Tag Archives: Christine

Christine – Original Motion Picture Score

ChristineOriginal Motion Picture Score
Music by John Carpenter in Association with Alan Howarth

Varese Sarabande – 2017

Because of the success of John Carpenter’s Lost Themes, Lost Themes II, Varese Sarabande is re-releasing John Carpenter’s classic score for Christine fully remastered and available on blue vinyl.

 

“Arnie’s Love Theme” that begins the score for Christine is very simple yet contains tremendous mood that’s character based, not only for the Arnie Cunningham character, but the car itself, Christine. John Carpenter in association with Alan Howarth, create an indelible audio presence that sets the tone of the whole film.

The way John Carpenter captures “Obsessed with the Car” is honestly a film scoring marvel. He does so much with so little, it just goes to show you his connection as the main story teller of the movie cannot be overestimated or undervalued.

“Football Run / Kill Your Kids” shows incredible grasp of the film composers with the material on the screen. You can literally feel every emotion as “Dennis” (played by John Stockwell) runs out to catch a pass and gets pummeled, getting injured on the play at the same time Arnie pulls up with Leigh (Alexandra Paul) in now fixed-up magnificent looking red 1958 Plymouth Fury. The juxtaposition – counterbalance between the different emotions, runs so high from the composition.  It’s just astounding to listen to and makes you visualize the scene in its entirety 30 plus years since the movie came out.

The tonality and seriousness of “The Rape” cue is very emotionally disturbingly appropriate in terms of the scenes content.

The super high airy keyboard lines in “The Discovery” really create the sensation of heat after the car has been completely vandalized. It’s shocking and John Carpenter captures the vulnerability that Arnie must feel seeing the utter intentional destruction of his beloved car.

“Show Me” as one of always been one of my favorite cuts from the soundtrack. Carpenter connects with Arnie’s words, which are the same as the cue title, asking his girl to regenerate itself and its really the turning point where the movie gets dark.  Shortly thereafter Christine and Arnie seek revenge on “the shitters” who tried destroying her. True emotion is captured in this elegantly shadow drenched piece. I’d rate this as one of the top 10 tracks of John Carpenter’s illustrious career.

Carpenter and Howarth put their foot to the floor with “Moochie’s Death. ” Pounding single bass drum rules the track as keyboard lines dance around as the fuel for the car, as it chases down the heavyset character to his death in a tight dead-end alley.

“Junkins” is the music cue that encompasses Arnie Cunningham first seeing dilapidated Christine. The title says it all in terms of how run down and broken she looks.  But there’s something about the car that attracts Arnie to her. The high pitch keyboard lines have almost a funeral quality that foretell the unfortunate soul the falls for her.

“Buddy’s Death” begins as the school bully Buddy Repperton (played with great skill by William Ostrander) runs out of the gas station that Christine ram shacks. John Carpenter and Alan Haworth beautifully render the scene transition as the tough guy attempts to flee the still burning Plymouth Fury, which is honestly a vision straight out of hell. But all is for not, as the blazing vehicle chases down this movie’s tormentor and Carpenter/Howarth can literally make you can hear it’s fiery tracks left on the burning corpse.

The dark churning keyboards in “Nobody’s Home / Restored”, set up palpable mood of tension. The little higher pitch notes somehow still represent Arnie Cunningham and his relationship to the old car. I believe this is the scene where the bad guys go to Darnell’s garage before they attempt destroy her.

“Car Obsession Reprise” is such a beautifully understated piece by Carpenter and Howarth. The saying less is infinitely more certainly applies to this composition, as it subtly captures all the dynamic elements working within the film.

“Christine Attacks (Plymouth Fury)” is the pounding musical cue that represents Christine’s deadly fury. Carpenter literally puts his foot down on the bass drum to stomp all over those who get her way.

I believe “Talk on the Couch” is the musical arrangement that accompanies the scene where Dennis (John Stockwell) and Leigh (Alexandra Paul) talk about the situation their friend Arnie is in and how they can stop the rampaging car, and at the same time save their friend.

Obviously from the title, “Regeneration” supports the sequence where Christine repairs herself at the very end of the movie. Carpenter and Howarth utilize reverberating drum, tapping percussion, metal hits and clanging sheet of metal to revitalize the incapacitated car.

John Carpenter’s signature low rumbling keyboard lines speak volumes in “Darnell’s Tonight.” The director/composer really leaves his mark and foretells the film’s thrilling climax to come.

“Arnie” underscores the film’s lead character Arnie Cunningham (played magnificently by actor Keith Gordon). This composition has a white-hot, almost demonic quality. Carpenter and Howarth bring out the tragic element of the doomed character.

“Undented” could be the most threatening piece on the entire score. There is a darkness that prepervades the musical soundscape. It’s an impressive piece of work that absolutely captures the moment within the 1983 film.

“Moochie Mix Four” mixes all the compositional themes and elements together for the last track in the movie. The pounding bass drum, fluttering keyboards and all sorts of ghoulish vehicular aspects are brought together for this underrated masterpiece.

Being a lifelong fan of John Carpenter I know his work as well as anyone on the planet.  The thing nobody ever talks about or maybe even realizes is that this is the film he made between The Thing and Starman.  Think about that.  Carpenter went from making one of the best films ever made in the history of moviemaking (John Carpenter’s The Thing) to going on to make an Academy nominated performance love story with Starman.  He was without question at the peak of his directorial career and his work in this movie absolutely shows it.  Both on the screen and in this brilliant musical score.

I would rate Christine as one of Top-6 best scores and films of his historic career. The acting in the movie is nothing short of sensational and John Carpenter & Alan Howarth should be forever recognized for what they accomplished with their Original Motion Picture Score.

I would encourage you to go out of your way to go purchase this soundtrack, as it is imperative if you’re any kind of serious collector of movie music and if you’re a horror fan, it’s a no-brainer.  A true treasure and kudos go to Varese Sarabande for getting it back out for the world to hear.

www.varesesarabande.com

 

John Carpener performs the music from his movies LIVE in NYC

assault   Hallow

I still cannot believe in less than 24 hours I will be seeing John Carpenter perform his music from his movies LIVE in NYC (the show is already SOLD OUT). When I got the first soundtrack to his music back in the early 80s (HALLOWEEN), I would have never thought it possible. But it is tomorrow night. All of us in New York City area are in for a massive cinematic musical treat! Can’t wait.

www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com/

TheF   Escape

On Set with John Carpenter: The Photographs of Kim Gottlieb-Walker

OnSetwithJC

On Set with John Carpenter: The Photographs of Kim Gottlieb-Walker

Titan Books – 2014
ISBN: 9781783294688
176 pages, $24.99

I’ve anxiously been waiting for this book since I first reached out to Kim Gottlieb-Walker, which was September 2005.  The fact that this book actually exists and is out has me thrilled beyond belief.  What’s even better is the amount of care Titan Books has put into displaying Gottlieb-Walker’s fantastic photos.  They accomplish this with gorgeous layouts, high quality paper and overall design.

On Set with John Carpenter is absolutely loaded with rare, never before seen images from Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, Halloween II and Christine.

OnSetJC3

For a John Carpenter fanatic like me, this is a goldmine as you can see the stories behind these productions.  The passionate fun the cast & crew must have felt, along with the hard work is totally captured through Gottlieb-Walker’s lens.  You get to see many of the behind the scenes people that made these films so memorable.  Photos of talented Director of Photography Dean Cundey, Camera/Panaglide Operator Ray Stella can be seen at work as well even James Cameron painting matte artwork and being Visual Effects Director of Photography on Escape From New York.

There could not have been a better photo than the way chosen for the book’s cover.  Seeing John Carpenter directing Jamie Lee Curtis on Halloween (one of my two favorite films), well you don’t get better than that in my opinion.

The inner covers of the book on the front and book are amazing.  Countless photos are spread over the connective pages to make you just stare and look each and every photo a read into the stories they tell.

John Carpenter writes the forward and the large photo of him smiling on the set of Halloween is telling for the way it turned out.  Former Fangoria Magazine Editor Tony Timpone is next and his story is very entertaining to read.

OnSetJC4

Halloween – How can I not love every single still representing this masterpiece?  The full size photo of Michael Myers (Nick Castle) holding up the huge butcher knife is classic.  Same goes with Myers at the top of the staircase look down at us.  The shot of Donald Pleasence on the side of the Myers house at night is creepy and captures the intensity of the late actor.  The shot of “The Shape” standing in background behind Annie (Nancy (Loomis) Kyes) on the phone of the kitchen is nothing short of iconic.

There’s some great shots of Nick Castle, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter having fun on the set laughing.  For such a suspenseful, intense movie these let you know the cast & crew had a good time making the film.  It’s also great seeing the late Debra Hill do her thing as she not only produced the movie but helped write the screenplay and Kim Gottlieb-Walker dedicates the book to her memory.

I loved seeing John Carpenter at work with his cast, behind the camera with DP Dean Cundey and Camera Operator Ray Stella.  The two color photos of the Coup de Villes playing at the wrap party, John Carpenter, Tommy Lee Wallace and Nick Castle dressed in “The Shape” masks is priceless.

The Fog – There’s some great intimate moments of the cast performing their parts.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the shots of Adrienne Barbeau with Ty Mitchell, Tom Atkins with Jamie Lee Curtis at the boat marina and shot of Janet Leigh behind Hal Holbrook in the church.  It was fun seeing Debra Hill having a good time with Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh.  I was surprised to see that Kurt Russell visited the set with his then wife Season Hubley.

The photographs with John Carpenter and Adrienne Barbeau capture a time when they were in love and you can see it.

Love the shot of the entire cast & crew and the individual portraits of each cast member is invaluable.

 

OnSetJC1

Escape From New York – Seeing Kurt Russell as “Snake Plissken” is awesome.  Lee Van Cleef with the cigarette or gun in hand says much about his character.  It was cool seeing Debra Hill talking to “Maggie” (Adrienne Barbeau) all decked out.

The color photo of the real 727 airplane, Joe Alves brought was impressive in the film and as a photo.

OnSetJC5

I had never seen any the photos of Jim Cameron painting the matte plates of Manhattan skyline or as special effects photography.  The pictures of John Carpenter busting up with Lee Van Cleef and Tom Atkins brought a smile to my face.

I never realized that Dean Cundey played saxophone in the “Everyone’s Coming to New York” scene but you can see he did with the photo on page 92.  It was also neat seeing Nick Castle choreographing the stage performers.  Castle’s dad was a legendary choreographer.

I also neat seeing the lens woman herself in pictures, like when she’s flanked with Lee Van Cleef and Tom Atkins.  The shot of Gottlieb-Walker with Kurt Russell confirms how they both must have felt making this movie.

Halloween II – Seeing Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) about to stab Anne Bruner is pretty intense as is the scene where “The Shape” lifts Tawny Moyer off the ground after stabbing her in the back.  The successive shots of Michael pushing the hypodermic needle into Ana Alicia is like watching the movie via stills.

I got a kick out of seeing Dick Warlock in full Michael Myers outfit licking the knife, posing with Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence.  My favorite from this set might be Jamie Lee Smooching with Michael while Donald Pleasence laughs heartedly on the side.

Christine – Which I might consider John Carpenter’s most underrated film has some fantastic photographic coverage of the sensational cast.  Gottlieb-Walker captures Keith Gordon as “Arnie Cunningham” both in his geek-nerd stature and then transformation into ultra confident self later in the film.

William Ostrander’s outstanding performance as the tough guy “Buddy Repperton” is on display during the bully scene.  Ostrander looks so imposing and threatening.  His acting in this movie is one of the unsung reasons why it’s so damn good.  The way the still photographer shot this scene, you almost feel like you are there in auto class getting picked on.  There’s a series of photos showing how painful it must have been for “Dennis” (John Stockwell) when “Moochie” (Malcolm Dare) gave him the nuts squeeze.

There’s a real interesting photo of a moment that didn’t make it into the film, where Arnie puts Dennis in an uncomfortable positon, while Dennis is in the hospital bed.

There’s a telling shot of John Stockwell, Keith Gordon and John Carpenter laughing together (the two actors would become directors).  I liked seeing the dolly track in hallway of high school with John Carpenter working with Gordon.  Also Carpenter behind Stockwell making facings to get a reaction from Gordon while next to actress Kelly Preston.

Loved the portrait of the late Robert Blossoms, who was unforgettable as Christine original owner “George LeBay.”

OnSetJC2

This book had my attention from the moment I got it.  I can’t see anything beating it for Best Book of 2014.

www.titanbooks.com

www.lenswoman.com