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Soundtrack Review

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Hammer Horror
Classic Themes: 1958-1974
Original Soundtrack Recordings


Composers: Various
Label: Silva Screen Records
SILCD1521 (CD), SILED1521 (download)
Release Date: 20 October 2017

Silva Screen Records - which has a long and illustrious tradition for presenting film scores – releases Hammer Horror Classic Themes 1958 – 1974. This is a collection of 18 tracks spanning 16 years. It incorporates sleeve notes and composer biographies by Marcus Hearn, author of such related reference books as The Hammer Story, The Art of Hammer, and Hammer Glamour.

It’s very nice to be offered music from so many horror classics in one place, as opposed to CDs or downloads of individual films, much of which (particularly the incidental soundscapes) would be skipped over. Such is the wealth of films and film music in the Hammer archive it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to expect a second volume to this release.

The collection kicks off in resounding fashion with Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter. The movie is a little po-faced but I love it to undeath for its more original approach to vampirism. It is also significant as it features the First Lady of Fantasy Caroline Munro looking as gorgeous as they come. The music is upbeat and purposeful; very ‘tally ho, charge’ – which isn’t surprising when you consider the amount of riding around on horses that takes place on screen. Twins of Evil continues the tradition of having the listener stand up and take notice. Come track three we begin to experience more of a suite, with a variety or light and shade, theme and incidental melded into single pieces. All very dramatic as you might expect for horror during this period.

James Bernard was a prolific composer for Hammer, turning out many fine scores – so it’s not surprising his output is represented here on eight of the eighteen tracks. It’s refreshing to hear examples from ten different contributors, and that often overlooked movies (such as The Lost Continent, Hands of the Ripper, and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires) are represented here, taking their place with the greats… as well they should. An enjoyable collection of music from an era long gone but far from forgotten.

Track listing

1. Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter (Laurie Johnson)
2. Twins Of Evil (Harry Robinson)
3. The Kiss Of The Vampire (James Bernard)
4. The Mummy (Franz Reizenstein)
4. Dracula (James Bernard)
6. Quatermass And The Pit (Tristram Cary)
7. The Legend Of The 7 Golden Vampires (James Bernard)
8. The Lost Continent (Roy Phillips)
9. Dracula AD 1972 (Mike Vickers)
10. The Devil Rides Out (James Bernard)
11. Countess Dracula (Harry Robinson)
12. The Gorgon (James Bernard)
13. Hands Of The Ripper (Christopher Gunning)
14. Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (David Whitaker)
15. She (James Bernard)
16. The Satanic Rites Of Dracula (John Cacavas)
17. Taste The Blood Of Dracula (James Bernard)
18. Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell (James Bernard)


Ty Power

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Digital album