Night of the Living Dead
Original Rescore By: OGRE and Dallas Campbell
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In 1968, George A. Romero wrote and produced a horror film that would become a cult classic. In Night of the Living Dead, a group of individuals find themselves trapped in a farmhouse surrounded by reanimated corpses. Ben (Duane Jones), a practical man, tries to gain some semblance of control over the situation, but with the dead surrounding them, a sick young lady bitten by one of the reanimated corpses and the rest of the survivors driven crazy with panic, there isnít much he can do. Once the zombies find their way inside, the occupants one by one become the living dead.
The musical score of the original film was composed by William Loose. Stock recording was done by Fred Steiner. The original score was never released as a soundtrack until 1982 when Varese Sarabande Records released a compilation of music and dialogue cues on a vinyl record. Since then, digitally enhanced versions and remixes have been released. On October 28, 2016, a rescored version of the Night of the Living Dead will appear on Lakeshore Recordsí YouTube Channel. Tackling this rescore of the original film is the composing duo OGRE and Dallas Campbell.
Robin Ogden, AKA: OGRE, is a UK-based freelance composer who has created music for video games, films and trailers. Some of his works include the scores of Monsters vs Sheep, Sand Lords, Past Away, The Hit Squad and the trailer for Revenge of the Gewillo. Dallas Campbell is an American producer with a huge collection of analog synthesizers. Though they have never met in person and live over 3500 miles apart, they have found a way to collaborate musically through Facebook chat. The rescore of Night of the Living Dead is actually their third collaboration.
The music created by OGRE and Dallas Campbell for Night of the Living Dead is completely created via synths, a little percussion and electronic sound manipulation. Harking back to the old school musical scores created by John Carpenter, the composing team worked on simple music cues threaded together through repetition, a method that served Carpenter so well for his score of Halloween. The repetition of synthesized notes and the echoey quality of the music raises the hair on the back of your neck and practically screams of danger. Things change though once you reach the track, The Basement, a pivotal scene in the film leading up to the dramatic ending. Here, we find a more edgy sound complete with some rocking percussion.
I must admit, itís been so long since Iíve seen the original film that I canít remember what the original musical score sounded like. With no point of reference to compare this new score to, I have to take it at face value. I actually enjoyed the score created by OGRE and Dallas Campbell specifically because it harked back to the scores of the classic horror films I grew up watching. Will the score work well with the visuals of the film? I think so. Despite the fact that the film is in black and white, I can see the synth score working well with many of the scenes, but would have to watch the broadcast on Lakeshore Recordsí YouTube page to be certain. As a standalone album, I would say that the rescoring effort of OGRE and Dallas Campbell of the Night of the Living Dead is a success, albeit a bit on the long side.
Fans of the film will want to check out this rescoring effort and test it against the original. Fans of classic horror film scoring will want to take a listen and reminisce about horror scores of old. Thus, I declare the original rescore of Night of the Living Dead a must listen for all fans of horror films and scores everywhere.