CD: Warlock (1989)

August 6, 2015 | By


Warlock_Intrada_2015Score: Very Good

Label: Intrada

Released:  March 17, 2015

Tracks / Album Length:  18 tracks / (72:02)

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

Special Notes:  n/a




When Intrada released their first LP and later CD editions of Jerry Goldsmith’s score, the film was already well-known as one of the last productions from Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, a great little indie company that specialized in a mix of B and occasional art house films, if not unconventional thrillers that would’ve been turned down by major studios.

Most Goldsmith fans knew the music before the film, even though eventual distributor Trimark did give director Steve Miner’s supernatural thriller a theatrical release; even without the newly expanded and unused cues in Intrada’s 2015 CD, Goldsmith’s score has aged surprisingly well, considering it’s filled with plonking electro-taps, dribbling tones, echoes, and tones that sound like descending video game effects.

The electronics are prominent within the score, but not unlike Gremlins (1984), which shares some stylistic similarities, there’s still strong orchestral elements within Warlock that reveal it to be a decent score, eerie and functional, and meticulously orchestrated and engineered as per the composer’s exacting standards.

The main theme is overtly mischievous, which makes the synth plops and dribblings rather effective, and Goldsmith still made heavy use of percussion and strings when emotions and gravitas really mattered, as in the semi-tragic cue “Old Age.” The lengthy “Growing Pains” features a series of familiar motifs used by Goldsmith in prior eighties scores, including spinning figures on strings, and sudden swerves that often restart theme fragments reworked in more ominous variations. There’s also the fast cluster of tinny percussion that sits atop strained waves of thematic material in action sequences, and those downward spiraling electro-notes which add additional momentum  (and recall similarly orchestrated ‘journeying’ cues in Legend).

The 1989 album featured fairly lengthy tracks, and Intrada’s additional material expands many cues beyond the 4 minute range, making this a very unified work, and one that showcases the shifting elements in Goldsmith’s instrumental palette during the late eighties / early nineties, such as a heavier inclusion of electronics, and a kind of stumbling / running tempo (“The Weather Vane”) which has the strings almost struggling to maintain a brisk stride.

Intrada’s mastering is first-rate, bringing out many nuances in the score’s beautiful orchestrations, and again presents Warlock as an above-average horror score that’s more playful than grim, yet packed with sufficient dramatic material.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



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