Column: Slicing Score: Christine

By Maria Mitchell

Christine (1983). Original Score Soundtrack. Composed by John Carpenter.

Not many film scores have help from a sentient car that can willfully select music to express its evil through its possessed radio. Christine‘s was one of the lucky ones. This soundtrack, though, does not have the songs Christine’s radio plays in the film. It is purely the orchestral score. Plymouth fury, unadulterated and unabridged.

How do you greet the theme to a flaming car marauding down …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: Christine

Column: Slicing Score: Sleepwalkers (1992)

Review: By Maria Mitchell

Sleepwalkers (1992). Score composed by Nicholas Pike.

Ailurophiles may have mixed feelings about this film. I know I do. I find the concept skewed but still interesting enough to pull a good soundtrack out of its music supervisors. I’ve got to mention that much of the soundtrack’s atmosphere makes use of what may be generically termed “jungle music”. A good portion of the score is relaxing music brought to an abrupt halt by quick, miniature crescendos. …

Maria MitchellColumn: Slicing Score: Sleepwalkers (1992)

Column: Slicing Score: House of Usher (1960)

By Maria Mitchell

House of Usher (1960). Composed by Les Baxter.

Sibling rivalry is a real bramble in the craw once one is found ingratiated in its fury. If anyone thinks death is going to make it any better, Edgar Allen Poe’s story “The Fall of the House of Usher” says, Don’t hold your breath.

Les Baxter’s score to Roger Corman’s film, House of Usher, is a subtle one. Its subtlety mimics the quiet, clinical tiptoeing of a jealous, …

IFPColumn: Slicing Score: House of Usher (1960)

Column: Slicing Score: Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

By Maria Mitchell

Bubba Ho-Tep (soundtrack, 2002). Composer: Brian Tyler.

Bubba Ho-Tep is a movie that gleefully shatters the mores of horror films. Based on the short story by Joe R. Lansdale, the movie has protagonists that are old, weak and thought to be insane by their caregivers at the rest home where they spend their elderly days. Through the course of the story, Elvis Presley and Jack Kennedy reclaim their dignity, as they defend their souls against a lethal …

IFPColumn: Slicing Score: Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Column: Slicing Score: The Boys from Brazil (1978)

By Maria Mitchell

Slicing Score: The Boys from Brazil (1978, soundtrack). Composer: Jerry Goldsmith.

Waltz time is a metrical epitome of elegance. A Strauss Waltz is the musical backdrop for the film adaptation of Ira Levin’s book, The Boys from Brazil. There is little in the main titles to suggest anything beyond a lush, sweeping, romantic theme. Such trickery is common in horror and suspense film music.

What makes this story appealing as a horror story is its dark …

IFPColumn: Slicing Score: The Boys from Brazil (1978)

Column: Slicing Score: Dolores Claiborne (1995)

By Maria Mitchell

Dolores Claiborne (1995, soundtrack). Composed by Danny Elfman.

Depression is a horrid thing. It can take something promising and turn it into a nightmare. Why is this emotion worth expressing in literature, music and other artistic mediums? It often needs to be expressed so that this emotion can be coursed towards another, more productive experience, even if the emotion isn’t always expressed in a coherent way. Dolores Claiborne, the film adaptation of the book of the …

IFPColumn: Slicing Score: Dolores Claiborne (1995)

Shivers and Sighs: Column: Slicing Score: Psycho (1960)

By Maria Mitchell

Psycho (1960). Composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann.

Conflicts between familial love and romantic love are familiar for many characters in cinema. No matter what type of love is being expressed, all love has a common denominator: devotion. For Norman Bates, the conflict was which did he harbor a greater devotion to: his mother or a woman he physically desired? The gravity and severity of devotion can twist a person’s mind into hideous convolutions. It is the …

IFPShivers and Sighs: Column: Slicing Score: Psycho (1960)

Angels and Demons Week: Column: Slicing Score: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

By Maria Mitchell

Rosemary’s Baby (soundtrack). Composer: Christopher Komeda, 1968.

The Devil in cinema pops up unexpectedly. In 1956, Catholic Cardinal Spellman and Episcopalian Bishop Pike clashed hotly over the movie Baby Doll, which Spellman denigrated as pornographic and Pike declared profoundly-Christian in message. Their difference of opinion made national headlines. I find this historical snippet interesting and relevant to this review because it illustrates how film has the ability to rattle organized religion to its core. Rosemary Woodhouse raised …

IFPAngels and Demons Week: Column: Slicing Score: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Column: Slicing Score: Phantom of the Opera (1989)

By Maria Mitchell

Phantom of the Opera , composed and conducted by Misha Segal, 1989.

Many film soundtracks have music that is repetitive since a score has to compliment the film. This is why, when heard separately from the film, a soundtrack can sometimes feel boring. It’s really not. It’s interesting because of the subtle switches in mood and tone that occur in the nuances of the music. Orchestral soundtracks explore emotion in many different ways as a means of …

IFPColumn: Slicing Score: Phantom of the Opera (1989)

Poe Week: Making a Poe-Mix Tape

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I suppose the title of this article should be “Making a Poe Playlist”, but in the interests of keeping it retro (because isn’t Poe all about the retro love?), I’ll go with mix tape. Now, I admit I am not a music reviewer. That would be our soundtrack columnist, Maria Mitchell. However, I have done my very best to come up with a collection of songs that capture the Poe spirit. Some of these songs are directly …

IFPPoe Week: Making a Poe-Mix Tape

Poe Week: Column: Slicing Score: The Haunted Palace (1963)

By Maria Mitchell

The Haunted Palace (soundtrack). Composed and conducted by Ronald Stein, 1963.

Ronald Stein was a severely underrated composer in film scoring. The Haunted Palace was one film that showcased his talent for powerful, Gothic music charged with musically sophisticated menace. The main theme of the Palace score plays as a nightmarish waltz, a true danse macabre in its blend of malice and elegance. Palace was one of the many Poe vehicles of American International Pictures but …

IFPPoe Week: Column: Slicing Score: The Haunted Palace (1963)

Column: Slicing Score: Halloween (1978)

By Maria Mitchell

Halloween (1978, soundtrack). Music composed by John Carpenter.

John Carpenter and his fellow musicians dubbed themselves the ‘Bowling Green Philharmonic’ when they set out to perform Carpenter’s score to Halloween. Carpenter made a very economic move by hiring himself as his own film scorist for Halloween. This was just one of many good choices concerning the film. In fact, Carpenter may be able to attribute his position as director of Halloween to his talent for …

IFPColumn: Slicing Score: Halloween (1978)