This is another entry in my Complete Score Breakdown Series, focusing on the complete scores to films that have had abbreviated previous releases or have gone unreleased.
Today we are looking at Darkman (1990) by Danny Elfman.
I am a huge fan of the early superhero/comic book scores by Danny Elfman – scores such as Batman, Batman Returns, Dick Tracy, etc. I also really dig Darkman and think it’s one of his most fun scores. I definitely like a lot of Elfman’s stuff throughout his entire career, but there’s just something special about his early days, and Darkman is a great entry.
The CD itself runs 40 minutes, and after watching the film I learned the complete film score in fact runs a surprisingly lengthy 70 minutes, resulting in nearly 30 minutes of unreleased score. This is some great stuff, too! I really do like the CD – although the tracks “Carnival from Hell” and “Love Theme” don’t do anything for me – but after hearing the complete film score I strongly feel that a lot of the best material was left off the album, unfortunately.
Some of the most thrilling, bracingly dynamic action/adventure material written for the film won’t be on the CD; these cues will be the 4-minute “Westlake’s End”, where Durant and his goons destroy Westlake’s lab and the scientist himself, as well as the entire chase sequence towards the end of the film between Durant’s men and Darkman, which runs over 8 minutes if you combined all cues. That action material is frickin’ solid. How...how...how could that entire 8-minute mélange of action music be completely unreleased from the CD? A battle royale between Darkman and bad guys in the warehouse, on the rooftops, dangling from a helicopter...yeesh. Just vintage, pure adrenaline Elfman action music that was a glorious treat to discover and I would pay the price for an expansion for this unreleased material alone.
Elsewhere in the film, the opening pre-credits sequence has some great, fun stuff as Durant’s men takes out their competition – some really devilish and playful dark suspense stuff. The nearly 5-minute’s worth of unreleased material for the Chinatown meet has some great stuff too (right before the “Double Durant” scene).
There are lots of other very good cues in the film, some a little too short to really be enjoyed, but plenty of others that would make an expansion a very worthwhile endeavor, and as Darkman hails from one of my favorite Elfman eras, I seriously hope this one gets the Deluxe treatment one day…
CURRENT CD RELEASE RUNTIME: 40min 05sec COMPLETE SCORE RUNTIME (AS HEARD IN FILM): 70min 00sec
UNRELEASED SCORE RUNTIME: 29min 55sec
Complete Score Cue Titles and Cue Times (unreleased cues named by me for the sake of identification):
+ – previously unreleased (or includes previously unreleased material)
1. Logos (0:22) + 2. Big Meet (2:05) + 3. Bum Leg (0:28) + 4. Points Taken (0:59) + 5. Main Title (1:36) 6. Nose Job (1:13) + 7. Date Night (0:22) + 8. Love Theme (0:52) 9. Mr. Strack (0:15) + 10. Julie’s Dilemma (1:33) + 11. All About the Dark (0:53) + 12. Westlake’s End (4:02) + 13. Julie Transforms (1:05) 14. Rage (0:22) – (from the CD track “Rage / Peppy Science”) 15. Woe, The Darkman…Woe (5:45) 16. Rebuilding / Failure (3:12) 17. Easing the Symptoms (1:01) 18. Manhole (0:45) + 19. Creating Pauley (3:15) 20. The Plot Unfolds (6:13) – (edited from CD track) 21. Spying on Durant (1:42) + 22. Chinatown (0:56) + 23. Short Cigar (2:05) + 24. Double Durant (1:44) 25. Carnival from Hell (3:15) 26. Julie Discovers Darkman (1:57) 27. True Colors (0:27) + 28. City Planning (0:26) + 29. Rooftops (2:24) + 30. Freakshow (0:10) + 31. Smiley? (0:42) + 32. Face to Face to Face (0:47) + 33. Holograms and Helicopters (1:19) + 34. Hanging (2:14) + 35. Burn in Hell (0:33) + 36. Hostage (1:04) + 37. High Steel (5:40) + – (extended film version) 38. Finale / End Credits (5:00) – (extended from CD track to include “Peppy Science” from second half of CD track “Rage / Peppy Science”)
Current CD Release Track Titles and Track Times:
1. Main Titles (1:39) 2. Woe, The Darkman…Woe (6:10) 3. Rebuilding / Failure (3:16) 4. Love Theme (0:56) 5. Julie Transforms (1:11) 6. Rage / Peppy Science (1:37) 7. Creating Pauley (3:19) 8. Double Durant (1:50) 9. The Plot Unfolds (7:01) 10. Carnival from Hell (3:17) 11. Julie Discovers Darkman (1:59) 12. High Steel (4:19) – (edited from film version) 13. Finale / End Credits (3:40)
Great score this! I only played the old MCA CD last week! (Intrada territory I guess). Not seen the film in ages. Didn't Shirley Walker 'ghost' some cues for this one?
Walker didn't ghost anything, but John Sheffer did write that helicopter cue (for which he got credit). Honestly, it's a fun piece of music but it always felt a little cornball compared to the rest of the score, and I wasn't surprised when I learned Elfman had farmed it out. Darkman is an absolute gem, but while I'm sure I'd be interested in an expansion, I think all the best material is on the album. Some of the missing action music is fun, but I go to that score for its rich, '30's style gothic tragedy (ie, everything that sounds like "Woe, the Darkman ... Woe!"). Amazed that Deputy Riley doesn't like the "Love Theme" cue though, as that melody is all over the score!
....Darkman is an absolute gem, but while I'm sure I'd be interested in an expansion, I think all the best material is on the album. Some of the missing action music is fun, but I go to that score for its rich, '30's style gothic tragedy (ie, everything that sounds like "Woe, the Darkman ... Woe!").....
I remember being a little disappointed with this release at the time because of the missing music, but over time I've come to the same conclusion - the album plays exceptionally well focusing on the "gothic tragedy" - nice term. Not saying I wouldn't pick up an expansion, because I definitely would. But as long as I've got Rage/Peppy Science I'm good.
I love the sound quality of the album. It has that great analog tape sound from the early 90s — the brass in the main title is bright and biting, but it also has a bit of a rough edge with all the tape noise and orchestra noises. "High Steel" is one of Elfman's best cues ever.
Thought I'd share the original cue numbers and titles. Hopefully we'll see a complete release sooner rather than later.
1M1 Opening - The Docks 1M2 Muscling Eddie Black 1M3 Meet Durant 1M4 Main Titles 1M5 Facial Recognition 1M6 The Answers Out There 2M1 Love Theme 2M2 Marriage Proposal 2M3 Strack's Dream 2M4 Photosensitive Cells 2M5 Durants Thugs 2M6 Lab Mayhem 3M1 Julie Transforms 3M2 Payton Wakes 3M3 Weepy Darkman 4M1 Rebuilding 4M2 Failure 4M3 City of the Future Ball 4M4 Dancing - Rick Retires 4M5-5M1 Creating Paulie 5M2 Descent Into Madness 5M3 Reunion 6M1 Durant Arrested 6M2 Chinatown 6M4 Double Durant 6M5A Carnival from Hell 6M5B Carnival Rage 7M1 Julie Learns the Truth 7M2 Bellasarious Memorandum 7M3 The Big Picture 7M4 Julie Followed (Unused) 7M5 War At the Warehouse 8M1 Darkman Gets Some 8M2 Face Off 8M3 Warehouse Explodes 8M4A Helicopter Chase Pt1 8M4B Helicopter Chase Pt2 8M5 Durant's Last Flight 9M1 Site Rendezvous 9M2 On the Edge 9M3 Final Confrontation 9M4 Finale - End Titles 3M2alt Payton Wakes 4M4ins Dancing - Rick Retires 6M4alt Double Durant 8M5pu Durant's Last Flight 9M3pu Final Confrontation