My Thoughts on: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

I’ll admit to being more than a little leery about watching Halloween III: Season of the Witch. This film’s reputation precedes it, and I’ve known for years that this is considered the “weird one” of the franchise, not least because it’s the only Halloween film to not feature Michael Myers. This is because John Carpenter had it in mind to turn Halloween in to an anthology series, with each film covering something different, but still connected to Halloween. Well that backfired because by then Michael Myers had become such a popular villain that audiences rejected a Halloween film without him in it, though it has since gained a cult following.

With that in mind, I was fully prepared to be disappointed by Halloween III: Season of the Witch, but it turns out it’s not all that bad.

Halloween III, unlike the previous entries, takes place in California. The whole story revolves around a mysterious toy company, the Silver Shamrock company, a set of popular Halloween masks they’re selling, and a vast conspiracy revolving around a “big giveaway” the company is promoting for Halloween night. Dr. Challis (Tom Atkins) gets mixed up in everything when one of his patients is mysteriously killed and soon finds himself in over his head as Halloween night ticks ever closer.

It is so hard to think of this movie as a Halloween movie because Michael isn’t present. The iconic Halloween theme isn’t there either, which makes it really hard to think of this film as belonging to the franchise. The story itself is also really strange: it doesn’t quite know if it’s fantasy horror or sci-fi horror and it really tries to be both, which doesn’t work at all. That being said, Conal Cochran makes for a satisfying villain, one with truly nefarious intentions once the story begins to unfold.

Cochran’s plot may be weird, with multiple references to the supernatural, but once it’s demonstrated exactly what Cochran wants to DO, that’s when the true horror kicked in for me. Yeah, I’m talking about THAT scene with Buddy and his family. I wasn’t truly horrified until that moment happened, and I already knew the scene existed (I never go into a Halloween film blind, I’m too chicken). What really gets me is that this is children Cochran wants to do this too, and in a sense that makes him somewhat worse than Michael. Because sure, Michael goes after teenagers, but Cochran is targeting young children, something Michael (to that point) hadn’t really done in the previous two films (I know this changes in Halloween 4 and 5 but at this point those movies hadn’t happened yet).

I will say that the ending of Halloween III bothers me. Not that the ending is left ambiguous, I get why that was done. I just don’t buy the TV stations removing the commercial from the air simply because Dr. Challis begged them to. There’s no reason for the stations to listen to Challis, who by this point is raving to the point of insanity (with good reason given everything that’s happened). Also, I find it a little hard to believe that he wouldn’t call home and at least get his own children to take their Silver Shamrock masks off before time ran out.

One other plot point I don’t understand is what happens to Ellie. Maybe I’m missing the point but what purpose does her horrible fate serve? Oh sure, it’s a terrifying reveal, but why do it at all? Unless…well I do have a theory about that. Cochran did admit earlier in the story that he “loves a good joke.” And wouldn’t it be the biggest joke of all for Challis to think he’d managed to “save/get the girl” only to find out it was all for naught? That’s the only possible explanation I can think of, because otherwise the moment doesn’t really work for me (I also feel it went on several beats too long).

I’m glad I made it through Halloween III, but I will admit to being more than ready to getting back to the story of Michael Myers starting with Halloween 4.

Let me know what you think about Halloween III: Season of the Witch in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Halloween (1978)

My Thoughts on: Halloween II (1981)

My Thoughts on: Halloween (2018)

My Thoughts on: Halloween Kills (2021)

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Halloween II (1981)

After gingerly making my way through Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021), I decided I might as well go for it and make my way through the rest of the Halloween movies. And as I’ve already seen the original Halloween (albeit last year), that meant my starting point would be Halloween II, the no-longer-canon sequel to the original Halloween film. Halloween II picks up immediately where the original film left off, and finds a traumatized Laurie Strode still pursued by Michael Myers, with the action now moved to Haddonfield’s local hospital.

Given how terrified I was by the first Halloween film, I was a little nervous going in to Halloween II. But I shouldn’t have worried, as there is a noticeable drop in terror between the first Halloween film and Halloween II. Which isn’t to say that Halloween II isn’t scary, it definitely is, but it’s not as scary as the first film, which so far bears out what others have told me about this franchise, namely that the first film is the best and it all went downhill from there.

Although as I said, Halloween II does have it’s fair share of scary moments, it just takes a while….a LONG while….for things to get interesting. Everything that happens before Michael shows up at the hospital is, well, to be honest it’s a little dull. In fact, up until a certain point, I was fully prepared to state that I was completely bored by this movie. But then Michael showed up at the hospital and things got interesting in a hurry.

The kills and scares once Michael gets to the hospital are more than a little gruesome, especially THAT scene with the therapeutic hot tub. The one big disappointment I have with the kills though is that we don’t see how the one head nurse meets her demise. Oh sure, we see the bloody aftermath, and it looks gruesome, but I want to see how she got into that position to begin with. Because of all the kills I’ve seen Michael do, that one doesn’t feel like something he would do. It’s too slow, if that makes sense. Michael, as far as I can tell, goes in for a relatively quick kill: stabbing, strangling, scalding to death. All excruciating ways to die, but it’s still relatively quick. Death by bleeding out (unless Michael tapped an artery) is going to take a while. Maybe that’s why the movie doesn’t show that part, because it wouldn’t fit with what we usually see Michael doing when he kills.

I do find it more than a little funny that Michael was able to move throughout the hospital for so long without anyone getting wise to him being there. But then again, this IS a horror movie, and it IS established to be the dead of night, so I won’t nitpick too hard on this point (but it IS funny if you think about it). Oddly enough, I think I liked Donald Pleasance’s performance in the first film better than in this one. Somehow, he just didn’t come across as good this time around.

I know it’s been long since retconned, but I do like the plot point of Laurie being revealed as Michael’s long-lost younger sister. Suddenly Michael’s ongoing obsession with killing Laurie in particular makes total sense. After all, this all started with Michael killing his older sister, it stands to reason he would want to kill his younger sister for the same twisted reasons. Even though it’s no longer canon, I like how the film drops that little bombshell into the mix, and I can only imagine that it got a big gasp out of the audience when it first hit theaters.

One other detail that interested me comes late in the film. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but knowing what I know about the plots about Halloween 4, 5, and 6…is it possible that Michael scrawling “Samhain” on the chalkboard is a tiny bit of foreshadowing for the weird Thorn plot that makes up the plot of 4-6? I don’t know if that’s even possible given the time gap between Halloween II and Halloween 4 but I feel like it could be interpreted that way.

While it’s nowhere near as good as the first film, I did enjoy Halloween II, and I can totally see how it was intended to be the definitive end for Michael’s story (though of course history had other ideas). Onward to Halloween III: Season of the Witch (aka “the weird one” in this franchise)!

Let me know what you think about Halloween II in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Halloween (1978)

My Thoughts on: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

My Thoughts on: Halloween (2018)

My Thoughts on: Halloween Kills (2021)

Film Reviews

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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My Thoughts on: The Last Duel (2021)

I was so excited by the idea of The Last Duel. It’s directed by Ridley Scott (he who gave us Gladiator and Alien just to name two), it was based on a true story, and its all-star cast included Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver. The 2 1/2 hour run time made me a little antsy, but I’ve sat through long movies before (Avengers: Endgame being the most recent example that I can think of), so I hoped it wouldn’t be an issue. The story, for those not familiar, is based on the true story of when Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris fought a duel to the death after Carrouges’ wife Marguerite accused Le Gris of raping her. It should be a completely compelling story.

Then I actually went to the movie theater and watched The Last Duel and I left disappointed.

It’s not all bad. At its heart, The Last Duel contains a very important message about rape and being held accountable for one’s actions, even if all the world says you shouldn’t say such things. I can’t fault the film in that regard. I should also say that Jodie Comer and Adam Driver both turn in magnificent performances and the titular duel itself is a thing of beauty to behold. If you make it all the way through the movie to the duel, you will not be dissatisfied.

No, my big issue is with how the film is put together. The story elements are good, they really are, but the way they’re put together…a big chunk of the film comes across like a disjointed mess. One scene will cut to another and it’ll take you a few minutes to realize that years have passed between these two scenes. It’s just not how I would’ve imagined a story like this being told. I thought it would be one big epic like Gladiator and that’s not what we get.

The large scale format of how The Last Duel is told is interesting, I’ll give it that. The story is essentially divided into three perspectives, with each retelling of the story emphasizing (or glossing over) certain story elements based on whose perspective is being shared. It’s the classic Rashomon effect, where we see the same story from multiple perspectives, except that instead of the true outcome being left completely up to the audience to decide, it is subtly hinted that one of the viewpoints is actually the true one.

I think part of my problem is that I misunderstood what this story would be about. The trailers led me to believe that the issue at question was whether or not the rape took place. It sounded like this was going to be strictly a case of “he said/she said” with the truth ultimately left unrevealed.Maybe I should’ve known better given what I read of the real life story before going to see the movie…but that’s what I get for misreading the trailer I suppose.

I can’t in good conscience recommend The Last Duel, but I am curious to see what all of you thought about the film. Let me know in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Halloween Kills (2021)

I have finally done two things I never thought I would do: I have finally gone to see a Halloween film in theaters and I did it at NIGHT. In all seriousness, I had to watch the original Halloween and 2018 Halloween in the daytime because of how freaked out I can get from watching horror movies. I knew I was taking a risk by seeing Halloween Kills at night, but in the end I think it paid off because…I not only survived, I liked it!

For what it’s worth, I enjoyed Halloween Kills and thought it told a good story, though I temper that statement by reminding you all that I have only seen three Halloween films to date: the original, the 2018 continuation, and this film, which is the sequel to the 2018 film. The early reviews hinted that this film was far more brutal than past iterations and they weren’t kidding. There are several moments in Halloween Kills that made my skin crawl, but I can’t say that I was surprised by the uptick in violence. Keep in mind, the 2018 film ends with Michael trapped and left to die in a burning house. You have to imagine he’d be beyond enraged once he escapes, with that increased violence being the major indicator, because otherwise Michael acts the same as always: quiet and aloof right until he goes in for the kill.

And boy does Michael kill in this one. I thought the 2018 film would’ve prepared me for what was to come in Halloween Kills, and while it somewhat helped, I found myself overwhelmed at times by the sheer amount of violence. I could be wrong, but I think Halloween Kills has the highest total body count for a film in this franchise (please correct me if that’s inaccurate). Despite all of the best laid plans (more on that in a moment), people just kept dying and by the end of the film I was more than a little unnerved by the fact that Michael just kept killing. And maybe that’s because, even though I know there’s Halloween Ends to come next year, I really thought that Haddonfield banding together to hunt down Michael would lead to something more conclusive happening. I should’ve known better given what I’ve learned about the Halloween films, but it seemed like a sure thing when the trailers hinted at the town forming a mob for the sole purpose of getting Michael. Surely that would lead to something good, right?

Well…..not exactly. In a moment I wasn’t expecting at all, Halloween Kills has a rather pointed take on the dangers of mob mentality and it leads to the saddest moment in the film in my opinion. The problem with a mob is that, once you get one started, it becomes almost impossible to control, especially if your target isn’t where you think it is. It would’ve been awesome if the mob had gotten to Michael as I thought they would, but I can understand why the film didn’t go that route, it kept things realistic.

If I have one big complaint about Halloween Kills, it’s that we don’t get enough of Laurie Strode. I loved Jamie Lee Curtis in 2018 Halloween, and while she does turn in an excellent performance in Halloween Kills as well, she’s hardly present, though to be fair she IS in the hospital due to the injuries she sustained fighting Michael in the previous film. Based on how the film ends, I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to see a LOT of Laurie in Halloween Ends, but that’s only a guess on my part. I am also now a big fan of Andi Matichak as Allyson, Laurie’s granddaughter. I liked her in the previous film, but she has this great scene with Michael late in the film that solidified her as a favorite for me.

There were a number of scenes I liked in this film, particularly the scenes that paid homage to moments from the original Halloween film. Those worked particularly well because they serve as great easter eggs for those who know the original film, but they also work on their own even if you’d never seen the old films before. I admit to being briefly irritated by the flashbacks to 1978, but looking back I understand the purpose they served in setting up several plot points in the film.

Speaking of those flashbacks, there’s something I noticed in them that I wanted to discuss. As the story flashed back to 1978, I noticed that the film quality changed. The scene literally LOOKS like it was filmed back in the late 1970s. It was a great attention to detail that I really liked. I mean if you’re going to do a flashback, you might as well do it properly, right? There’s one other detail in the 1978 flashbacks that I liked very much but I won’t name what it is because I don’t want to spoil it. All I’ll say is this was a GENIUS way to further tie in Halloween Kills to the original movie and I can’t wait for the making of featurettes so I can find out how they did it.

All of that being said, while I did like Halloween Kills, I can’t help but wonder what the ending means for next year’s Halloween Ends. Because everyone got together to do the one thing that I thought would work to get rid of Michael….and it didn’t work (obviously it didn’t or there wouldn’t be a sequel next year). Which raises a terrifying question in my mind: what if this is a story that doesn’t have a happy ending? What if there truly is no way to get rid of Michael and we learn as much in Halloween Ends? I suppose we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

I’m so proud of myself for making it through Halloween Kills in theaters and I’m really excited to see what happens next year with Halloween Ends.

Let me know what you think about Halloween Kills in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Halloween (1978)

My Thoughts on: Halloween II (1981)

My Thoughts on: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

My Thoughts on: Halloween (2018)

Film Reviews

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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My Thoughts on: Halloween (2018)

A full year after I talked myself into watching the original Halloween (1978) and barely surviving the encounter, I finally summoned up the nerve to watch the 2018 continuation. This film essentially retcons everything that happens after the original Halloween, and while I was initially bummed that this meant that Laurie actually isn’t Michael’s long lost sister, I found I otherwise wasn’t bothered, because good lord almighty this film scared the crap out of me.

I don’t care what anyone says, Halloween (2018) is just as terrifying as the original, maybe even more so. From the moment the film starts, there’s a building tension as you’re just waiting for the moment Michael inevitably gets loose to wreak havoc once again. I really like how, for the bulk of the film, you really can’t see Michael’s real face, even though it takes some time for him to get the mask back on. However, if you know when to look, you can get brief glimpses hear and there, and then as now (because remember he’s briefly unmasked in the original film) it’s unnerving how normal he looks, aside from being blinded in one eye by Laurie of course. But once that mask comes back on…*shudders* I know there are 40 years between this film and the first one, but I swear I can’t tell the difference once the mask is on and that infernal music starts up.

I think the most terrifying moment for me in that entire film is that really long take when Michael starts his killing spree in Haddonfield (with the iconic Halloween theme playing at the same time). Watching Michael seamlessly move from house to house, just killing and wrecking lives as he goes, it feels like we’re just being helplessly pulled along in his wake.

Aside from the havoc involving Michael, which is undoubtedly my favorite part of the film, the part of the film that really pulled me in is everything to do with Laurie’s PTSD from what Michael did to her 40 years ago. This is something that I haven’t really seen covered in a horror film before: what happens to that lone survivor who gets away? Given the brutality in the first film, it’s no wonder Laurie Strode has become what we see in this film: a deeply paranoid woman (albeit a badass one) who is nowhere near recovered from the trauma she endured as a teenager. Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance is completely mesmerizing .

Quick side note: I wanted with all my might to reach through the screen and smack some sense into Laurie’s daughter Karen. I get on some level why Karen resents her mother, but the way the character came across just grated on me.

One other scene I wanted to discuss in this review and that’s THAT scene in the bathroom. I remembered seeing hints of this scene in the previews, back when I was going to be brave and watch this film in theaters (I’m so glad I didn’t, this film would’ve broken me on a big screen) and being completely terrified then. Well let me tell you the bathroom scene in full does not disappoint. The tension is almost painfully thick the moment the door opens and you just KNOW that Michael is in there with his next victim. And once the violence erupts….it just doesn’t stop. The sheer violence in Michael’s actions, it just burns into you.

And then there’s the music, oh god that music….you don’t know how happy I was that the 2018 continuation makes ample use of that iconic theme throughout the film. That, more than all of the easter eggs, really serves to bind this film to the original. Because as soon as you hear that music, that eerie theme, your brain just knows “this is a Halloween movie.” Having heard this music in two Halloween films (so far), I dare to say that this is my favorite horror movie theme, I haven’t heard one yet that instantly sends a cold chill down my spine the way the main theme for Halloween does.

Ultimately I’m glad I finally worked up the nerve to watch the 2018 Halloween. It’s a good continuation of the story, with more than enough easter eggs and nods to the original film to satisfy any fan of the original story.

Let me know what you think about Halloween (2018) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Halloween (1978)

My Thoughts on: Halloween II (1981)

My Thoughts on: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

My Thoughts on: Halloween Kills (2021)

Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Titane (2021)

I am normally content to wait until a movie comes to my local movie theater or, barring that, waiting for a DVD release to see a film I’ve been wanting to see. But when it came to Titane, the second film from director Julia Ducournau…ever since I listened to the film’s soundtrack last week my interest in this film escalated to a near-obsession. So much so, that when I found out Titane was playing at a movie theater 2 1/2 hours away from me, I made arrangements to drive up and see it, I was that eager to see what this film was all about.

After sitting wide-eyed through Titane, I can still feel my brain reeling from what I experienced. I fully admit I don’t understand everything I saw in this film, but I know I liked it.

Titane is set in France and follows a dancer named Alexia who gains some…unusual….tendencies after a skull injury is repaired with a titanium plate as a child (from this we derive the title of the film). I’ve let this film percolate in my brain for close to a week now and to be honest I still can’t adequately put into words what this film is about past that point, and to be honest I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. There’s definitely a message in there about love and acceptance (even if that love comes from an unhealthy place) but it’s all tied together in a story that is extremely twisted and not for the faint of heart. I also can’t help but wonder if there was a metaphor buried in the film about the risks that can come from having unprotected sex, as that’s the only explanation I can come up with for THAT scene (you know the one I mean if you’ve seen the movie) early in the story.

Be assured, Titane is well-named as a body horror film, though it wasn’t quite for the reasons I was expecting. Regardless, there are several moments in this film that will make you feel deeply uncomfortable, though I’m proud to say I only had to look away once. What really surprised me about Titane is this one part in the middle that veered into black comedy. It was a turn that came out of nowhere and isn’t repeated once the moment passes, but for some reason it completely works. Titane as a whole is not a movie that you would think would make you laugh, but this moment did make me laugh, and I liked that the movie was able to do that.

The one part of the film that really surprised me is how the music actually fit in with the film itself. If you’ve seen my soundtrack review for Titane, then you know I imagined the first half of the soundtrack as being set in some twisted, metallic temple, but having seen the film I realize that isn’t quite accurate now. Instead, I realize that the more appropriate description for the first half of the music would be to say that it is set inside Alexia’s mind, showing how empty she is (in more ways than one). It’s only as the story moves forward and develops, and we follow Alexia’s story, that the music fills out. I do stand by my interpretation of the end of the soundtrack though: my image of a twisted cathedral remains intact, especially (minor spoiler warning) if you consider that final scene a subversion of Madonna and Child.

The point is, Titane is one of the best films I’ve seen this year, the fact that I can’t put all of my feelings about it into words doesn’t change that at all. Julia Ducournau is now one of my favorite directors and I can’t wait to see what she creates moving forward (as well as checking out her directorial debut Raw).

Let me know what you think about Titane in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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Soundtrack News: Far Cry 6 Original Game Soundtrack Available Now

Ubisoft Music has digitally released the FAR CRY 6 Original Game Soundtrack from the highly anticipated sixth main entry in Ubiosft’s critically acclaimed Far Cry franchise. The music was composed by Pedro Bromfman. Pedro has composed scores for MGM’s RoboCop; three seasons of the hugely popular Netflix series Narcos; the EPIX feature documentary Deep Web, narrated by Keanu Reeves; the 6-part series The Story Of Us With Morgan Freeman for Nat Geo; Jessica Sanders’ Sundance hit End Of The Line; the 8-part series Chain Of Command and Alex Winter’s Panama Papers, narrated by Elijah Wood.

The soundtrack features 21 tracks from the highly anticipated sixth main entry in Ubisoft’s critically acclaimed Far Cry® franchise – set to release October 7 worldwide on Xbox Series X, PlayStation®5, Xbox One, PlayStation®4, Stadia, Amazon Luna and for Windows PC exclusively on both the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store.

Composer Pedro Bromfman said of the soundtrack release:

“The album is based on a very modern score, drenched in lush soundscapes, driving percussion, processed organic instruments and a ton of synthesizers…We tried to capture the soul of Yara, and its characters, by rooting the score on traditional Latin American and Caribbean music, while being completely free to experiment with contemporary sounds, elements and techniques, in hopes of creating something very fresh and unique…The score for Far Cry 6 overflows with distinctive, haunting melodies and character themes, accompanying and further immersing the players in their amazing journey through Yara. A journey full of beauty, violence, adrenaline and passion.”

Pedro Bromfman discussed the importance of “Libertad” – the soundtrack’s focus track and main theme, within Far Cry® 6:

“‘Libertad’ came about as a theme for Yara’s revolution. We needed a powerful melody, full of beauty and longing like the island itself, that could also encompass the grit, darkness and pain of a bloody war. With heavy percussion and electric guitar “Libertad” quickly builds and explodes into an anthem for Yaran’s, young and old, fighting for their freedom.”

Developed by Ubisoft Toronto, Far Cry® 6 immerses players into the adrenaline-filled world of a modern-day guerrilla revolution set in Yara, a tropical paradise frozen in time in the heart of the Caribbean. Playing as local Yaran Dani Rojas, players will explore an entire island nation and join the revolution to liberate its people from the oppressive rule of dictator Antón Castillo and his teenage son Diego – brought to life by Hollywood stars Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian, Breaking Bad) and Anthony Gonzalez (Coco).

Track List

  1. El Presidente**
  2. La Espada
  3. Libertad*
  4. The Tourist
  5. Rebuild Paradise
  6. Batter Up
  7. Valle de Oro
  8. Viva Clara
  9. We Are Lions
  10. Fist of the Revolution
  11. ’67
  12. Supremo
  13. Madrugada
  14. The Guerrilla
  15. Tiger and Cub
  16. The Poison
  17. Los Montero
  18. El Este
  19. The Lion and the Lamb
  20. Balaceras
  21. Antón

Will you be checking out the soundtrack album for Far Cry 6?

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Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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Soundtrack Review: Titane (2021)

As I’ve been enviously watching the latest film festival lineups from afar, the one film I’ve wanted to see the most out of all of them is Titane, the latest film from director Julia Ducournau. Well, I may have to wait a little longer to see the film itself, but I have been given the opportunity to listen to the film’s soundtrack and I definitely have some thoughts about it.

The soundtrack for Titane was composed by Jim Williams and is available to preorder now and will be available starting today, October 1. The film is the second collaboration between Williams and Ducournau, the duo having worked together on Ducournau’s 2016 feature film debut Raw.

Regarding the music for Titane, Jim Williams had the following to say:

“The score for Titane grows from a short theme for a scene where the protagonist leaves home in startling circumstances…Initially in a contemporary popular music style with a tinge of John Barry, later this was set with metal percussion and male voice choir using the Neapolitan Minor for a scene set in a car. As the film develops the theme takes on an emotional, darker twist.”

And what music it is!! Ever since I heard the premise for Titane, I was eager for any peek, however small, at the film. So when I got the opportunity to preview the soundtrack for Titane, I jumped at the chance.

Let me start by saying that this might not be the type of soundtrack you were expecting for a story like Titane, especially with some of the preview visuals that I’ve seen for the film. In fact, the music starts out so different at the beginning of the soundtrack that I actually double-checked to make sure I was listening to the right audio files. However, as I dove into the music and moved farther in, I realized this unusual music (it’s almost all timpani drums in the beginning) was growing on me. There’s a harsh, almost mechanical feeling to the first half of the soundtrack and given film’s premise that makes total sense.

As near as I can tell, Williams and Ducournau made the decision to center the music around the mechanical aspects of the story, at least in the beginning. There are human elements in the mix to be sure, but they don’t come out until later, presumably as the story is progressing along (this is speculation on my part as I’ve yet to actually see the film). But I’m fascinated by Williams’ decision to focus so much on percussion and drums. You don’t hear a score centered on that kind of sound mix all that often, in fact for me personally I can’t recall hearing anything quite like this before. The mix of drums and some type of gong that dominates the early part of the soundtrack, it all reminds me of a twisted, metal temple; or some type of metallic sacred space. That may sound weird but it’s the best description I can come up with. You almost have to hear the music yourself to even begin to understand it.

Even when the music does shift away from being strictly percussion (one example is “Bathroom Pieta”), the percussive sounds never really go away, they’re always lingering in the background. And I like how the music that’s created during these later tracks (again, “Bathroom Pieta” and also “Belly Oil”) still feels twisted and warped. Everything about this music will feel slightly “off” to your ears and I firmly believe that is by design (again, given the film’s subject matter). You are not meant to feel comfortable listening to this music, I know it left me on edge for the most part.

One final detail that grabbed my attention: I like how the later tracks seem to be leading toward a church-like motif with what sounds like an organ (or at least a synthesized version of one). If the first half of Titane‘s soundtrack is set in a metallic temple, the second half ends up in a cathedral, albeit one equally as twisted as where the music starts in the beginning.

Titane Soundtrack Track Listing

1.Gym to Car
2.Fan in Car Kill
3.Car Fuck [Explicit]
4.Beach Puke
5.Justine Kill
6.House Burning
7.Airport
8.Simulator
9.Bathroom Pieta
10.Belly Oil
11.Forest Fire
12.Sarabande
13.Ending from Bedroom
14.Ending from Kiss
15.End Credits
16.Wayfaring Stranger
17.Apocalypse
18.God and Drug

I highly recommend checking out the soundtrack for Titane at the earliest opportunity. This is one of the most interesting soundtracks I’ve listened to this year and it’s made me more eager than ever to watch the actual film the first chance I get.

See also:

My Thoughts on: Titane (2021)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Around and Around We Go: Talking with Composer Tom Salta about Deathloop (2021)

Just recently I had the chance to speak with composer Tom Salta about his work on the hit video game Deathloop. Salta is an award-winning composer, who writes music for film and television as well as video games. Aside from Deathloop, his past work in video games includes work on Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the HALO games, and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, just to name a few.

For Deathloop, Tom Salta had to create music for a world where the player controls Colt, an assassin tasked with killing a series of targets before a time loop activates at midnight, undoing any progress made. With that premise in mind, I was very excited to speak with Tom Salta about his work on this game.

I hope you enjoy our conversation about Deathloop!

How did you get started as a composer?

Now that’s a loaded question! [laughs] Back in 1990 when I started on my professional path, I never imagined getting into composing, no less composing for video games. I started in the music industry fully intent on becoming a famous record producer. My first shot in the big leagues was going on tour with Bobby Brown as keyboard tech and sound designer. After touring for several years, I spent the ‘90s working in the studio on almost every kind of music you could imagine for a variety of both up and coming and major artists. In 2001, there was a paradigm shift in the music industry and in the world. High speed internet became widely available and music piracy took over. No one was buying music anymore. Mainstream artists were becoming “manufactured” by huge labels and I felt creatively restricted in the area of pop music. All my dreams and aspirations of becoming a record producer started to crumble.

At the same time, the original Xbox was released and a game called ‘Halo’ redefined the first-person shooter. I was also an avid gamer since the ‘70s but it wasn’t until 2001 that the music in games started to resonate with me. And then one day, a day that I still vividly remember, I had an epiphany… “That’s it! Video game music! It combines the two things I love the most… music and games! But where do I start?”

It was a difficult transition… Imagine throwing away fifteen years of experience in music and starting over in a new industry entirely with absolutely no connections. Scary to say the least. After a lot of dead ends, I got the crazy idea that my best chance of being noticed was to go through music licensing channels, rather than trying to start as a composer. So, I created a new moniker for my artist persona, “Atlas Plug” (Atlas is Salta backwards) and created an entire album on my own of big beat electronica that would be perfectly suited for licensing in games, television and film. I connected with a publisher who represented the album and before I even finished, Microsoft heard it and wanted to license four songs in a new game called Rallisport Challenge 2. And that is where it really all started. That year, my debut album “2 Days or Die” took the industry by storm with every track being licensed in games, television, and film.

At the same time, I signed with an agent and began getting opportunities to pitch myself as a composer in games. My first original score was a PC adventure game called “Still Life”. Shortly after that, I established myself as a composer when I was hired to score major titles like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Need For Speed Underground 2.


How did you get involved with Deathloop and what did you think about the game’s time loop premise?

I was approached to work on Deathloop by the audio director that I had just finished working with on Wolfenstein Cyberpilot. When I heard about the unusual time loop mechanism and even more unusual music style, I was definitely intrigued.

How involved were the game’s directors/producers in collaborating with you on the game’s soundtrack? Were you given a lot of direction or was a lot of it left up to you?

I would say it was a healthy combination of both. Initially I was provided with a very comprehensive 50-page brief that described everything about the game. The audio director was also very specific about the late ‘60s aesthetic he was going for, although he knew that we were entering into uncharted territory with some of it.

I’m a big fan of collaborations so we had many emails back and forth and I did lots of my own research and explorations into potential musical approaches. After several weeks of experimentation, the signature sound of the score began to emerge.

I’ve read that this game was inspired by the Swinging Sixties, how did that inspiration play into the game’s soundtrack? 

Deathloop has a wide array of inspirations, including, but not limited to, the swinging sixties. The music of one of the fictional targets (visionaries), Charlie Montague, was definitely inspired by the swinging sixties and in particular, the superhero cartoon music back then, especially the original Batman series that I used to watch after school as a kid. That was a lot of fun to create.


On a related note, with the 60’s pop art style engulfing the game world, how much of the music was Inspired by films like James Bond.

The late ‘60s James Bond music was definitely an ingredient in the overall recipe of the score’s style, especially in key areas where I had to bring out the ‘secret military base’ vibe. The sixties were a very colorful time and so I had a lot of fun channeling that period in a myriad of ways.


What type of instruments are used in this score, I wasn’t expecting a game called Deathloop to sound like this but I absolutely love it. Also, do I hear a theremin in the mix?

[laughs] Yes, you certainly do. You can’t do ‘60s sci-fi and not use a theremin, right? [laughs] The approach I took for creating the palette for this score was imagining that I found a room of musical instruments that was locked up for fifty years. Then I would take those instruments and create a ‘60s inspired score through my own modern lens.

You’ll hear instruments such as Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3, Farfisa, Clavinet, Mellotron, Electric Harpsichord, Marimba, Vibes, Orchestra, Guitars, Bass, Drums and lots of other sixties inspired ear candy.

I noticed that there is a separate track/theme for each of Colt’s targets and those themes sounded strikingly similar to me. What went into creating the music for each of the targets and did their themes have anything to do with how each needs to be approached in a specific order to ultimately beat the game?

Yes, they should sound similar as they are all based on the same composition. In fact, they were supposed to be even more similar than they are now.

The original idea was to have a single suite of music (Exploration, Fight and Escape) for all targets and then just introduce one or two different elements to identify the character. Eventually, some of the target tracks evolved to be more unique arrangements of the same music. But they are all structurally identical.

The differences between the arrangements for each visionary are based around the instruments used that would come to represent each of them. So, for example, Aleksis (the arrogant eccentric) featured some sophisticated jazz styles, Harriet (the ruthless, yet pious mystic) features a dark church bell and eerie gothic choirs, and your theremin makes an appearance for Wenjie Evans, the program founder who studied supernatural phenomena.


How much of a role does the time loop play in the music? For instance, Andrew Prahlow, the composer of Outer Wilds, another video game that features a time loop, mentioned that he crafted music that begins to speed up and become more insistent the closer the player got to the loop restarting. Does anything of that nature occur in the music of Deathloop?

Yes, but instead of the tempo changing, the music gets livelier. This parallels the activity of the island’s inhabitants since all the partying really gets going in the evening. Each of the four main areas of the island of Blackreef have their own musical suite. The Exploration phase of each of those suites has four different arrangements based on the four different time periods… midnight, morning, afternoon and evening.


How much time did you have to work on Deathloop? Were you brought in early in the process of game development or late?

I worked on the score for six months, starting in January 2020 and ending in June. I suppose it was somewhere in between but there was still over a year of development after I finished.


Do you have a favorite piece in the score?

I’d probably have to pick the main theme, “Welcome to Blackreef.” It was an interesting journey getting there though. The original theme idea proposed to me was to create a very mysterious theme, more in the spirit of the 1961 classic “Mysterious Island” and the “Lost” series. The audio director really liked the theme but about a month into the score, I began to feel that it didn’t quite match the vivacious personality of the game. So I secretly began working on a new theme. I wanted something catchier and, well… loopable. [laughs] Eventually I found the four chords and three notes I was looking for and spent a week putting the final touches on it. Once I had a finished version, I sent it over. Naturally, the audio director wasn’t quick to just replace what we had, but several weeks later he agreed that it worked better for the game and so, that became the new theme that most of the score is based on.

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview and I’d like to say thank you to Tom Salta for taking the time to speak with me about Deathloop.

See also:

Composer Interviews

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Soundtrack News: My Hero Academia Season 5 Soundtrack Available Now

Milan Records has announced the release of MY HERO ACADEMIA: SEASON 5 (ORIGINAL SERIES SOUNDTRACK) with music by composer and arranger YUKI HAYASHI (My Hero Academia: Heroes RisingPretty CureStrawberry Night).

 Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Hayashi for the fifth season of the critically acclaimed, hugely popular anime series. In addition to the season five soundtrack, Hayashi has scored all four previous seasons of the hit anime television series as well as three corresponding film installments, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising and My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission.

Yuki Hayashi was born in Kyoto in 1980. Being an active member in a men’s rhythmic gymnastics team in his early years spawned his interest in BGM while selecting songs to complement performances. This led him to begin teaching himself music composition while at university, despite not having a background in music itself. After graduating, Yuki acquired the basics of track making under house techno DJ and sound-maker Hideo Kobayashi and started producing his first range of music accompaniments for dance sports. His experience as a rhythmic gymnast has enabled Yuki to intuitively incorporate an eclectic range of music and produce a unique sound, empowering scenes from TV drama, animation and film.

MY HERO ACADEMIA: SEASON 5 (ORIGINAL SERIES SOUNDTRACK)

TRACKLISTING –

  1. Go, Plus Ultra
  2. So Classmate Were Born Of Worthy Competition
  3. Successor
  4. A VS B
  5. “Quirk”DON-PACHI Great exchange
  6. What To Inherit
  7. The Mission Of The Stealth Hawk
  8. Different Ability Liberation Army
  9. My Villain Academia
  10. Second Coming
  11. Gigantomachia
  12. Mine Woman
  13. TOGA’s nature
  14. Symbol Of Fear
  15. I Don’t Kill My Friends
  16. RE DESTRO
  17. Paranormal Liberation Front
  18. Sound of the Holidays
  19. Sound of the Holidays inst Ver

See also:

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