John Carpenter is better known as the man who brought us horror classics such as Halloween, The Thing and Prince of Darkness, but less common knowledge was that most of the soundtracks for many of the works in his catalogue were self composed, both for reasons of creative fulfillment and also saving money.
The original copies of these ended up in your local Oxfam long ago, before then becoming highly sought after cult ephemera. Recognising the appetites of a new generation of gore lovers, in recent years however Spencer Hickman’s Death Waltz label has been reissuing highly reverent new editions (its first release was a vinyl edition of the score for Escape from New York).
If you’re familiar with the director’s films you’ll know exactly what to expect here, this being the third chapter in a series which has helped him even turn his hand to concert performances. Working with his son and godson, Carpenter’s starting point is making compositions for scenes which have never existed, his distinctive, eighties-leaning synths (Think a blood thirstier Jan Hammer) often complemented by hero guitar work from airbrushed heavy metal’s golden age. You’ll have to imagine walking past the graveyard at midnight for yourself, but if your nightmare needs a soundtrack, deep in the shadows, the master will see you now.
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