Music Webmaster Len Mullenger



Jerry GOLDSMITH The Haunting   OST    VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6054 [35:14]





How appropriate that this score should follow the Hitchcock albums above for Jerry Goldsmith quotes appropriately from Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo score, for this new horror film. The swirling figures you hear right at the beginning of Herrmann’s score to suggest giddiness and morbid fear of heights is appropriated by Goldsmith to underscore ‘The Carousel’ and ‘Return to the Carousel’ cues on this new album. In the latter they are further heightened to give the impression of a grotesque demonic ride.

This is a powerful Gothic score that, no doubt, emphasises the shock/fright quota of the film. (The stills from the film showing the shadowy house with its dark halls full of menacing statues; and the girl trapped in her bed in a thicket of vine-like lances indicates what to expect!). Goldsmith as usual impresses with much more than the tired ghost-film-music clichés. There are sour, echoing, remote off-key figures, slitherings, sudden thumpings and shudderings, and bird-like chirpings from a huge array of acoustical instruments suggesting a plethora of hidden menaces about to pounce. One particular effect sounds like a series of submarine sonar pings. This might work in the film but it sounds vaguely hilarious on the CD. I would mention the ‘Picture Album’ cue which opens with a tense, foreboding with small bells and xylophone/glockenspiel over low bass dronings. Goldsmith then cleverly uses dynamics and the whole sound stage to manipulate the audience, heightening their apprehension as threats appear to emanate from all different directions separately or in varying configurations. For relief there is the quieter more reflective ‘A Place for Everything’. This is hesitant music of some charm but its tranquillity is soon broken by cold, strange ominous figures and those sonar pings. There seems to be a potentially wonderful theme in this score that is never able to free itself from the surrounding darkness to reveal its glory.

After a tremendously chilling climax that is manifested in ‘Finally Home’ there is the valedictory cue ‘Home Safe.’ Beginning as a hollow-sounding, desolate cry of immeasurable and inconsolable loss, the music slowly transforms and warms so that we hear the carousel associated with laughter and childhood innocence. There is also another reference to the Vertigo score – this time the Scene d’Amour. The music ends with a heavy sigh.


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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