February 2002 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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13 Ghosts  
  Varese Sarabande VSD-6298   [60:33]

13 Ghosts

As producers, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis ought to be fed up with the haunted house routine. Apparently not. As a new composer of some promise introduced in the 90s, Frizzell ought to be in regular employ on challenging projects. Apparently not.

Donít be fooled by the pricking up of your ears to the superb trombone opening of "The Juggernaut". The album would appear to have been resequenced to attempt to make some sense of its many disparate styles and moods. At least placing this cue first was a good idea. Immediately following, youíll be clued in to where things are going by the grunging electric guitar and solemn hollow drones of "Whatís In The Basement?" After these 2, we then get the "Main Title" full of soothing harp and flute and figures.

And so the hour goes, ranging from the scatterfire of electronic noise beneath big orchestral shocks (with an unexpected carousel) of "The Jackal Attacks" to the screeching guitar shocks of "Rafkin Struck Down" to the tinklingly optimistic "Entering The House". This is textbook contemporary horror genre stuff, with little thematic core to latch upon or stylistic coherence to make an album consistently pleasing to listen to. Itís a genuine shame in Frizzellís case, because as heís show before (e.g. Alien Resurrection) thereís a struggling writer of worth trying to be heard amongst all the noise and temp track derivation.

There are moments of excitingly different percussive combinations in "The Ghosts Escape". Thereís some powerhouse orchestral action writing in "Junkyard". There are even some impressively romantic string crescendos in "Gene Returns". Taken as a whole however, itís as much of a mish-mash as producer Silverís House On Haunted Hill (by Don Davis).

Paul Tonks

** (*)

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