Click here to return to the main site.

Soundtrack Review

Cover Image

Original Motion Picture Score
(2018 Red Vinyl Release)


Composers: John Carpenter in association with Alan Howarth
Label: Varèse Sarabande
Click here to buy -
Release Date: 30 March 2018

Varèse Sarabande Records rereleases John Carpenter’s classic soundtrack to Christine on LP. It's pretty much the same issue as last year's (2017) release, being remastered from the original tapes, only this time around it's presented on red vinyl. There are eighteen tracks, nine on each side. With the current Region B release of the film on Blu-ray and its 35th anniversary due next year, this is the ideal time to remind everyone in a new way about this often forgotten score...

In all but format this is a re-release of the Varese Sarabande soundtrack of Christine I still possess on CD from 1991. I am a huge John Carpenter film, script and music fan. I have all the soundtracks, I originally bought all the videos and now have DVD versions and several Blu-rays. Carpenter’s music, composed in association with Alan Howarth, has always been a big part of his films. I once saw him do a Masterclass at the National Film Institute on the Southbank. At one point he was asked why he composes his own soundtracks. His answer: "Because I’m quick and I’m cheap". Although funny, he did himself a major injustice. But that’s how he is… unassuming. He’s happy in commentaries or interviews to point out mistakes in his films – even though the vast majority of us wouldn’t have noticed.

Carpenter has made many hugely popular and sustaining feature films and, similarly, his soundtracks have easily managed to stand the test of time. Not many film scores are entertaining in their own right as isolated music. Carpenter has made the vast majority of his the case. Having said all this I wouldn’t recommend Christine as a stepping-on point for his music.

Setting aside a collection to demonstrate his capabilities, my favourite Carpenter soundtracks are The Fog, Escape From New York, and Halloween. That’s not to say Christine doesn’t have its enjoyable moments. 'Moochie’s Death' is a great track, managing to build, fade and build again without losing any of its initial pace. It would even go down well at a Halloween party. 'The Rape', 'Christine Attacks (Plymouth Fury)', and 'Moochie Mix Four' are all very similar. There is some good incidental music on offer here, but the soundtrack isn’t as varied as many of the other films he has worked on. Purely for its variety I would have selected Escape From New York – even though I favour his horror content.

Even if this is targeted purely at Carpenter completists (of which there are many), we are still left with a track-for-track copy of the existing CD. Of course, vinyl sometimes sounds much more raw and alive; however, I was only sent an mp3 version. How am I supposed to review a special vinyl release with new artwork when I haven’t even received any of the actual product? The points awarded here are for the music therefore, and not the retail release.

If you’re a horror fan and haven’t seen any John Carpenter films, your enlightenment starts here. Check out The Thing (1982), Halloween (1978) and The Fog (1979) to set you on your way.


Ty Power

Review image