Stonehearst Asylum

Music By: John Debney

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Based on the Edgar Allen Poe short story, The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether, Stonehearst Asylum stars Jim Sturgess as Doctor Edward Newgate.  A young doctor, Newgate is seeking an apprenticeship at Stonehearst Asylum, a mental institution well-renowned for its new and innovative ways of treating patients.  He is heartily welcomed by superintendent Dr. Lamb (Ben Kingsley) and finds himself enchanted by a young woman named Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale) he meets there.  But things are not all they seem at Stonehearst Asylum and Dr. Newgate soon makes a shocking realization about the institution.  Will he survive to tell the tale?

                The musical score of Stonehearst Asylum was created by award-winning composer John Debney.  Having received guitar instruction at the age of six, Debney performed in numerous rock bands in college.  Introduced to scoring by legendary television composers Mike Post and Hoyt Curtin, he began his scoring career in the television medium, creating musical scores for Sea Quest DSV, Star Trek: The Next Generation and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. His first foray into film composition was the movie Hocus Pocus. Since then, Debney has created musical scores for numerous well known films, including The Passion of Christ, Hatfields and McCoys, Raising Helen, Spy Kids, Elf, The Call and more.

                Eliza's Theme is the central point of the Stonehearst Asylum musical score, a sad, yet romantic theme with a classical sound.  The classical theme fits in with the time period of the film and the bittersweet romantic sound becomes more readily understandable the more you learn about the story.  Things are mainly light orchestral music until we get to Eliza Warns Edward.  Immediately, we get a sense that everything has changed for Edward.  The music becomes much darker, with rumbling percussion and low-registry orchestral sound interspersed with fast-paced, high-pitched strings and horn blasts punctuating the various discoveries and horrific events taking place in the film.

                Though beginning in such classical beauty, the score quickly becomes a dark and ominous thriller describing Edward Newgate's descent into the madness that has become Stonehearst Asylum.  Dramatic and incredibly engaging, the Stonehearst Asylum Soundtrack impressed me and made me want to know more about the film.  The score, coupled with the film's promotional trailer, makes Stonehearst Asylum a must see movie for me.  This soundtrack comes highly recommended!


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