La Sombra Prohibida

Music Composed by: Arnau Bataller

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In La Sombra Prohibida, the sequel to La Herencia Valdemar, property appraiser Luisa Llorente has been missing for four days.  She had been sent to assess the home of Lazarus Valdemar, but never returned.  In La Herencia Valdemar, the company Luisa works for hired Detective Nicholas Tramel to find her.  He has yet to be heard from.  Meanwhile, co-workers Ana and Eduardo, worried about the safety of their friend, also set out to find her.  Traveling by car, the two hope to catch up to the detective who has a bit of a head start traveling to the Valdemar property.  What they discover there will raise quite a few eyebrows and possibly be the death of them all.

            The musical score of La Sombra Prohibida was created by Valencia-born composer Arnau Bataller.  Through the influence of his parents, Bataller had quite an early interest in music, the theater and reading.  He began studying music theory and violin at the age of seven and, upon receiving a professional degree in violin in 1998, decided to focus on musical composition instead.  Since moving to Los Angeles to pursue his compositional studies at USC, Bataller has composed music for a number of feature films, including 14 Days With Victor, Héroes, Ouija, and La Herencia Valdemar.

            La Herencia Valdemar and La Sombra Prohibida are heavily steeped in the H.P. Lovecraft universe and feature Cthulu, a cosmic entity with tentacles and other horrific traits created by Lovecraft.  Having created the musical score of La Herencia Valdemar, Arnau Bataller decided to use some of the themes from this original score and incorporate them into the score for La Sombra Prohibida, while still creating a new and unique sound for this sequel.  The first film’s score reflected the mysterious undertones involved in solving the mystery of Luisa Llorente’s disappearance.  The sequel would contain surprising revelations, a great deal of action and, of course, an appearance by Cthulu.

            Using a symphonic orchestra, Arnau Bataller creates a downright ominous sound for the film, keeping the tone in the lower registries.  The music is dark and mysterious, but downright scary as we get deeper and deeper into the movie.  To achieve this effect, Bataller combined the effects of the symphonic orchestra with that of a choir: “I invented the lyrics trying to use words that had a lot of consonants, so they had more phonetic impact.  I looked to some writings of Lovecraft with some old texts he invented as a guide to create the lyrics.  In addition, I codified some messages in the lyrics that only few people who worked in the film can appreciate.”  The resulting effect will raise the hairs on the back of your neck and cause an immediate breakout of the goosebumps.

            La Sombra Prohibida is a Lovecraftian horror film and as such, requires a soundtrack that will not only be ominous, but so shockingly scary as to make the listener shiver.  Arnau Bateller has proven more than up to the task.  Listening to this musical score can give you nightmares and…I never thought I would say this about a musical score…in this case, that’s a good thing!


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at