I
think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the
entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends.
Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases
something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the
aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a
long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended
family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take
this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity
from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you
through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their
busy celluloid digesting day.


10.29.10
By Steve Murphy (Author Page)

What I’m Thankful For:
Sirius/XM’s Cinemagic Horror Weekend.



Some people derive pleasure during the Haunting Season by telling each other ghost stories, strolling through cheaply-produced haunted houses or taking their kids Trick ‘r’ Treatin’. All of those are great, but another excellent way to get into the spirit is to crank up Sirius/XM’s Cinemagic channel, #76. Every year at this time they devote this weekend to horror film scores, which has benefits twofold. One being that the creepy tones shouting from your speakers is a fine way to ramp up for Halloween, while the other advantage is you get to hear the isolated work of great artists without all the dialogue. I speak of course of such wonderful composers as Bernard Hermann, Jerry Goldsmith and… Richard Band!

On my way into the new CHUD offices this morning, I was rocking out to some great scores. Well, some were great and others kind of mediocre, but I had a blast regardless. First on the satellite for me was this beauty:



While other fools were listening to NPR or some Top 40 BS station, I had THIS blaring in my car. Richard Band’s score is enthusiastic and creepy, an excellent way to start any morning – Halloween weekend or not! Plus, it won the Best Original Soundtrack award at the Catalonian International Film Festival in 1986, so it has that pedigree built in.

After From Beyond came this lurker:



Hellraiser II is by far my favorite of the franchise, and it’s garnered a well earned reputation as a great gore film. It’s one of the few horror films I’ve always thought translated the effect of ‘pain’ better than most others in the genre. Christopher Young’s score is a classic: boisterous and metallic at the same time, it fits perfectly inside the framework of the picture and adds so much to the experience.

I was sad to see it end, because this was next:



I’ve never been a big fan of Misery. I certainly appreciate the fact that it was one of the few Stephen King adaptations that turned out good, back when so many were awful. The tenseness that bothered so many never registered with me, and I still don’t know why. I liked the claustrophobic atmosphere and the performances are great, I just never found it scary. Likewise the music never seemed to do much for me, and listening to it today driving in reinforced that belief. Marc Shaiman’s score is good, but not great. I found it to be meandering at times and not entirely memorable.

That wasn’t the problem with The Curse of the Werewolf:



I wish this was called “Curse of the Were”. Benjamin Frankel’s score for this Hammer Horror film is loud and overblown… exactly what a Hammer film should be! How Oliver Reed managed to stay sober long enough to complete the movie is a story for another day. Luckily, Frankel had no such problems and churned out this rousing score that was old-fashioned even then – which had to have been the goal. I hadn’t seen the film in ages and never remembered the score to begin with, so hearing it this morning was a real treat.

And that’s the beauty of Cinemagic. While they’re prone to over-playing Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings music, every now and then you’ll come across a few nuggets you may not have been able to notice before. A film’s soundtrack is meant to act as a companion piece, rather than a distraction, and the best scores have been able to accomplish this. Still, there are some scores that slip by unnoticed and Cinemagic does a very good job highlighting them at times.

Halloween is the perfect opportunity to rediscover some of those gems.

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