Music Webmaster Len Mullenger


Nicholas PIKE Critters 2: The Main Course  Conducted by Nicholas Pike INTRADA MAF-7045 [47:33]


Not quite as cerebral as David Newman's score to the original, but far more entertaining. Whereas Newman opted for a strict approach, Nicholas Pike goes

full out for an easily accessible, jocose, melodic score that is simply and properly enjoyable to listen to. Think of Jerry Goldsmith's scores for Joe Dante's films and you get the idea.

It is almost certainly the best score to a "Critters" movie. It delves neither too far into synthesized effects nor dull, cliché horrors, but accentuates the film's streak of sick humor and wide-eyed worldview. Consider the scoring of an Easter Sunday in which the Crites ferociously encounter a guy in a rabbit costume (track titled 'Bunny Attack'). Yes, folks, the Critters kill the Easter Bunny, and Pike chooses to score the

scene with a bouncy sort of chaos that seems to cluelessly cry, "Oh, how unexpected!" Other action scenes include a variation on the traditional Dies Irae that makes the resemblance to John Williams' "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" less distasteful than divertingly ironic. The Crite theme is evidently a hyperactive parody of Newman's original!

Then there is the new theme for Grover's Bend, a shamelessly Aaron Copland-esque airy melody to inspire visions of trees and crops waving in the wind. The bounty hunters from the first film return with an even more directionally confused theme, conceivably alluding to the bounty hunter with an identity crisis. And the action music is typically direct -- 'Setting the Trap' for example -- but some of the action scoring has that Copland flavor to it, bringing to mind "Billy the Kid" and "Rodeo" (particularly the cue 'Night').

The liner notes (by the composer) mention that the score won 'Best Music' at the Spanish festival for 'fantasy cinema.' It sounds as though it probably deserved it. There is little here that would set the world alight, but although not a film music masterpiece, Nicholas Pike's score is atypically fantastic for a small budget film...


Jeffrey Wheeler.


Jeffrey Wheeler.

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