Essentially over-sized, cackling, drooling, extra-terrestrial hedgehogs with
pug faces, the title... umm... critters (called 'Crites' in the film) are
positively disgusting enough to warrant a series of films chronicling their
destruction. That some may say the film series itself is only slightly less
vile is another matter, though I will suggest that should a "Critters 5"
ever appear, it absolutely must contain footage of the Crites consuming select
rolls of film from earlier instalments.
The original film, like the others, made me wonder whether the composer saw
it as so basic as to be a breeze to score, or so uninspiring as to be
difficult... "Critters" features a soundtrack by David Newman (son of Alfred,
nephew of Lionel & Emil, brother to Thomas & Maria, and cousin to
Randy) that appears to be a compromise; Mr. Newman made the score as serious
as the movie would allow.
The soundtrack opens with an electronic soundscape not too dissimilar to
the opening of Jerry Goldsmith's "Legend" (which came the year before). This
general effect repeats, now with orchestra, throughout virtually the entire
score as serial music mixed with a slightly Herrmann-esque motif lays stress
on the carnivorous little monsters and their fatal lack of table manners.
A basic rising, vaguely heroic motif, sounded most often in the brass, represents
the somewhat bumbling bounty hunters from outer-space who seek to destroy
the venomous creatures. The location of a mid-western town called Grover's
Bend and the presence of a simple, likable farming family inspired Newman
to write the lightest idea presented on the soundtrack, a deftly refined
theme in Americana style that frames the silly carnage.
A side note: The end credit music by David Newman and John Vigran is but
small cut above the typical '80s fare, with hokey drum machine and synthesizers
blaring. I nevertheless caught myself in the disturbing (to me, anyway) position
of enjoying it in spite of myself. Maybe I am slipping.
There is little here that would set the world alight, but although not a
film music masterpiece, David Newman's score is okay for a small budget film
and, as I discover as I play it again while writing this review, useful as
background music. That is part of what it is all about.