Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 9.

Ghosts. Some are nice, but most of them can hurt you...or, at the very least, prove to be an incredible nuisance.

5. The Fog (John Carpenter) - Minimalistic, but incredibly effective. The cue for the John Houseman prologue is a standout.

4. Thir13en Ghosts (John Frizzell) - Though a bit too loud and chaotic at times, this score contains some exciting and lovely moments.

3. High Spirits (George Fenton) - As a film, merely a notch above The Spirit is Willing. Fenton's sweeping score is almost too good for it.

2. Ghostbusters* (Elmer Bernstein) - I'm a sucker for the ondes martenot, and its use has never felt more appropriate than in this lively score.

1. Poltergeist II: the Other Side (Jerry Goldsmith) - I like this better than the score to the original. Sue me. Maybe it's the electronics or the themes for the new characters.

* - I was saving this for the 'ghosts' list. I certainly didn't put this on the 'good horror comedies' list because I forgot. If anyone asks.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 8.

Even with my awareness of the rules, I doubt I'd last very long in a slasher movie. I'm not in very good shape, so the killer could catch me pretty easily. Plus, I'm Black, so there's that.

10. When a Stranger Calls (Dana Kaproff) - Admittedly, it plays far better in the film than on its own, but Kaproff's music is quite good.

9. A Nightmare on Elm Street (Charles Bernstein) - A memorably creepy main theme and some great, pulsating action cues.

8. Urban Legend (Christopher Young) - One of Young's better entries in the genre, highlighted by a haunting main theme.

7. The Funhouse (John Beal) - Trailer soundtracks' gain is film music's loss, as Beal's over-the-top score makes the film seem far scarier than it is.

6. House of Wax (John Ottman) - Ottman's Gothic score is an off-kilter delight, from its lurching marches ("Ritual") to its eerie sliding strings ("Bringing Down the House").

5. The Slayer (Robert Folk) - This long-forgotten thriller features a lush, even moving score from Folk. YouTube it and be amazed (assuming it hasn't been removed again).

4. Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (Bear McCreary) - McCreary's odd but enjoyable score is one the strongest components of the better-than-you'd-think sequel.

3. Halloween (John Carpenter) - Despite its repetitive presentation on album, a marvelous horror score, creepy and evocative.

2. Tourist Trap (Pino Donaggio) - My personal favorite Donaggio score, a perfect match for the 'what the fudge?!' nature of the film.

1. The House on Sorority Row (Richard Band) - My personal favorite Band score, with a beautiful main theme and ferocious chase cues.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 7.

One of the season's most common entities is the witch. Though depicted with a particular look, popular culture has (more often than not) shown its share of attractive spellcasters.

5. Hocus Pocus (John Debney) - Debney's thundering score for the silly comedy put him on the map...and with good reason.

4. The Witches (Stanley Myers) - Something of a cheat as I've only heard the opening titles, but just listen to them. Beautiful stuff.

3. Spellbinder (Basil Poledouris) - An atypical Poledouris effort (his only horror film, one of his few all-electronic scores), this music is perfect for Halloween, highlighted by the creepily urgent "The Witching Hour" and "The Ritual".

2. Warlock (Jerry Goldsmith) - Very few people like this score (the film doesn't have too many fans, either, though I like it), but it is very engaging, with a pair of terrific themes.

1. The Witches of Eastwick (John Williams) - Damned fun (if not particularly scary) music. The main theme will stick in you head for days and Daryl's theme is appropriately sinuous.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 6.

Despite yesterday, a lot of filmmakers get it right as regards to the mixture of horror and comedy.

8. Young Frankenstein (John Morris) - Perhaps Mel Brooks' finest film for which Morris provided a heartbreaking main theme and some good comic cues.

7. I Sell the Dead (Jeff Grace) - Admittedly, I know very little of this grave-robbing comedy, but Grace's lively score does hint at a promising new talent.

6. Love at First Bite - Bernstein provided this riotous film with a terrific score highlighted by Gypsy violin.

5. Seed of Chucky (Pino Donaggio) - A delightfully ridiculous entry in the Child's Play series, Donaggio's score nicely mixes chills (its circular main theme) with chuckles (the amusing 'twitch' motif).

4. Beetlejuice (Danny Elfman) - Though sedate for a good portion of the film, Elfman's music knows when to cut loose (the main titles, the seance and pretty much everything following that)

3. Dracula: Dead and Loving It (Hummie Mann) - Though not as good as ...First Bite, this film has its moments and Mann's score (highlighted by a powerful main theme) is fantastic.

2. Theatre of Blood (Michael J. Lewis) - Lewis' lush score succeeds by playing up the Shakespearean elements of the film rather than the gore.

1. Gremlins 2: the New Batch (Jerry Goldsmith) - Okay, this is far more comedy than horror, but it does show up on a number of favorites lists, and Goldsmith does a smashing job, expanding the themes from the first movie and engaging in some delightful self-parody.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 5.

For many years, filmmakers have sought to combine horror with humor. Sometimes, the results are successful, while other times, they aren't.

These films fall into the second category:

3. Transylvania 6-5000 (Lee Holdridge) - Hard to believe that a fine cast and a writer/director acquainted with Mel Brooks could add up to nothing. Still, Holdridge provided some lovely music.

2. The Spirit is Willing (Vic Mizzy) - Another marvelous cast, bedeviled by a director not known for (or fluent in) comedy. Mizzy's score, though, is a light-hearted romp.

1. Lesbian Vampire Killers (Debbie Wiseman) - Full disclosure: I only know of this movie through a couple of reviews and, by those accounts, it's puerile, but one would never guess it from what I've heard of Wiseman's lush, exciting score.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 4.

Every so often, a studio will get a yen to make a horror-themed animated feature.

5. Corpse Bride (Danny Elfman) - Much like the film, the score pales in comparison to that other Burton/Elfman musical, but is quite enjoyable on its own terms.

4. ParaNorman (Jon Brion) - Brion's score was a vital component to the underrated feature, highlighted by inventive orchestrations.

3. Monster House (Douglas Pipes) - Pipes made an impressive debut with his lively score for the 80s throwback, its bounding main theme a particular standout.

2. Frankenweenie (Danny Elfman) - Elfman nicely combines horror tropes and wistful scoring with a creepy main theme.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Danny Elfman) - What else could possibly top this list? Catchy songs, tuneful underscore, great fun.

Here's hoping to see more animated horror in the future.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 3.

One of the most durable horror conceits is vampires, and yet, they can be killed and repelled in so many different ways.

Favorite score for a vampire movie:

5. Interview with a Vampire (Elliot Goldenthal) - Goldenthal provided an appropriately eclectic mix of styles to chart the life of a reluctant vampire.

4. Sundown: the Vampire in Retreat (Richard Stone) - A family finds themselves stranded in a town full of bloodsuckers in this vampire Western, for which the late Stone provided a rousing main theme and lots of energy.

3. Priest (Christopher Young) - Thankfully, Young cared very little for how cheesy and campy the film was and gave it a lively score, anyway.

2. Dracula (John Williams) - One of Williams' few horror scores is carried by its romantic main theme.

1. Daybreakers (Christopher Gordon) - The uneven but entertaining thriller benefited greatly from Gordon's lush and (forgive me) full-bodied score.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 2.

A guy like me can't always be satisfied by just one; I got to have a number of things in one sitting, and so...

Favorite score from a horror anthology:

4. Tales from the Hood (Christopher Young) - Perhaps the finest African-American anthology feature (its only competition is Hood of Horror...enough said) features an eclectic mixture of styles, from off-kilter jazz ("Rogue Cop Revelation") to experimental electronics ("Hard Core Convert") to orchestral horror ("Boys Do Get Bruised").

3. Trick 'r Treat (Douglas Pipes) - Pipes provided a lively score for this long-on-the-shelf anthology, buoyed by a powerful main theme.

2. Terror Tract (Brian Tyler) - One of Tyler's earliest scores...and, for my money, one of his best. The film is (best) forgotten, but the score is marvelous. A terrific main theme and a number of exciting suspense cues.

1. Twilight Zone: the Movie (Jerry Goldsmith) - It's amazing how much there is to love in this score: the peculiarity of "It's a Good Life", the sparseness of "Time Out", the creepy excitement of "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" and the beauty of "Kick the Can". Definitely a 'no Goldsmith fan should be without this' title.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Favorite Halloween scores - Day 1.

Okay, funny story: as I was waiting on customers today, it hit me like a bolt out of the blue. Mini-writeups about my favorite horror scores to comprise the rest of the month's postings. As the month is running out, I guess I better get started.

Favorite score from a Stephen King adaptation:

5. Carrie (Pino Donaggio) - Not one of my favorite Donaggios, but there are some good moments. "Bucket of Blood" is a standout.

4. Needful Things (Patrick Doyle) - Furious string work and apocalyptic bombast meet for effective results.

3. Secret Window (Philip Glass) - Though dialed out for an overbearing replacement score, Glass's music is beautifully creepy, especially what he wrote for the film's final reels.

2. Misery (Marc Shaiman) - Shaiman's lone thriller score is fantastic, with a mournful main theme and driving action cues.

1. Thinner (Daniel Licht) - There are several choices that people might pick for their #1, but this is the score I come back to more than any other. By turns lush and creepy.

There are other scores for King movies that I enjoy, like Ottman's Apt Pupil (which would've made the list if the film were more of a horror film), Young's The Dark Half and Sukman's Salem's Lot.

There's a lot of ground to cover and I'm happy to be inspired to post again.


"...and to eat: Peru!"

[Yes, it has been nearly two weeks since I've posted anything. I've done nothing of consequence about it. One would think that I would write reviews of horror - and horror-themed - scores, but if it wasn't done at the beginning of the month, it's probably never getting done...and by 'probably', I mean 'likely'.]

So, there I am searching around Buzzfeed when I happen upon an article about foods to try in Peru. This is it, BTW:

15 Peruvian Foods You Have to Try

I only got as far as #7 before I decided a) I'd like to visit Peru one day and b) I have to blog about this.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Once upon a time, I was in high school. I was a very odd, quiet kid; not very popular. Contributing to that (or not, people paid little attention to me) was the fact that I wore braces.

Okay, actually, I had braces twice in my life: once, in the eighth grade (applied by a dental school to save money) and later in my junior year of high school. To make room for these braces, some teeth would have to be removed.

(If you choose to read beyond this point, there is nothing I can do for you.)

(You sure? Okay.)

It was a sunny Monday in May. I was, of course, nervous, but what can you do? Four of my teeth had to go (and note: these were not wisdom teeth; they were normal, unspectacular teeth). As this dentist didn't have knockout gas or laughing gas (I was totally lied to by cartoons), novocaine was injected into my gums. With a needle. So, that's having four teeth pulled at an age when I'm incredibly afraid of needles. This was not a red letter day.

At two teeth down, it gets to be near the end of business for the day. Now, then and sometimes even now, I'm a little slow to catch on to things, but this clicked immediately. Sensing that I'd have to go through this excruciating pain at a future date, I begged her to continue, making for one of the few times in my life that I stood up for myself.

The pain (at least for that day) subsided, but the experience left me a little shaken.

What do I have to show for this time and money spent? A David Letterman-style gap in my front teeth. C'est la vie.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 today. Good movie, with some solid laughs to balance out the myriad of food puns.

Counting over my ticket stubs, I've found that I've only seen, counting today, 35 movies in a theater this year. Glancing over the schedule for the rest of the year, I'll be lucky if the total cracks 50. So what, you may be wondering. My film totals usually top out at 60 and higher.

This is unfortunate...and inexplicable. Movies don't seem to be getting worse (at least, not in my view) and I don't seem to be losing interest in going out to the movies (I'll burn down a cat shelter before that happens), but I can't figure it out.

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