9. King Kong – “Suite” (13:47)
10. War Of The Worlds - “Suite” (7:29)
11. Saw - “Hello Zep” (3:01)
12. 28 Days Later - “In The House-In A Heartbeat” (4:21)
13. The Ring – “This Is Going To Hurt” (2:51)
14. The Mummy Returns - “Main Theme” (5:25)
15. Hannibal – “Vide Cor Meum” (3:03)

• Disc 2
1. The Mummy - “The Sand Volcano” / “Love Theme” (2:55)
2. Sleepy Hollow – “End Titles” (3:13)
3. The Haunting – “The Carousel” / “End Titles” (2:55)
4. The Sixth Sense - “Malcolm Is Dead” (5:22)
5. Buffy The Vampire Slayer – “Theme” (1:06)
6. Village Of The Damned – “March Of The Children” (6:35)
7. Bram Stoker's Dracula – “The Storm” (4:24)
8. Army Of Darkness – “Prologue” / “Building The Deathcoaster” (4:32)
9. The Witches Of Eastwick - “Dance Of The Witches” (4:37)
10. Predator – “Main Theme (Edit)” (3:59)
11. Hellraiser – “Suite” (5:55)

12. Hellbound: Hellraiser II – “Suite” (8:44)
13. They Live - “Main Theme” (3:25)
14. Aliens – “Prelude” / “Ripley's Rescue” (5:55)
15. Ghostbusters - “Main Theme” (3:14)

• Disc 3
1. Nightmare On Elm Street - “Main Theme” (4:16)
2. Christine – “Bad To The Bone” (4:56)
3. Poltergeist – “Main Theme” (4:21)
4. The Thing “Main Theme” (4:31)
5. Halloween II - “Main Theme” (4:33)
6. The Fog – “Main Theme” (4:00)
7. Dressed To Kill - “The Gallery” (6:04)
8. The Shining – “Music For Strings, Percussion and Celesta” (7:02)
9. Dracula - “Main Titles” / “Storm” (4:56)
10. Phantasm - “Main Theme” (4:00)
11. Alien - “End Title” (3:46)
12. Halloween - “Main Theme (Mix 1)” (2:39)
13. The Fury – “Main Theme” (2:55)
14. Suspiria - “Main Theme” (6:05)
15. Exorcist II: The Heretic – “Regan's Theme” (2:40)

• Disc 4
1. The Omen – “Ave Satani” (3:56)
2. Young Frankenstein - “Transylvanian Lullaby” (4:09)
3. The Exorcist - “Tubular Bells” (6:02)
4. Duel – “The Café” / “Truck Attack” (5:09)
5. Taste The Blood Of Dracula - “The Young Lovers” / “Ride To The Ruined Church” (6:27)
6. Rosemary's Baby - “Lullaby” (2:42)
7. Twisted Nerve - “Suite” (5:35)
8. The Devil Rides Out - “The Power Of Evil” (2:04)
9. Dracula, Prince Of Darkness - “Suite” (5:07)
10. The Haunting - “The History Of Hill House” (4:36)
11. Dracula - “Main Title” / “Finale” (7:30)
12. Horrors of the Black Museum – “Main Theme” (3:34)
13. The Thing From Another World - “Main Theme” (2:06)
14. The Bride Of Frankenstein – “Creation Of The Female Monster” (8:43)
15. Nosferatu - “Overture” (3:03)

Total Runtime – 276:32

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.