Pino Donaggio, The Howling [OST] (1981)
The music from The Howling has long been one of my favourites; it does what I want from a horror-film soundtrack – chiefly: scares the shit out of me. The film was one of a handful I was profoundly affected by as a youngster. I was traumatised by a b-grade horror-shlock nonsense when I was about seven years old. Whatever it was, hammy-as, I was too young to be watching it. And I decided, sometime after that, that I would cure myself by overloading/overdosing on horrors. And I did. And it worked. Eventually. But in my early teen years I was obsessed with horror films and the soundtracks to horror films. The Howling was never one of my all-time favourite horror films, in that I don’t see it as an absolute classic but it was important to me. And the music – wow. It was a combination of everything I heard, was scared by, and somehow craved in a horror score – calling for that heart-quickening music I guess. There are traces of so many other composers in the work Pino Donaggio provides here. And of course he was already something of a master horror score composer at the time of this, primarily through his work with Brian De Palma (as a Stephen King fan I loved the movie Carrie – its music especially). I love the serene moments in horror-movie music. And the stabs of fright that often punctuate. But not all horror-film scores work well as a sit-down (away from film) listening experience. I reckon The Howling is amazing. Try it – have a listen to the whole score here. It’s beautiful. And it’ll raise the pulse. I saw this vinyl copy of the soundtrack in the shop a while back and have been coveting it. Finally, I went for it. I once owned the score to The Howling on cassette tape. I’m also obsessed with movie soundtracks from the 1980s as long-time Vinyl Countdown readers (hi mum!) will know. And not just the cheesy pop stuff. I love the scores – horror films, dramas, art house, in short the weird and wonderful. The Howling is a prime example of both.
Sample Track: The Wolf
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