Dan Curtis' Dracula

Composed By: Robert Cobert

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In 1974, Dan Curtisí interpretation of one of his favorite horror stories, Bram Stokerís Dracula, first aired on CBS television and in theaters overseas.  The movie was the first to establish a link between Bram Stokerís tale and that of the real life ruthless warrior Vlad Tepes.  The musical score of this film was never before released on CD.  Now, on the 40th anniversary of the movie, Dan Curtisí Dracula has been restored for Blu-Ray release in conjunction with the Varese Sarabande release of the soundtrack.

                The musical score of Dan Curtisí Dracula was created by Robert Cobert, a Julliard-trained composer who spent most of his 90 years in music.  Making a name for himself by creating musical score for daytime television with music for such daytime staples as Dark Shadows, The Price Is Right, The Doctors.  Television and theatrical movie score compositions include Trilogy of Terror, The Winds of War, Intruders, The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang, Burnt Offerings and more.

                The fact that this is a score for an older film means that there is no reliance on electronic or ambient sound to create a scary movie soundtrack.  Robert Cobertís score relies on the manipulation of orchestral instruments for fright effects.  Loud bursts of music following soft yet creepy tones cause the listener to jump out of their seats.  Draculaís sound varies depending on the mood he is in.  While preparing to seduce a victim, the score is mainly high-pitched drawn out strings.  In the midst of that seduction, the victim is portrayed as an innocent through the use of simple piano key strikes.  When Dracula is angry or enraged, we hear blasts of horns. 

                As I listened to the score Robert Cobert created for Dan Curtisí Dracula, I kept thinking that it made the perfect accompaniment to the visual scenes I imagined while reading Bram Stokerís Dracula.  I love the older musical scores for their simplicity.  They could elicit a frightful response just through the use of high-pitched strings, repetitive piano key strikes and loud musical bursts.  These are scores, not sound effects and todayís horror score composers have a lot to learn from the experts of old.  Dan Curtisí Dracula is just what the doctor offered for fans of the classic horror score.


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