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Soundtrack review: Halloween 2018 (John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Halloween 2018 (John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies – 2018)

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“Halloween” is a 2018 American slasher film directed by David Gordon Green and written by Green, Jeff Fradley, and Danny McBride. It is the eleventh installment in the Halloween franchise, and a direct sequel to the 1978 film of the same name, while retconning the continuity of the previous sequels.[7] Set forty years after the original film, the plot follows Laurie Strode, who’s prepared to face Michael Myers in a final showdown forty years after escaping his previous killing spree on Halloween night. Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle reprise their roles as Strode and Myers, respectively, with stuntman James Jude Courtney also portraying Myers. The film also stars Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, and Virginia Gardner. The score was written by John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies.

John Carpenter is not back as director but he is as a composer, with the help of Cody Carpenter and his frequent collaborator Daniel Davies. Now when I listened to the original “Halloween” score, as much as I liked it, it didn’t scare me; the atmosphere was hypnotic but inviting, that iconic piano main theme was pleasant. The “Intro” of this score though, it sends chills up my spine. I even have a chance to compare it with the original main theme slightly modernised which comes next, being just as awesome and addictive as it was 40 years ago. There’s a bit of extra percussion, of extra padding on it and I like it. Once again I feel a much bigger need to bop my head than run away. “Laurie’s theme” is short but enough to give me goose bumps with that synth sound.

A cue like “Michael kills again” brings the music of the franchise into modern times and also provides me with something the original score failed to do: scares. The industrial sound might not be as melodic and addictive as the one from the first movie but it much creepier and suffocating; I turn the volume higher because I enjoy the music but in the same time I want it to stop because I feel like an evil presence is chasing me. I think it’s not hard to hear on which cues Carpenter had the lead and on which the other composers had more creative freedom. As I do with any remake / sequel I observe carefully and appreciate the integration of the original theme. “The shape returns” offers both Carpenter’s main theme and the colder, emotionless new sound. The sound of “Halloween” seems to have grown now around that main theme as if it had been left to rot for 40 years in the ground and made it more fertile.

The new “Halloween” is a proper, creepy horror score and one of the best examples of how to write a solid, meaningful sequel score even to a legendary original; the composers integrate the original themes to establish the identity of the franchise and then expand the sound, make it more complex, add a few more terrifying layers and bring the level of excitement for me to that of listening to the first two Terminator scores; I go there because those are my favourite film compositions in the dark, dystopian sci-fi synth genre. More often than none I felt the need to turn the volume up for this composition to just take the music in even deeper. I can’t wait to see the movie as well because if the score is a match, I’m in for a wild and bloody ride.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Highlights:
Halloween Theme
Laurie’s Theme
Michael Kills Again
The Shape Returns
The Bogeyman
The Shape Kills
Wrought Iron Fence
The Shape Hunts Allyson
Ray’s Goodbye
The Shape and Laurie Fight
The Shape Burns
Halloween triumphant

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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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