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Soundtrack Review

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The Thing (Music from the Motion Picture)


Composer: Ennio Morricone
Recreated by: Alan Howarth
BuySoundtrax Records
RRP: £13.99
Available 04 October 2011

To replace the original deleted soundtrack, comes The Thing: Music From The Motion Picture, available as a limited edition CD or as a digital download from BuySoundtrax Records. To avoid confusion it should be pointed out that this is the classic John Carpenter version from the early eighties, and not the recent very average prequel. Carpenter composed very powerful enhancing music for his films, but in this case he wanted to bring in Ennio Morricone who had impressed him greatly with several memorable spaghetti western tunes.

Morricone produced an orchestral soundtrack, but Carpenter wanted something more in the vein of his own music from Escape From New York, released only the year before. So, Morricone offered up a more electronic synthesizer score. Even then Carpenter utilised only a part of the music given to him, because he needed a recurring theme - something a little sinister to reflect the isolation of the characters and the siege feel so favoured by the director.

Alan Howath, who collaborated with John Carpenter on many of his soundtracks, as well as providing sound effects for a handful of blockbuster movies in the eighties, before composing some of his own - has painstakingly reconstructed Morricone’s original full soundtrack using new technology to create the sounds of the old recording. The tracks have also been rearranged to match the order they would have been in the film.

Listening carefully to the content it’s difficult to imagine where the music would have fit in to the very different mood of the film. The Thing has a very claustrophobic feel, and this would have been destroyed by some of the more orchestral pieces. To be frank, there is only one powerful track on this collection and that is the building electronic throb which was actually used as the main piece in the movie. The rest is not exactly entertaining. The composer himself described his electronic theme as Morricone doing John Carpenter. This begs the question, why didn’t Carpenter do it himself in the first place?


Ty Power

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