Halloween: The Sound of Evil
Music From The Halloween Film Scores
Composed By: Various Artists
Arranged and Produced By: Dominik Hauser
Distributed by: BuySoundtrax Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
No matter what horror films have come and gone over the years, there is one movie that I consider a Halloween classic. Hitting theaters in 1978, John Carpenter presented us with Halloween, a horror/slasher film that has since been turned into a franchise with countless sequels and even a couple remakes. It was while watching movies like Halloween that I learned how important musical scoring could be for a horror film. The musical score of a horror film can go a long way towards raising goosebumps, sometimes even more than the on-screen visuals can. On October 2, 2013, BuySoundtrax Records released an album celebrating the music of Halloween entitled Halloween: The Sound of Evil - Music From The Halloween Film Scores.
I have always considered the original score of Halloween to be a horror film masterpiece. John Carpenter was one of those rare directors who also composed music for his films. He was the master of creating a minimalistic score that could send chills up the spine of his audience. Featuring repetitive high pitched piano notes in a fast paced tempo that gradually builds layers with a quick moving percussion beat and dark, ominous synthesizer notes, the main theme of Halloween is incredibly chilling. The high pitch piano notes make the listener uncomfortable, the beat gives the listener a sense of urgency and the synths performed in low register give the listener that foreboding feeling. The message: something scary and dangerous is coming my way and I had better get the hell out of here!
The main theme appears twice on this album. Halloween: The Sound of Evil opens with the full version of the main title, featuring the sound of children chanting a Halloween poem: "Black cats and goblins and broomsticks and ghosts / Covens of witches with all of their hopes / You may think they scare me. You're probably right / Black cats and goblins on Halloween night / Trick or treat!" We hear bits and pieces of that main score in many of the following tracks, but the next time we hear the main title in it's original form is the next to last track (Track 21) where the main title is presented without the children chanting.
The first four tracks of the album and Track 21 feature music by John Carpenter alone. As the sequels began to appear, Carpenter was called on for film scoring assistance and he, along with Alan Howarth, created the musical scores of Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch together before Howarth went solo for Halloween IV thru VI. Selections of musical score created by Carpenter and Howarth appear in tracks 4 through 7 on the album and Howarth's solo score selections for the Halloween franchise appear in tracks 8 through 14.
In 1998, it was time for John Ottman to take the reins and his musical score for Halloween: H2O was arranged into a suite by Dominik Hauser. Danny Lux took on the next film in the series, Halloween: Resurrection and a selection of his work has been represented in tracks 16 and 17. The next two tracks feature music created by Tyler Bates for Rob Zombie's re-imagination of the original movie and a sequel to that re-imagined film. Just as Rob Zombie re-imagined the film, so did Tyler Bates re-imagine the original score. Those who know Rob Zombie know his history with industrial metal music and Bates has introduced an industrial metal style to the original piano and synth score, bringing electronic sound into things to add a newer flavor to the older score.
Track 20 features a song that is featured in a number of the Halloween films, Mr. Sandman. Created in 1954 by Pat Ballard, the song implies a sense of innocence and youth as the singer hopes for that guy she has always dreamed of. The song is performed by Katie Campbell for this album. Like Track 21, Track 22 features music from an older Halloween film without the talking. Halloween III: Season of the Witch had nothing to do with the first two films. This was a stand alone that featured a Halloween mask company named Silver Shamrock with a diabolical and murderous plan hinging upon their masks and the signal broadcast by their commercials. Track 5 features the Silver Shamrock Commercial in its entirety complete with the vocals performed on this album by Ford A. Thaxton. Track 22 is the commercial without the talking.
Halloween has always been a special movie for me and I have made an effort to see every one of the sequels - however bad they might be - with the exception of Season of the Witch for its lack of Michael Meyers and the Rob Zombie remake (and subsequent sequel) as I'm just not fond of changing something that was perfect from the onset. There is something about that original Halloween theme by John Carpenter that makes me smile every time I hear it. As chilling as it is, it is brilliant and I love the way it sends chills up my spine every time it is played. I loved the fact that there were two versions of that original track on the album. I also enjoyed the Season of the Witch Silver Shamrock Commercial immensely despite having never seen the film.
In fact, I truly enjoyed most of Halloween: The Sound of Evil - Music From The Halloween Film Scores. I felt the franchise and its various composers were well represented in this album and found that Dominik Hauser did an excellent job in arranging the music. This album would make a great gift for any fan of the Halloween franchise and a great album to listen to on Halloween night - just the right kind of mood music to get your scary on.