Saturday, 29 March 2014

Horror Movie Right There On Me Stereo

It's been a daily bonanza in the last few years for lovers of soundtracks with a vinyl fetish. Before that we already had the Trunk and Finders Keepers record labels releasing soundtrack esoterica for over ten years. More recently a bunch of new record labels have popped up to satiate your cult film score needs mainly in the vinyl format. Odd, obscure, cult and classic soundtracks are all getting the reissue treatment. What's incredible is how much of it is great stuff. Horror and electronic scores are getting some much deserved attention from labels such as Death Waltz, Waxwork and the new Belgian label One Way Static. These labels have definitely found a niche market for horror buffs who also love their vinyl. Bloggers (Inferno Music Vault, Digital Meltdown, Sleazy Listening, and, well the list goes on & on) are probably most responsible for the rise in interest in these sounds. Such blogs have been passionate about bringing classic and little heard, some even unreleased, horror scores into the public spotlight for many years. Of course many of these links are now dead as these new small labels are now reissuing the music. These labels are set up with a ready made audience wanting their product thanks to the enthusiasm and effort put in by the blogging fraternity. The ongoing cults of Morricone, Goblin and Carpenter have led to a trickle down effect for other lesser known but equally excellent film composers Bruno Nicolai, Giuliano Sorgini, Riz Ortolani, Nico Fidenco, Fabio Frizzi, Richard Band etc. The OSTs to Argento and Carpenter directed films have been exhaustively reissued. Its now the time for another bunch of directors films to get a look in: Fulci, Lenzi, Girolami, Ferrara, Deodato, Craven etc.

I've been searching for the Day Of The Dead (1985) soundtrack ever since I re-watched it 5 or 6 years ago. I couldn't find it in mp3 form, let alone a physical copy. Waxwork re-released it and I bloody missed out but now I think the MP3 is on sale so I guess I'll have to make do with John Harrison's classic 80s synth zombie score in diminished audio. If they get around to releasing Harrison's masterpiece Creepshow I will not be missing out on that! Waxwork were also responsible for one one of my favourite reissues of the 2013, Re-Animator by Richard Band from 1985 as well as the perennially creepy Rosemary's Baby by Krzysztof Komeda.

Death Waltz have covered the obvious ie Goblin and many titles from John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. But new or recent (read post '80's) scores aren't out of the question for their catalogue. Donnie Darko and Room 237 have been issued. Remake scores get a look in as well. Who even knew they remade Maniac or Evil Dead let alone had soundtracks worthy enough to be issued by such a quality label? A reissue of the scores to the original movies of those two wouldn't be unwelcome either. Death Waltz's three most exciting reissues for me have been House By The Cemetery by Walter Rizzati, The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue by Giuliano Sorgini and De Masi's New York Ripper. Now they are set to reissue two of my all time favourite unheralded scores. I only have a crappy mp3 of Ralph Jones' soundtrack to Slumber Party Massacre so I'm looking forward to hearing this in its original glory. This is an exceptional score of melodic pulsating synthy creepiness and minimal mayhem. The other is possibly the cultiest soundtrack item of them all Susan Justin's electronic score to Forbidden World. This has been unavailable since its original release in 1982. Never seen the film (possibly not even strictly a horror flick) but love the soundtrack. '80's new wave synth disco, space age tones, squeaks, squelches, eerie melodies and even mini slices of power electronics make this one of the most unique and best soundtracks of the '80's if not the best. Some of it sounds like it was recorded yesterday and released on Spectrum Spools.

80s Masterpiece
One Way Static have twigged my interest with the imminent release of Roberto Donati's OST to Cannibal Ferox from 1981 although this was only released less than 2 years ago in digital. This is a classic funky disco psych gem with swathes of intense horror synth. One of Italy's great soundtracks. One Way Static's other releases have been two seventies Wes Craven titles, The Last House On The Left with a soundtrack from David Alexander Hess and Don Peak's score to The Hills Have Eyes.

On the more arthouse tip was last years sublime synthesiser score from Eduard Artemiev for the 1972 Andrei Tarkovsky film Solaris, which made it into my reissues of 2013 list. This was released on Superior Viaduct not really a Soundtrack label but worth a mention as Artimiev's scores have never been released for the western market before. This year the label plan on releasing two more of Artemiev's Tarkovsky soundtracks, the scores to the 1979 Russian cult movie Stalker and The Mirror (1975) will get a release. I recall Stalker having some of the most extraordinary and haunting drones I'd ever heard on celluloid.

There is so much happening in this little sector of the music world I don't know if I can keep up. I'm assuming somewhere along the line Wayne BellTobe Hooper's experimental score to 1974's Texas Chainsaw Massacre will get a release as well as Joe Delia's bizarre soundtrack to Abel Ferarra's Driller Killer (Delia's score to Ferarra's Ms.45 was issued by Death Waltz recently). My wish list would include 3 horror soundtracks I've never been able to track down before. Madeleine-Anitomia Di Un Incubo (1974) composed by Maurizio Vandetti, Chopping Mall (1986) by Chuck Cirino and 1980's Roberto Donati score for Umberto Lenzi's Mangiati Vivi! (Eaten Alive). Oh and what about Tim Krog's fabulous Boogey Man score last issued in its year of release 1980? Finally, surely there is a bidding war going on now to see who gets the vinyl release for the (un)holy grail of Italian horror soundtracks Cannibal Holocaust. I've got that on cd though, so who cares?! What do you think I am, some kind of vinyl snob?

This was released on California's other SST label in 1980.
*Previous post here on Slumber Party Massacre and one here on The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue.


  1. Someone needs to release the score for Let's Scare Jessica To Death. That is one seriously beautiful and haunting soundtrack.

  2. Yeah. A blog I can't recall the name of, at the moment, put together an 18 minute bootleg of this a while back. My wish list could have gone on and on....

  3. Waxworks is releasing the Chopping Mall ost this year