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Soundtrack review: Blood feast (Klaus Pfreundner – 2016)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Blood feast (Klaus Pfreundner – 2016)

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“Blood feast” is an official remake of the 1963 horror by Herschell Gordon Lewis, the 2016 movie is co-written and directed by Marcel Waltz. The film tells the story of Fuad Ramses (Robert Rusler), an American entrepreneur who moves to France with his family in order to open an American diner. With business going slowly, Ramses also works night shifts in a museum of ancient Egyptian culture. Tortured by vision from the Goddess Ishtar (Sadie Katz), Fuad starts to spice up his meals with unlikely ingredients. Klaus Pfreundner wrote the score.

The score is very short and the horror genre is one of the few where I consider this a good thing since it’s not easy to keep a scary atmosphere efficient and meaningful for a long time. The intro to this score, “The beast” therefore wastes no time in aggressively raising the hairs on the back of my head with a violent sonic texture and a lot of female screams in the background. The constant pulses and metallic hits make for one of the most dense wall of horror sounds I’ve heard in a while. It’s hard to call it music per se but it got my attention. I welcome the melodic piano balm of “A new day” once that beast is out of the way. I feel bruised emotionally from that opening cue so I just embrace this change of mood. Already two cues in and the composer shows he can write a wide range of emotions just as well. “Ishtar is coming” falls somewhere in between and shows yet another sound with the mysterious jungle like woodwind motif at the beginning and the tense mood that follows; it’s not horror scary but it’s mysterious scary and somehow those woodwinds and the mood make me think of the outdoors training and meditation montages in the martial arts movies.

The way Klaus Pfreundner chooses to do horror is all in scary, opaque and without melodies and for me it’s one of the most efficient ways to do it. No light comes in and the combination of sounds is thick and dense and heavy, it just crushes over me. “At the basement” also includes what sounds like a hammer beating on metal and I am strangely attracted to the violence in the cue. The score may be short, but with cues like this and with creepy waltzes like “Sweet bloody Paris” it has enough in it to make for a varied and enjoyable standalone listen; I also get the feeling of wanting to hear more, of wanting those themes developed more and that’s a good thing. Plus, there’s no wrong time to sample Grieg’s “In the hall of the mountain king” which the composer does in “The feast”; it’s a creepier rendition to an already dark musical passage and one of my favourite symphonic themes.

The score ends with the main theme and the opening percussion once again somehow makes me think of martial arts movies; the theme is scary of course, with a more industrial sounds that’s in keeping with the dense atmospheric sound of the rest of the score. All in all “Blood feast” really hit the spot as a standalone listen.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 9 / 19

Album excellence: 48%

Highlights:
The Beast (Intro)
At the Basement
The Feast (In the Hall of the Mountain King)

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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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