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Saturday, July 25, 2009


Home- The Horror Story
Music by Edwin Wendler
iTunes Digital Download
24 Tracks 56:11 mins

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that on 2nd February I had the pleasure of reviewing Edwin Wendler's score for Wrong Hollywood Number, which is available for digital download from iTunes. What you may however be unaware of is that the same composer has another, earlier, score available on iTunes, his quirky offering for the Temi Lopez's 2000 satire Home - The Horror Story, which stars Richard Beymer and Grace Zabriskie.
The score could be described as Pee Wee's Big Adventure meets The Simpsons, with Danny Elfman an obvious influence, although there are elements, more identifiable with the work of the late great Bernard Herrmann, and the composer lists another late great, Elmer Bernstein, specifically his score for Ghostbusters, as another influence.
The music is all sampled, the composer recreating the sounds of strings, woodwinds, calliope, accordion, Wurlitzer and church organs, Theremin, synthesizer and French horns; though a small male chorus is also utilised; and there is much percussion, often featuring all kinds of wacky sounds.
Wendler introduces many of his principal themes in the opening "Meet the Family;" most memorably a kind of loping waltz, and a breezy whistled theme late on. "The Ring" is initially a sneaky affair, though it develops a nice flow later on. More sneakiness can be found in "Special Recipe," with more action leading to a spooky organ dominated conclusion. The same spooky feel opens "The Accident;" with quite a demented feel dominating "Brain Matter," though loungy and ethnic elements enter later. The sinister, breathy opening of "Poor Boy!" gives way to a feeling of tragedy, which leads us to "Alien Supremacy States," which very much reminds of the Zuul music from Ghostbusters. "The Pacifier" initially has a nice flow, which is interrupted by a grand variation on the waltz theme, that is brought to a sudden close with more of the powerful theme from before. There is more of the lounge style present in "Bedroom Talk" and "Good Plans," before the latter gives way to more menace. The action cue "The Kidnapping is a pacy, enjoyable offering, again with lounge-styled elements.
"Priest in Love" pulls out all the stops to provide an uplifting, heavenly feel, complete with choir, which becomes ever more over the top as it proceeds to its conclusion. Then it's back to the dark, Gothic doings for the opening of "Ouch! and its subsequent all-conquering march . Latin dance rhythms dominate "Jesus Busted," though it concludes in menacing cacophony. "Happy Gang Bang" and "Preparations" are fast-flowing, quite zany, offerings, which give way to more menacing music, featuring some pretty weird vocalisations, and some powerful flourishes.
Much lighter fare is on offer in the uplifting "So Happy to See You;" with "Home, Scary Home" ending the score on a fast-flowing foot-tapping note. Three alternate cues are included as a bonus at the end, including a less over-the-top, sweeter take on "Priest in Love."
The score comes with a splendid digital booklet, which features an essay on both film and score by Randall D. Larson, with contributions from the composer, who also provides a detailed breakdown of the many themes featured, including musical examples.
Visit www.edwinwendler. com for more info on the composer and his work.


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