DRACULA A.D. 1972
Music composed and produced by Mike Vickers.
15 Tracks (Playing Time = 53:44)
Music performed by the Hammer Studio Orchestra. Also includes “You Better Come Through For Me” (written by Tim Barnes) and “Alligator Man” (written by Sal Valentino) performed by Stoneground. Excerpt from “White Noise: The Black Mass: An Electronic Storm in Hell” composed by Delia Derbyshire, Georgiana Duncan, Brian Hodgeson, Paul Lytton, and David Vorhans. Music supervised by Philip Martell. Engineered and recorded by Eric Tomlinson at Anvil Recording Studios, Denham, England. CD assembled, edited and mastered by James Nelson at Digital Outland. CD Art Direction by Mark Banning.
BSX Records 8855
Limited edition of 1500 copies.
Hammer Studios spent a good deal of the 1960s re-establishing Dracula as an 18 th century gothic horror character, helmed by Christopher Lee. But by 1970 the studio felt the need to revamp things a bit after the success of COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE (1970) and so embarked on a two-movie opportunity that would move the classic neck biter into modern times. DRACULA A.D. 1972 was first with THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA appearing the following year. The first film begins in the 18 th century to set the “death” of Dracula up, only to discover that he has been brought back and will soon begin to seek his vengeance on the descendents of Van Helsing. The film marks the Hammer debut of the stunning Caroline Munro and Stephanie Beacham.
Vickers opening “Prologue/Hyde Park 1972” is a delicious blend of Barry-like Bond writing, a little Barry Gray, and Laurie Johnson in music that is jazzy and orchestrally creepy in good measure. It is a real departure from the musical sound of Hammer films charted by James Bernard (whose music appears as an opening “logo” accompaniment). Vickers’ score tends to fit well into the milieu of 1970s crime action films that were being scored by Schifrin and Bernstein in the states. The dark orchestral sound often used to state important themes is then transferred occasionally into the more rhythmical jazz/rock styled settings to great effect. This movement from engaging thematic writing in both styles is what will make the score enticing for many fans of 1970s film music. Intriguing effects of shimmering winds appears in “Baptism by Blood” with odd electronic backdrops and a slightly over-ambient echo that is at once enthralling and chilling. Vickers maintains enough of the Hammer sound orchestrally that with his updated approach still manages to create a slight musical connection to what preceded the Dracula franchise while also adding the “updated” touches. This is most clear in “Dracula Rising/The Blood Ritual/Laura Screams” which begins in the gothic horror style before moving to a groovy guitar and horn driven segment. That latter sound, with wah-wah guitars and electric organ added as well, definitely date the score, though in a positive way for the film itself while managning to serve up a great overall listening experience for fans of early 1970s scores.
This is one of BSX stellar productions with excellent notes by Randall Larson and even a little reminiscence by Caroline Munro included. The sound is excellent as well. The disc features a wild excerpt from “White Noise: The Black Mass—An Electronic Storm in Hell” which is an appropriately unsettling piece. Two additional songs performed by Stoneground fill out the disc.
---Steven A. Kennedy , 11 June 2009
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