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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Album Review

Fresh from their Academy Award-nominated collaboration on the score for The Hurt Locker, film composers Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders turn to the horror genre with director Troy Nixey's feature film remake of the 1973 TV movie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Beltrami, the senior partner in the duo, knows his way around scary pictures, having scored Scream. He and Sanders seem to have had two goals in their music here, first to contrast the innocent, childlike aspect of the story, which is seen through the eyes of a young girl, with the bad stuff that happens, and second to pay homage to the horror and suspense movie scores of their youth. The latter goal leads them to use an orchestra and, as Sanders points out, period effects such Echoplex tape delay and the swirling sound of a Leslie speaker. The children's music comes right up front with "Gramophone Lullaby" and the main title theme, which leads into a romantic style very reminiscent of Herrmann. In the lengthy "Gardner Gets Snipped," the composers even briefly use the stabbing string effect from Psycho that was Herrmann's signature. As the score goes on, such winks at the listener get less noticeable, if only because Beltrami and Sanders have to get on with the business of accompanying all the scary material, culminating in the aptly named "Goblin Trouble." Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, circa 2011, thus, is a deliberately old-fashioned horror movie score by some avid students of the style.


Born: 07 October 1966 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Marco Beltrami is an American composer best known for his stirring orchestral horror, action, and science fiction film scores, which include multiple collaborations with director/producer Wes Craven. A Long Island, New York native, Beltrami attended Brown University and the Yale School of Music, eventually studying with Luigi Nono in Italy and Jerry Goldsmith in Los Angeles. He got his professional start in film and television in 1994, with his breakthrough coming on the 1996 Wes Craven blockbuster...
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