Tag Archives: Psycho

Soundtrack Review: The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)

So just the other day I shared the news that the original soundtrack for The Wolf of Snow Hollow (by Ben Lovett) is now available. Today, I actually got the chance to sit down and listen to that soundtrack and present my thoughts on it below.

My god…..this soundtrack is beautiful. Even in this severely truncated year of films, I’ve been able to listen to my fair share of soundtracks this year, and I can sincerely say that The Wolf of Snow Hollow is one of the best, if not THE best soundtrack I’ve heard in 2020. The music was composed by Ben Lovett, who has also scored the likes of Synchronicity (2015), The Ritual (2017), and The Night House (2020), just to name a few examples.

From beginning to end, this soundtrack is amazing. It feels very much like a throwback to the kind of soundtrack you’d hear during the Golden Age of Cinema (approximately 1933-1960, the exact years vary depending on who you ask). And this is a very good thing! Film scores like this are filled with rich musical layers, the strings in particular range from menacing to thoughtful (but still full of tension). I also like how Lovett doesn’t give too much away with the music. Some scores, this year’s The Invisible Man comes to mind, openly project where and when certain moments (like jump scares) happen. The Wolf of Snow Hollow doesn’t do that. You feel a certain rise and fall fo tension to be sure, but if any one specific moment happens, the music doesn’t give it away.

And that music….Lovett openly admits that he wanted the music of The Wolf of Snow Hollow to be referential and is it ever! The influence of Bernard Herrmann is all over this score, in particular I heard multiple references to his iconic score for Psycho (1960). Not, I should clarify, anything that references the iconic “shower scene” moment that the film is most famous for. Instead, I swear I heard hints of Hermmann’s score from the opening of the film, particularly in the track “Third Crime Scene.” I love that this score pays such direct homage to one of Herrmann’s best film scores, and it makes me very excited to eventually watch this film and hear the music in context with the story. If I get the chance to speak with the composer, I plan on asking about this score’s connection with Herrmann and Psycho because that is a story I need to hear.

It would be impossible to overstate how happy listening to this soundtrack made me. From the opening track, the music sucked me in, and it never lets up. This is one of the best use of strings that I’ve heard in years, I know I’ve said that before but it’s done so well I have to mention it again.

I could go on and on, but honestly it all boils down to this: you need to listen to the original soundtrack for The Wolf of Snow Hollow at your earliest opportunity. This music is so beautiful, with a great homage to Bernard Herrmann, and I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a score that surpasses this one in what little remains of 2020. Ben Lovett has knocked it out of the park with this one.

Let me know what you think about the music for The Wolf of Snow Hollow in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Soundtrack News: ‘The Wolf of Snow Hollow’ Soundtrack Available Now

Film Soundtracks A-W

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My Thoughts on: Rear Window (1954)

*This film is being reviewed at the request of a Patreon patron

I was initially excited to watch Rear Window, a mystery film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Up until now the only Hitchcock films I’ve seen are Rebecca, The Birds and excerpts from Psycho so I was looking forward to seeing what this film was like. Rear Window follows a photographer (James Stewart) laid up in his apartment with a broken leg. With little else to do, he ends up observing the lives of his neighbors through their back windows. One night he becomes convinced that one of his neighbors, Mr. Thorwald (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife and spends the rest of the film trying to prove it.

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With all due respect to Hitchcock, the film didn’t do much for me. I did enjoy watching Grace Kelly (as I hadn’t seen any of her films before) and James Stewart is always fun to watch but…there was something about this film that just bothered me. I think having the action confined to Jeff’s apartment (we only see what he sees) frustrated me, because I’m used to films that follow other characters around. Also, the stories of his neighbors look strange when they’re viewed through tiny windows (which look small even when Jeff is looking through binoculars or his camera lens). It reminded me a bit of watching a film within a film, particularly silent films (like when Lisa breaks into Thorwald’s apartment while Jeff watches), since you see the action but can’t really hear much of what’s being said. I’m probably just missing the point of the film, but I wanted to see more than what I was given.

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I will say I did like the confrontation between Jeff and Thorwald, when Jeff gets the idea to blind the villain with his flash bulbs to buy some time. It’s a highly suspenseful scene because you’re anxiously wondering if Jeff can get the next bulb ready before Thorwald completely recovers. I was also fascinated to learn that the piano player was Rogdom Bagdasarian, better known as the creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks. And while I was glad to check another Hitchcock film off my “to watch” list, I don’t think I’ll be watching it again any time soon.

What do you think about Rear Window? Let me know your thoughts on this film in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film/TV Reviews

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Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Since yesterday I talked about empathetic sound in movies, today I thought it was only fitting to talk about the opposite: anempathetic sound.

As one might guess, anempathetic sound is when the music or sound effects in a movie stand in direct contrast to what is actually happening on the screen. For example, say you’re watching a horror movie and the upcoming victim is going about their day and say they turn on some music and a bright, chipper song is now playing (this would be diegetic music, see the first Film Music 101 post for the definition). Suddenly, the killer/monster strikes! While the victim dies a horrible, gruesome death, the happy song keeps playing on and on, indifferent to the plight of the victim.

Anempathetic sound does not have to occur solely with music however. In Hitchcock’s immortal classic Psycho, the famous shower scene takes place with the sound of running water playing continuously throughout. Even after the character is dead, the sound of water continues to play, also indifferent to the fact that a young woman was just murdered.

Never saw it coming, poor thing….

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See also:

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger