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 Posted:   Jul 3, 2014 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   sdtom   (Member)

http://sdtom.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/the-pit-and-the-pendulum-1991band/

I think the soundtrack is far better than the movie.
Tom

 
 Posted:   Jul 3, 2014 - 1:22 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I know Full Moon movies have their fans, but I just can't sit through them and believe me I tried. I'm always intrigued by the premise and the poster artwork, but once the movie get underway in all its B-movie glory, the only thing I'm glad it brings forth is always a strong Richard Band score!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 3, 2014 - 2:32 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

http://sdtom.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/the-pit-and-the-pendulum-1991band/

I think the soundtrack is far better than the movie.
Tom


Band is a composer I champion whenever I can, as his SYMPHONIC works are fantastic. MUTANT, THE ALCHEMIST, HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW, GHOST WARRIOR, THE DAY TIME ENDED, TROLL, FROM BEYOND, METALSTORM - These are all colorful, creative, distinct scores, imaginatively orchestrated, often gorgeous, and performed with full orchestras In some cases great ones like the London Philharmonic and National Philharmonic) from an era when even no-budget crap could afford to back their soundscapes with the might of a full orchestra. Here are some of the above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO1AuwkP9jU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FtNOra9vnA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkG5WfjNDq4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdsB9DXfVmo (the last few mins. of this are STUNNING)

I just love his full, rich, melodic sound. That end title from MUTANT was, for a time, one of my most listened-to pieces on my iPod.

Around the late 80's into the early 90's though he began to pump out utter shit - synth crap that sound amateurish and ghastly. His last really good score all-around in my opinion was THE CALLER, which sounds like FROM BEYOND by way of THE ALCHEMIST with a tasteful, melancholy synth/electronic element very much in the vain of Mark Isham's THE HITCHER. Thereafter, his music became a new animal altogether...

The frustrating thing about both PIT AND THE PENDULUM and his score for THE RESURRECTED around the same time is that he clearly had a full orchestra at his disposal - and half the time doesn't use it. It's bizarre. The finale/end credits of PENDULUM, which I posted on Youtube as well I think, are terrific, but you have to drudge through a lot of frustrating synth noodling to get there. And his propensity for synthesized oboe solos on all his non-orchestral scores is just dreadful.

Always glad to hear him being discussed, but for my money, the aforementioned scores is where it's really at. MUTANT is just awesome and features his best action writing by far, even if, like a lot of his scores, there are some suspicious "borrowings" from other composers (in this case, Corigliano's ALTERED STATES was clearly temped here).

Any thoughts on the bizarre career trajectory this guy had?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 3, 2014 - 5:13 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

RICHARD BAND has done a lot of fine music but like many other fine film composers who worked on what the industry call GRADE B films they never could get the recognition they deserve[SALTER, GLASSER, STEIN[HERMAN AND RONALD] BERNARD.The list is very long, on and on. I enjoyed this score , but I also felt it was one of EMPIRE'S better efforts during that period as well, However, nothing like the PRICE CLASSIC, which I felt was one of the best genre films ever made.

 
 Posted:   Jul 4, 2014 - 12:28 AM   
 By:   Timothy J. Phlaps   (Member)

I have yet to see a Stuart Gordon film that hasn't thoroughly rocked my balls.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 4, 2014 - 12:08 PM   
 By:   Mr. Popular   (Member)

I have yet to see a Stuart Gordon film that hasn't thoroughly rocked my balls.

I know people have issues with Full Moon films but this one is different. Stuart Gordon has a certain style in his films and it works every time.

 
 Posted:   Jul 4, 2014 - 12:31 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I have yet to see a Stuart Gordon film that hasn't thoroughly rocked my balls.

I know people have issues with Full Moon films but this one is different. Stuart Gordon has a certain style in his films and it works every time.


Castle Freak, Dagon, King of the Ants had good moments but overall were a letdown. I did like his Masters of Horror/Fear Itself entries. Going over his filmography, I do see I need to check out "Edmond" with William H. Macy.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2014 - 12:40 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

RICHARD BAND has done a lot of fine music but like many other fine film composers who worked on what the industry call GRADE B films they never could get the recognition they deserve[SALTER, GLASSER, STEIN[HERMAN AND RONALD] BERNARD.The list is very long, on and on. I enjoyed this score , but I also felt it was one of EMPIRE'S better efforts during that period as well, However, nothing like the PRICE CLASSIC, which I felt was one of the best genre films ever made.

Those composers all still wrote real scores though even in their b-movie twilight years, and classy ones often. Band went from writing stuff performed by the London Philharmonic to Casio-sounding keyboard bullcrap a few years later that was often porno-level stuff, compositionally.

Compare HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW to his dreadful PUPPET MASTER scores and you'll see what I mean.

His career has had one of the most depressing trajectories of any composer I can think of.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2014 - 7:18 AM   
 By:   Spymaster   (Member)

Compare HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW to his dreadful PUPPET MASTER scores and you'll see what I mean.
His career has had one of the most depressing trajectories of any composer I can think of.


Compare Re-Animator to Bride Of Re-Animator, even. Ouch! :-/

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2014 - 8:39 AM   
 By:   SBD   (Member)

Those composers all still wrote real scores though even in their b-movie twilight years, and classy ones often. Band went from writing stuff performed by the London Philharmonic to Casio-sounding keyboard bullcrap a few years later that was often porno-level stuff, compositionally.

Compare HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW to his dreadful PUPPET MASTER scores and you'll see what I mean.

His career has had one of the most depressing trajectories of any composer I can think of.


Quite, though less because of the quality of the music and more the films he's working on. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: he's always deserved so much better than his brother's brain farts.

If the films he's hired for could afford an orchestra, I'm sure that Band would leap at the chance to use one again.

Listen to the clips of SHIVER at Intrada's site. As far as I'm concerned, Band's still got it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2014 - 9:55 AM   
 By:   Dylan S   (Member)

I'm a huge, devoted fan of Richard Band & have been for over 20 years of my 28 year-old life, ever since I was in elementary school when I would rent every new Full Moon movie as soon as I saw them on the New Release shelves at any number of video stores (and spent those same years seeing every Empire Pictures movie, then every film Richard Band scored, even stuff like "Lunch Wagon" ... this search is actually what led me to the Vestron VHS of "House on Sorority Row," his best score). I would actually lump the first "Puppet Master" score with his very best work. It has one of the most beautiful and playful themes from any horror film ever, and the synth performance (and I believe in this specific case synth was not a budget restriction but an artistic decision, though I could be wrong) has an excellent sound and makes it much more scheming. I've listened to that theme hundreds and hundreds of times over the years.

There was an interview Band gave that spoke of why he had to go all/mostly synth in order to keep working as a film composer. Through the late '80s it wasn't impossible for a low budget film to be able to hire an orchestra to perform the score. It wasn't cheap, but it was affordable. For Empire Pictures movies, the lion's share of the budget was film stock, then followed by (when they had them) orchestral scores and stop-motion animation. Once the orchestra budgets climbed, low budget films could no longer afford orchestral scores. There is an interview that isn't online anymore where Band says that many of his peer group fought this and refused to write anything else but symphonic scores, and their careers all tanked. So Band made the switch and was able to keep writing music for movies and tv. I like his Full Moon scores - they're very low budget, but they're also thematic and traditionally scored, which to me makes them automatically better than what 90% of horror films are getting these days. No, his Full Moon work isn't "The House on Sorority Row," but that doesn't make any of it worthless.

Trivia: there were two films that Band was attached to that would've possibly elevated him to A-list composer status had he scored the final pictures. "The Terminator" was one, and the next was "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." The former he was dropped from and he still doesn't know why (he believes because the filmmakers initially wanted an orchestral score, but then decided for an all synth score, dropping Band and hiring somebody more known for their synth work). The latter he was attached to until Stuart Gordon got sick and had to bow out from directing the film, and the replacement director went with James Horner. Now, imagine Richard Band scoring a Disney film.

I think on the right project and with the right direction Band could be as good now (or better) than he ever has been. He is a bright and wonderful talent. He just needs a good director and an interesting film to work with.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2014 - 2:07 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)



Trivia: there were two films that Band was attached to that would've possibly elevated him to A-list composer status had he scored the final pictures. "The Terminator" was one, and the next was "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." The former he was dropped from and he still doesn't know why (he believes because the filmmakers initially wanted an orchestral score, but then decided for an all synth score, dropping Band and hiring somebody more known for their synth work). The latter he was attached to until Stuart Gordon got sick and had to bow out from directing the film, and the replacement director went with James Horner. Now, imagine Richard Band scoring a Disney film.

I think on the right project and with the right direction Band could be as good now (or better) than he ever has been. He is a bright and wonderful talent. He just needs a good director and an interesting film to work with.


Wow! I didn't know that. This is an amazing piece of trivia. What a crying shame neither came to be. I wonder how he got hooked up with Terminator?

I recall that in the METALSTORM liner notes, he laments that that score wasn't released on LP back in '83, as he believes it might have had a positive impact upon his career (i.e. it could have been "his" Battle Beyond the Stars). Alas...

While I'm sure with the right project and right director, he could write great music again, I have to say that I'm been extremely underwhelmed with his actual WRITING as much as the synth execution of the past quarter-century or so. His sound just changed, his melodic sensibilities becoming way too droll and Rachel Portman-esque (i.e. mundane and predictable chord progressions, mediocre and underwhelming counterpoint, etc.). I dunno, that's just how stuff like DRAGONWORLD and whatnot struck my ear. Predictable, tired and formulaic, without any flair, creativity or passion.

Compare that to his MUTANT end title (one of my favorite Band compositions ever), the HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW and ALCHEMIST main themes, the utterly enchanting lyricism/whimsy of the latter half of TROLL's main title cue, the magnificent main theme from GHOST WARRIOR or the stunning finale of THE DAY TIME ENDED - This simply sounds like a different composer altogether.

Sadly I don't think a Richard Band resurgence is in the cards. Just as directors are fucked once they're stuck in direct-to-video land, the same is usually true of composers. Every now and then there's a surprise buck in this trend - McNeely and A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST for example - but for a composer, like a director, usually there's no turning back once you're on that slippery slope to schlocky irrelevance.

That's why I call horror films, a genre I once (and still deep in my heart) truly adored, "The genre of diminishing returns" - It's okay to START there (or make a "classy" one like THE SHINNING once you're truly established in other genres), but unless you find a way out soon, before too long you'll be trapped making shitty giant alligator movies forever and no one will trust you with any other kinds of material. This plagues directors and composers more so than anyone else (and maybe actors too, if Lance Hendrickson is any indication).

James Horner and Chris Young are examples of people who started there and then "escaped".

Richard Band, sadly, isn't.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2014 - 4:55 PM   
 By:   Dylan S   (Member)

Well, honestly, since Full Moon ended their relationship with Paramount there haven't been that many Richard Band scores. He refused for several years after that period to write music for horror movies - the post-Paramount incarnation of Full Moon had a couple movies with Band themes but that was it. He focused on tv shows and commercials. For Band, this horror-free period lasted until the late-ish '00s, when he once again started contributing to Charles Band productions, but on a budget less than a shoestring. The recently released "Shiver," for better or worse, sounds like a '90s Full Moon score, which is what he likely was directed to write. It speaks to the fact that he can pull that sound back after a long period of not working in it. Of course, I want to see him encouraged, inspired, and led by a more unique director, on a project that isn't a slasher or creature feature & calls for much more than musical wallpaper in terms of scoring. For many, many, many years, the kind of film I've truly wanted to see Band score is a dramatic love story, one with lots of emotion... and lots of room for music.

It's interesting to compare Christopher Young and James Horner to Richard Band, as all three started out in low budget films. Horner found success very, very fast after leaving Corman's New World. Young (who started scoring for films at the post-Corman incarnation of New World as well as Cannon films) started out with Hellraiser and Invaders From Mars, both of which were by successful horror auteurs, and his assignments just continued to get bigger. Young, of course, has never left the horror genre, but he went from small studio horror films to Hollywood horror films. The thing about Richard Band is that he started out working for his brother, and there were very few windows outside of Empire and Full Moon where Band would've been able to step out and so something different ("The House on Sorority Row" is chief among the non-Empire projects & it really should've led to grander films but it didn't - moreso than "Metalstorm," I believe that should've gotten an LP release in 1982/83). Unlike Young or Horner in that period, Band actually did have a strong consistent director collaboration in Stuart Gordon, but as I wrote that collaboration froze for a time after "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" changed directors. In the 20 years since "Castle Freak" in 1994, Stuart Gordon has directed six movies and produced the "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" TV show and Richard Band wasn't on those projects for whatever reason.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2014 - 5:10 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

I totally agree that an LP release of SORORITY ROW probably would have helped him tremendously - Indeed even more so than METAL STORM, which has a terrific driving main theme but otherwise isn't really his orchestral writing. MUTANT's action scoring is superior in my opinion (and better recorded to boot).

Also completely agree about wishing he'd do something really dramatic. I again harken back to the love theme from MUTANT. It's gorgeous, weighty, lush. The cue "Josh & Holly" could easily have been temped as a love theme in any sweeping period drama from the 80's or 90's. THE ALCHEMIST's rhapsodic secondary theme is a marvel, just gorgeous music.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2014 - 8:39 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

Oh, and another issue I have with Band, even during the early/mid 80's streak where he was doing some terrific stuff, was his propensity for theft and recycling his own music.

As much as I *love* MUTANT, it's chalked full of blatant steals from ALTERED STATES and PIRANHA during some of the horror sequences. The revised main title from FROM BEYOND is copped from Goldsmith's BOYS FROM BRAZIL (same bit that Horner stole for the finale of HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP), the thundering title theme of DUNGEON MASTER is basically a slight re-orchestration of Hermman's giant crab music from MYSTERIOUS ISLAND; The otherwise brilliantly original GHOST WARRIOR uses a few licks from RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD of all things...

In the otherwise very original TROLL, he reused his action pieces from MUTANT wholesale near the end, and the uplifting family theme that wraps up that score is just a new arrangement of the music box theme from HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW.

And need we forget THE ENTITY's title theme popping up in THE CALLER out of absolutely nowhere (admittedly in a far more stunning/sweeping arrangement than anything heard in the original Charles Bernstein score)? I got a good laugh out of mystery samples on Intrada's site actually making people believe they were hearing The Entity (which, ironically enough, the released in their following batch!)

Or how about his uncredited using of Eric Satie's Gnossienne No.1 as a prominent choral/violin theme in his SHRUNKEN HEADS score?

For a composer who was capable of writing incredibly original and compelling music when he wanted to... The above is all pretty annoying.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2014 - 11:37 AM   
 By:   Dylan S   (Member)

I've always taken the Herrmann riffs in Band's work as eyewinks and homage, and quite well done & fun (and I say this as somebody who ranks Herrmann as the greatest film composer ever - and I love Re-Animator's score). The other examples you mention from other works (Altered States, Piranha, The Entity) were likely ported over from a temp track, but I don't remember those specific examples personally even though I'm familiar with all of the works in question. I absolutely remember the romantic arrangement of the "House on Sorority Row" music box theme at the end of "Troll," which I've always liked - all Band does is change some of the notes to make it sound more whimsical.

The most noticeable instance of borrowing from another composer in Band's work is also, for me, the strangest because of those involved - a cue in the first "Puppet Master" is note-for-note one of the murder cues from Pino Donaggio's "Tourist Trap," re-arranged for keyboards/synth, and both films share the same director, David Schmoeller (and producer, of course, Charles Band). It's possible Donaggio received credit for that lift, actually (at least on the film's end titles - unless I'm making it up I vaguely recall that credit at the end) as it's quite blatant if you're familiar with "Tourist Trap." This re-arranged Donaggio cue was repeated somewhere in (I believe) all of the "Puppet Master" sequels too (at least, all of the Paramount "Puppet Master" sequels), all of which I saw as a kid before finally seeing "Tourist Trap."

Speaking of which, the director of "The House on Sorority Row" has said on numerous occassions that his film was temp tracked with Pino Donaggio, chiefly "Carrie" and "Dressed to Kill," and the director wanted a similar score - a thriller with a Romantic main theme that underscores the heroines. Arguably his best score, Richard Band was very much at home with this kind of approach & I wish the trend of horror films having romantic music in them was still going strong.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2014 - 12:18 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

Speaking of which, the director of "The House on Sorority Row" has said on numerous occassions that his film was temp tracked with Pino Donaggio, chiefly "Carrie" and "Dressed to Kill," and the director wanted a similar score - a thriller with a Romantic main theme that underscores the heroines. Arguably his best score, Richard Band was very much at home with this kind of approach & I wish the trend of horror films having romantic music in them was still going strong.

That's a case where he really shined. That score is fantastic and, in my judgement, has far more muscle than any Donaggio horror score - always thought Donaggio's actual horror/thriller writing was flimsy and cheap-sounding even if his themes were lovely. The London Philharmonic outdid themselves there and of course the lush bookending themes are just gorgeous.

It's funny that SORORITY ROW and THE ALCHEMIST are the only scores where (to my knowledge) Band orchestrated the music himself, as they are perhaps his most vibrant and colorful works for orchestra. I hold those and MUTANT as favorites in the genre scoring arena, even with the temp lifts in the latter.

MUTANT contains one of the best examples of thematic development in a horror score ever in my opinion in Band's handling of the love theme. Amidst the dissonance and eerie chords dominating the first few cues, it exists only as a percolating, fleeting but very memorable piano motif- distant, almost eerie and music box-like in its own way. At the end of "Mike's Death" wistful strings join the piano in a tragic, but unresolved, statement. Then in "Josh Walks Through Town" the piano theme is extrapolated into a vibrant and soaring idea, still infused with mysterious uncertainty despite its bright and propulsive demeanor. Then the theme evolves further, outright stating the love theme with orchestra for the first time in "Billy Gets It" before being quickly interrupted by the zombie/mutant theme. Then in "Josh and Holly" it is at last unleashed in almost Golden Age rapture, a true climax withheld as ominous chord close out that cue. Finally in the "End Title" the theme reaches its most developed statement, a joyous and soaring and lush and gorgeous piece of almost Delerue-esque rapture. It's a piece that tells you all the horror that has proceeded it now vanquished, that life is grand and worth living once more and the nightmare has ended.

At least, that's what it tells me.

Now THAT'S thematic-fucking-development of the highest order. Even some of the best A-listers don't score films in that much depth. And Band wrote that for a grade-z ZOMBIE MOVIE.

Imagine what he could have done with an epic fantasy film, or a sweeping tragic period romance film at the height of his musical inspiration...?

 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2014 - 2:20 PM   
 By:   Timothy J. Phlaps   (Member)

In the 20 years since "Castle Freak" in 1994, Stuart Gordon has directed six movies and produced the "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" TV show and Richard Band wasn't on those projects for whatever reason.

He did a great score for Gordon's DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE episode of MASTERS OF HORROR.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2014 - 6:11 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

Then there is THE DAY TIME ENDED-79- The last 5 or so minutes of film has one of the most touching music to ever come down the pipe that MR ROZSA would be proud of. Too bad that nice ending didn't conclude a very good movie. Unfortunately the film itself despite some good scenes is a mess.It's a long story once told in a issue of cinefastique.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 8, 2014 - 1:17 AM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

Then there is THE DAY TIME ENDED-79- The last 5 or so minutes of film has one of the most touching music to ever come down the pipe that MR ROZSA would be proud of. Too bad that nice ending didn't conclude a very good movie. Unfortunately the film itself despite some good scenes is a mess.It's a long story once told in a issue of cinefastique.

Yup, that finale is just wonderful - Probably Band's best lengthy, sustained single cue. I've always loved it!

Also always loved the sumptuous, mysterious main title:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkb8thRly8s

 
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