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 Posted:   Jun 28, 2022 - 4:28 PM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

So here goes... I’m going to rank all 30 Craig Safan works currently available on CD, coz...

- I absolutely love this guy.

- I don’t have the dedication or ability to do what Yavar is doing with Goldsmith, so a 'Ranking' is the best I can manage.

- His comeback from 2015 until the present has been truly astounding. His career dwindled for 14 years (1989-2002), then he vanished for the next 12. Composers don’t come back from that. But he returned with some of his greatest work!

- Just as many new scores have been released in the first 6 months of 2022 as came out officially in the 25 years (!?) before his 2015 comeback! Right now he's burning the candle at both ends.

- The releases are a nice round number. 30 full works on CD. And 10 more as downloads. I also own all released CDs for the first time.

- I’ve often wondered why so many people love two scores (The Last Starfighter, Remo Williams) but have never been tempted to try others. Then Vangelis died, and I realised I was in that boat with him. I guess it’s because no one is shouting from the rooftops about how great the remainder is (nor have I seen the other films). So here I go ‘rooftop shouting’ for Safan.

- I feel bad about trashing a couple of poor releases (the Elm Street boxset and the latest Last Starfighter re-releases fell way short). But there's a lot remaining - in print - which needs a bigger audience.

- I’ll rank these one at a time, to keep the thread 'current' for a bit. I’ve had the chance to re-listen to everything several times in the last few weeks. And even watched many of the films. So if I was ever able to do this...

- After I’ve done the 30, I’ll do 10 Download only releases. Some Safan scores are for download sale under a different artist name and title! His last three theatrical features - Splitsville (1998), Delivering Milo (2001), and Time of Fear (2002) - have been hiding in plain sight for a decade as purchasable downloads. They required some detective work to identify and it’s likely no one knows about these at all.

- I’ll go from #1 to #30... my avatar kinda gives away the top spot. Almost all of it is great. But it's pretty shocking #30 was actually released!

Additional: I’m including his recent 'themed' albums in the Ranking as Safan considers these ‘soundtracks to non-existent movies’, and all are released by soundtrack labels.

Also, the phrase 'in my opinion' wont be used a hundred times. But you'll know whenever it should apply, which will be a lot.

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2022 - 4:43 PM   
 By:   GoblinScore   (Member)

Nightmares 1983

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2022 - 5:12 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

- I don’t have the dedication or ability to do what Yavar is doing with Goldsmith, so a 'Ranking' is the best I can manage.

Wow, thanks for the big compliment but I'm certain you're selling yourself short! I know you have the dedication for Safan that I do for Goldsmith, and I'm sure you have more ability than you give yourself credit for. All you've got to do is watch the movies and listen to the available scores, and go through his output chronologically. I know you can do it!

But for now I look forward to reading your ranking here.


 Posted:   Jun 28, 2022 - 6:18 PM   
 By:   rcashill   (Member)

Son of the Morning Star is fantastic, but I don’t think any of his scores have disappointed. Underrated for sure.

 Posted:   Jun 28, 2022 - 11:30 PM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Great idea for a thread. I don't have everything, but Craig Safan is a wonderful composer who has written a lot of terrific scores. I absolutely love his score for WOLFEN (I also love Horner's replacement score), and SON OF THE MORNING STAR is beautiful.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2022 - 12:06 AM   
 By:   moolik   (Member)

Well for me
( Of course)
THE LAST STARFIGHTER ( amongst the greatest scifi scores in my opinion )
REMO WILLIAMS ( I usually hate drumsynths but here its fun, cause its well mixed with the orchestra )
THE BAD NEWS BEARS Part 2 ( like it even more than the Fielding one, cause it has more original score in it and is really a fun listening )

I just ordered COURAGE ..thats all I got by him.

So looking forward what you have up your sleeves by this fine composer.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2022 - 12:20 AM   
 By:   alepa   (Member)

Yes, a favorite composer for me, also
Any info for Splitsville (1998), Delivering Milo (2001) e Time of Fear (2002)??
Also Nightmare wait for a release!!

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2022 - 2:48 AM   
 By:   Hurdy Gurdy   (Member)

Safan has ALWAYS been a composer of interest for me.
THE LAST STARFIGHTER would have been my introduction/gateway drug to him, quickly followed by WARNING SIGN & REMO WILLIAMS.
Like my other Film Score Heroes of the time, he had a unique and distinctive voice and style that stood out, as good as, but different to, the likes of Horner and Broughton and Poledouris and Holdridge etc.
His TZ score for OPENING DAY is seriously addictive.
I remember noticing it, while watching the episode and thinking 'LISTEN TO THIS!!!...IT'S AMAZING'
I immediately taped it onto cassette from the video for future listens.
I have a decent selection of his scores on CD, although I'm not a completist.
After hearing those 3 tracks from CORVETTE SUMMER on his Film Music promo CD, I'd love to buy a more expanded edition of that one.
And...Guilty Admission Time...I have that 3CD set of the BAD NEWS BEARS scores but haven't actually played the Safan score yet (or the Chihara)...something I will remedy very soon, thanks to this thread.

And welcome back Sean, hope your break from FSM did you good.
Cool to see you posting again.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2022 - 9:31 AM   
 By:   Michael_McMahan   (Member)

The Last Starfighter and Remo are scores that I was familiar with as a kid, so those 2 have some extra weight to them. But I also love Son Of The Morning Star, Warning Sign, Fade To Black, Major Payne and his amazing Twilight Zone scores. His "Confrontation" coda in Thief has long been a fave in these parts too...

Nightmare on Elm Street 4's opener is great.

Special mention goes to the recent CD release of "Courage". - I'm really enjoying it

I'm always keeping my eye out for new Safan releases -

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2022 - 10:07 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

As much as I love The Last Starfighter (especially growing up with it so it's a nostalgic favorite), I still think Son of the Morning Star is Craig Safan's magnum opus, of the scores I've heard. Kudos to Intrada for producing a complete release a few years ago!


 Posted:   Jun 29, 2022 - 2:59 PM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

Where several composers feature on a release (Elm Street boxset, Bad News Trilogy, Angel Trilogy, Amazing Stories and our first entry, The Twilight Zone), runtimes and comments are restricted to just Safan’s contributions.

Entries wont all be as long as the first, I promise, which is seven scores for the price of one.

 Posted:   Jun 29, 2022 - 3:26 PM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

#1 (of #30)


Intrada ISC438 (2016) ***** (73 minutes)

Best Track: Opening Day

Well, this is my favourite scoring ever and why I fell in love with Safan.

He scored 7 episodes in total over 3 months from Nov 1985 - Jan 1986. From the least to the greatest...

TEACHER’S AIDE: The first and possibly the outlier of Safan’s TZ scores. It’s the only one for a substandard episode, for a start. A teacher is inhabited by the spirit of a gargoyle and kicks ass for a week. That’s it, never graduating to an actual story. The two saving graces are the casting of Adrienne Barbeau who already looks like a gargoyle (a very sexy one) and Safan’s score. Which goes from very 1980s sax at the beginning to Bernard Herrmann-esque for the remainder. Despite the episode, the score is still a classy affair. And to change style for a third time, the last 25 seconds sound exactly like 1990s Carter Burwell.

WONG’S LOST AND FOUND EMPORIUM: A lovely, atmospheric score which, for the only time in this set, is hampered by poor sound. I can’t put my finger on the problem, but it sounds distant, like you’re listening via telephone. The bass is ghastly. A shame, as this is a little miniature masterpiece with bags of invention. Oh, and the last 20 seconds sound exactly like 1990s Thomas Newman!

TOOTH AND CONSEQUENCE: A delightful change of pace for Safan on the show. A synthesised score for a comedy with creepy undertones (a TZ speciality). A dentist suddenly finds himself treated like a rock star (another episode has this happen to a secretary). Safan is completely at home with this high energy comedy, bringing his theme to sexual ecstasy... in a dentist’s office.

THE UNCLE DEVIL SHOW: Even his most throwaway moment on the series is exactly why this is my favourite CD ever. 5 minutes of sheer hyper bliss, Safan sounds like he’s hogging all the cocaine and candy in Hollywood. It was the biggest surprise on CD, as it’s source music for a show within a show in the episode. Safan went off to join the circus in the early 2000s. I have no doubt this score was his audition tape. Beautifully bonkers.

DEAD WOMAN’S SHOES: How many notes does it take for a score to announce itself as a classic? Two seems like the quickest (Jaws), and that’s all it takes here. It’s a scoring masterclass. Safan obviously wants to do a noir thing, but the second scene, a one minute single take of Helen Mirren’s feet, is too lightweight for that. He has a minute beforehand to establish his mood, then create a breezy cue he can fold back in when the shit hits the fan. Being able to create work this moody, this complex, this textured, in no time at all still makes my head spin. The score shifting from sultry to sinister from 5:10 - 5:30 never fails to hit the spot. A flat out masterpiece. It beggars belief he had two better ones in him. Comedian Jeffrey Tambor plays a sociopath in this who treats everyone like dirt. No acting required, as we found out.

TO SEE THE INVISIBLE MAN: Simply put, the best half hour of television ever made. A man (Cotter Smith) is found guilty of the crime of ‘coldness’ to his fellow citizens, and sentenced to one year of invisibility. People can still see him, they just pretend not to. “I could do a year of this on a pogo stick,” he says. Well, over the next 23 minutes, we’ll see about that.

Nothing in the Rod Serling original series comes even close to the majesty of To See The Invisible Man. The entire human condition crammed into those 23 minutes. The ending, like all great twists, was the only way it could have gone. The cherry on top.

And the score... oh boy. Safan does it all on his synclavier and, to add insult to injury, uses mainly sampled vocals. An inspired decision. As Cotter Smith becomes crippled with loneliness, he’s surrounded by heavenly voices. An achingly beautiful synclavier symphony, the best TV episode ever got the score it richly deserved. I’m as in awe of it today as I was when I first heard it. Those long drawn out notes, timed to absolute perfection. Despite being a one man show and probably written and recorded in a short window of a week or two, I’m still finding new things in it. And yet its status as my favourite score lasted only two weeks! (It remains in second place to this day). A fortnight later I saw this...

OPENING DAY: It’s a miracle Safan ever got this gig, which would become his magnum opus. The episode is directed by the legendary John Milius, whose regular composer Basil Poledouris was also working on 1980s Twilight Zone. I guess there was a scheduling conflict. Milius told Safan to score every second of it, and what he didn’t like, he’d remove (which was nothing). The music doesn’t kick off until the end of the first scene, then doesn’t let up. It’s relentless, yet unusual and unpredictable. The sandworm and the sandwalk at the same time.

I can’t think of anything that creates this much atmosphere over 15 minutes. Haunting, intense, richly layered. I just sat listening to this as a boy, mesmerised, thinking if the name credited at the end is this Craig Safan fellow again, my mind will be blown. The episode, which I love, can’t compete with the previous one, but the score definitely can. His finest quarter hour. I’m glad I didn’t know then I’d have to wait 30 years for the soundtrack release - I’d have ended up in the loony bin.

The CD actually confirmed Safan had scored every second of it after all. A jazzy source cue for the opening scene is Safan also, putting his score to this episode alone at a whopping 20 minutes. I have to admit I can’t hear Safan in the piece at all, but I enjoy it a lot.

Like most soundtrack fans, I don't have to see the film to love the CD. But for those last two scores, I think you need to hear the music in situ to get the most out of it. Whereas with Dead Woman's Shoes, for example, you don't.

TRIVIA: The Cue Assembly listed in the booklet tells us Safan writes these titles himself. Those for Opening Day are names and locations from Greek Mythology that have nothing to do with the episode (except in his imagination). They appear again in his Sirens album over 30 years later.

This 3CD Intrada release is sadly OOP but can be found at the usual places. The remainder of the set is also pretty magnficent, including the contributions from Christopher Young and Basil Poledouris amongst others.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2022 - 9:17 AM   
 By:   Goatmeal   (Member)

While slightly off topic (or is that off-genre?), his score for Sierra's "Leisure Suit Larry 5" game is a delight in all of its MIDI goodness.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2022 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

Larry and his Leisure Suit will feature in the ranking of the 10 Downloads. No Safan retrospective is complete without Larry. And the whole score is freely available.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2022 - 10:45 AM   
 By:   Ford A. Thaxton   (Member)

A couple of Safan scores that haven't been mentioned include "Secrets of the Titanic", "TAG THE ASSASSINATION GAME" and "Lady Beware" and "The Craig Safan Collection Vol #1: Time Stalkers and Die Laughing" all of which are quite good.

IMHO of course (Which is more then a bit biased)

Ford A. Thaxton

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2022 - 11:08 AM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

A couple of Safan scores that haven't been mentioned include "Secrets of the Titanic", "TAG THE ASSASSINATION GAME" and "Lady Beware" and "The Craig Safan Collection Vol #1: Time Stalkers and Die Laughing" all of which are quite good.

IMHO of course (Which is more then a bit biased)

Ford A. Thaxton

Mr Thaxton, you are in the Hall of Fame for these releases. They are much more than ‘quite good’.

In fact, one of them will be the very next entry at #2.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2022 - 2:10 PM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

#1 (of #30)


Intrada ISC438 (2016) ***** (73 minutes)

Best Track: Opening Day

Well, this is my favourite scoring ever and why I fell in love with Safan.

That is a great release, one of my favorites as well. Good pick. I know Intrada released three volumes of the more prominent AMAZING STORIES, and those are all terrific too, but this TWILIGHT ZONE set tops them. I love this set, alas, apparently not enough other folks did. It was a poor seller. Great scores by the likes of Safan, Young, Poledouris. This can stand among the best TV scores.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2022 - 2:56 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

I too adored that Twilight Zone set and was very sad to see it sold so poorly. I would have gone in for another volume (to say nothing of other anthology scores that probably won't be tackled now like Tales of the Crypt).


 Posted:   Jul 1, 2022 - 11:40 AM   
 By:   McD   (Member)

#2 (of #30)


Dragon’s Domain DDR667 (2019) ***** (37 mins)

Best Track: Elegy for the Victims

Inspiration goes a long way. In 1985/6, Safan was doing incredible work on everything. But there’s still a reason why his Twilight Zone scores far outstrip the work he did on the inferior Amazing Stories at the same time.

With Secrets of the Titanic, Safan’s juices were flowing for sure. He got to score the public’s first glimpse of the wreckage. And heard that the great ship had split in half as it sank.

It’s a wonderful little documentary. Equal parts the story of Titanic, and the story of its rediscovery 73 years later. Safan wanted his score to be ‘grand and beautiful and a little eerie’ and he succeeds completely on all three fronts. It’s entirely a one man show, just Safan and his synclavier. And it’s an incredibly emotional listen, which almost can’t avoid comparisons to another moving film score. The next guy to put music to real footage of the wreck would create the most successful soundtrack of all time. And it would have to be the guy who replaced him on Wolfen, of all people.

Cameron and Horner’s Titanic, probably the most popular film and score in living memory, is actually disliked by two groups - hardcore film buffs and ‘real men’. Which means there’s a Venn Diagram saying it’s statistically impossible for me to like it. But I reckon the film is underrated if anything!

This documentary was a huge influence on Cameron’s film. And Safan’s score *might* have been also. There’s a shot up the deck of the shipwreck and Safan’s music transforms at the end of it, suddenly becoming more hopeful. You expect the deck to morph into former glories with the score, which it doesn’t. But Cameron would finish his film by doing exactly that. Safan’s little known entry in Titanic history is just as great as Cameron’s and Horner’s. A moving, mournful masterpiece which, like the ship itself, deserves to be rediscovered.

Dragon’s Domain released this in a limited edition of 500 copies. It is still available. The sound is magnificent and even the ‘liner’ notes by Randall D Larson are fabulous (although the quoted time of the sinking is 12 hours out - even Stevie Wonder would have spotted the iceberg at midday). No steerage on this release at all, it’s First Class all the way.


”I will shoot you all like dogs.”

Charles Lightoller, featured in Secrets, was the most senior officer to survive the sinking. James Cameron hired the most weasel-faced actor he could find. Lightoller infamously took ‘women and children first’ to mean ‘women and children only’ and sent out partially filled boats leading to pointless death. But he didn’t put himself on a boat either. His experience of being dragged down by the ship’s suction was given to Jack Dawson (DiCaprio) in the film.

Lightoller re-surfaced and swam to an overturned boat. His behaviour from then on was exemplary, saving 15 lives. And he would go on to become a hero of the seas several times over in the First World War. By his sixties, he bought a little boat of his own, and finally retired to the coast.

It’s now Hollywood comes back for him. Hearing the Navy were taking his boat to rescue stranded soldiers, Ol’ Charles takes off there and then under his own steam. Every seaman with a boat followed his lead. To Dunkirk. Into legend. Lightoller is played by Mark Rylance in the film. His name is changed, but the character is not a composite, he’s 100% Lightoller in every respect. And the name Christopher Nolan gave him? Mr Dawson. You’ve got to love that.

 Posted:   Jul 1, 2022 - 10:34 PM   
 By:   Tobias   (Member)

One question for McD. Have you got the chance to Meet Mr. Safan? I met him at Peter Hackman`s 3rd Fans Of Film Music Event 10 years ago. Then 4 years ago I met director Nick Castle at London Film and Comic Con and I had a brief chat with him about Mr. Safan since they did several movies together. Mr. Castle had a lot of great things to say about Mr. Safan.

Of the unreleased scores by Mr. Safan which is the one(s) you would most love to get released?

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