John Carpenter – Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 – Album Review by Killian Laher
Legendary film composer John Carpenter’s movie soundtracks are complied here on one handy album. The versions here are newly recorded, as opposed to the originals, which may jar with some, but it makes for a more cohesive listen. In The Mouth of Madness combines synths with Metallica-style riffs to conjure up a threatening atmosphere, and it’s one of the more overblown pieces here. Much better is the futuristic Assault On Precinct 13, which foreshadows everything from Bowie’s late 70s work to mid-eighties ‘ambient goth’ project The Sisterhood.
The eerie theme to The Fog is highly representative of Carpenter’s style, and it is probably the finest thing here, with its dark, sweeping washes of keyboard. On the other hand, Halloween is probably the most recognisable theme here, it has an iconic keyboard motif, which builds gradually, ramping up the tension with each bar.
There are plenty of other, lesser-known themes such as the mournful, pedal-steel laced Santiago, the bluesy They Live, and Carpenter’s earliest work, the ghoulish-sounding Dark Star, all of which are worthy of further investigation. It’s not all good, less successful is the eighties-channelling Porkchop Express, ruined by cheesy keyboards. A decent introduction to Carpenter’s work, it’s a pity that the tracks had to be ‘newly recorded’, presumably due to a licensing issue.
Track List –
1. In the Mouth of Madness
2. Assault on Precinct 13
3. The Fog
4. Prince of Darkness
5. Santiago (Vampires)
6. Escape from New York
8. Porkchop Express (Big Trouble in Little China)
9. They Live
10. The Thing
12. Dark Star