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Soundtrack review: Paperhouse (Hans Zimmer – 1989)

Composer of the month Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer month

Soundtrack review: Paperhouse (Hans Zimmer – 1989)


“Paperhouse” is one of the first movies Hans Zimmer ever scored, in collaboration with Stanley Myers. The movie is a dark fantasy thriller and sounds quite intriguing, I might give it a look sometime.

The “Overture” might just be Hans’ first try at an orchestral composition. In order to serve the subject of the movie, the cue is exaggerated and it sounds as if it was played on a piano as big as the skyscraper in which the recording studio was located.

It’s very interesting for me to listen to Hans’ earliest compositions. Having listened to so much of his music, I can see and track its evolution; I recognize seeds and notes from future compositions. In the 11 minute long “Is there anybody there?” I hear shadows of what would become the themes from “Backdraft” and “Broken arrow”. The synth magic was present from the beginning of his career and it’s a joy to listen to these early scores. Then the cue turns into a classic suspense / horror piece.

Just as most of Hans Zimmer’s early scores, this one has a 17 minute long suite. “Me and my daughter we get on like a house on fire” is an experimental track with a lot of sounds and effects pasted together. Some are interesting, some are generic, but for me, the spark was there from this score. I never get tired of listening to how it all started…

Cue rating: 83 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 23 / 41

Album excellence: 57%



Is Anybody There?

Sanctus (From Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem)

I’ll Be Back

The Staircase

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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