John Carpenter - Hallowen OST - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

John Carpenter - Hallowen OST

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2018-10-19
John Carpenter - Hallowen OST
John Carpenter - Hallowen OST

Yes, it's true. Halloween is back, again, just in time for, well, Halloween. And apparently the movie itself is pretty good, a back-to-basics horror flick billing itself as a direct sequel to the 1978 classic and dispensing with everything that came between. And it's all done with the blessing of John Carpenter, who masterminded the original film. Carpenter, who executive produced the new movie, also composed the score, with the help of son Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies. The elder Carpenter composed the scores for the first three films in the series, so he's fully capable of re-exploring and reworking material from those, including of course the original theme, an iconic pop culture touchstone.

The soundtrack opens with a nicely creepy piece of dark ambience, 'Intro', before hitting the aforementioned main theme. That unforgettable piano melody is essentially unchanged, but the surrounding components are freshened up, with the kind of cleaner sound you'd expect with forty years worth of audio production improvements. The percussion is a bit heavier and loses most of the distinct clicking found in the 1978 version, but other than that it's pretty true to the original. If you like that (and what horror fan doesn't?), you'll like this too.

After that, most of the album works in two styles: dark and moody, or nerve-rackingly tense. 'Laurie's Theme' is the former, with a minor piano melody framed by drawn-out strings, while 'Michael Kills' and 'Michael Kills Again', with their pounding beats, classic screeching strings, and growling guitars, fall into the latter group. Numerous songs reprise and remix the main piano theme: 'The Shape Returns', 'The Bogeyman', 'Trap the Shape', 'The Shape Burns', and of course closing track 'Halloween Triumphant' all dabble with the melody at some point. On the subject of repeating themes, this album could also be called Jump Scare, the Soundtrack. A full quarter of the songs begin with a huge audio blast that managed to startle me more than once. Expect lots of explosive moments scattered throughout the mayhem.

Progressing through the set reveals just how larded the music is with classic horror tropes. A sense of impending dread is masterfully crafted all over the place, with buildup and release happening over and over. This isn't light listening or something you can really do while trying to focus on some complex external task. If you're a huge fan of the films, absolutely pick this up. If horror music, in general, is your thing, this is also a must-buy. But if you're just a casual fan, it's hard to recommend. It's demanding and emotionally draining. It definitely works for what it is, and I plan on playing it on Halloween night to spook all the kids. But while I can nod to the skill required to execute the album in the way required to match the content of the film, I can't see this being something I'll want to come back all that often. It's definitely a seasonal set. But when it's the right season, this is perfect.

I'm including both the new version of the theme song and the original 1978 version, for those who want to compare for themselves.

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