A film is nothing without its soundtrack/score. As important a piece of the cinematic puzzle as it’s story, cast or director, the soundtrack/score is something that can lift a film from being ordinary to extraordinary, mundane to thrilling. I have a personal love for a great soundtrack/score so here is my personal top 5 as always with one honourable mention.
Honourable mention: Terminator 2: Judgement Day- Brad Fidel.
A very difficult decision for this not to be in my top 5. Brad Fidel expanded wonderfully on his original synth score for The Terminator with T2. It is thrilling, eerie, and pulse-pounding, you simply can not imagine the action on screen being scored in any other way by any other person, the sign of a truly great score.
Everyone has a soundtrack record from their younger years that they rinse every once in awhile, Trainspotting is one that is probably spun more than others in that category. Combining the cream of indie, classic rock and electronic music to assemble a pretty darn perfect soundtrack. From the pounding primal beat of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life to the jangly indie pop of Sleeper’s cover of Blondie’s Atomic via the sublime Perfect Day by Lou Reed and the anthemic strains of Underworld’s- Born Slippy. This was THE movie soundtrack of the mid-nineties, and for good reason. All killer, no filler.
The accompanying soundtrack to The Wicker Man probably isn’t for everyone, however, if folk tinged with a sense of menace and foreboding sounds your bag, look no further. There are some fairly straight folk numbers of here like ‘Cornrigs’, ‘Landlords Daughter’ & ‘Gently Johnny’, it only start to get unsettling when placed alongside the film, the child accompaniment on ‘Maypole’ and sinister undertones of ‘Fire Leap’ are two that spring to mind and a sense of unease starts to set in.
If a score ever “made” the film, it is this one. Powerful, chilling, mournful, all the things a score accompanying a film of Dracula should be. Kilar’s work on Bram Stokers Dracula is exemplary, from the sweeping string build up of ‘Dracula-The Beginning’, the march of ‘Vampire hunters’ and stabbing orchestration of ‘The Storm’, it is truly beautiful work that in my mind it should be up there with the great horror scores. Add to that the wonderfully touching Annie Lennox tune Love Song For A Vampire and you have a soundtrack worthy of the Count.
Alien was a “haunted house in space”, Aliens was an all out war movie, this is reflected fantastically in James Horners score. Going from slight and menacing in ‘Main title’, powerful & militaristic in ‘Combat drop’, ramping up to the frantic and bombastic ‘Ripley’s rescue’. Direct & unyielding, This score is utterly perfect for the film it accompanied.
John Williams had already made the perfect film score to the original Star Wars, how do you improve on that? On The Empire Strikes Back he did just that, the main inclusion and reason for this for me was ‘Han & The Princess’, a piece of music as instantly recognisable as the Star Wars theme or the Imperial March and also a piece that perfectly sums up the mood of Empire, powerful, dark, somber, yet with a glimmer of hope. It takes a truly great composer to illicit those kind of emotions from a piece of music. One piece doesn’t make the whole album though, you obviously have the ‘main theme’ & ‘imperial march’ returning, ‘Yoda’s theme’ and the almost reprise of ‘Han & The Princess’ in ‘Finale’ which again totally sums up the feeling of the end of the film perfectly.