MOVIEDRONE, VOL. 1
With the huge success of IT and retrospectives of his work everywhere you look, everyone is currently obsessed with Stephen King. CHRISTINE (**** Varese Sarabande, Sep 29) is a deluxe vinyl remaster of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth’s score to Carpenter’s 1983 adaptation of King’s book about a possessed Plymouth Fury. Varese Sarabande’s reissue has brand new art by “Ghoulish” Gary Pullin but the real attraction is just how good the soundtrack is. Carpenter and Howarth’s atmospherics beautifully introduce the score, with the ethereal ‘Obsessed With The Car’, but it quickly descends into the madness Carpenter and King are famous for; ‘Show Me’ highlights Carpenter’s talent for catchy arpeggios while ‘Moochie’s Death’ is a thumping floorshaker for a demonstration of Christine’s talent for vehicular homicide. The rythmic pulsing of ‘Regeneration’ recalls THE THING as mechanical melodies push the car to repair itself in one of the film’s most spectacular scenes, and perhaps CHRISTINE is one of Carpenter and Howarth’s forgotten masterpieces — it definitely deserves at least a drive-by listen.
Similarly on the reissue front is UNFORGIVEN (*** Varese Sarabande, out now), again released on vinyl. Lennie Niehaus’ tense and mournful score for Clint Eastwood’s revisitionist western masterpiece is a difficult but effective listen, however the backbone of the score is Eastwood’s composition ‘Claudia’s Theme’, a versatile piece that varies in tone and orchestration throughout the score, but easily the highlight. A more contemporary release is WIND RIVER (**** Invada/Lakeshore, out now), Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ score for a crime thriller set around a Native American reservation. Cave and Ellis happily imbibe the score with the appropriate ethnic influences and it displays their innate efficiency at boiling concepts down into pure soundscapes. WIND RIVER is absolutely haunting, beautiful to be sure, and is highly recommended.
Bear McCreary’s REBEL IN THE RYE (****, Sparks & Shadows, out now) is a clear homage to the great Elmer Bernstein’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, unsurprising considering Bernstein was McCreary’s mentor. Based on the story of JD Salinger and his iconic novel “The Catcher In The Rye”, McCreary’s score is driven by a beautiful main theme that’s both tender and huge, similar to Bernstein’s legendary MOCKINGBIRD theme, and features an interesting sound, such as the use of an actual typewriter as percussion as well as some wonderful use of grand piano, as well as some great jazz pieces. McCreary shows his chops here; it still retains his signature modern sound while homaging the master, and is just wonderful to listen to. AMERICAN ASSASSIN (** Varese Sarabande, Sep 15) opens with a tender piano melody and violin combo that is typical of composer Steven Price’s style, though perhaps not your average Hollywood actioner. It’s very single minded, with some nice uses of electric guitar and some good tonal patches, but it’s not really much of an interesting listen outside of the beginning and end tracks.
Speaking of CHRISTINE, John Carpenter has just directed a new video for his reiminagining of the track on his upcoming album ANTHOLOGY: MOVIE THEMES 1974–1998, starring himself driving Christine. Check it here, although I’m not sure it matches up to the last music video I remember him doing.
Also sneaking out has been a part of the main theme from the upcoming CBS/Netflix series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, scored by Jeff Russo. It’s an interesting piece, although perhaps ill-served until it can be seen with the actual show intro, and it has a big slice of the Alexander Courage fanfare, but you can judge for yourselves here.