Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Empire Pictures Sound

Before starting Full Moon Entertainment, Charles Band and company spent most of the '80s releasing horror and sci-fi titles under the banner of Empire Pictures. Most people remember them for Stuart Gordon classics like Re-Animator and From Beyond, but the rest of their fare is pretty unusual as well. Here we celebrate two lesser-known, very different scores from the golden Empire year of 1986, Richard Band's Troll (the one where Seinfeld's Julia Louis-Dreyfus becomes a wood nymph and Sonny Bono turns into a tree) and Pino Donaggio's Crawlspace (with Klaus Kinski as a crazy ex-Nazi who stalks women in his boarding house).

The Band score is an atmospheric, choir-heavy piece divided into five parts -- or as the cover label puts it, "Utilizing elements of avant garde Euro-progressive rock and haunting musical themes, Richard Band's evocative electronic and orchstral score for Troll is superb. Accented by otherworldly choral sections, the overall work takes on the ambiance of the classic Fantasia. At times serene and poignant and at other times simply unsettling, this is a work for fans of Tangerine Dream, Magma, Il Balleto di Bronzo and the like." Got that? [NOTE: link now removed as this has been commercially released.]

On the other hand, the Donaggio score is pure horror all the way, with a heavy emphasis on synths and a haunting main theme that really comes to fruition in the standout final track, "Martha's Lament / End Titles" (whose Hebrew lyrics are a memory of the horrors at Auschwitz). Incidentally, this was the second of Donaggio's three collaborations with David Schmoeller, also including Tourist Trap and Catacombs.

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Anonymous Don Guarisco said...

Once again, fantastic work! CRAWLSPACE is a big personal favorite and it's great to have the score. I think Donaggio is tremendously underrated and I love the pulse-pounding main theme from this film.

And getting to hear the electro-pop mass from TROLL is a hoot.

10:32 PM  
Blogger 7 Black Notes said...

Thanks Don; Donaggio is easily one of my favorite film composers -- you'll be seeing plenty more of him 'round these parts!

11:01 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Great to see some Soundtrack Klaus make its way to the site... not much of it out there though I do have a soundtrack LP for NOSFERATU. Love that old Empire stuff. Was there ever a TRANCERS or ZONE TROOPERS soundtrack album?

4:02 AM  
Blogger 7 Black Notes said...

There was a ZONE TROOPERS release on LP; mine is way too scratchy to use now, but hopefully a clean source will turn up. Unfortunately TRANCERS has never been released in any format, to the best of my knowledge. And yeah, we need more Klaus soundtracks, especially LIFESPAN.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Bastet & Corwyn said...

Fantastic! Best of luck with your wonderful blog.

Thanks for sharing,

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice. This is much appreciated. Donnagio's music has really grown on me from the DePalma films. Great blog BTW


8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be snagging these two in the morning (free account - fixed IP). Once again you have saved me having to record another LP. I really used to like Troll... Now I get to hear it again.
And A Pino Donaggio I never even heard before! Wow!
Great going!

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! These are some great scores! Have you noticed how the final track on the brilliant "Troll" has some very blatant refrences to "Adventure on Earth" from E.T. I guess it's to say that the Troll is an evil E.T. or summink.

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to hear some more Richard Band. Do you have "The Alchemist" by any chance?

5:01 AM  
Blogger 7 Black Notes said...

Thanks, guys; yep, there's more Richard Band on the way, so have no fear!

1:59 PM  
Blogger attax said...

Can't believe I missed this post .... I am just reviewing all your posts and i find THIS :))) THANKS

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crawlspace is one of my favorites! Thank you very much!!!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Score-Brother said...


Do you think you can re-up the link for the "Crawlspace" soundtrack?


1:43 PM  
Blogger Dead Lights said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:23 AM  

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