THE CREATURE WASN'T NICE (1983/ 1984)
Music composed and conducted by David Spear.
Songs: Music and Lyrics by Bruce Kimmel.
40 Tracks (Playing Time = 67:31)
Album produced by Bruce Kimmel and Ford A. Thaxton. Music edited by Tom Villano. Digitally edited and mastered by James Nelson. Booklet essay by Bruce Kimmel. CD art direction by Mark Banning.
BSX Entertainment 8825
Limited edition of 1000 copies.
THE CREATURE WASN’T NICE (aka SPACESHIP or NAKED SPACE) was one of those post-AIRPLANE! films that intended to spoof 50s sci-fi thrillers informed through the likes of the horror sci-fi of ALIEN. This was Bruce Kimmel’s second film after the camp classic THE FIRST NUDIE MUSICAL (1976) and it starred Cindy Williams and Leslie Nielsen. The film was released in a re-edited version which became a cable staple on USA Network throughout the early days of that network. The score was provided by Elmer Bernstein orchestrator, David Spear.
Spear’s score, taking a page from Bernstein’s approach to AIRPLANE! and even GHOSTBUSTERS, plays the comedy straight. This results in an engaging orchestral sci-fi score that is definitely from the mid-1980s but owes something to Herrmann and Stein’s thriller music for its primary thematic idea. Spear is a great orchestrator which is on full display throughout. Much of the time the musical gestures seem closer to television science fiction of the likes of say BATTLESTAR GALACTICA or the original STAR TREK or Irwin Allen cult favorites in the 1960s with touches similar to Barry Gray at times. The disc’s interest musically comes from the way Spear manipulates his orchestral material and recalls a time when composers at least were called upon to do something beyond ambient texturing. The main title music has a little Holst mixed in to its rhythmic structure and there are some fun tense underscore segments, such as “The Long Corridor.” There are a few moments when the strings feel like there needed to be a few more to give added weight, a problem with low budget scores in general. The themes though are engaging, including a nice lyrical theme cast against the march theme in “Two Teams Searching,” and you could do far worse with many a new score these days!
Bruce Kimmel ’s songs are included here including the hilarious showstopper, “I Want to Eat Your Face.” Some 8 bonus tracks are included which feature an alternate cue of the aforementioned song, a couple of demo versions and a karaoke version of the song “Hold Me, Touch Me, Thrill Me.”
The booklet includes a nice long essay by the director regarding the troubled history of the film. It includes a comment that Spear’s score, while good, was not quite what Kimmel wanted for the film.
As it is, though, there is no real discussion of any of the tracks, nor the songs themselves, so one has to appreciate the score for its own contribution and fans of the film may be surprised at the music that is included here.
The disc has been released to coincide with a Special Edition DVD that will finally return the film to its original print and include the commercially released version as well.
BSX’s promotional material suggests that though there were 1000 copies printed, only 993 remain due to an overhungry creature. You’ve been warned.
--Steven A. Kennedy , 11 April 2007
Comments regarding this review can be sent to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
And another opinion (Revised review 2008)...
Even though he was Elmer Bernstein's skillful orchestrator, Spear's score is almost totally forgettable.
But then he was given the task of composing for what writer-director Bruce Kimmel calls "kind of a musical comedy send-up of Alien and all those titles sci-fi movies - you know the kind."
Indeed I do! And they are almost all much better than this cheesy sounding CD.
I have not seen the film so I'm only reviewing what I hear on the soundtrack.
The songs are not all bad, actually better than the unimaginative score. The song "Hold Me, Touch Me, Thrill Me" (track 6) is probably the best song, but it's poorly sung by Cindy Williams. Why not use the demo version on bonus track 35 nicely sung by Lisa Cutler? It's a much better performance than the one used for the film soundtrack.
The score cues are the weakest links in this long chain of 40 tracks. Much of it sounds like music for a bad TV movie.
The bonus tracks are actually the best part of this release with decent versions of the songs, except for the dated sounding Karoake versions. "I Want to Eat Your Face" is silly but at least it's lively. It might be more enjoyable if the lyrics were included, but none of the lyrics are included and that's surprising since they were all written by the film's director and co-producer of this CD. The last track ("Broderick Crawford as Max") is totally stupid and sounds like schoolboy humor.
Maybe someone will like this campy 1980s "send-up" more than I liked it.
I originally reviewed this CD in early 2007. Recently, one of the film's creator's took issue with my review so I've listened to it again and corrected some inaccuracies. But I still don't like it much.
That's my opinion.
Others may enjoy it. If that's the case, then as the booklets screams in bold headlines,
"Get Your Rockets Off!"
I'd rather light my "rockets" with a ride on AIRPLANE, with a much better score too!
Film Music Review (Home Page)