A Christmas Horror Story

Music Composed By: Alex Khaskin

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In the horror anthology, A Christmas Horror Story, William Shatner is DJ Dan, a radio DJ stuck with a long shift at the Bailey Downs radio station on Christmas Eve.  Throughout his shift a series of events take place: a group of teenagers break into their school to investigate a past Christmas murder, a couple discovers something disturbing about their son, greed has caused Krampus to pay a visit to one particular Bailey Downs family and Santa has discovered a zombie outbreak in his workshop.

            The musical score of A Christmas Horror Story was created by Russian composer Alex Khaskin.  Receiving undergraduate education in piano and conducting at Glinka’s School for The Musically Gifted and studying composition and conducting at St. Petersburg State Conservatory, Khaskin worked as a pianist, conductor and orchestrator.  He eventually became interested in film composing, attending master classes by Andrei Petrov.  Since then, he has created a number of musical scores for theater, film and documentaries and is an active composer of contemporary classical music. 

            For the score of A Christmas Horror Story, Khaskin decided to set the mood with a Christmas carol: "The idea was to stay with the traditional warm Christmas sound to counterpart that the film is actually a horror...A well-known Ukrainian carol was transformed into a big orchestral score because the mood slowly developed into a massive danger score."  The first track, It's Christmas Eve, is a spooky song in the tradition of Carol of the Bells featuring the distorted voice of a child singing.  The next track, Santa's Theme, starts off cute and Christmasy, but turns a bit ominous toward the end of the track.

            As things progress, the score becomes darker.  Khaskin elected to stay with an orchestral score rather than using the dubstep or heavy metal style suggested by directors.  Thus, there are moments of soft orchestral music representing the "quiet before the storm" and fast-paced orchestral action sequences, perhaps indicating a battle taking place or a terrified run from danger. 

            Unfortunately, not enough of the soundtrack contains actual music.  Most of it features sound effects to accentuate the horror of the film like screeching violins, blasts of sound, distortion and more.  Sounds threaded together create music, but sounds blasted here and there or appearing out of nowhere with no cohesion are just sounds...or, more aptly, disconcerting and scary noise.  Though I enjoy the orchestral pieces created by Alex Khaskin, I didn't hear enough of them to make me want to actually purchase the A Christmas Horror Story Soundtrack as a whole. 


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