from Our News Pages

May 15, 2017

Binary Reptile Scores New Cinematic Experience Audiostate™ Sound Book Horror Story.

Lakeshore Records will release CRAWL INTO THE NARROW CAVES, the soundtrack to The Narrow Caves, an “Audiostate” ™ sound book available on Bandcamp May 16th, and through all digital providers and amazon Manufacture On Demand on May 19,th featuring music by Binary Reptile (composer Jeff Herriott and writer/director S. Craig Zahler).

The Narrow Caves is the first Audiostate™ ever released, a new product that is essentially an audiobook meant to recreate the intimate sound of a cinematic, “ear-movie” experience. Adapted from a script by award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and director S. Craig Zahler (BONE TOMAHAWK, WRAITHS OF THE BROKEN LAND), The Narrow Caves features voice acting by Vincent D’Onofrio, Will Patton, Lili Simmons, and Wyatt Russell. Binary Reptile provides an eerie score that contributes to the cinematic feel of this haunting piece. Crawl into the Narrow Caves is the original music used as the score to The Narrow Caves.

Versatile composer Jeff Herriott’s first film score was Zahler’s BONE TOMAHAWK (released by Lakeshore in 2015). Harriott is also a noted composer of classical and experimental music and is a member of the metal band RealmBuilder. He is a Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, where he is the coordinator of the Media Arts and Game Development Program and teaches courses in audio, multimedia, music technology, and composition.

Sample the opening track “Charred Remains” here at DreadCentral.

April 27, 2017

Adam Taylor’s score for new HULU series THE HANDMAID’S TALE to be released digitally by Lakeshore May 5

Lakeshore Records will release the soundtrack to THE HANDMAID’S TALE, an original HULU series digitally on May 5, 2017. The album features the series’ original score by composer Adam Taylor (AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, MEADOWLAND).

“In creating the score for THE HANDMAID’S TALE, I recalled a conversation with series creator Bruce Miller where he describes a world which is dark, but hopeful,” said Taylor.  “That description shaped how I approached the creation of a theme that would emotionally connect the audience to the various systems at play in the series.”

Adapted from the classic novel by Margaret Atwood (previously filmed in 1990), THE HANDMAID’S TALE is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state.  As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world. In this terrifying society where one wrong word could end her life  Offred navigates between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.

Watch the series’ trailer here

“The systems are the antagonist of the series, a relentless and indifferent force that is slowly disfiguring society and the inhabitants of Gilead,” Taylor explained. “I thought about it like waves of sound, waves that slowly grew in volume and dissonance until it overcame the senses. This led to what we landed on as the opening theme, and also how we approached the dynamics and shaping of the orchestral elements of the score.”

Taylor continued, “We knew from the start that we wanted to use classical instruments, as well as synths and atonal elements. One idea for the score was to reiterate sounds and instruments through processes that would create a loss in fidelity, like a poor quality photocopy… much like how life in Gilead was a distorted replica of normal life.”  He experimented with an old tape echo to achieve this sound. “I went as far as tracking an instrument, then changing the speed of the tape to ‘fake’ melodic changes. It took some time to get right, but was worth it in the end – and ended up being crucial to making, what was essentially a two-note theme, sound emotive and interesting.”

Taylor is a film score composer based in Long Beach, California known for his subdued, emotional, and minimalistic scores.  Taylor began his career scoring documentary and short films when Editor Stephen Mirrione enlisted his talents for John Wells’ August: Osage County.  Since then, Taylor has become a prominent and sought after composer in the indie film space, most recently scoring BEFORE I FALL from director Ry Russo-Young. For more information see the composer’s web site here


March 13, 2017

James Newton Howard to Score new TOMB RAIDER film

Multiple Oscar-nominee James Newton Howard has been signed to compose the score for MGM’s new TOMB RAIDER film. Howard is best known most recently for his scores to FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM, MALEFICENT, THE HUNGER GAMES franchise, and co-composer of BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT.

The film, scheduled for release in March 2018, is directed by Roar Uthaug, known for the 2015 Norwegian disaster film THE WAVE, and stars Alicia Vikander (JASON BOURNE, EX MACHINA) as Lara Croft, and Daniel Wu (GEOSTORM, WARCRAFT) as Lu Ren.]

– via tombraidercollection

BATMAN V SUPERMAN Composer Hans Zimmer “Officially” Retires from Superhero Movies


Moviegoers may not be feeling superhero fatigue, but composer Hans Zimmer is. After scoring Christopher Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT trilogy, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, MAN OF STEEL, and now BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, Zimmer declared in an interview with BBC’s HARDtalk: “I have officially retired from the superhero business … I did BATMAN BEGINS with Chris 12 years ago, so THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy might be three movies to you, to me it was 11 years of my life,” he said in part. “This one was very hard for me to do, to try to find new language.”

Read full story on here  

Christopher Lennertz & Agent Carter get their Big Band Swing on  

Watch segment on clip below – Digital Single out March 18

Lennertz collaborated with Tony Winner David Zippel to create a swingin’ original song for MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER which featured last Tuesday night on ABC in the episode “A Little Song and Dance.” Called “Whatcha Gonna Do (It’s Up To You),” the song features a unique and fun blend of swing, jazz and vocals reminiscent of many hit Broadway musicals.

AgentCarter logo

Since the show’s premiere last year, Lennertz has scored the entire series (see my interview with Lennertz about scoring the original AGENT CARTER “one shot” film here). “It was such a thrill to collaborate on a song with David,” he said about letting his inner Big Band out. “His musical style blended well with the jazzy musical tone we were going for, especially on this episode. I am so honored to have had the opportunity to work on two ABC shows, and with two great talents on Broadway, David Zippel and Alan Menken.” Lennertz and Menken wrote the score for Knights in armor series GALAVANT together, and are collaborating on the score for the upcoming animated film SAUSAGE PARTY. In order for the music to reflect the magnitude of the action and story, Lennertz records both MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER and GALAVANT with the Hollywood Studio Symphony.

MARVEL'S AGENT CARTER Season 1 soundtrack album (ABC Records, digital)

MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER Season 1 soundtrack album (ABC Records, digital)

MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER follows Marvel comics character Peggy Carter (Captain America’s former girlfriend before his disappearance during World War II) as she balances life as a secret agent and a single woman in 1940’s America. In the second season, she moves from New York to Los Angeles to deal with the threats of the new Atomic Age in the aftermath of World War ll. For the score, Lennertz uses brass instruments to highlight the big band era and French Horns and strings to enhance the action scenes. “Peggy is sexy and seductive and with the strings one can slip into espionage and tension,” Lennertz explains.

Watch the musical dream scene from Agent Carter in the clip at the link below – the song’s digital single comes out on March 18th:

New Podcast  Explores Universal Studios’ Composer Herman Stein and the Hollywood Hills House He Built

_HermanStein 1983 PhotoRDLarson cropHe composed some of the most effective and best-remembered music of the 1950’s science fiction/monster boom – music for THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, TARANTULA, THIS ISLAND EARTH – yet grew old as a misunderstood recluse, known to but a few.  Take 25 minutes and listen to The House on The Hill – a remarkable and poignant podcast about Herman Stein, one of the most significant composers of the Universal B-movies of the 1950s. It’s about the house he built in 1961 for he and his wife, and opens up a profound glimpse into the man in his later years, and what a wonderful soul he truly was. I was one who got to know him in the 1980’s, visited and interviewed him in his wonderful house in 1983 for CinemaScore magazine and Musique Fantastique‘s first edition, and we corresponded for a bit.  He was one of the warmest and friendliest fellows I’d met in my early journey through the world of film music.

(Herman Stein photo by Randall D. Larson, 1983)


Sept column bannersMy new Soundtrax column has been posted and features new interviews with David Newman (animated TARZAN, SERENITY, GALAXY QUEST), Henry Jackman (PIXELS, CAPTAIN AMERICA WINTER SOLDIER), and Charles Bernstein (SHARKTOPUS VS WHALEWOLF), plus new soundtrack reviews of genre scores including 12 MONKEYS (Trevor Rabin & Paul Linford), FANTASTIC FOUR (Marco Beltrami & Philip Glass), FLASH GORDON (TV – Michael Picton), and HELIX (TV – Reinhold Heil). 

The BLACK CAT: Universal’s Symphony of Horrors, The Film’s Music Black Cat Cover Promo-500x500

I am pleased to share a long chapter essay with Gregory Mank’s detailed production background about the making of Universal’s 1934 classic thriller, THE BLACK CAT. The film, the first teaming of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, is largely regarded as the darkest, most sinister horror classic in the studio’s legendary canon. Not a monster film like most of its ilk, but an honestly creepy horror film.

My essay,  “The BLACK CAT: Universal’s Symphony of Horrors, The Film’s Music,” goes into comprehensive detail about the film’s use of classical music as its film score, identifying each music cue in the film and describing how music director/composer Heinz Roemheld adapted to suit the specific sequences while adding some original cues of his own. – rdl

Available from BearManorMedia.

(also in hardcover)

Composer Lorne Balfe on TERMINATOR GENISYS

Soundtrax TerminatorGenisys Balfe

My July Soundtrax column features a detailed interview with Lorne Balfe about scoring the latest TERMINATOR film- plus soundtrack album reviews of genre scores from A.I. (expanded release), Netflix’s DAREDEVIL, DRAGONHEART 3, JUPITER ASCENDING, ZOMBEAVERS – and others.  

The Story Behind Varese Sarabande Records
The Origin Story of the Long-Lasting Soundtrack Label that had brought many fantasy/sf/horror genre soundtracks to release

Scoring the New Seasons of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., THE WALKING DEAD, OUTLANDER, and the debuts of CONSTANTINE and INTRUDERS
My long interview with BEAR McCREARY focuses on these plus BLACK SAILS and much more.
Review of new fantasy score by Dario Marianelli THE BOXTROLLS
Review of new horror score DEAD WITHIN (Bradford &Worbeck)

Guardians of the Galaxy – Scoring the Film
My interview with composer Tyler Bates about scoring the hit sci-fi film GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, is posted in my August Soundtrax column,

Friedhofer & FantasyBeauty&Beast MarcDamon 1962 screen grab-6

My new article discusses the acclaimed film composer’s work in the fantasy & horror genre, expanded from chapters in Musique Fantastique Books 1 and 3. It has been posted to the new Hugo Friedhofer web page.   Right: Friedhofer’s gorgeous and pulse-pounding score for the 1962 werewolf version of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, starring Mark Damon,  is discussed in this article. 

James Bernard – Scoring NOSFERATU A Silent Classic
My 1996 interview with top Hammer composer James Bernard, mainly about his new score for the 1997 BBC revised print of the 1922 classic NOSFERATU, has been archived on the runmovies web site.  Portions of this interview are included in my coverage of Bernard in MF2 Book 2.

Music for Universal’s THE INVISIBLE MAN


I was pleased to have been asked to write the postscript to Philip J Riley’s latest MagicImage film book, “The Invisible Man,” which includes the 1933 film’s original shooting script along with production background by Gregory Wm. Mank.  My essay, ’I’ve Just Heard The Invisible Man!” – Music and Monsters in Universal’s Early Horror Period, includes an extended analysis of the film’s use of music, over and above my much briefer coverage of its music on MF II Book 1. – rdl

The book is available from BearManor Media & also available on amazon.

Hansel&GretelAlbumCoverAtli Örvarsson, Witch Hunter – A protégé of Hans Zimmer, Icelandic composer Atli (pronounced AHT-Lee) Örvarsson has scored a vast array of film and TV projects this year. He scores NBC’s new hit series CHICAGO FIRE weekly, composed the current hit HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, and is working with Hans Zimmer on the new Superman feature MAN OF STEEL. I Interviewed Atli for my February Soundtrax column, discussing his background and his approach to composing music for films such as VANTAGE POINT, THE EAGLE, SEASON OF THE WITCH, and HANSEL & GRETEL

Reinhold_Heil_bannerMy interview with German composer Reinhold Heil, whose long-time collaboration with Australian composer/keyboardist Johnny Klimek and German director/composer has led some intriguing and effective fantasy (PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER, CLOUD ATLAS, I FRANKENSTEIN) and horror scores (THE CAVE, George A. Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD, ONE MISSED CALL, US remake), has appeared in my January column at

F posterA taut thriller by the name of “F” came out in England in 2010.  The film is a new entry in the growing subgenre of “hoodie thrillers” in which innocent protagonists are menaced by hooded sweatshirt-wearing youths – the French film ILS (THEM), the British films EDEN LAKE and CHERRY TREE LANE, and the recent Irish film CITADEL are other notable examples.  “F” is unusual in that its protagonist, unlike the damsel in distress in films like P2 and others, is a middle aged male schoolteacher menaced by a gang of hooded toughs after he gives an anti-social student an F grade.  The film is a well-paced and very well directed thriller, effectively resolved, supported by a very creepy score by Neil Stemp.

I’ll cover “F” and other hoodie horrors in Book 4 of Musique Fantastique II.  In the meantime, read my interview with Neil about Scoring “F” in my December column at

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