Review Summary: Happy Halloween Sputnik
Few horror movie franchises of all time can lay claim to the critical acclaim or to the overall quality and popularity of the film, "Halloween". Truly only franchises such as Friday the 13th or single films such as the Exorcist come to mind instantly when the words "horror film" are uttered; nor can any boast about the creation of a character as non flashy or down to earth as Michael Myers. Now a film such as this which has spawned 7 sequels surly must be held down and partnered to a soundtrack equally as impressive and classic. This is however not the case as through 28 tracks, the soundtrack never gains an individual identity, constantly relying on clips of the film to get through inconsistently.
While it is not hard to pin the blame for the lackluster soundtrack presented with the movie, what must be realized is that John Carpenter is beyond the creator of this piece, he is also the director of the film. Acting as both composer and director, there obviously were no creative differences between the two departments in the making of this soundtrack, and indeed the superfluous usage of film clips in the "music" of the film is there. It is a different approach but it is one that does not pay out well. Of course this whole thing could have turned out worse, with possibly a decent main title and 64 recreations of it with one tiny difference throughout the work. This is thankfully not the case, but what the case is, is now under review.
As most all soundtracks begin, this one commences with the playing of the main title, entitled for this piece as Halloween Theme
. Definitely not one for subtleties as far as titling songs goers, Carpenter takes the direct route in just saying what the tracks are. The theme begins with a clicking sound that will remain with the song throughout. This clicking merely is used to underline
the piano which plays such a memorable line that it is remembered as a signature horror movie title (it also is the main theme played at Snopes's horror page). Now that the main title has been established, where would Carpenter go from here? Would it be remakes of the title, or possibly completely different music to follow? The greatness of the title is followed up by Halloween 1964
, which begins with a bit of super high pitched squeals, leading to a piano session. Playing slowly and being accompanied with backdrops of horror movie sequences, that gets louder...and louder...and louder until you can hear the screaming of Michael Myer's sister screaming "Michael!", then some stabbing noises, and then heavy breathing. Indeed this is what it seems like, a clip of the incident that sent Myers to 15 years of being in a clinic until his escape and the beginning of the movie. In this case the clips work well seeing as they let the music go with the story and the story if left to be seen and witnessed.
This is the instance on the disc where intertwining the clip of the movie with the sound of the CD works out well. The next track gives evidence for that in The Evil Is Gone!
The effort to make music for this section comes out in the form of rain, just the sound effects and dialogue from the movie taking center stage until the main title gets a reprise. While someone who does not care for background music will appreciate this, seeing as this is a music review site it is not taken well and this is seen as a low light.
Indeed that is the main idea of the rest of the score, simply insert like sounding piano bites mixed up with effects relating to darkness and night and throw in the occasional film clip only having some of the music. The "instrumentals" to say are indeed viewed as filler because they are, breaking the rhythm the music accomplishes by gaining and throwing away the establishing momentum. After the first 9 tracks it seems to be a filler's paradise, putting up much of the songs to becoming film clips and not delighting listeners everywhere.
It was a noble idea to think the soundtrack to a great film could be just that, a soundtrack. While the ideas of what sound is are taken into consideration and the sound originating in the film placed on here is more than piano and atmosphere setting synthesizer, it can be seen as disappointing that all the suspenseful scenes featured in "Halloween cannot be reproduced in terms of background music, only by taking it all and putting it on disc, minus the visuals which help.