A Life Force Unleashed
August 15, 2022
Expanded Reissue of 1985’s LIFEFORCE by Henry Mancini – Separate CD Available with Michael Kamen’s Additional Music
Intrada Records has released the complete score to Henry Mancini’s horror- s.f.-horror film, Tobe Hooper’s LIFEFORCE, on a remastered 2-CD set. Based on Colin Wilson’s novel “The Space Vampires,” the film takes place in London when a race of space vampires arrives and infects the populace, beginning an apocalyptic descent into chaos.
Henry Mancini, once a regular composer for Universal horror films in the 1950s, created a powerfully ferocious and evocative score – but due a number of post-production editorial changes to the film prior to release, Mancini was unable to come back in to rescore the affected segments – notably the entire opening – and equally esteemed composer Michael Kamen handled the additional scoring duties. Intrada’s new 2-CD set is all Mancini’s music – the separate album of Michael Kamen’s score, including the premiere of his orchestral sessions, is also available from Intrada.
The 2-CD Mancini set includes the composer’s entire score plus a few alternates, courtesy of MGM, including his “stingers” and myriad brief cues intended for the filmmakers to utilize throughout the film as musical punctuation. These include his signature rubber balls dropped on piano strings, glassy bowing effects on the edges of gongs, other ideas both grotesque, ethereal. Original Varese label CD program also appears on CD 2.
Michael Kamen wound up recording over 75 minutes of music, including the powerful orchestral cues for the entire opening sequence and complex electronic music for much of the film thereafter. This standalone CD presentation is all Michael Kamen, produced in cooperation with the Michael Kamen Estate. For that initial spaceship encounter sequence, Kamen scores for full orchestra with aggressive blocks of fortissimo brass leading the massive resources of the National Philharmonic Orchestra. Kamen also rescored the Carlsen nightmare sequence with his orchestra. For the electronic cues, Kamen worked with multiple layers of sound, melding both his signature rhythmic devices and piano motifs within larger ideas both thick and intense, transparent and cerebral. In addition to the underscore, Kamen recorded two lengthy sequences which he entitled, “Alien Spacecraft Atmospheres;” these appear as extras after the 65-minute score proper, with the second one bringing the entire album to a peaceful, serene cascading of electronic chimes that fade, twinkling away into the night.
Both the 2-CD Mancini soundtrack and the 1-CD Kamen soundtrack, sold separately, include informative booklet notes by Tim Greiving.