Big Sale at La-La Land

LalalandIn celebration of their upcoming non-genre release IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD: LIMITED EDITION (2CD-SET), La-La Land Records is offering a big sale on previous releases, including a number of genre titles.

IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD SALE!!! We have gone quite MAD in La-La Land and to celebrate the loss of our minds the following titles are on sale for only $2.98 each Sale starts 3/15/11 at 1pm (PST) and runs thru 4/11/11:
Only at

La-La Land: 'Yesterday Was A Lie' CD

DVD Cover
DVD Cover

LA-LA LAND Records sent us the following about the sountrack CD for the independent sci-fi/psychological (literally) Noir thriller YESTERDAY WAS A LIE.
Songs are performed by Chase Masterson (STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE).

Music by Kristopher Carter
With Songs Performed by Chase Masterson
Limited Edition of 1000 Units
ORDER “YESTERDAY WAS A LIE: LIMITED EDITION” FEB. 15th at and get your CD autographed by composer Kristopher Carter, writer/director James Kerwin and star Chase Masterson. Autographs are while supplies last and are not guaranteed.
Presenting the original soundtrack to the acclaimed motion picture YESTERDAY WAS A LIE, starring Kipleigh Brown, Chase Masterson, John Newton, Mik Scriba and Peter Mayhew, written and directed by James Kerwin. Composer Kristopher Carter is renowned for his work with his Dynamic Music Partners team, who together composed the scores to the BEN 10 TV SERIES, BATMAN BEYOND, BATMAN: BRAVE AND THE BOLD, YOUNG JUSTICE, and TEEN TITANS among others.
Here, Carter fashions a sumptuously dark musical atmosphere for this inventive noir, perfectly complementing the film’s unique cocktail of intrigue, thrills, and earth-shattering cosmological secrets.
Cast member Chase Masterson brings heat to the spellbinding sonic mix with scorching vocal performances on the title song, as well as “He Won’t Forget You.” Also featured is “City Talks,” performed by Simon Shapiro. Produced by Kristopher Carter and James Kerwin, and mastered by James Nelson, this limited edition release features liner notes comments from writer/director James Kerwin.
1. Dream Time (5:08)
2. Nice Set (3:12)
3. Half-Deserted Streets (1:22)
4. Cat State (0:59)
5. Trauma Creates Ripples (3:22)
6. Yesterday Was a Lie (2:16)
Performed by Chase Masterson
7. Achromatopsia (2:43)
8. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068: II. Air (1:42)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
9. Backdoor Research (1:33)
10. 6.626 x 10^-34 (3:56)
11. Ajna (1:51)
12. Fenestra Aeternitatis (2:24)
13. Synchronicity (1:32)
14. Aker (5:09)
15. Distillation (4:12)
16. Getting a Message Through (2:04)
17. Why Do You Keep Coming Back Here? (3:25)
18. Where Do You Start? (4:36)
Performed by Chase Masterson
19. He Won’t Forget You (4:35)
Performed by Chase Masterson, featuring  Simon Shapiro
20. Anima in an Elevator (2:28)
Bonus Tracks
21. Can You Help Me? (1:31)
(deleted segment from “Aker” – not included in motion picture)
22. City Talks (4:21)
Performed by Simon Shapiro
Total Time (65:22)
“FEBRUARY $19.98 ACTION SALE!!!” Close out February with a bang! These 2CD-SET limited edition titles are only $19.98 each at : INDEPENDENCE DAY, ALIEN RESURRECTION and THE FLASH.
Sale price starts 2/15/11 at 1pm (PST) and is good thru 2/28/11. Only at

John Barry remembered; Pet Sematary reopened; Jeff Bridges, exorcist: Cinefantastique Round Table Podcast 2:6

cfq round table copy
Yes, once again it’s time for a weekly round-up of news, events, and home video releases brought to you by the Cinefantastique Round Table Podcast. With host Dan Persons missing in action, Steve Biodrowski steps into the driver’s seat, joined by regular contributor Lawrence French and by Arbogast, proprietor of the Arbogast on Film blog. This week’s topics of discussion include the death of Bond composer John Barry; the casting of Jeff Bridges as an exorcist in THE SEVENTH SON; the potential casting of Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis in the proposed DARK SHADOWS remake; and the announcement of Rob Zombie’s THE LORDS OF SALEM; and Paramount Pictures’ plans to re-open the PET SEMATARY franchise. Also on the menu: the upcoming week’s theatrical and home video releases.

'Solaris' Score at La-La Land


Movie  Poster
Movie Poster

From LA-LA LAND RECORDS comes the music score from the 2002 American version of SOLARIS, based on the 1961 novel by Polish author Stanisław Lem, which was previously made into a 1972 Russian science fiction film.


Music by Cliff Martinez
ORDER “SOLARIS” JAN. 18th at and get your CD autographed by composer Cliff Martinez at no additional charge. Autographs are while supplies last and are not guaranteed. For a limited time.
Presenting the original motion picture score to the acclaimed 20th Century Fox motion picture SOLARIS, starring George Clooney and Natascha McElhone and directed by Steven Soderbergh. Previously out-of-print, composer Cliff Martinez’s (TRAFFIC, NARC, THE LIMEY) strikingly atmospheric score returns. Praised as a “dream-like wash of sound” by BBC Music and a musical journey that “leaves the listener floating free” by, SOLARIS is a thoughtful, meaningful score that resonates emotionally with the listener. This re-issue was produced by Nick Redman and its master prepared by Mike Matessino. CD Booklet features exclusive, in-depth liner notes by writer Julie Kirgo.
1. Is That What Everybody Wants (2:49)
2. First Sleep (2:53)
3. Can I Sit Next To You (1:45)
4. Will She Come Back (5:01)
5. Death Shall Have No Dominion (2:10)
6. Maybe You’re My Puppet (3:50)
7. Don’t Blow It (3:34)
8. Hi Energy Proton Accelerator (10:51)
9. Wear Your Seat Belt (3:10)
10. Wormhole (4:33)
11. We Don’t Have To Think Like That Anymore (2:59)
Total Time: 43:35


SPECIAL “$9.98 SALE”!!! The following titles are only $9.98 EACH at :

Zimmer Will NOT Score Superman

Superman_Chris ReeveContrary to eariler reports, composer Hans Zimmer (THE DARK KNIGHT) told The Hollywood Reporter that he would NOT be scoring Zack Synder’s SUPERMAN Reboot.
Zimmer said:

No! Absolutely not! You know, I can’t even remember ever talking about Superman… How can I say it: My heart belongs to Batman. I wouldn’t even know how to go and give voice to it. I haven’t thought about it.

Asked if he would be be interested in following in the footsteps of John Williams, composer of  SUPERMAN THE MOVIE’s epic score, he had this to say:

” Right! John Williams, the greatest living composer — full stop. And that happens to be one of his greatest themes. So no. And I’m not thinking of rewriting Beethoven’s Ninth either. It just sounds like a thankless task, you know?
So that’s unequivocally a no. I have never spoken with Zack Snyder.”

Offhand, I’d say we can probably take Hans Zimmer at his word that he is not planning to write the music for any Superman project currently in the cards.

New Batman Returns & TREK V CDs

Movie Poster
Movie Poster

From La-La Land Records, these Limited Edition CDs start Shipping November 30th.
Music by Danny Elfman
Limited Edition of 3500 Units

La-La Land’s Expanded Archival Collection returns to Gotham for this 2CD remastered and expanded presentation of Danny Elfman’s magnificent score to the 1992 Warner Bros. motion picture blockbuster BATMAN RETURNS, starring Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito, directed by Tim Burton. Composer Elfman (BATMAN, MARS ATTACKS, WANTED, ALICE IN WONDERLAND) revisits his iconic theme and expertly weaves it into a sumptuous musical experience, bringing to life the film’s breathtaking action and rich emotional and psychological underpinnings. Produced by Neil S. Bulk, Dan Goldwasser and MV Gerhard and mastered by James Nelson from Shawn Murphy’s first generation three-track digital mixes, this limited edition release features more than 30 minutes of previously unreleased music, including alternate cues. The in-depth, exclusive liner notes are by John Takis and the art direction is by David C. Fein. This release is limited to 3500 Units.
Disc One: Total Time: 68:08
1. Birth of a Penguin/Main Title (5:38)
2. Penguin Spies* (1:09)
3. Shadow of Doom*/Clown Attack*/Introducing the Bat** (5:01)
4. Intro*/The Zoo**/The Lair (6:00)
5. Caught in the Act*/Uh-Oh Max* (1:58)
6. Kitty Party*/Selina Transforms** (5:30)
7. Penguin’s Grand Deed* (1:50)
8. The List Begins* (:45)
9. The Cemetery (2:56)
10. Catwoman Saves Joan*/The New Woman* (2:03)
11. Penguin’s Surprise (1:43)
12. Bad, Bad Dog**/Batman vs. Circus/Selina’s Shopping Spree** (5:42)
13. Cat Chase** (2:12)
14. Candidate Cobblepot* (:58)
15. The Plan*/Kidnapping* (2:32)
16. Sore Spots/Batman’s Closet* (3:22)
17. The Plot Unfolds* (1:15)
18. Roof Top Encounters** (4:49)
19. Batman’s Wild Ride** (4:19)
20. Fall From Grace** (4:17)
21. Revealed*/Party Crasher* (3:18)
Disc Two: Total Time: 71:27
1. Umbrella Source/The Children’s Hour/War** (7:53)
2. Final Confrontation**/Finale (9:15)
3. A Shadow of Doubt**/End Credits** (6:15)
4. Face to Face (4:18)
– performed by Siouxsie and the Banshees
5. The Zoo (alternate)** (1:00)
6. The List Begins (alternate)* (:45)
7. Cat Chase (alternate ending)** (2:13)
8. Roof Top Encounters (original)** (4:49)
9. Fall From Grace (alternate ending)** (4:17)
10. The Lair, Part I (:57)
11. The Lair, Part II (4:51)
12. Selina Transforms, Part I (1:12)
13. Selina Transforms, Part II (4:15)
14. Batman vs. The Circus (2:35)
15. Cat Suite (5:43)
16. A Shadow of Doubt (alternate)**/End Credits (alternate) (7:02)
 7. Super Freak* (3:23)
– composed by Rick James and Alonzo Miller
* previously unreleased
** contains previously unreleased material
Album Total Running Time: 139:35
Movie Poster
Movie Poster

Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Limited Edition of 5000 UnitsSTARTS SHIPPING NOV. 30th

La-La Land Records, in association with Sony Music and Paramount Pictures, presents the expanded 2CD-SET of Jerry Goldsmith’s (PATTON, THE OMEN, FIRST KNIGHT, THE EDGE) rousing orchestral score to the 1989 Paramount Pictures motion picture STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER, starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelly, directed by William Shatner. Produced for La-La Land Records by Lukas Kendall, Mike Matessino, and Didier C. Deutsch, supervised by Bruce Botnick and Ken Hall, and mastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios, this comprehensive presentation of Goldsmith’s score features more than 45 minutes of previously unreleased music, including alternate cues. The original 1989 soundtrack release is also included here. In-depth, exclusive liner notes by Jeff Bond and Lukas Kendall take you behind the movie and its music. Bruce Botnick also contributes exclusive comments. Art direction is by Mark Banning.This is a limited edition of 5000 Units.

Disc ONE – The Film Score
1. Nimbus III 2:01
2. The Mind-Meld 2:43
3. The Mountain [Main Title]* 4:53
4. The Big Drop 0:26
5. Raid on Paradise 2:43
6. Not Alone 1:11
7. Target Practice 1:52
8. A Tall Ship 1:43
9. Plot Course 1:46
10. No Harm 2:13
11. Approaching Nimbus III 2:59
12. Open the Gates 3:01
13. Well Done 1:16
14. Without Help 4:55
15. Pick It Up 2:31
16. No Authority 0:30
17. It Exists 1:47
18. Free Minds 3:18
19. The Birth 3:53
20. The Barrier* 2:52
21. A Busy Man 4:41
22. An Angry God 6:57
23. Let’s Get Out of Here [part 1] 3:42
24. Let’s Get Out of Here [part 2] 3:07
25. Cosmic Thoughts 1:16
26. Life Is a Dream [End Credits]* 3:57
Total Disc Time: 73:07
Disc TWO – The 1989 Soundtrack Album
1. The Mountain* 3:50
2. The Barrier* 2:51
3. Without Help 4:18
4. A Busy Man 4:40
5. Open the Gates 3:00
6. An Angry God 6:55
7. Let’s Get Out of Here 5:13
8. Free Minds 3:17
9. Life Is a Dream* 3:57
10. The Moon’s a Window to Heaven † 4:00
Total Time: 42:22
Additional Music
11. The Mountain [Main Title] (alternate)* 4:45
12. A Busy Man (alternate) 4:42
13. Paradise Saloon (source) 2:42
14. The Moon’s a Window to Heaven
(film version) 1:10
15. Vulcan Song/
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
(Instrumental source) 1:33
16. Synclavier Effects 1:54
Total Time: 16:46
Total Disc Time: 59:28
Total Two-Disc Time: 131:51
Music Published by Sony/ATV Melody BMI
* Contains “Theme From StarT rek (TV Series)”
Composed by Alexander Courage
Available at La-La Land Records

From Killer Crocs to Road Kill: The Horror Music of Rafael May

Blackwater (2007)

Australian composer Rafael May has made down-under horror cinema his own, with a trio of very powerful, very persuasive, and very scary Australian horror movie scores. He made a significant splash with his second feature film score, 2007’s BLACK WATER, an intensively suspenseful and powerfully directed film about a rogue saltwater crocodile, threatening three vacationers in the Australian outback after overturning their boat. May’s score is marvelously textured and claustrophobically atmospheric, giving the literate and well-performed film much of its tension. He did the same for 2010’s ROAD KILL (recently released on DVD in the Fangoria Fright Fest series), about a rogue truck terrorizing the South Australian highways, and has just begun work on THE REEF, about a rogue shark munching on trapped divers on the Great Barrier Reef. His music is modern and compelling, building a provocatively scary attitude over which these films play their stories.

May’s background included the normal piano interest as a youth segueing into a classical education, which gave him the background for the variety of music he would be accomplishing today. In his late teens he began to get commissions to write electronic music for a small theatre company, and found himself setting music to drama. “A lot of this was fairly intense music for plays like Equus and Caucasion Chalk Circle,” said May. “I then built a business as a music producer and composer for commercials. The first chance for a feature score was a nightclub/youth film called SAMPLE PEOPLE. The next and better chance was when commercial turned feature producer, Michael Robertson approached me to do the score for BLACK WATER. Our previous work together had won the London International Advertising Award for best music.”

click to purchase
click to purchase

In BLACK WATER, a trio of young folk – a married couple and their younger sister – set off on a backwater sightseeing expedition, which turns very bad when their boat is overturned by the crocodile, which eats their guide. The trio takes refuge up a mangrove tree in the swamp, but with the croc hanging around, have no where no go. The thrust of the story is how each of them musters the fortitude to work together – or alone – to survive and escape. May’s score opens with the breezy atmosphere of cello and dobro, which sets the group off in a benign mood. It doesn’t last long. When the croc strikes, the score overturns along with the boat. May creates an severe amount of suspense and panic with clamorous, rapid fire drumming, sudden, sliding strokes of strings, howls of abrasive, rushing synth, reflective squeaking noises, steel gongs, a rising wake of increasing sound mass, and other threatening noises evoking a propulsive, queasy tension that makes the scene quite real and threatening.

“The two directors’ vision was originally that there should not be a music score in any recognizable way,” said May. “Their ideas were based on the documentary feel in which they shot BLACK WATER. Once we had a cut, I argued successfully that we needed a stronger music thread; also that the music nature had to have an organic element and not overpower the scale of the images and story. I wanted an electronic background with a solid identifiable core. We agreed that cello fitted the emotional bill – though never any violins or viola.”

Once composer and directors had agreed on the necessity of a cello core, May spent some time creating the rest of his pallet of sounds with which to construct the score. “I didn’t want to be playing standard synth patches,” May said. “I took samples of electric guitar feedback and plucks and experimented with playing them down two or three octaves. There is a repeating element of unsettling weird bells every time the characters descend into the water which is those electric guitar plucks played beyond recognition. There are a set of moaning sounds which are similarly displaced Indian flutes. The cello provided the lyrical content with dobro and acoustic guitars which were played as keyboard parts and then replaced by real instruments just before the final mixing. I scored the cello as mostly three part close and sliding harmonies that were extremely hard to play but gratifying and claustrophobic.”

May’s ominous, underplayed sonic tonalities generate an increasingly potent amount of visceral suspense, maintaining a persistent awareness of the growing danger of the crocodile when it’s off screen with a continually sustained tonality of menace, dappled with occasional shimmers, tones, and audible glimmers, with escalating wails and extruding synth tones. His recurring cello motif, very organic and emotive, evokes the human anguish felt by the surviving sisters.

“The music is critical to the emotional response,” said May. “Most of the effective parts of the score are so embedded into the picture that people feel the fear or horror and don’t hear that the music is there and guiding the way. The sense of scale was always at the heart of BLACK WATER. You had to believe you were stuck there in a small and ever-more dangerous environment with a creeping sense of dread. I found that any overplaying of the score broke the sense of belief and that most elements of the music had a sense of brittle delicacy and humanity. On the other hand when the crocodile attacks were imminent, the music could be extremely on edge and loud, and still be accepted as part of a natural sonic environment.”

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click to purchase

For ROAD KILL (originally titled ROAD TRAIN), May contrasted the vast, dry country of South Australia with the harsher, industrial menace of the supernatural vehicle as it roared, DUEL-like, across the highways and menaced a group of vacationing teens. Like DUEL, there’s a sense of the supernatural evoked in the presence and behavior of the three-trailered truck, which eventually captures the teens and trapped them in its careening, driverless cab. “I wanted a strong music character for the ROAD KILL, a sort of possessed and possessive giant truck,” said May. “It needed discordant metallic resonance. There is a continual grinding metallic unease from the moment the ROAD KILL starts taunting and attacking the characters on their backpacking holiday in the middle of nowhere. There is a strong dirty pop element as a language in the film featuring bleeding distortions and vocal manipulations.”

May crafted an intricate instrumental texture to enhance ROAD KILL’s propulsive suspense and terror. “I grabbed a bunch of metal industrial oil drums and dragged them into my studio to be hit by metal pipes,” he said. “At one point I unbolted the front gate of the house to be used as additional percussion. Most of these sounds were recorded and distorted. There were keyboard sounds also fed into a raft of different and ever-changing distortions to become the character of the ROAD KILL. The director had strong views on bringing out the sub text of the narrative requiring a love theme of sorts: a lyrical, distressed piano which feels more and more pain as the film progresses.” Added to the mix are some showpiece tracks meant to come out of the truck’s cab: one of them is “an abrasive trucker’s ode played on very cheap, detuned guitars, recorded into a cheap amp with reoccurring manipulations of screaming and distorted maniacal laughing.”

May was just starting to score THE REEF when I spoke to him. Directed by BLACK WATER’s Andrew Traucki, the film is about an overturned sailboat whose occupants are gradually picked off by a hungry shark, â la OPEN WATER with a reef landscape. “So far (and it is a little early), it looks like there will be a lot of strings in the score with a slew of gentler elements that start taking a sinister turn,” said May. “The film starts at a point of beauty that turns sour, through to terror with an emotional thread.” Aware of the standard set by JAWS and concentrating on avoiding any similarities, May is focusing his score not on the predatory fish but on the tense, personal situation surrounding the characters as they are attacked. “The precedent is a tricky one. I don’t think that the shark will have a musical motif: more the situation surrounding the characters as they are attacked and get taken one by one.”

RafaelMayMay has found each of these scores challenging but feels he has been able to come up with an approach that offers the genre something new, musically, while giving these films the right kind of music necessary to enrich their emotional impact. “The first track you produce does so much to frame the film,” May said. “Everything that you can do is propelled from that. In BLACK WATER it was find an emotional language that you wouldn’t question belonged to the world you were in. For ROAD KILL it was more about creating a new sonic world of dread.” While both scores challenged him, when completed they provided him with a sense of satisfaction. “The rewards are about creating the seamless connection between score and visual story,” said May. “The satisfaction is closing a chapter in what’s possible for each new project. “

May’s film music output has so far found itself concentrating on horror subjects; time will tell if this will remain the case of if opportunities will expand to further cinematic horizons. “I’ve really enjoyed these films so far,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the range of musical possibilities are huge for horror. The music is rarely benign and often foreground. I think that these films and their scores speak to the depth of the human condition and human fears. Having said that, my journey as a composer won’t be complete without working on a wider pallet of films to see what other senses I can evoke.”

The Tuneful Tentacles of Sharktopus: Composer Tom Hiel

sharktopusOriginal movies airing on the SyFy Channel (formerly The Sci-Fi Channel) have gained a reputation for being the equivalent of the Roger Corman exploitation movies of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, only with better special effects thanks to the wonders of CGI. SyFy’s seemingly endless parade of killer critters and mega monsters perhaps reached its pinnacle recently with SHARKTOPUS, the sensitive saga of a genetically combined hybrid of octopus and great white shark, which made its debut last September 25th.

Cheerfully embracing its scientific illogic, SHARKTOPUS swamp, scuttled, and tentacle-walked across the seas and shores of sunny Mexico consuming swimmers, sun-bathers, boaters, bungee-jumpers and various other species of eye candy, ruthlessly shedding its origin as a military weapon to munch on the local populace like so much popcorn chicken. Meanwhile, name star Eric Roberts chews up similar amounts of scenery as the hybrid monster’s creator, who harbors his own hidden agenda even while trying to recapture his escaped aquatic Frankenstein. Directed by SyFy Channel alumni Declan O’Brien (ROCK MONSTER, MONSTER ARK, CYCLOPS), the film flaunts the sheer audacity of its titular monster, which was clearly intended to out mega any MegaShark and out size any Giant Octopus previously seen in the cable channel’s oeuvre. Enthusiastically promoted, SHARKTOPUS became the talk of the ‘net for months before the movie actually premiered.

It was somehow poetic that SHARKTOPUS was produced by Roger Corman – the latest of several that he has provided for SyFy. The film revels in its absurdity even while lampooning its own formulaic inconsistency to achieve the sense of undemanding fun Corman is best known for. One aspect of Corman’s films as producer, from 1954’s MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR to 2010’s DINOCROC VS. SUPERGATOR and the hundreds in between, have been supportive and effective musical scores that often made up for their film’s lack of story excitement and believable special effect. In many cases, the music provided that extra dynamic that helped audiences forgive discrepancies in the internal logic of their scripts, in deficiencies of performance by their casts, and in the insufficiencies of set design or special effect – all while providing a layer of inexpensive yet effectual musical support that gave these films their needed dimension of emotive expression and excitement.

Quite so, SHARKTOPUS. Like those musical maestros of Corman’s AIP years, Les Baxter and Ronald Stein, who could work wonders with the barest of orchestral and electronic essentials, SHARKTOPUS features a powerful score that gives the film a wonderful sense of gravitas and energizes its drama while adding a good deal of coherency to the story.  The main and end titles surge  with a splendid rock tune written by New York rock band The Cheetah Whores, but it’s the dramatic underscore by composer Tom Hiel that really gave this torrid tale of teeth and tentacles its expressive ebb and flow.

Sharktopus composer
Composer Tom Hiel

Tom Hiel is an award-winning composer best known for his work on the television show, THE PRACTICE (2000-04). He began his career working as an assistant for composers such as Mark Mothersbaugh and Michael Giacchino, while also finding some movies to score on his own. One of the first scores to gain Hiel some notoriety was SWIMMING WITH SHARKS (1994), starring Kevin Spacey (a perhaps ironic counterpoint to his experience sixteen years later when swimming with Sharktopus).

Hiel’s first science fiction score was Erik Fleming’s CYBER BANDITS (1995), although his next foray into the genre came a dozen years later with the made-for-video movie DOOMED (2007), a futuristic story about death row inmates given a chance for freedom by becoming contestants on a SURVIVOR-style reality show on an island full of zombies. “That was just straight ahead pseudo-orchestral music,” Hiel recalled recently. “There were a lot of percussive loops and various atonal figurations you can use to accentuate the horror. Nothing deeper than that.”

As with most of the SyFy Channel film scores, budgets do not accommodate actual orchestras, requiring composers like Hiel to rely on synthesizers and sampled symphonic wave files in order to closely if not perfectly replicate a live orchestral performance on his keyboard. This approach gives films like SHARKTOPUS the dynamic of a full-blown symphonic score without the expense, and also takes advantage of the synthesizer’s ability to create unnerving and unusual musical sounds.

Original reports from SyFy back in February, 2010, suggested that Roger Corman would both direct and produce SHARKTOPUS, but the film went before the cameras with Declan O’Brien at the helm, Corman serving only as producer, along with his wife Julie.

“I never knew about Roger directing it,” Hiel said. “Declan told me there was another guy who was directing or maybe co-directing with Roger, and he quit. That’s when Declan got called in because he had worked with Roger on the CYCLOPS movie; Roger loves that movie and thinks it’s one of his better efforts.” Hiel had scored both of O’Brien’s previous original movies for the SyFy Channel, ROCK MONSTER and CYCLOPS (both 2008), so they already had a successful working relationship that allowed Hiel to launch right into the music for SHARKTOPUS.

Hiel produced a well-crafted fantasy-horror score that gave the CGI-enlivened carcharodon-cephalopod a vivid sense of reality. When the sharktopus first escapes its captivity, the music builds to a rising tide with its central motif, surrounded by tentacular eddies of swirling accentuations.

“SHARKTOPUS is a little more of a straight drama except for the horrific elements when it attacks,” said Hiel. “There are also some straight ahead dramatic themes coming into play as they’re looking for the creature. In a way it’s a low-budget JAWS. I don’t necessarily think the music’s reflecting that; I think there is a throwback to straight-ahead orchestral scoring in this one. Due to the budget, of course, it was all done with electronics.”

Hiel’s SHARKTOPUS score is rooted in a recurring 4-note, rising motif that is heard each time the Sharktopus is threatening or about to attack.

“Many times I was able to build that motif for a while as the attacks became imminent. When the Sharktopus did attack, I tended to use rising chromatic stabs over brass chords (alternating from lower brass to horns and trumpets) and heavy percussion loops. Also I used glissando effects and sampled sounds (a garden rake across metal) to accentuate the horrific elements of the attacks. After the attacks or when the action was slow, but where I wanted the audience to think Sharktopus might be around, I used this electronic pulsing loop that really adds another sonic dimension of creepiness for me.”

Sharktopus Bryony Shearmur
"I always score it straight," says Hiel of working on low-budget sci-fi.

That pulsing synth loop in SHARKTOPUS becomes Hiel’s JAWS ostinato, a recurring measure that adds a strident undercurrent of menace as the story plays out. That loop was actually created for a demo score Hiel had written in 2002 when he was being considered for the TV series, WITHOUT A TRACE. The studio wound up going with a different composer, so Hiel held onto his demo music until he found a suitable project for it, parts of which gave SHARKTOPUS much of its powerful propellant.

Hiel also provided a vivid action melody in the horns, punctuated by a string and wind ostinato on top, along with a driving percussion beat to push the action when Eric Roberts’ and his crew try to recapture the creature. For Roberts’ character himself, Hiel used a repetitive motif in the lower strings and brass along with another percussive loop which emphasized his own relentless pursuit of his own ends – inevitably Roberts’ theme and that for the Sharktopus merge, enhanced by electric guitars, as the two have their final encounter at a yacht harbor.

All of these elements come together nicely and give SHARKTOPUS a rich musical backdrop, not to mention an added production value for its otherwise simplistic story and scope. In addition, SHARKTOPUS’ vigorous orchestral sound belies the fact that its score is wholly electronic. Nowadays, virtual music libraries, which can be licensed or purchased, give composers the sonic sensibilities of renowned symphony orchestras at their fingertips and, though not conveying the true fidelity of acoustic performance, nevertheless provide a fairly persuasive approximation of symphonic sound. With SHARKTOPUS, Hiel took advantage of his experience in helping Mark Mothersbaugh and Marco Beltrami compile temporary mock-ups of their scores for director approval.

“These mock-ups have to sound very realistic, and I learned how to do that when I worked for them,” said Hiel. For SHARKTOPUS, he used a combination of sound elements from the East West Platinum sample library, the Vienna Symphonic Library, some music he’d inherited from Beltrami associate Buck Sanders, and original electronic material he’d created himself to give the score a sense of originality.

“For the melodic strings I used an old Roland string sample,” said Hiel. “It was made for the Roland 760 and I still use it for the long string sections.”

The process of composing a movie score for computerized music files – versus having an orchestra full of real players performing at a recording session – creates a different kind of challenge for composers like Hiel.

“You have to be more inclusive in your composing,” Hiel said. “When you know you’re going out to an orchestra and you know you’re going to orchestrate it yourself or you have an orchestrator do it for you, a lot of times when you’re in the writing process you can just say, ‘Oh, make sure to double the cello lines with bassoons’ or ‘double this with whatever,’ but when you’re actually doing this type of thing with samples you have to go back over and synth-orchestrate as you go, as it were – adding to the cello lines some French horns or bassoon, just things you do when you’re orchestrating to make it sound as thick as possible. You really have to be more in tune with that. I also add electronics – for SHARKTOPUS I was given free reign, thankfully, and so some of those pulsing electronic pads come in and they add so much.”

Sharktopus - watch out!Hiel said his biggest challenge in scoring SHARKTOPUS was simply  getting the right feel for each of the creature’s attacks.

“It’s easy to be heavy handed,” he said. “Each attack tended to be different enough where you couldn’t cut-and-paste the same motifs. Sometimes you needed a building progression – I would use that chromatic ostinato thing – it’s in the dive sequence, for example, where the strings would play in clusters, and that goes on for a while sometimes, where he’s dragging the body off. But that ended up being fairly challenging, just finding the right tone for each attack.”

Hiel’s scores have thus far remained in the low-budget realm – although, with the rise of computer graphic imagery and computerized music, low-budget movies look and sound a lot better these days.

“I think the stigma has come from low-budget music for low-budget films that has traditionally sounded hysterically bad,” said Hiel. “I think it’s come a long way from that now. Now, you can write music and record music even at a low-budget level that sounds pretty believable and big-budgeted. That’s the goal, anyway. It’s a little tricky to make it sound like the real thing. Half the battle is just to make the synthesizers sound the same as what you’re going to be doing orchestrally. We all have tricks of the trade that have been in play for awhile now.”

Putting those tricks to play when a film is clearly less than stellar provides its own challenge, although composers like Hiel give each assignment their best effort.

“I always score it straight and just try to pump it up,” said Hiel. “In SHARKTOPUS, for example, sometimes the monster was bigger than life, other times it looked more the size of a normal shark, so there were some size and spacial issues going on. But I didn’t score those scenes any differently – it’s just a big monster and he’s trying to attack. I just tried to make it as believable as possible. There’s a scene where Eric Roberts dies, and that whole scene takes forever. But I got a little chance to do my thing there, and I just scored it straight.”

Hiel recognizes the part that music can play in making even the lowest-budgeted movie expressive and involving, and especially in enhancing films of science fiction and fantasy.

“Music plays a huge role in helping the audience with their suspension of disbelief in these movies,” he said. “In ROCK MONSTER, it’s the big, fantastical music that really accentuates the whole storytelling aspect of the movie. There’s definitely more music in these films – I had something like seventy minutes of score in SHARKTOPUS; CYCLOPS was wall-to-wall. I think music plays a strong role in film in general, but it’s really going to accentuate science fiction and fantasy. It has to be carefully crafted, though. The wrong music, or cheap music, can lessen the whole experience.”

For more information on Tom Hiel, see:

'Human Target', 'Haunted Summer' On CD

From La La Land Records:

Music by Bear McCreary
Limited Edition of 2000 Units
ORDER “HUMAN TARGET: LIMITED EDITION (3CD-SET)” OCT. 19th at and get your CD autographed by composer Bear McCreary at no additional charge. Autographs are while supplies last and are not guaranteed.

Series Poster
Series Poster

Presenting acclaimed composer Bear McCreary’s (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, CAPRICA, EUREKA) original orchestral score to the first season of the Warner Bros. television series HUMAN TARGET, starring Mark Valley, Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley. McCreary’s robust, Emmy-Nominated score to this action-packed series featured an average of 60 live players per episode, making it the “largest group of musicians to play on a live-action television series in years,” according to Variety. Four of the tracks included on this deluxe 3 CD-SET are from the first season finale, which features an unprecedented 94 musicians. This limited edition set, produced by Bear McCreary and mastered by Patricia Fourstar Sullivan at Bernie Grundman Mastering, features a 3rd disc of bonus tracks with alternate cues and demos – exclusive only to this release. HUMAN TARGET Executive Producer/Writer Jonathan E. Steinberg, Bear McCreary and actor Mark Valley contribute liner notes for the CD set’s 20 Page booklet. This is a limited edition of 2000 Units.
1 Theme from Human Target (Long Version) 1:32
2 Skydive 5:19
3 No Threats 4:16
4 Military Camp Rescue 4:36
5 Motorcycle Escape 5:27
6 Monastery in the Mountains 1:41
7 Paint a Bullseye 2:19
8 The Katherine Walters File 4:29
9 Switching Sides 6:09
10 This is Awkward 2:11
11 The Russian Embassy 3:32
12 The Devil’s Mouth 1:20
13 Ice Cubes 2:05
14 Allyson’s Past 3:05
15 Flipping the Plane 10:54
16 Driving Away :48
17 Airborne and Lethal 3:34
18 Chance’s Old Boss 3:54
19 Old Chance 2:15
20 Skyhook Rescue 7:05
21 Into the West 1:35
Total Time: Disc 1 78:16
1 New York City Arrival 1:51
2 Train Fight 3:32
3 Baptiste 2:37
4 Tango Fight 1:26
5 Maria and Chance 2:34
6 Katherine’s Killer 4:10
7 Confronting Baptiste 8:49
8 Courthouse Brawl 5:07
9 Stop Running 3:06
10 Not a Pacifist :44
11 Bullet Train 1:55
12 Gondola 8:43
13 An Old Life 3:19
14 Lockdown 5:00
15 A Bottle of Japanese Whiskey 1:32
16 Victoria 3:29
17 The New Champion 5:54
18 Emma Barnes 3:08
19 Stephanie’s Ring 1:49
20 Port Yard Deaths 2:52
21 The New Christopher Chance 6:33
22 Theme from Human Target (Short Version) :40
Total Time: Disc 2 79:23
DISC 3 (Bonus Tracks)
1 Flight Attendant Wilson :48
2 Round One 3:24
3 Emma’s Bra 2:24
4 Maria Gallego 1:59
5 Afraid in Alaska 1:23
6 Guerrero and Sergei 2:51
7 Chance Takes the Job :54
8 Tracking Device 3:03
9 The Black Room 1:41
10 Fighting Kendrick Taylor 1:27
11 Bertram 6:59
12 Sparing Guerrero 1:45
13 Scar Stories 3:34
14 Danny’s Killer 2:42
15 Chaos in the Cockpit 5:51
16 A Mistake :50
17 Chance’s Theme (Sketch Version 1) 1:17
18 Chance’s Theme (Sketch Version 2) 1:42
19 Katherine’s Theme (Solo Piano Version) 1:50
20 Theme from Human Target (Alternate Short Version) :42
Total Time: Disc 3 47:11
1988 Release
1988 Release

Limited Edition of 1200 Units
Music by Christopher Young
Presenting composer Christopher Young’s (LOVE HAPPENS, DRAG ME TO HELL, SPIDERMAN 3, HELLRAISER) original motion picture score to the 1988 Cannon Films period drama HAUNTED SUMMER, starring Philip Anglim, Laura Dern, Alice Krige and Eric Stoltz, directed by Ivan Passar. Mr. Young’s hauntingly beautiful score manages to be both contemporary to the time of the film’s release, yet strikingly effective in underscoring the film’s “summer of 1816” setting in which the film’s famous real-life characters (Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelly, Mary Shelly, John William Polidori and Claire Goodwin) gather for a summit of minds and passion – resulting in two literary works of note – Frankenstein and The Vampyr. Produced by Ford A. Thaxton and mastered by James Nelson, this special release includes both the original album soundtrack presentation as well as never-before-released film versions of cues as heard in the film. Film music writer Randall D. Larson takes you behind the scenes of the film and its score with his exclusive, in-depth liner notes. This is a limited edition of 1200 Units.
HAUNTED SUMMER: The Album Tracks
1. Haunted Summer (2:51)
2. Menage (4:39)
3. Villa Diodati (3:37)
4. The Night Was Made for Loving (7:06)
5. Polidori’s Potions (4:16)
6. Ariel (2:06)
7. Confreres (2:06)
8. Geneva (1:30)
9. Alby (2:37)
10. An Unquiet Dream (5:29)
11. Hauntings (18:22)
12. End Title (Mon Coeuer) (2:20)
13. Alp Horns (2:30)
14. Main Title (alternate) (3:56)
15. Mary/Claire/Hallucinations (2:13)
16. More Hallucinations (5:13)
17. Byron And Mary (3:15)
18. Mon Coeuer (2:10)

Available at La La Land Records

'Alien Resurrection' & 'Mirrors 2' CDs

At 1:00 PM Pacific Time, these New Soundtracks from La La Land Records go on sale.

This is not the CD Cover, illustration only.
This is not the CD Cover, illustration only.

Music by John Frizzell
Limited Edition of 3500 Units
ORDER “ALIEN RESURRECTION: LIMITED EDITION (2CD-SET)” OCT. 5th at and get your CD autographed by composer John Frizzell at no additional charge. Autographs are while supplies last and are not guaranteed.
Presenting the expanded and remastered motion picture score to the 1997 Twentieth Century Fox feature film ALIEN RESURRECTION, starring Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. John Frizzell (OFFICE SPACE, LEGION, WHITEOUT) composes a thrilling symphony of pulse-pounding action music – featuring some of the finest cues ever composed for the legendary ALIEN franchise. Produced by Nick Redman, Michael Matessino and Didier C. Deutsch, and remastered by Mark Wilder and Naria Triana, this special expanded release features almost 75 minutes of previously unreleased material, including alternate takes. Also included is a remastered version of the original 1997 album presentation. CD booklet features exclusive in-depth liner notes by Al Kaplan. This is a limited edition of 3500 Units.
01. Main Title 2:12
02. Entering the Ship 1:21
Contains: Main Title (“Ripley’s Theme”) from Alien
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith *
03. Post-Op 1:21
04. Make Us Proud/Meat By-Product 1:58
05. Fiora 16/Inbred 1:51
06. Docking the Betty 1:19
07. Face Huggers 2:11
08. Basketball/Foot Massage/Fast Learner 3:56
09. Call Finds Ripley 5:01
10. Gun Fight 1:17
11. The Aliens Escape 6:36
12. Hose/Elgyn’s Death/Ripley Believe It 3:57
13. Twelve/Vriess Reappears/Telling Vriess 4:09
14. Ripley Meets Her Clones 3:43
15. After Tube Blow Up 1:18
16. What’s Inside Purvis? 4:25
17. They Swim… 8:58
18. Call’s Fake 1:47
19. The Chapel 3:17
20. Mean Streak 1:42
21. The Abduction 3:50
22. Birth of the Newborn 4:52
Total Time – Disc One: 71:11
01. Call Meets the Newborn 6:09
02. Ripley and the Newborn 3:14
03. Finale 1:59
04. Alien March (End Credits) 3:26
Total Score Time: 85:56
05. Main Title (alternate) 2:15
06. Elgyn’s Death (alternate) 3:03
07. Finale (alternate-brass version) 1:58
08. Finale (alternate #2) 1:51
The Original 1997 Soundtrack Album
09. Main Title 2:08
10. Post-Op 1:20
11. Docking the Betty 1:17
12. Priva Son D’Ogni Conforto 5:28
from Handel’s Julius Caesar
sung by Maureen Forrester; courtesy of BMG Classics
13. Face Huggers 2:12
14. Call Finds Ripley 3:02
15. The Aliens Escape 4:13
16. Ripley Meets Her Clones 2:20
17. What’s Inside Purvis? 2:27
18. They Swim… 6:27
19. The Chapel 2:35
20. The Abduction 3:34
21. The Battle With the Newborn 6:03
22. Ripley’s Theme 2:12
Total Original 1997 Soundtrack Time: 45:30
Total Time – Disc Two: 69:26
Total Time – Both Discs: 140:37
Original Film Score Published by
T C F Music Publishing Inc. (ASCAP)
* – Published by Fox Fanfare Music Inc. (BMI)


Music by Frederik Wiedmann
ORDER “MIRRORS 2” OCT. 5th at and get your CD autographed by composer Frederik Wiedmann at no additional charge. Autographs are while supplies last and are not guaranteed.
Presenting the original score to the all-new feature-length 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment shocker MIRRORS 2, starring Nick Stahl (SIN CITY, TERMINATOR 3). Composer Frederik Wiedmann (THE HILLS RUN RED, RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL) launches the listener into a haunting musical soundscape, the perfect accompaniment to this much anticipated sequel to the hit horror/sci-fi film MIRRORS. Produced by Frederik Wiedmann and MV Gerhard, and mastered by James Nelson, this presentation of music from MIRRORS 2 is a spellbinding trip through twisted reflections of terror and suspense. MIRRORS 2 will be available everywhere on DVD and BLU-RAY in North American stores Oct 19, 2010.
1. Main Title (3:30)
2. Kayla (1:48)
3. Slice (2:29)
4. Alive (2:03)
5. Run! (1:59)
6. Who is Henry Schow? (2:01)
7. Eleanor’s Lament (3:33)
8. Keller Returns (1:27)
9. Suspicious (2:16)
10. Loosing her up (2:04)
11. The Murder (1:24)
12. Want a Slice? (2:37)
13. At Henry’s House (1:18)
14. A Corpse in the Basement (1:07)
15. Car Crash (1:21)
16. Max’s Theme (1:24)
17. Broken Glass for Dinner (1:24)
18. Nightmare (1:04)
19. Revenge (1:28)
20. Arriving at the Crime Scene (1:07)
21. Reflection (1:20)
22. In the Basement (3:01)
23. Mirror Syndrome (2:13)
24. Breaking Glass (1:01)
25. It’s Over (1:19)
26. Mirrors II (4:04)
Total Running Time: 51:16