|1.||Overture for the Wicker Man||4:33|
|2.||Cycling into a Nightmare||3:04|
|3.||Flight to Summer's Isle||1:34|
|4.||Secret Meeting Note||3:56|
|6.||The Rose and the Daydream||3:13|
|7.||Images of Rowan||2:30|
|8.||Sister Summer's Isle||2:51|
|9.||Kiss of Bees||2:42|
|11.||Trapped in Water||3:42|
| ||43:36| Submit your review
Another month, another horror remake. Having said that, the original Wicker Man isn't a typical horror film, more of a detective story with a horrifying twist. Improbably, the remake stars Nicholas Cage, possibly the drippiest actor working today (outside of Keanu Reeves, I suppose) and, unlike the original's Scottish setting, is relocated to America and the pagan elements largely removed, to its detriment. General consensus is that it's a terrible film, despite being directed by the generally reliable Neil LaBute; the script and some dire acting are cited as being the biggest culprits. Angelo Badalamenti isn't a stranger to scoring creepy, introverted societies and his music is one of the only aspects that appears to have been any good.
One notable aspect of remakes, horror in particular, is that the originals invariably have impressive, iconic scores - The Omen, to take a recent example - but by deliberately avoiding the sound world of the original they lose one vital aspect. The original Wicker Man has one of the most unusual of the lot, various folksy instrumentals and songs, most integral to the pagan rituals depicted in the film. For better or worse, Badalamenti's score is entirely predictable in approach. This isn't a slasher and so it's not an annoying mess of orchestral bangs, but a slower burn of ominous string passages, effectively augmented by a subtle wordless vocalist (surprisingly free from clichť) and low key synths. Passages of great movement are infrequent, but where they do occur, such as The Barn, are effective and exciting.
For all the good things about Badalamenti's The Wicker Man, I can't quite make my mind up about it (not something you want to read in a review, I grant you). The atmosphere is perhaps its finest accomplishment and I meant that in the best possible sense. Evidently the film had very little on its own, but taken as a stand alone work, Badalamenti's oozes atmosphere, but not at the expense of movement and musicality. It fills the listener with unease, if not quite dread, but the periodic bursts of drama are well timed. Naturally, it builds to an impressive pay off in The Burning although Badalamenti avoids going over the top. One could well imagine a less subtle composer going for massed brass and chanting chorus, but he sticks to the palette of strings, vocalist and synths. However, it doesn't quite get under the skin or stick in the mind, but it certainly pays repeat attention.
I must admit that I never have been a fan of the original movie of THE WICKER MAN, and I also quite honestly did not like the score by Paul Giovanni. I could never understand why so many people referred to the movie as a classic or why they held Mr. Giovanniís score in such high regard. I even sat through the movie again recently just to see if it was me all those years ago just not appreciating the film, but no it still leaves me bemused as to why it is so popular. The new version of the story which hit the cinema screens a little while back, I have to hold judgement on because as yet I have not managed to take myself off to see it. The score however is another matter, composer Angelo Badalamenti has often caught my ear with his music for film and TV, but I cannot say that I have ever gone out of my way to physically go and purchase one of his soundtracks, well with THE WICKER MAN I broke that tradition and went out first thing on the day of its release to buy a copy. (Silva Screen donít send me anything nowadays) I am certainly glad that I did, this is a well written carefully constructed and meticulously orchestrated work, and one which I am sure will accompany the production well. All I can say is it knocks the socks off of the original score, it has emotion, atmosphere, depth and above all thematic material that is a joy to listen to. Badalamenti, has created an interesting work that is at times quite complex, but this factor does not in anyway spoil the listening experience, itís a powerful work, which utilises full orchestra, chorus and also solo female voice, which are enhanced and supported by a subtle and unobtrusive use of electronic sounds. In places I would say that the score has some elements that one would normally associate with a soundtrack penned by John Williams, sweeping or flyaway sounding strings and woods, with heavy but necessary brass flourishes, a melodic but also at times a wistful, mischievous and threatening sounding combination. Badalamentiís music for THE WICKER MAN is haunting and attractive, and after the first cue the listener is enticed onwards by the refreshing and slightly mystical and foreboding creativity of the composer. Recommended.
This soundtrack trailer contains music of:
Dangerous Vertigo, Future World Music/Armen Hambar (Trailer)