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Sunday, February 08, 2009


Deathstalker II/Chopping Mall
Music by Chuck Cirino
BSX Records BSXCD 8840 (USD)
27 Tracks 49:25 mins

It's good to see a label championing the works of a composer who many of you may not even have heard of, but Chuck Cirino has written some great themes for very low budget movies over the years. Now, you know I'm not normally keen on electronic scoring, but what makes Cirino stand out from the crowd is his ability to come up with a truly catchy melody; witness his work on the 1987 sword and sorcery adventure Deathstalker II, a film by one of the kings of exploitation, Jim Wynorski, and starring a woman, whose body I frankly lusted after for a good many years, Monique Gabrielle. For the film, he came up with a highly infectious galloping main theme, obviously inspired by the music of the "spaghetti western," with electronic cries mimicking the kind of thing Morricone used vocalists for in his scores, but of course accompanied by a typically 80s beat. This theme is prominent in the 12 tracks included on this disc (2 of which are incidentally dialogue extracts), sometimes played slower and in more romantic fashion, most notably in "Love Theme II." Apart from this, "Evil" is the only other theme of note, a suitably dark march of sorts. I really have to thank the label for releasing this score, as I can now throw away my old cassette dub, made back in the dark days when it was quite rare for a mainstream film to have a soundtrack release, let along of one such a modest budget.
I haven't seen the previous year's Chopping Mall, which concerns a group of teenagers trapped in a shopping mall, pursued by security robots. The director was again Wynorski and the cast included the likes of Re-Animator's Barbara Crampton and Mary Woronov.
Again, the score is electronic, with often an 80s beat, with the main theme less memorable, but which moves nicely along all the same, and there's plenty of flowing action music to be found in the likes of "Shopping Death," "Burning Terror" and "Crawling Around As with Deathstalker II, there's some "spaghetti western" influence to be found in tracks like the tense "Showdown" and the actioner "Running Rampant;" whilst the poignant "Love Theme" offers a brief respite. Again, 3 of the 15 cues presented here feature dialogue, which personally I could do without, but at least they're brief, and thus don't really take up too much space that could have been filled by music.
Chuck Cirino has written many scores that deserve recording and let's hope the label, who of course previously released three of his scores on "Cinemusic: The Film Music of Chuck Cirino," continue to support his music with further releases of his work.
The colourful accompanying booklet features stills and artwork from the films (though still not enough of Monique for my liking!), together with notes by Jim Wynorski and Chopping Mall co-writer Steve Mitchell.
Go to for your copy, but hurry, as it is a limited release of just 1000 copies.


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