Film scores

Soundtrack review: The evil dead (Joseph loDuca – 1984)

The-Evil-Dead-Soundtrack

“The Evil Dead” is a 1981 American supernatural horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive produced by Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who also stars alongside Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. The Evil Dead focuses on five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in a remote wooded area. After they find an audiotape that releases a legion of demons and spirits, members of the group suffer from demonic possession, leading to increasingly gory mayhem. This has become one of the most acclaimed cult films and 35 years later we are still taking joy in the franchise with its latest incarnation (pun intended) as a TV show.

It’s so nice to hear the first notes of a film or TV franchise… I know that this is where it all starts, I know I will look for these notes and motifs for albums and albums and it’s a wonderful feeling. “The Evil dead” franchise started with a short and lovely piano motif followed by an almost chamber concert sounding “Eye games / Charm”. These two opening cues are anything other than horror. With this quick one two and the sweet buzzing of the electronic music that opens “Bridge out” I already know that even without being a fan of the movie I would love this score.

The music is just as efficient as the images. I listen to a cue like “Rape of the vines” and i get the creeps. The strings stab and screech and scratch and there are uncomfortable echoes in the background that make my skin crawl. Awesome and disturbed use of the strings in this one. This is actually the one theme that stood out for me in the movie as well. It’s been 35 years since this score came out and a cue like “Automatic writing” still ranks as one of the best horror pieces you could hear.

There’s really not a lot going on in this score, you won’t find a lot of variation but this works in favor of the album. The back and forth between stabbing strings and low key electronic sounds sets a dark net around the listener from which all sorts of dangerous creatures start creeping. The music sometimes has a weird carnival sound to it and it makes it sound even more deliciously disturbing.

Between the melodic motifs and the pauses where only weird and scary sound effects are heard, “The evil dead” remains one of the most memorable horror scores ever for me.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 36

Album excellence: 41%

Highlights:

Introduction

Eye Games / Charm

Bridge Out

Rape Of The Vines

Automatic Writing

Panic

Not The Shower Curtain

Check On You

The Cabin Part I / Wounded Melody

 

 

 

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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