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July 2001 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /July01/

Dracula 2000  
  DIMENSION MBCD 01   [29:27]

Dracula 2000, aka Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000, or, in the UK, Dracula 2001, follows in the Hammer tradition (Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974)) in transplanting Bram Stoker's vampire to a contemporary setting. This being a Disney picture, (Dimension Films is a subsidiary of Miramax, which is owned by the mouse-house) whose Scream and Halloween franchises are on-hold, Dracula has been reworked as a teen-slasher with an interesting twist on the Count's origins. This twist is reflected in the score, which carries a middle-eastern, Judaic flavour in certain passages.

The score by horror specialist Marco - Scream, Halloween H2O, Mimic, The Watcher - Beltrami could also be considered a fashion victim, for the opening cue 'Lifeboat', comes on for all the world like an alternative beginning to Gladiator. It's all here, the haunting wordless female vocal - Mamak Khadem in uncanny imitation of Lisa Gerard - and the portentous orchestral atmospherics giving way to driving rhythm and wordless choir over pounding percussion. 'Mary's Theme' is also characterised by Khadem's haunting wordless vocals, which when joined by a lamenting violin really could be a previously unreleased track by Dead Can Dance (Lisa Gerard's old band) or another cut from Gladiator. It is only with 'Canned Heat', the third track that the arrival of menacing church organ chords suggest we are in horror territory. Soon the piece collapses into low key atmospherics with a suggestion of a distant church bell deep within the mix. It's perfectly serviceable, but nothing we haven't heard a thousand times before.

Electronic beats and textures become more important in 'Vampire Hunters/Drac Loves Lucy/Break-In', the cue eventually turning into a sort of techno-metal suggesting something of what Terminator 3 may sound like. 'Brotherly Love' is an extended reworking of material introduced in 'Lifeboat', while the remainder of the album presents further variations on standard horror atmospherics, electronics and middle-eastern colours.

There is an official soundtrack album on Columbia, which is a collection of heavy metal. The score has not been given a mainstream commercial release, but only issued as this official promotional disc. I can understand why; at a time when there is a vast amount of genuinely exceptional and classic film music being released onto the market, this score is essentially redundant. The music is professionally crafted and does its job well-enough in the film, but there is nothing new or sufficiently inspiring to make it worthwhile away from the movie. Apart from the nods in the direction of Gladiator, this could have been written for almost any horror movie in the last decade. Indeed Beltrami seems to have written the music for most of the horror films in the last decade, which is perhaps why this seems overly familiar. Or perhaps it seems so generic because of the involvement of no less than eight orchestrators, including the composer himself. At 29 minutes it's not even very good value and I can really only see this finding a welcome home with devoted fans of the film, if it has any.

Gary S. Dalkin


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