SCORED TO DEATH: CONVERSATIONS WITH SOME OF HORROR’S GREATEST COMPOSERS

PrintE-mail Written by Nick Spacek

As author J. Blake Fichera states in his introduction to Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror’s Greatest Composers (out now from Silman-James Press), there have been interview-based books of interviews with film composers, and compilations of essays about horror film scores, but because the twain haven’t met, he wrote Scored to Death, which is the first collection of horror film composer interviews.

The interviews Fichera compiled run the gamut from recent and modern composers like Jeff Grace and Joseph Bishara, as well as legends such as Alan Howarth, John Carpenter, members of Goblin, and Fabio Frizzi - just to name a few. It’s astonishing that Fichera was able to contact and interact with so many of these composers, and to get such fascinating answers.

The interviews with the lesser-knowns or more current composers are a little more illuminating than those who might rightly claim “legend” status, simply because the likes of Harry Manfredini or Alan Howarth have been interviewed enough that they’ve got some pat stories and answers which might’ve already appeared in the pages of this very magazine.

Fichera’s a wonderful interviewer, and his musical background is enough that he’s able to dig deep and ask some wonderful initial and follow-up questions, but he also keeps things understandable for the average reader. Given that Fichera is interviewing the likes of Charles Bernstein, who has written two books on movie music, as well as being a professor, it’s certainly helpful, because he’s able to sort of keep things in context for those of us who aren’t brilliant composers who came up with the theme to A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The most appealing part of Scored to Death are all the threads which appear throughout the fourteen interviews within its pages. Bernard Herrmann and his influence pops up constantly - as well it should, because his music is amazing and wide-ranging - but you also see how many of these composers didn’t initially intend to get into film composing.

Just as many did decide that this was what they wanted to do, but those like Simon Boswell, who just happened into it as part of a different musical path, are almost more interesting, because you see how they had to learn film composition via a totally different skillset. The tactics and techniques they develop are just as fascinating as the theory with which the more traditional composers came up.

All in all, J. Blake Fichera’s Scored to Death is an excellent book, full of intriguing interviews, and the author’s questions are so much more than a set of rote interrogatories. Fichera gets these composers to open up about their lives and skills, and they share some amazing stories about their techniques and methods, and how it is to work in this genre. By the time you’ve made it through the first interview with Nathan Barr, you’ll be snagging records and CDs off your shelves and pulling things up on Spotify so you can listen along.

SCORED TO DEATH: CONVERSATIONS WITH SOME OF HORROR’S GREATEST COMPOSERS / AUTHOR: J. BLAKE FICHERA / PUBLISHER: SILMAN-JAMES PRESS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 


Suggested Articles:
Let’s be clear from the start. A Conjuring of Light, the much anticipated third and final novel in
Gwendolyn Bloom is a teenage schoolgirl who, ever since her mother was murdered, has spent her life
From the author of the Revelation Space series comes a tale of interstellar war from the perspective
This Young Monster explores the world of some of modern culture's most beloved monsters, taking a lo
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Book Reviews

A CONJURING OF LIGHT 23 February 2017

THE SONG RISING 21 February 2017

PSEUDOTOOTH 21 February 2017

THE CRUELTY 20 February 2017

SLOW BULLETS 18 February 2017

THE NINTH RAIN 14 February 2017

THIS YOUNG MONSTER 14 February 2017

THE TIME MACHINE 13 February 2017

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS 12 February 2017

HEARTLESS 10 February 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner