AUDIO REVIEW: WITCHBOARD (1986) VINYL SINGLE / COMPOSER: DENNIS MICHAEL TENNEY / PUBLISHER: LUNARIS RECORDS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Why release a soundtrack as a single? In this case, the only original music composed for the evil ghost movie, Witchboard, consists of two songs, both of which are on this piece of plastic. The remainder of Kevin Tenney's 1986 film was scored by compositions from Greek avant-garde musician Iannis Xenakis.
The cuts that Dennis Tenney wrote are as different as can be. You've the theme, which is typical '80s horror – synthy Carpenter worship, but creepy in its own way. It's bent and twisted, as if someone was working the pitch controls with fervour. The low, dirty synth that underlies everything is just nasty in terms of how ominous it is. The notes which flit above it could be up or downbeat, depending, but that under layer of grime makes the theme work ominously well.
“Bump in the Night,” written by Tenney and performed by Steel Breeze – that's another story entirely. It's part of a cadre of horror movie pop-metal themes from the '80s – Alice Cooper's “He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” or “Dream Warriors” by Dokken also spring to mind – that manage to be catchy, over-the-top in terms of bombast, and also communicate certain plot points. Definitely cheesy, but fun.
There's absolutely gorgeous packaging on this release. Kudos to Lunaris for the cleverness of etching the B-side with a Ouija board, as well as including a minuscule planchette (in actuality, a guitar pick) to complete the illusion. The inclusion of a download code is a nice touch, as well.