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Soundtrack review: Creatures of Whitechapel (Gerrit Wunder – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Creatures of Whitechapel (Gerrit Wunder – 2017)

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“Creatures of Whitechapel” is an inventive combination of two iconic horror characters – who would have guessed that there could be a link between notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper and the enigmatic Dr. Frankenstein whose medical experiments need more volunteers. When Igor/Jack is tasked with one last foray into the bowels of Victorian London to find the last piece needed to bring the doctor’s Creation to life, we’re shown a rare side of the city that reveals the monster in all of us. The score was written by Gerrit Wunder.

This composer was unknown to me until I heard “Kiss the devil in the dark” which just blew me away with how awesome it is and here he starts right where he left off there: with a spectacular fantasy opening title theme; a story like this one with two of the most iconic characters in horror history needed an opening like this. As I have said before this is what I want to hear in a movie like this: loud orchestral music at a relentless pace, music that gets me excited, music that’s alive and feverish.

“Dinner for two” is an unexpected but very nice break from the mayhem as the composer opens with what would be the music in the restaurant, a solo and alert romantic violin motif. The brilliant part is how he sprinkles a menacing undertone every now and then throughout the cue with the effect of a mist coming in through a door left ajar which the wind keeps opening and shutting, letting the mist in occasionally. The menacing motif is nothing more than an echo but extremely efficient to remind me what the setting of the story is.

The score has its quieter moments like “Love remembers” where a melancholic piano meets some menacing strings but for me the strength of “Creatures of Whitechapel” lies in the louder orchestral moments like “Frankenstein’s laboratory”; it’s just my preference for that kind of fantasy horror music and it’s what Gerrit Wunder does best. I also love it when composers introduce themes in their scores that are written for an instrument without necessarily having anything to do with the story; “Sonata for harpsichord” is a delightful piece that could appear in the movie played by a secondary character or in the background of a party. It’s a theme to describe the Victorian period in which the story takes place, an armistice when the monsters go to sleep.

“Creatures of Whitechapel” is more goodness from Gerrit Wunder; while not as spectacular as “Kiss the devil in the dark” it shows me once again that this is a composer who should start getting attention from horror movie producers as he could get up there with Joseph Bishara and Benjaming Wallfish in the horror pantheon in no time. He has the potential and imagination to create rich and complex fantasy scores. For me he is one of the revelations of 2017 and I am looking forward to his next works.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 16 / 31

Album excellence: 52%

Highlights:
Creatures of Whitechapel
Dinner for Two
Frankenstein’s Laboratory
Sonata for Harpsichord
Such a Beauty

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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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