December 2006 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Michael McLennan
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster: Len Mullenger

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Stay Alive  
Music composed by John Frizzell
Produced by Ray Costa & John Frizzell
Orchestrated by Andrew Kinney, Jerome Leroy, Frederik Wiedmann & Michael Bowers
  Available on Nicabella Records (NRCD 001)
Running Time: 35:15
Amazon US

After a while it would be easy to become disillusioned about music written for the horror film genre. Although there are notable exceptions both in big budget productions (Goldsmithís The Omen (1976) an obvious example) and of course, very much so when considering lower budget fare (Carpenterís Halloween (1978)), all too often all that we are offered is stock drones and stings, or what might best be simply referred to as Ďjumpí music. All itís there for is to make you feel uneasy (make that queasy in some cases, particularly if the music is really poor!) and then get you to jump out of your seat at the appropriate moments. I really hate those kinds of score. In fact Iím not much of a fan of that type of movie.

Here, John Frizzell, has fallen foul of the true curse of the horror film. Namely, melody not required. Actually, to be fair, thatís a little misleading. Frizzell does use melody here and there, with a tinkling piano theme introduced in ĎLoomiís Funeralí that features throughout and itís an acceptable motif. But itís all so over-familiar and the majority of the soundtrack is dominated by atmospherics and intense electronics that build to crescendos of sound and fury. Hard to listen to, let alone get any real enjoyment from.† In reality, this score is serviceable enough and will work perfectly well within the film itself, but it provides very little in terms of a persuasive listening experience. John Frizzell is a far more talented composer than this work would suggest. I look forward to better things from him in the future.

Mark Hockley

Rating: 1.5

Editorís Note: A significantly more enthusiastic review of an earlier promotional version of this score appeared in our April update.

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