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February 18, 2019

Interview: Umberto Gaudino Scores Brit Gangster Horror Movie POLTERHEIST

Polterheist-PosterDirected by David Gilbank, the film is his first feature and is based on his 2016 short of the same name. Starring Jo Mousley, Sid Akbar Ali, Jamie Cymbal, the film has to do with a pair of gangsters who are given 72 hours to discover the whereabouts of a stash of drug money stolen by their boss. There’s only one problem…they just murdered him. Frantic to find the cash, the hapless criminals kidnap a psychic medium and force her to contact the dead gang boss. Unfortunately for them, they only succeed in unleashing an evil spirit bent on revenge.

If Guy Ritchie Did a Horror Film It Would Be POLTERHEIST

The Guy Ritchie reference is one that more than one reviewer of the film has cited. “What would a Guy Ritchie Horror Film look like?” asked the reps of the Benton Park Film Festival in St. Louis, and answered: “David Gilbank gives you a film that not only makes you chuckle, but dares to keep you on the edge of your seat!” Amyana Bartley of the Queen B. Prods website described POLTERHEIST as having “all of the elements of a Ritchie classic like SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK AND BARREL. It’s a dark comedy that has a lot of unexpected twists and layers of amusing inanity, sometimes closing in on slapstick, amidst all of its violence and drama. It’s a synthesis of gangs, empty-headed gangsters, and the paranormal wrapped into one wild ride.”


The film score was composed by Umberto Gaudino, an Italian composer who makes his feature film scoring debut with POLTERHEIST after having been involved with music for various media and the fashion industry for several years. “I discovered Umberto at the Leeds Conservatoire of Music,” Gilbank said in an interview for the starburst magazine website. “I approached one of the tutors and asked if there [were] any talented movie musicians there and he immediately told me about Umberto. I met with Umberto and agreed to work together. He went back to Italy soon after and completed the music from his bedroom in Turin. He’s one to watch. The music in the film, like all the other elements enables it to punch well above its weight.”

Umberto GuadinoBorn December 15, 1991 in Turin, Umberto Guadino graduated in violin in 2015 at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi of Turin, where he studied composition and piano. He also swtudied film music composition under the guidance of the maestro and composer Ezio Bosso. In 2016/2017 he obtained a Masters in “Creative Musician” at the Leeds College of Music in England, with a specialization in Music for Media, with composer Neil Myers and with Oliver Weder from Spitfire Audio.

Because of the variety of genres within POLTERHEIST, Guadino’s main inspirations in scoring the film came from quite different backgrounds and ethnicities, among which are the music of THE EXORCIST (Jack Nitzsche), THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Trent Renzor & Atticus Ross), THE ITALIAN JOB (John Powell), and SHERLOCK HOLMES (Hans Zimmer) – all mixed with a lot of 70’s vintage funky vibes and some Indian instruments.

“Although POLTERHEIST is mainly a gangster movie, it is full of supernatural elements,” Guadino told Musique Fantastique. “So I wanted to musically emphasize it as much as possible, in a quasi-horror way. But I wanted to keep that in sharp contrast with the rest of the themes the film, even in a musical sense, underlining much the gangster element on one hand, and, because one of the two main characters working for a Pakistani mafia clan, including some Indian music elements on the other hand. All this work was then combined with my background as an Italian classical musician.”

From a practical viewpoint, since POLTERHEIST was a low budget film, a full orchestra was not a feasible option, but there was enough of a budget to allow Guadino to hire a handful of musicians to play some crucial instruments for the soundtrack. “The main theme of the film is played by the cello of Oscar Doglio, while other important themes are performed on the duduk and saxophone by Fabio Pezzarossa,” said Guadino. “They’re both excellent musicians as well as friends. All these recordings, along with the whole production of the soundtrack, have been realized in my little garage studio in Turin, but with the aim of making everything as professional as possible.”


The film features an End Credit song, “Dark Girl, which was a collaboration between director David Gilbank, who wrote the lyrics, and Sara Laddomada (an amazing singer who performed the song), Dani Galenda (guitarist) and Guadino as composers and producers of the track.

POLTERHEIST is Guadino’s first soundtrack for a feature film, having worked on a few short films previously). “I never expected this genre of film for my first work on a full-length movie,” said the composer. “It’s really been a challenge, but I’m honestly happy with having made it. I feel like this film is really a successful project, made by passionate people, and it’s definitely an example of what can be done effectively even with a low budget.”

For more information on Gaudino, see his website.

POLTERHEIST has been released by Tribal Films in the UK on DVD and VOD via Amazon.UK, but release plans for the rest of the world remain pending. Updates can be found on the movie’s Facebook page.

– Randall D. Larson

Watch the film’s trailer:

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