1970s Spanish Horror Scores Debut on CD from Quartet Records
October 17, 2017
Just in Time for Horrorween:
In addition to its provocative new Eurohorror & fantasy releases already announced (jump back to https://musiquefantastique.com/new-soundtracks/ and see October 10th news), Quartet Records has just released a unique trio of double-bill CDs containing six never-before released soundtracks to Spanish horror films of the 1970s.
EL ESPANTO SURGE DE LA TUMBA (HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB) (1973) is a medieval-themed horror picture with Paul Naschy playing both an evil warlock knight from the 15th century as well as his 20th century descendant trying to undo the damage done by his forbear. Spanish composer Carmelo Bernaola (COUNT DRACULA’S GREAT LOVE, HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE, VERANO AZUL) responds to the evil mayhem with a Gothic/psychedelic score using organ, strings, prepared piano and wooden percussion. Since the score is only about 30 minutes long, the CD also features the complete score for another Spanish horror film:
EL ASESINO ESTÁ ENTRE LOS 13 (THE KILLER IS ONE OF THIRTEEN) (1976), features Paul Naschy as a butler in an Agatha Christie-inspired tale where party guests start dying one by one; it turns out all of them have some connection to the house’s deceased owner. Because the film’s budget was small, famous Spanish composer Alfonso Santisteban (KILLING OF THE DOLLS, NECROPHAGUS, CASTA E PURA) wrote just four cues for the picture, which the filmmakers then placed in some of the most random parts of the film. Nevertheless, on an album it works marvelously, giving ample backing for your own murder-themed dinner party.
EL ASESINO DE MUÑECAS (KILLING OF THE DOLLS) (1975) is a “giallo” in Spanish cinema of the early ’70s. It is far removed from the usual fantasy/terror films of those years because it plays with an eroticism centered on its male protagonist, rather than the more common spotlight on female exhibitionism. Alfonso Santisteban provides a cool score, an undiscovered masterpiece, with a powerful, funky main theme (its sound halfway between scores for the popular Italian giallo and polizziesco genres), as well as a beautiful love theme, dynamic suspense music and Baroque pop!
NECROPHAGUS (aka THE BUTCHER OF BINBROOK) (1971) stands out among the numerous Spanish fantasy/terror films of those years, surprising in its absence of eroticism, and in its brief scenes that construct a dark, intriguing puzzle halfway between Gothic tales and Latin American telenovelas. Santisteban provides an intense musical experience featuring both tonal and atonal passages, with a strong focus on certain instruments such as harpsichord, organ and harmonica.
LA NOCHE DE LOS BRUJOS (THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS) (1974), directed by the popular Amando D’Ossorio (responsible for the “Blind Dead” tetralogy), is probably one of the most enjoyable movies in the genre, set in a wild and mysterious Africa that allowed the director to introduce fantastic elements such as zombies and leopard women born of strange rituals. Fernando García Morcillo mixes pleasant and psychedelic African rhythms with a stylish and soft easy listening style, reminiscent of bossa nova music and the Italian giallo sound.
EL MONTE DE LAS BRUJAS (THE WITCHES MOUNTAIN) (1975), directed by Raúl Artigot and starring Patty Sheppard and John Caffari, is a more restrained film than was usual in the genre. It was undoubtedly intended as a serious approach to the subject of witchcraft. García Morcillo’s score features variations on the religious chant Dies Irae, both in an easy-listening pop rhythm and a vocal version; the voice of mezzo-soprano Alicia González works very well in Maestro Morcillo’s composition, giving the soundtrack a unique sound.
All six scores are here making their premiere release in any form, with sound mastered from original master tapes. Each package includes a 12-page booklet with liner notes that discuss the films, the scores, and the composers. Each release is strictly limited to 300 units.
For more details, see http://www.quartetrecords.com (at their site – click on the individual album pages to hear sample tracks).