Yeah, I know. It’s technically Tuesday, but I figured I needed to get back in the swing of this weekly mini-column (and regular posting in general). By my count my last music bit was way back in September, when MOSS alum Permission To Kill was kind enough to publish my dubious top-five soundtrack piece as part of their excellent Liner Notes series.
Anyway, onward and upward. The track today is actually new (gasp!), hailing from ZZ Ward’s tremendous debut album Til the Casket Drops from October 16th. Amazon has the mp3 edition set at just $5, but better yet, the song featured here - Put the Gun Down - is at present free to download as part of their Artists on the Rise deals. The official video is below. Watch, listen, and obey!
We’re expecting Ted Bohus / Elite Entertainment’s new Blu-ray of the indelible man-eating monster classic The Deadly Spawn pretty much any time here in Wtf-Film-land, and given that the original pressing was such an unmitigated disaster I really can’t wait to see what improvements have been made. I’m not getting my hopes up too much until I’ve actually seen the new disc, but things sound positive so far. And let me just say that, whatever the results, kudos to Ted for taking fan complaints to heart and at least trying to make things right, and for keeping the community posted on his efforts besides. There are too few out there who are even willing to make the effort, and if for that alone Bohus is deserving of credit.Consider any and all given credit revoked. The new disc is ass as well.
Anyway, with the film so much on my mind this Music Monday selection seems almost pre-ordained. It’s the opening title music for The Deadly Spawn as heard on the Synapse DVD edition of the film. Enjoy, and check back soon for the low-down on the new Blu-ray.
No rambling today (you’re welcome), as there’s just no time – I’ve got 16 hours of vintage Japanese giant robot madness to catch up on. Presented here are the opening and closing credits to Nippon Television’s epic tokusatsu saga Super Robot Red Baron from 1973-74. All 39 episodes of the series are, bless us, available on domestic DVD, though the more recent Mill Creek edition has subtitle timing issues that will irk some (a more expensive OOP edition from the defunct BCI/Eclipse is also available). I don’t really care which you choose. Buy it, watch it, and show those Iron Alliance bastards who’s boss.
(Edit to add: The music featured here was arranged by Bob Sakuma and composed by Tadao Inoue and Koichi Hiro. And yeah, it rules.)
The thematically-sound odd man out among Kevin Connor and John Dark’s spate of mid-70s Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptations may not actually be a Burroughs adaptation at all, but that doesn’t keep it from being the best of the bunch just the same. 1978′s Warlords of Atlantis takes Burroughs’ popular motifs and runs with them, crafting a suitably original tale of turn-of-the-century men forced to muster both brain and brawn against a slew of outlandish threats on the sunken continent. The scripting for this long-time favorite is pure pulp, and all the better for it, and Doug McClure is again tapped to play the quintessentially Burroughsian leading man, but it’s Roger Dicken’s stable of memorable creatures, many of which look to be ripped right from the edges of old maps, that really steal the show.
As with the previous year’s At the Earth’s Core, versatile composer Mike Vickers was tasked with providing the score for Warlords of Atlantis, and much of the picture’s success is owed to his moody themes and exciting incidental cues – none of which, of course, have ever been released officially. As such the cut today is presented as it is in the film, with dialogue and sound effects intact. And in case you’re one of those without a clue as to what a Zog is, do yourself a favor and pick up the film. It’s terrific old-school action and adventure, and comes highly recommended from this fan.
Either you love or hate 1977′s Planet of Dinosaurs, and those in the latter camp likely hold more against the picture than just its amateur production values and dubious performances. Kelly Lammers and John O’Verlin’s ultra-low-budget synth score has earned plenty of ire in its own right, and seems almost to have been calculated to etch itself indelibly upon impressionable minds. Indeed, in the now decades since I first saw the picture I’ve never forgotten a note of it.
Whether the electronic tinkerings of Lammers and O’Verlin evoke fond remembrance or send you crawling up the wall, this Music Monday is for you. Needless to say Planet of Dinosaurs has never had an official soundtrack release, so the track today is sourced straight from the long-OOP Goodtimes DVD – the sample is of the traveling march composed for the film, a track that was the next best thing to nails on chalkboard to my poor mother. Enjoy it, loathe it, torment your friends… and be sure to check out the film here.
Another week, another sample from the unreleased score for an old Amicus production. In this case it’s the main title to famed cinematographer and sometimes director Freddie Francis’ hip ’60s sci-fi They Came From Beyond Space, a film that has the unfortunate distinction of being considered public domain here in the states. The music itself is composed by James Stevens (Sparrows Can’t Sing) and conducted by regular Hammer music supervisor Philip Martell.
Not only is the groovy score to They Came From Beyond Space at present unavailable, but all the domestic copies of the film are crap as well. Those interested in a quality presentation of it (and really, you should be) should check out StudioCanal’s new proper widescreen PAL-format DVD, available now through Amazon.co.uk.
Firstly, my apologies for the lack of The Horror!? last Friday. I’ve been… distracted by recent events to an extent that I did not expect, but things are returning to normal. Last week’s The Horror!? column will post this Friday. Meanwhile, Music Monday must go on.
Up today is a selection (actually three selections combined for your enjoyment) from Sir Arthur Bliss’ tremendous score to director William Cameron Menzies and producer Alexander Korda’s epic 1936 misfire Things to Come, courtesy of a fine re-recording from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Rumon Gamba. These cues were composed for the effects-heavy building of the future Everytown, a scene I describe in my review as “perhaps the mother of all science fiction montages.” Bliss’ cues are as indelible as the imagery, and perhaps even more so, and it’s easy to see why his compositions are still popular with symphonies more than 75 years later.
The music here is sourced from the album The Film Music of Sir Arthur Bliss, which is quickly becoming a house favorite. Needless to say it comes highly recommended, and is readily available in both CD and MP3.
What can I say – I love John Scott’s score to Amicus’ minor 1977 Burroughs adaptation The People That Time Forgot. The sequel to the swell The Land That Time Forgot largely eschews the narrative of the eponymous Burroughs source story and filling in the spaces with some nonsense about a living volcano and an inordinate amount of explosive pyrotechnics. Provided expectations are checked it can be a whole heap of fun. John Scott’s score is of higher stuff than the film (best remembered these days for star Dana Gillespie’s gravity-defying prehistoric top) really deserves, and its moody themes have stuck with me since childhood.
I had a time deciding which track from the score to share here today, but ultimately settled on Court of Nagramata, a set of cues that concludes with the memorable March of the Nagas, a rousing number that was bouncing around my young mind for days after I first saw the film. The complete John Scott score to The People That Time Forgot is available on CD through the composer’s own JOS records, and can be purchased through Amazon.com or ScreenArchives.com.
It’s a little late (this is getting to be a trend), but here’s our track for the week, sourced from Mike Vickers’ criminally unrepresented score for Amicus’ production of At the Earth’s Core (from the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs). To the best of my knowledge Vickers’ score for this film, as well as the later Warlords of Atlantis, have never been properly issued. The music presented here, the wonderful opening title for the film, is taken from a Netflix stream and includes some sound effects.
While I’m not overly fond of the episode itself, I have to admit that Tourist Attraction, from season 1 of the original The Outer Limits, had some smashing music composed for it. Co-producer and regular composer Dominic Frontiere (Hang ‘em High) brought in fellow composer Robert Van Eps (a veteran of studio music departments) to do the majority of the scoring work for the episode, and I can’t argue with the results.
Here’s Dive #2 / Capturing the Creature, off disc 1 of the 3-disc limited edition The Outer Limits: Original Television Soundtrack from La-La Land in 2008. For those of you fans who have yet to pick this release up, do so while you have the chance – it’s worth every penny.