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Saturday, October 15, 2011

SYNTH NIGHTMARES - HALLOWEEN SOUNDTRACKS FROM CARPENTER TO ZOMBIE


John Carpenter. One of the greatest film score composers of all time and patron saint of the ambitious filmmaker. Mr. Carpenter performing as the “Bowling Green Philharmonic Orchestra” created one of the most memorable scores to a horror film, perhaps none more terrifying than the music from his 1978 classic, Halloween. Carpenter was no slouch when it came to producing soundtracks having created soundtracks for The Fog, Christine, They Live, Prince of Darkness… Escape from New York, In the Mouth of Madness… Dark Star. Body Bags. Village of the… I’m going to stop . The list is goes on and on. None of them are bad. There isn’t a sour mark among this impressive list, but his ultimate work is Halloween.



As the Halloween series went on the various composers attempted to rework Carpenter’s original theme and modernize it. While Carpenter would have next to zero involvement with the rest of the series, one of his most important contributions to horror cinema lived on through the rest of the sequels. He had been approached to do the soundtracks to Planet Terror/Death Proof but had to decline due to his obligation to the Masters of Horror series. Also he is not responsible for the soundtrack for the epic, The Thing even though Ennio Morricone seems to have imitated his signature synth durge styling. I guess what’s truly impressive about that statement is that Morricone seemed to imitate Carpenter rather than the reverse.

Beyond Carpenter and beyond the original series we will include a clip of both the Rob Zombie remake and its rather unpopular sequel. Zombie typically used classic songs from the era in which the film was to take place but also played with the original Carpenter theme for his own signature score. He also used Nan Vernon’s cover of classic songs including a cover of the Chordettes, Mr. Sandman used in the original Halloween II.







Below is a collection of excerpts from each of the Halloween movies. These are both original compositions of the film and works by other artists used in the film; some more memorable than others. Try to appreciate each regardless of whether the film was any good. Each one has a bit o’ John in them. They’re almost like relatives or progeny of Carpenter’s original work with few exceptions. Also below you’ll find a lesson in how to play the theme song from the original picture on piano. Impress your friends. Fun at parties.


HALLOWEEN: THE NIGHT HE CAME HOME (1978)

Theme Music:



Laurie’s Theme:



Don’t Fear the Reaper by the Blue Oyster Cult




HALLOWEEN II: MORE OF THE NIGHT HE CAME HOME (1981)

Theme Music:



Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes




HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1983)

Main Theme:



Silver Shamrock Advertisement (variations)

(8 More Days variation)



(Happy Halloween Varation)



(Tom Atkins Will Fuck You Up If You Don’t Stop It)





HALLOWEEN IV: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS (1988)

Theme Music:





HALLOWEEN V: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1989)

Theme Music:





HALLOWEEN VI: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1995)

Theme Music:





HALLOWEEN H2O: 20 YEARS LATER (1998)

Theme Music:





HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (2002)

Theme Music:





HALLOWEEN (2007)

Theme Music:



Love Hurts by Nazareth:



Mr. Sandman covered by Nan Vernon





HALLOWEEN II (2009)

Theme Music:



Transylvania Terror Train by the Night Creatures



Love Hurts covered by Nan Vernon




PIANO LESSON FOR THE ORIGINAL HALLOWEEN THEME SONG:



ADDITIONAL LESSONS AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE (Follow the suggested links on the side bar).

-Dr. Carpenter


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