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The Dunwich Horror - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD Review

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Reviewed by Chris McEneany, 23rd May 2009
Well, try as I might, I just can't fully embrace this score. Baxter's repetition ultimately gets on the nerves and there is a “small” feel to the music that somehow makes the score sound uncompleted and confined - a meagre set-up and over-reaching ambitions, perhaps - despite its full incarnation here. That's probably a very unfair thing to say, but whilst this may be the type of thing that initially hooks you, intrigues and even stimulates you, the preponderance to experimentalism will invariably veer towards to aggravation. As mood music, this plays out like the score to an extended Doctor Who episode from either the John Pertwee or Tom Baker eras. I had been looking forward to this release with a huge tinge of nostalgia, but this just compounds the fact that the film, itself, really wasn't very good and Baxter's unorthodox and pop-baroque sensibilities were about the only things to ignite any genuine atmosphere or excitement. Director Haller made the mistake of truncating and reworking Baxter's score for his movie, which only made it sound even more repetitive – yet the album, set apart from the imagery, ends up doing much the same thing unless you reprogram those unused tracks back into it to diffuse that brainwashing main theme.

What Baxter did with his scores and this one, particularly, is certainly admirable. He created his own musical style and broke down the conventions of established film composing with it. Yet whilst the likes of Ennio Morricone did much the same thing with his use of diverse instrumentation, wild writing and rule-breaking, he also managed to make his music broadly appealing and accessible, as well as progressive. Les Baxter's horror scores were proudly individualistic, that's for sure, but such a maverick approach does not always work. However, this CD is very definitely a welcome release, even if the music it contains caters for a taste that not many can fully appreciate.

Weird, nightmarish stuff, folks … and the strange thing is that it captures the tremulous, expectant essence of Lovecraft's florid, though often over-cooked prose perfectly.

Read the full review...


Distinguished Member
The film is weird so I would assume the score would be:),I collected the Midnite Movies set from the US and this film was part of the collection.

Dean Stockwell with a mullet.:eek:

Chris McEneany

Well-known Member
There's nothing wrong with mullets, Ian! ;) And don't forget that Stockwell got a lot hairier in Werewolf Of Washington!!!!!

Mine's become a Wolverine/Star Trek hybrid - the mutton-chops have shortened into pointy little Federation sidies. :D

But with the weather now hotting-up nicely - I've got a feeling that it's all gonna get scalped soon anyway ... despite that, ahem, Kajagoogoo return! lol

Yep, the score is as weird as the movie. That bloody main theme is STILL thumping around my skull! I'll be taking a look at Danny Elfman's score for Terminator Salvation soon, as well as a few more cool "oldies" that have been unearthed and had the treatment done. :thumbsup:


Chris McEneany :devil:

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