March 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

Hummie MANN Dracula Dead and Loving It   OST PROMOTIONAL HMCD 001 [36:48]

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Hummie Mann has for many years been one of Hollywood’s top orchestrators. His TV credits include Fame, The Simpsons, and Moonlighting and his films: The Addams Family; A Few Good Men, The Prince of Tides and City Slickers.

As a composer, he has scored: Year of the Comet, Benefit of the Doubt, Box Office Bunny (the first Bugs Bunny cartoon to be released to theatres in 26 years), and for the Rebel Highway and Picture Windows series. He also scored Mel Brooks’ film, Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

It was natural therefore, that Mel Brooks should go to Mann for the score of Dracula, Dead and Loving It (1996). Wisely, Mann created a "serious" gothic score against the inanities of the satirical plot. He confessed that he saw many Dracula films and researched the musical approaches of other composers. "I listened to all the other Dracula scores: John Williams’, the Hammer score, Wojciech Kilar’s one for Coppola… I tried to come up with my own twist…" Mann’s large gothic-sounding score is written for a substantial orchestra of 87 musicians and a choir of 16 singers, multi-tracked. "I played toward the power of Dracula, his ability to control people through hypnosis or move objects with a wave of his hand – to reinforce the idea that he was a force to be reckoned with."

His main theme is full of grandeur and is darkly sinister yet vaguely heroic. This theme has a little five-figure tailpiece that is at the same time not only slightly comic and satirical but also suggestive of fluttering bats. This is a neat and clever touch. Mann’s music captures the sinister elements of the story but it also suggests the essential loneliness of Dracula and his yearning for love. The score is often very sensual and voluptuous. For the ball scene Mann creates comically manic arrangements of Villoldo’s famous El Choclo tango and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 5 and contributes a very convincing Bohemian-like folk dance of his own. Earlier the score had also included some Bohemian gypsy music for the villagers.

An entertaining score


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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