Sunday, September 10, 2006

Five Favorite Scores

Gojira (1954) Akira Ifukube's score has got to be one of the greatest ever. So spare and downbeat and dirge-y, a perfect accompaniment to the subject matter. The "Godzilla March" will always be a classic and, coupled with those guttural roars a la the film's title sequence, can still send me into an overload of orgasmic auditory geek-bliss.

The Maestro did a lot of great music for many of the later G movies as well, though he had a habit of repeating himself ad nauseum. Still, the main title theme for 1975's Terror of MechaGodzilla is a great, stirring and eerie reinterpretation of the classic march.

Gojira X MechaGojira (2002) My second-favorite 'Zilla movie, due in no small part to the wonderful score. Call me a heretic if you must, but I prefer Michiru Oshima's Godzilla theme to Ifukube's. Those low, explosive drumbeats followed by rumbling bassoons, building to a thrilling, relentless and turbulent march, help to make the first ten minutes of this film something that I will never ever EVER get tired of watching and hearing. Though there's way too much repetition towards the end, this still ranks as one of my favorite film scores of all time.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) I loved Jerry Goldsmith's score for ST-TMP, but that score (and the film) had something of a coldness which is characteristic of Goldsmith's work (don't get me wrong though, he's one of my favorite film composers and is damn near irreplaceable). James Horner's main title theme for Wrath of Khan will always be the definitive Star Trek music for me; it's one of the most stirring and emotionally thrilling pieces of film music I can recall, and fits the tone of the movie to a tee. Like Star Wars, I can't imagine this movie being anywhere near as good without this particular score to accompany it.

Logan's Run (1976) Another underappreciated, experimental Goldsmith score that's far better than the movie it's attached to. I played and played and played this one as a weester, and it never failed to spark a rush of excitement (then again, neither did the sight of a naked Jenny Agutter wrapping herself in furs). I really need to score a new copy someday.

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion (1969) Okay, not a film score, but I love it to death anyway. "Grim Grinning Ghosts" is just such a catchy little morbid tune, and I adore every variation used throughout the ride, from the slow, spooky dirge in the loading area to the frantic atonal chaos of the ballroom scene to the goofy graveyard hoedown to the whimsical-but-creepy a capella funeral chant as you exit the ride. Another one I'll never get tired of.

I was into film soundtracks waaaaay before I knew how to rock n' roll. Goes without saying that I love the classics, but the above five are personal standouts.