Column: Slicing Score: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

By Maria Mitchell

Sleepy Hollow (1999). Composer: Danny Elfman.

This film’s beautiful cinematography keeps vivid color to an effective minimum and relies on dreary, overcast, gray atmosphere to create dread. The score employs a similar concept by relying heavily on low-end orchestral instruments like contrabass, bassoons and tubas, and cuing gentler instruments like harps and solo violins sparsely.

“Introduction”: The ideally ominous way to begin a film like Sleepy Hollow. I’ve always been partial to the decapitation sequences in …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Column: Slicing Score: Kill Bill. Vol. 1 (2003)

By Maria Mitchell

Kill Bill (2003). Composer: Various artists.

This score is an intriguing jigsaw. Its cultural span includes Spanish, Asian and Spaghetti Western-Italian musical influences. It also includes rap, disco, contemporary pop, rockabilly, and spoken dialogue from the film.

“Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” by Nancy Sinatra: Kill Bill is not a subtle film and this song’s meaning in the film is not metaphoric.

“That Certain Female” by Charlie Feathers: Jerry Lee Lewis’s fellow Sun label Rockabilly …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: Kill Bill. Vol. 1 (2003)

Sword and Sorcery Week: Column: Slicing Score: Conan the Barbarian (1982)

By Maria Mitchell

Conan the Barbarian (1982). Composer: Basil Poledouris.

This score represents one heartfelt, profoundly moving excursion into the realm of sword and sorcery film music. This score is fondly remembered by many fans. Fans that have left well-thought-out reviews on IMDB and numerous comments of gushing praise for favored cues on YouTube as they’ve trudged through cyberspace. I was very pleased to see that composer Basil Poledouris got a chance to conduct a live performance of Conan‘s …

Maria MitchellSword and Sorcery Week: Column: Slicing Score: Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Column: Slicing Score: The Wicker Man (1973)

By Maria Mitchell

The Wicker Man (1973). Composer: Paul Giovanni.

The plot of The Wicker Man is rooted in fundamentalism. Fundamentalism can be summed up as: It is what we believe. The thoughts of the community of Summerisle in this film can be summed up as: If we believe our life will benefit from your death, then it will.

Sgt. Howie is a police investigator that travels to Summerisle to search for a missing girl named ‘Rowan Morrison.’ It soon …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: The Wicker Man (1973)

Column: Slicing Score: Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

By Maria Mitchell

Phantom of the Paradise (1974). Composer: Paul Williams.

As time has gone by, I’ve become convinced that this wild, comic-strip-like homage to various horror film classics, from Psycho to Frankenstein, is the definitive film version of Phantom of the Opera. I’ve seen various film versions of this story and have found a beef in all of them. But never one quite like this.

Director Brian De Palma utilizes satire in this film well. What’s scary …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

Column: Slicing Score: The Craft

By Maria Mitchell

The Craft soundtrack (1997). Composer: Graeme Revell and various artists.

Some films about witchcraft and paganism have not attracted the right attention to themselves because they often end up sensationalizing the elements of witchcraft in a way that makes practitioners look like they are delusional, power-crazed hellions.

This film deals with disturbing social issues that are not mortared values of the practice and discipline of Wicca. This film is not the best showcase for Wicca as a …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: The Craft

Column: Slicing Score: House

By Maria Mitchell

House (1986). Composer: Harry Manfredini.

Much of the film crew responsible for the slasher rampage in the Friday the 13th saga were also responsible for making this low-budget, classy little horror flick that greeted audiences in 1986. Harry Manfredini, scorist of the Friday the 13th films, also wrote the music to this film. House‘s soundtrack is, unfortunately, difficult to purchase because of its limited demand and distribution. Your best bet is to snag a copy of …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: House

Column: Slicing Score: Fire in the Sky

By Maria Mitchell

Fire in the Sky (1993). Composer: Mark Isham.

Regardless of the widespread incredulous attitude towards alien abduction, I really like this movie. It encapsulates all the uncomfortable reactions a community has when one of their members disappears under circumstances that are unacceptable. This film dramatizes the real-life disappearance of Travis Walton from Snowflake, Arizona in 1975. Where Walton was for the five days he was missing, what caused his disappearance, and why he returned in the manner …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: Fire in the Sky

Column: Slicing Score: Mars Attacks! (1996)

By Maria Mitchell

Marks Attacks! (1996). Composer: Danny Elfman.

1996 was a year that belonged to the aliens in mass media. Television chose to showcase two science fiction shows that were toned with a comedic flair. 3rd Rock from the Sun made audiences laugh on NBC and Space Cases colored Nickelodeon’s airwaves with whimsical corniness. On the big screen, however, audiences were introduced to aliens with less benevolence than Harry Solomon or Rosie Ianni. The aliens of Independence Day blew …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: Mars Attacks! (1996)