Film scores

Soundtrack review: Evil dead II (Joseph LoDuca – 1987)

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Evil Dead II (referred to in publicity materials as Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn) is a 1987 American horror comedy film directed by Sam Raimi and a parody sequel to the 1981 film The Evil Dead. The film was written by Raimi and Scott Spiegel (they wrote the screenplay during the production of another collaboration Crimewave), produced by Robert Tapert, and stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams. The movie was even more awesome that the first. Ash holds up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack. Joseph Lo Duca returned for the score.

I can’t separate the music from the movie of course so the smile on my face as the exaggerated “Behemoth” starts is proof that the composer nailed once again what the movie was all about. Satire is the key word for what Evil Dead means and the music needed to be flamboyant, spectacular and larger than life. This opening cue puts me in the right mood. And that’s just the entrance. The creepy lullaby that starts the next cue and the illusion of peace and quiet is just as delicious, as are, for me, the raw electronic sounds that make it.

Don’t get me wrong… I could enjoy a cue like “The book of evil” even without being a fan of the movie. It’s almost romantic if I think about it. You think it’s all thrills and chills? No way. “Ash’s Dream / Dancing Game / Dance of the Dead” an almost sweet and cartoonish piano theme about as delightful as they get. But nothing tops the journey of “Fresh Panic / The Other Side of Your Dream” which captures perfectly the funny all out madness of the movie and the way nightmares, fantasy and reality combine.

The first truly creepy moment of the score comes in “The Evil Begins Anew / Sunrise / Ash Attacks” which manages to also keep the smart humorous motifs that make the best “Evil dead” recipe. I love the almost unpolished sound of this score. For me the imperfect sound of 80s film music is about as delicious as the threads coming out of my favorite cap. The music wouldn’t work so well if it was perfect. You wouldn’t want to read an old manuscript printed on the most modern paper, would you?

My favorite piece from the this score remains the “Hail he… / End title” which still holds up today as an orchestral joy. The perfect end to an excellent score.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 21 / 34

Album excellence: 60%

Highlights:

Behemoth

Hush Lil’ Baby / Pee Wee Head

Fresh Panic / The Other Side of Your Dream

Hand and Mouse / Love Transforms / Mirror, Mirror / Bad Fingers

Hail He… / End Title

About the author

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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