Krampus is the new holiday horror film from director Michael Dougherty currently taking theaters by storm across the country. The movie is packed with Christmas comedy tropes and nods to horror classsics, and overall the experience is fun and extremely entertaining. To add to the atmosphere of dread in the film and spice up some of the lighter scenes of festive cheer that encompass the first act, composer Douglas Pipes has crafted a soundtrack filled with classic holiday melodies blended with dark and unsettling soundscapes.
When creating the score, Pipes wanted to remain true to the spirit of Christmas. “We used melodies of Christmas carols, sometimes just fragments, sometimes altered, as well as traditional Christmas instruments throughout,” said Pipes. He knew it was going into dark fantasy-horror territory, but to make the score unique Pipes created a theme for KRAMPUS that could work as a simple folk melody and a grand fantasy tale, while evoking a sense that it could be some lost European Christmas melody. “The greatest challenge for the score was moving through Christmas themes and comedy, into a dark fantasy tale, punctuated by aggressive horror music, without losing the thread of any of these styles – all the while keeping the Christmas spirit present.”
The album takes a lot of familiar Christmas songs and interweaves elements of dark ambient atmospheres that give the listener an impression of unease and dread. At times some of the tracks will quickly transition from festive and cheerful to horrific and unsettling. Some of the bolder compositions will swell to almost a triumphant high, only to fall again into lamenting orchestral movements that seem to invoke a sense of failure or loss. On its own, Douglas Pipes’ score is a varied mixture of elements that combine well together and make for a very engaging listening experience. The album works well even apart from the film.
The Krampus soundtrack is currently available on digital download and will be released by Waxwork Records early 2016. It’s an excellent album and score that fits the tone of the film perfectly and makes for great listening in the cold winter nights. Some highlights include The Snow Beast, Season’s Eatings, Elfen, The Shadow of St Nicholas and Cloven. Also included is the bonus track featuring a Krampus themed version of Karol of the Bells. It’s equal parts John Williams meets Hellraiser meets Christmas Vacation meets Scrooged and it is great.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars