At this point in its life, Wojciech Golczewski’s score for Beyond the Gates has been released in three formats, each regressing further in terms of media. It was first available digitally, then via cassette from Data Airlines, and now on vinyl from Death Waltz Record Co.
Given the fact that Jackson Stewart’s film is about a creepy-if-not-possessed VHS board game, the use of ‘dead’ formats to release the score is a rather brilliant strategy. Regardless of the format, Golczewski’s music is worth owning. The score for Beyond the Gates is gorgeously lush and goes far past just your standard ‘80s synth worship. Beyond the Gates has its retro elements - up to and including Barbara Crampton as the star of the titular board game - but the music and film are more than just nostalgia.
Granted, the music does have an evocative wistfulness to it at times, reminiscent of gazing into the mirrored lid of a music box and thinking of times gone by, but it does a clever job of transitioning from Beyond the Gates’ opening scenes, which are tinged with sentimentality, into the start of the game, wherein things get eerie, then creepy, then absolutely terrifyingly bloody. Golczewski’s score is impressive, in that it sounds much bigger than one would expect from the work of a single man. Margo Possessed could possibly have an entire string section behind it. It’s big and lush, but so is Checking the Basement, although in a completely different manner. The two tracks come right after one another, and the orchestral aspects of the former are contrasted by the piercing synths of the latter. However, given the fullness of Golczewski’s synth work, it’s as if there’s an entire concert hall full of the electronic devices. Quite impressive.
Interestingly, the last track on the album is actually the title music for Beyond the Gates. However, Outrun the Dead is by another musician, Vincenzo Salvia, and comes from his 2015 compilation of non-album tracks B-Side. Given the way the opening music, Summer 1992, cuts so amazingly well into Salvia’s music, it would’ve been fantastic had the track appeared in its running order from the film (à la the inclusion of Mike Armstrong’s opening theme for House of the Devil). However, the fact that the piece is included at all is a reason for celebration, as it’s not available on the original cassette release. Death Waltz’s vinyl release comes in a gorgeous gatefold sleeve with art by Luke Insect, on clear purple with black smoke vinyl. It looks creepy as anything, but also beautiful. The sound on the LP is crisp and clean and loud, as well.
BEYOND THE GATES / COMPOSER: WOJCIECH GOLCZEWSKI / LABEL: DEATH WALTZ RECORDING CO. / RELEASE DATE: APRIL 13TH