In the cellar, an ancient evil has awoken…

April 18, 2022

Stephen McKeon’s Horror Score for Irish Horror Film THE CELLAR Released by MSM

The Cellar is a 2022 Irish horror film written and directed by Brendan Muldowney and starring Elisha Cuthbert, Eoin Macken, and Tara Lee. The film is produced by Epic Pictures, Hail Mary Pictures, Savage Productions, and Wrong Men North,  released by Shudder (USA). The film’s original score has been composed by Stephen McKeon, an Irish composer of film and television soundtrack music who has written the scores of over 80 films, plus a number of Hercule Poirot TV movies, as well as many TV drama series including BLACK MIRROR. He has also scored the fourth and fifth seasons of the British fantasy drama, PRIMEVAL. He has received two Irish Film and Television Awards, both for John Boorman films, QUEEN & COUNTRY in 2014 and THE TIGER’S TAIL in 2004 and was previously nominated for BLIND FLIGHT, SAVAGE and the children’s animated feature NIKO 2 – LITTLE BROTHER, BIG TROUBLE.

About THE CELLAR: Keira Woods’ daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new house. She soon discovers there is an ancient and powerful entity controlling their home that she will have to face or risk losing her family’s souls forever.

About THE SCORE: “I’m a great believer in the leitmotif approach to film scoring and in this case the film concerns a family who move into a mansion which has a cellar with ten steps leading down to it and also, unfortunately, hell,” said the composer. “Those steps formed the basis of my leitmotif. Woven throughout the score is a low percussive rhythm at a slow walking pace. It creates the ominous feeling of dread and of something wicked this way coming, to misquote Shakespeare. That slow percussive rhythm instantly lets the audience know that evil is all around and that it’s getting closer. I also took the slightly unusual approach of recording a lot of live material before I started composing. This consisted of strings, choir and low brass and woodwinds. I spent a few days recording them performing a range of experimental techniques in the style of Penderecki and Ligeti. The reason I did this was to deliberately cut myself off from the possibility of writing anything too ‘controlled’ or ‘expected’.

“Once the scoring process began I took that recorded material and abused it dreadfully! It was chopped up, reversed, layered and manipulated to create the feeling of terror and dread I was after. I used a relatively small string section of just violas and violins which, far from making the score feel smaller, actually injected a visceral rage into the performances which would have been smoothed out if bigger sections had been used.” – via MovieScore Media.

The digital soundtrack album has been released by MovieScore Media – see here for details and sample tracks.

Watch the film’s trailer:

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