Rites of Spring

Composed By: Holly Amber Church

Distributed by: Screamworks Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the horror film, Rites of Spring, two kidnapping plots collide to create on hideous bloodfest.  Rachel (Anessa Ramsey) and Alyssa (Hannah Bryan) are two attractive women spending time in a local bar discussing Rachel's guilt over earlier actions that may have gotten a co-worker fired.  As the two leave the bar, but they don't get far before being captured by a farmer (Marco St. John) who takes them to his barn as sacrifice for the harvest god.  As it turns out, this farmer has been abducting and sacrificing women every spring since 1984, but this time will be different.  This time, Rachel doesn't want to cooperate and runs away, chased by a monster right into the midst of another kidnapping gone wrong.  Will anyone escape the ensuing bloodbath?

                The musical score of Rites of Spring was created by American composer Holly Amber Church, whose love of music began at a very young age as she marveled at the musical composition of James Horner's An American Tale soundtrack.  In second grade, when asked what her favorite music was, she replied movie background music.  Holly Amber Church began composing music for the piano at a young age and wrote her first orchestral score by the age of sixteen.  Studying scoring at USC and musical theory and composition at Pepperdine, Church was awarded best score at the 2006 Shockerfest Film Festival for her score of Berserker.  Although she has worked on a number of solo projects, Church has also worked as an apprentice to such notable composers as Christopher Young and Steward Copeland

                A relative newcomer to the film music composition scene, Holly Amber Church has followed in the footsteps of horror composers of the time, creating a musical score that relies heavily on sound effects rather than orchestra.  Sure, there are some orchestral moments, but those are mostly super-rapid screeching strings and percussion.  The result is an album with sound effects that will send chills up your spine and raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

                While that means the Rites of Spring Soundtrack may be absolutely perfect as background music for the film, enhancing the visual effects and making them even scarier to the viewer, I must question what value this album has to someone who has never actually seen the film.  For that matter, will this soundtrack be something that even a fan of the film would want to add to his/her collection?  This is why I take issue with this new scoring style for horror films: they make for great background music adding to the scariness of each visual scene, but as a stand alone album, the only real use for them is as background music for an improvised haunted house on Halloween.  As a musical score for the film, the Rites of Spring Soundtrack is spot on, but as a stand alone album, I predict it will collect much dust on the shelves.


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