MUSIC FANTASTIC NEWS ARCHIVES – Expired Postings
from Our News Pages
September 9, 2017
Jóhann Jóhannsson Ousted from BLADE RUNNER 2049, Zimmer & Wallfisch will compose.
Academy Award Nominee and Golden Globe winner Jóhann Jóhannsson is no longer attached to the film Blade Runner 2049. He was announced as the film’s sole composer in August 2016, and in July this year, it was reported that Hans Zimmer would join him due to Jóhann’s busy schedule.
The film’s latest poster now only shows Zimmer’s name (IMDB still shows his collaborator Benjamin Wallfisch (IT) attached as a composer). Jóhann’s agent has confirmed to Fréttablaðið that the Icelandic composer is no longer involved with the film in any capacity, though he is prohibited from saying anything at this point due to his contract.
August 3, 2017
John Powell To Score Untitled Han Solo Movie
July 27, 2017
Composer John Powell, who may be best known for his memorable soundtracks to Matt Damon’ BOURNE series, SHREK, KUNG FU PANDA (1 and 2), and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (1 and 2), will be lifting the baton to score the upcoming young Han Solo movie, due in theaters next year.
Powell, a London native, has written music for dozens of films since moving to the US in 1997, earning an Academy Award nomination for his stirring score to HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. Powell is only the third composer to be welcomed into the exclusive family of STAR WARS live-action music writers, which includes the legendary John Williams (the eight Skywalker saga movies) and Michael Giacchino, who scored last December’s ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY. The untitled Han Solo movie will be scored in the style of the original STAR WARS movies but retain Powell’s distinctive voice.
The untitled young Han Solo movie, which is being directed by Ron Howard, will be released on May 25, 2018.
July 5, 2017
Ryan Shore Scores STAR WARS: FORCES OF DESTINY
- Ryan Shore expands his travels through Disney’s Sci-fi universe with STAR WARS: FORCES OF DESTINY, premiering on the Disney Channel later this month. The show is an original series of animated shorts which explore the untold stories that helped shape the destinies of Rey, Jyn Erso, Princess Leia, Sabine Wren, Padmè Amidala, Ahsoka Tano and others… [click here to read full story]
June 29, 2017
Joseph LoDuca is into some child’s play with Don Mancini’s CULT OF CHUCKY
Joseph LoDuca has been brought on to compose the music for the upcoming sequel, CULT OF CHUCKY. Written and directed by Chucky’s creator Don Mancini, the film stars Alex Vincent, reprising his role as Andy Barclay from the original CHILD’S PLAY movie, with Jennifer Tilly, Tiffany, and Fiona Dourif. Brad Dourif returns to provide the voice of the cursed doll. LoDuca previously scored Mancini’s last Chucky sequel, 2013’s CURSE OF CHUCKY. The new film will be released straight to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on October 3, 2017 by Universal Home Entertainment.
-via filmmusicreporter.com. For more details, and to watch the film trailer, click here
June 26, 2017
DESPICABLE ME 3 soundtrack out today from Back Lot Music
GRAMMY winning musician and composer Heitor Pereira, who has scored all of the films in Illumination’s DESPICABLE ME franchise, returns to score DESPICABLE ME 3, which arrives in theaters on Friday, June 30. This fourth film in the franchise (after DESPICABLE ME, DESPICABLE ME 2, and the spinpoff film MINIONS, continues the story of Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters, Margo, Edith and Agnes, and the multitude of Minions when a mysterious stranger shows up to inform Gru that he has a long-lost twin brother – a brother who desperately wishes to following his twin’s despicable footsteps – one former super-villain will rediscover just how good it feels to be bad. Pereira played more than a dozen instruments for the score including: guitar, bass, piano, drum machines, ukulele, mandolin and a “bucket base” (one string on top of a bucket). Two days of the recording sessions were spent on percussion with drummers, with Alex Acuña, Bernie Dresel, and Mike Shapiro playing simultaneously on complete drum kits. Pereira then had them play orchestral percussion on ethnic instruments including taiko drums, African jun juns and Brazilian Surdos. The addition of 60 members of a choir – who sing through tin foil – created a distortion complementing Pereira’s original ‘80s sounding synth score to match Balthazar Bratt’s style. Bratt’s persona is displayed through ‘80s pop hits along with the unique score. Pereira’s score also represents the themes of family to highlight the brothers’ relationship, as well as Lucy and the girls, and of course, the mischievous Minions.
From Back Lot Music, the score album releases digitally day & date with the film. A songtrack album featuring songs from the movie is coming out from Columbia.
Pereira has a reputation for bringing a unique sensibility to his film scores, ones built from his solid foundation of musical craftsmanship. See my interview with him in my April Soundtrax column, here.
June 22, 2017
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and the new SUSPIRIA score
Director Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Dario Argento’s classic giallo SUSPIRIA (1977) is slated to be scored by Thom Yorke, an English musician and composer best known as the singer and principal songwriter of the alternative rock band Radiohead. The film’s director issued a statement to Variety last month, saying that having Yorke on board was “a dream come true.” He added: “Our goal is to make a movie that will be a disturbing and transforming experience: for this ambition, we could not find a better partner than Thom.”
In clips from an upcoming BBC Radio 6 interview quoted at spin.com, Yorke discussed writing the score, calling it “absolutely terrifying.” He said the new SUSPIRIA would be a “very different film” from the original, but clarified that, in keeping with the music from the 1977 movie, we shouldn’t be expecting Jonny-Greenwood-esque string arrangements from Yorke. “It’s hard because I’m way out of my comfort zone, and I can’t read music so it’s not like I’m writing for orchestra,” he explained. “I’m building it all myself.”
Not that he’ll be following in his footsteps, particularly, but Yorke also described how Vangelis’s music for BLADE RUNNER inspired him in terms of what can be done with electronic soundtracks: “Vangelis, it’s his hands that made that. Which encouraged me. Because that was the thing I was finding most daunting. Normally [scoring] a horror movie involves orchestras, these specific things. But Luca [Guadagnino], the director, and Walter [Fasano], the editor, are very much, like, find your own path with it. … I just have to find a way into it.”
SUSPIRIA recently wrapped filming and is currently in post-production, noted Variety in its May 10 report. The production’s Music Supervisor Robin Urdang (HOLLOWS GROVE, HORNS, PIRANHA 3D) played a key role in negotiating the deal to secure Yorke’s involvement
June 16, 2017
Sneak Preview: Michael Giacchino’s SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Suite Shared
Michael Giacchino has been nice enough to share via Twitter a six-minute-plus suite of music and themes from his score for Marvel’s upcoming SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING movie. The composer’s mastery of elegant themes and rhythmic, adventurous melody seems to serve the score very well. The official score soundtrack album will be released by Sony Masterworks on July 7.
June 15, 2017
Syfy has announced that SHARKNADO 5: GLOBAL SWARMING will premiere on Sunday, August 6, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. The plot of this one involves a “global sharknado” arriving to obliterate the entire planet. Anthony Ferrante once more directs, with Chris Ridenhour and Christopher Cano supplying the score (they’ve composed all the films starting with SHARKNADO 2 – read my interview with Chris Ridenhour about scoring SHARKNADO 2 here)
June 14, 2017
Danny Elfman to score JUSTICE LEAGUE; Junkie XL moving to TOMB RAIDER; James Newton Howard moving to…?
According to a breaking news report this afternoon in The Hollywood Reporter, Danny Elfman has been signed on to compose the score to JUSTICE LEAGUE. It’s likely related to Joss Whedon having replaced Zach Snyder as director after Snyder stepped aside due to a family tragedy (Whedon worked with Elfman, along with primary composer Brian Tyler, on THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON).
Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg) has been signed to score JL but is now reportedly moving over to score TOMB RAIDER (which had previously announced James Newton Howard as its composer, so it looks like this move has caused some assignment shuffling in major projects this week.
Read the full story here at The Hollywood Reporter
June 8, 2017
Rise of the Classic Movie Monsters: A Glimpse Into Universal’s Dark Universe
IMDB Originals has posted a short video all about the Dark Universe, Universal’s franchise of rebooted classic horror characters that include the Mummy, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Phantom of the Opera, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Invisible Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and more. It’s like the Marvel or DC Cinematic Universes only with the classic Universal monsters that launched the horror movie boom in the 1930s and ‘40s. The video lays out Universal’s plans for reboots of their classic monster films over the next four or five years, starting with this month’s THE MUMMY (2014’s DRACULA UNTOLD was to have launched it but plans were changed and it was left as a standalone feature). With Brian Tyler’s terrific score for THE MUMMY offering both a homage to classic mummy movie motifs and a theme-driven score in the classic mold, the forthcoming movies may bold well for orchestral horror movie music. We shall see. But color this spiritual child of Ackerman looking forward to it all. -rdl
Watch the IMDB Originals short video The Dark Universe Explained here.
May 23, 2017
Giona Ostinelli: From CARNAGE PARK to TV’s THE MIST
Giona Ostinelli is composing the music for the upcoming Spike TV event series THE MIST, based on the Stephen King novella. With a career spanning over a record number of 120 film festivals, Ostinelli is a frequent guest at Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes and SXSW. Over the last few years he has been acclaimed for scoring a number of festival favorites, including the 2016 horror film CARNAGE PARK, Screen Media’s 2016 horror film DARLING starring Lauren Ashley Carter (soundtrack released by Lakeshore on CD & digital, Mondo on vinyl; Dread Central described it as “One of the most effective scores of recent times.”) and 2015’s POD – each of which was directed by growing genre fave Mickey Keating (as was 2013’s RITUAL, Ostinelli’s first score for the director). His efforts on these scary movies gave him a pedigree that was ideal for THE MIST’s incarnation as a 10-episode series.
With THE MIST, King’s novella, first filmed by Frank Darabound in 2007, has been reimagined for television by executive producer and writer Christian Torpe (RITA) and produced by the Academy Award winning Weinstein Company, starring Frances Conroy (AMERICAN HORROR STORY, SIX FEET UNDER),Alyssa Sutherland (VIKINGS) and Morgan Spector (ALLEGIANCE). The series focuses on a small town family, recently victimized by a brutal crime. As they deal with the fallout an eerie mist rolls in, cutting them off from the rest of the world and harboring something unknown within its foggy vapors. THE MIST will premiere on June 22, 2017 on Spike TV. The newly-released trailer can be seen here.
For more information on the composer, see www.gionaostinelli.com
May 18, 2017
Mark Isham to Score Marvel’s CLOAK AND DAGGER
The upcoming series CLOAK AND DAGGER, created for Freeform by Joe Pokaski, is based on the Marvel Comic Characters of the same name, and follows the story of two teenagers from very different backgrounds who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers while falling in love. Isham has created critically acclaimed scores for over 100 films, including CRASH, THE MIST, and A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, for which he received a Best Original Score Oscar® nomination. Isham’s recent films include the Ben Affleck action drama THE ACCOUNTANT and upcoming film projects include Christopher Jenkins’ DUCK DUCK GOOSE, an adaptation of Lauren Kate’s #1 New York Times bestseller Fallen and Megan Leavy, the story of a young Marine Corporal whose discipline and relationship with her military combat dog saved many in Iraq.
May 1, 2017
IT COMES AT NIGHT: Brian McOmber (Ex-Dirty Projectors) Scores Upcoming Horror Film
Synths Meet Lonesome Strings & Percussion On Unsettling Score
Imagine the end of the world— Now imagine something worse.
IT COMES AT NIGHT is an upcoming horror film directed and written by award-winning filmmaker Trey Edward Shults. The original score was composed by Brian McOmber, the former drummer of Dirty Projectors (who played on albums such as Bitte Orca and Rise Above, among others).
IT COMES AT NIGHT is a horror film following a man who learns that the evil stalking his family home may be only a prelude to horrors that come from within. Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, the tenuous domestic order he has established with his wife and son is put to the ultimate test with the arrival of a desperate young family seeking refuge. Despite the best intentions of both families, paranoia and mistrust boil over as the horrors outside creep ever-closer, awakening something hidden and monstrous within him as he learns that the protection of his family comes at the cost of his soul.
McOmber’s score utilizes synths, lonesome strings, and thundering percussion, which conjure a kind of primal darkness in the music that is both foreboding and deeply unsettling. Having previously collaborated on Shults’s 2015 debut feature KRISHA, McOmber is a rising presence in the film score world. “After shooting the film and as it evolved in the edit, we started to think about melodic and textural themes and how these themes could reoccur at different times throughout the film,” McOmber said. “And even though it was to be a horror film score that would indulge some genre-specific musical approaches, we wanted to expand the music beyond the realm of horror. We wanted the music to also be beautiful, sad, hopeful, and painful… not just scary.
“We had talked about incorporating strings early on, but I also started to send Trey videos of musicians who I thought would be a great fit for the score. From there, I set out to assemble a small group of core collaborators, as I prefer to work directly with musicians early on in the process. Typically, I like to start by working in a loose, improvisatory setting and let the music take shape as we go. We didn’t do this for all of the music, but many of our themes came about by accident, where a musician played something off the cuff that later – through editing and processing – became an essential element of the score.”
IT COMES AT NIGHT is set for release in theaters on June 9th, with the soundtrack being released the same day on Milan Records. A vinyl edition will follow in the summer.
– via Terrorbird Media
Watch the trailer below:
For more details, see: https://a24films.com/films/it-comes-at-night
IFMCA Award Winners 2016 Recognize Many SF/Fantasy Genre Scores
The International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) has announced its list of winners for excellence in musical scoring in 2016, in the 2016 IFMCA Awards: James Newton Howard’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” wins for best sci -fi/fantasy/horror score; Jóhann Jóhannsson’s acclaimed score for the sci-fi hit THE ARRIVAL (a score disqualified for an Oscar) won Score of the Year; and Michael Giacchino won composer of the year, in recognition of four sci-fi/fantasy scores – DR. STRANGE, STAR TREK BEYOND, ZOOTOPIA, ROGUE ONE. Christopher Young’s Asian fantasy score for THE MONKEY KING 2 won for best Action/Adventure/Thriller, and GAME OF THRONES won for best television score; while La-La Land Records won for best archival collection for John Williams’ Jurassic Park Collection.
For details, and full list of all winners, see:
For full list of 2016 nominees, see:
SOUND OF FEAR to Examine Horror Film Music Via Podcast – Crowdfunding Sought for Ongoing Series
Everybody loves scary movies, and one of the most important elements of a good horror movie is the music. But where does the music come from and why is it so effective? Charlie Brigden, film music journalist writer and a former editor on Films on Wax and allows us to dive into the sonic scary with THE SOUND OF FEAR, a series of podcasts that looks at the scores behind the scares, from Alien to Zombie Flesh Eaters.
“I was inspired by seeing a documentary series on BBC about film music and it made me think that horror music (and films) always get a short shrift despite sound being so important – traditionally few respect the genre,” Brigden told us. “Music and sound is so crucial to horror being effective and suggestive, so I wanted to highlight that as well as give some time to some really wonderful music.”
The first episode is already completed and is available to view as a proof of concept on Brigden’s Patreon site that hosts his crowdfundung campaign. Brigden hopes the campaign will bring in some additional funding here and there “to be able to turn this into an ongoing series.”
Currently, the initial run of THE SOUND OF FEAR is set into six episodes, which will look across some broader areas of the horror genre including the Universal monsters, slasher films, science fiction in horror, and more. “If this series is successfully completed then we can look to concentrate on some of the music we’ve had to skip over, including specific episodes on composers and franchises, as well as producing some bonus material such as interviews with composers and directors.
“So what we’re asking is for money to go towards the running costs of the podcasts.”
For more information, to watch Episode 1, or to support THE SOUND OF FEAR, see: www.patreon.com/soundfearpod
Basil Kirchin: The forgotten genius of UK music
BBC.com has posted a very interesting profile of UK composer Basil Kirchin, best known in film music circles for scoring THE SHUTTERED ROOM (1967),* THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971),** and THE FREAKMAKER (1974; aka US: THE MUTATIONS)*** but was far more prolific in recording experimental and ambient music. Read the profile at bbc.com
* Kirchin’s SHUTTERED ROOM score remained an obscure non-release until 2012 when England’s Trunk Records released a prestige vinyl edition of Kirchin’s score in an expensive limited edition of only 29 copies.
** At the time of its release in 1971, a vinyl LP was released by American International Records, that contained songs from the film plus 5 minutes of music in three tracks from Kirchin’s score. In 2003 Perseverance Records, in association with the composer, released the first score album of the PHIBES music (now sold out).
***Kirchin’s avant garde music for THE FREAKMAKER was preserved on an extremely rare 19-track digital album from Master Cylindar Records (no date), described as a mixture of “straightforward film score music, messed-the-hell-up film score music, and electronically treated/created proto-dark ambient pieces.”
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
April 21, 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Score + Awesome Mix Albums Released Today
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 COLLIDER.com 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.
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 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
He 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)
Music for TARZAN, SERENITY, GALAXY QUEST, PIXELS, WINTER SOLDIER, SHARKTOPUS VS WHALEWOLF
My 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).
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
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, here.
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.
Atli 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
My 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 buysoundtrax.com
A 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 buysoundtrax.com