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Thursday, June 11, 2009


The Dunwich Horror
Music by Les Baxter
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1094 (US)
15 Tracks 52:53 mins

The veteran collectors among you will probably have this score already, as the music has been fairly readily available over the years, but this limited edition of 1200 units takes the opportunity to expand the playing time by more than 20 minutes by including Les Baxter's original unused music for the film, a result of the film's producer's opting to concentrate on the composer's more melodic, pop-flavoured main theme. Tracks 1-11 therefore recreate the original album, with tracks 12-15 presenting the previously unreleased material.
For those of you not familiar with the original album, Baxter's infectious main theme is present pretty much throughout, commencing with the "Main Title" track, which opens quite wildly with synths and percussion, before the theme proper emerges in rock-pop style, carried orchestrally, by bells, and again by synth, finally taking on an almost religious quality before an ominous ending. The theme is also present in "Black Mass," with its rhythmic opening and powerful conclusion; given a theremin-like moog treatment in the eerie "Sensual Hallucinations "and the ritualistic "Reincarnation;" a melancholy piano and keyboards treatment in "Strange Sleep," which is further developed, with the addition of synths and jungle percussion in "Strange Sleep 2;" heard on flute in the exotic "Cult Party;" as a keyboards-lead dirge in "Necromicon;" and on brass in the jungle-styled "Devil Cult;" whilst the surprisingly easy-going flute-lead "Sacrifice of the Virgin" and the punchy brass of "Devil's Witchcraft" offer some variety.
Commencing the bonus material, track 12 opens with an unused AIP logo theme Baxter wrote for synths, brass and percussion. After that, the previously unreleased score music, whilst retaining the main theme, is largely more experimental, with some pretty wild writing, including further use of wailing electronics; much of which Jeff Bond, in his excellent booklet notes, likens more to Baxter's several other scores in the horror genre, including the exciting complete version of "Devil Cult," and more jungle percussion. The composer is much more restrained however in the romantic "The Promise;" whilst "Liz and Armitage" reaches passionate heights. The final track is devoted to various loops and stingers written for the film, together with an alternate variation on the AIP logo theme.
So, whether you have the original album or not, it's certainly worth checking out this expanded version, as it has plenty more to offer. Go to to hear samples and to order your copy.


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