Pay the Ghost

Music Composed By: Joseph LoDuca

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In Pay the Ghost, the supernatural horror film based on a short story by Tim Lebbon, Mike (Nicholas Cage) is a professor plagued by loss.  He and his wife Kristen (Sarah Wayne Callies) and their son Charlie (Jack Fulton) lived a happy life until that fateful Halloween when Charlie is abducted at the Halloween Parade.  Mike blames himself for not protecting his son, but one year later, Mike and Kristen begin to get clues as to Charlie's whereabouts...his, and a number of other children abducted in the same manner.  What they are up against is no ordinary kidnapper...what they are dealing with can only be described as otherworldly.

            The musical score of Pay the Ghost was created by American composer Joseph LoDuca, who began his love affair with music at a young age, growing up in the rich music scene of the Motor City.  Moving on to New York, LoDuca studied composition and the guitar.  Before long, LoDuca was traveling, learning how to interpret life through the music of various countries and cultures.  Beginning his scoring career with the Evil Dead Trilogy, LoDuca has created musical scores for a number of television series and feature films, including Spartacus, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, The Legend of the Seeker, The Librarians and Burying the Ex.

            In my opinions, there is very little in the way of actual music in Pay the Ghost.  There are two tracks featuring a Halloween Band.  This is basically a street band, playing somewhat off-key parade music.  Fun House is a distorted and rather creepy version of these two tracks.  There is The Portal Song in which children sing/chant in Gaelic, adding a creepy, pagan sort of flare to the score.  But otherwise the Pay the Ghost Soundtrack features a ton of horror cues and sound effects like reverb, electronic sound, screeching violins, scratching strings, loud bursts of music, hammered piano keys, whispers, screams, children humming, clinking noises (perhaps pebbles or coins being dropped in a bottle) wood dragging along a picket fence for a rattling effect and more.

            Now, I may be wrong, but when one usually purchases a movie score, are they not looking for actual music?  Though LoDuca probably created a score that serves the film well, it's mainly sound effects.  This is not what I am looking for when I buy an album.  Unless I am looking to use it as background scare tactics for my Halloween haunted house, I would say that the Pay the Ghost Soundtrack is one of those albums worth walking past to get to the real music. 


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