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Soundtrack review: Heathers (encore edition) (David Newman – 1989)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Heathers (encore edition) (David Newman – 1989)



“Heathers” is a 1988 American black comedy[6] film written by Daniel Waters and directed by Michael Lehmann.Veronica (Winona Ryder) is part of the most popular clique at her high school, but she disapproves of the other girls’ cruel behavior. When Veronica and her new boyfriend, J.D. (Christian Slater), confront clique leader Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) and accidentally poison her, they make it appear a suicide. Soon Veronica realizes that J.D. is intentionally killing students he does not like. She races to stop J.D. while also clashing with the clique’s new leader, Heather Duke (Shannen Doherty). David Newman wrote the score.

There’s a nice touch of nostalgia as the electronic vibes of “Strip croquet” open this score. I think David Newman, or any Newman for that matter and I think mostly piano but in the beginning of this score it’s more Western influenced with a lot of harmonica sounds and early electronic musings. There is a certain niche in the 1980’s electronic sound where it tried to break out from its shell and this score fits right in; it’s not far from “21 Jump street” or “BH 90210” for me in the simple and catchy way in which it’s written. It is a harmless sound that rarely gets exciting but I am enjoying this texture because of this nostalgic element, because of how important the electronic sound is for me, in all its forms.

Some pieces are forgettable, mere tries or drafts, but I like cues like “Third funeral”. This brings echoes of 80s martial arts movies as well, this is the sound I grew up with. Often this score feels as if it’s trying to be an homage to more genres, from Western to electronic. I am also enjoying the harmonica motifs. ‘Veronica and JD” is probably my favourite theme from the entire score. “Forest chase” is another piece I will return to in the future and once again, it reminds me of 80s action movies.

“Heathers” is a nice little nostalgia trip to the 80s and there’s no reason not to listen to this fun score. I actually kept a few cues on my playlist and I will return to them.

Cue rating: 65 / 100

Forest chase

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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