MP3: Goosebumps (2015)

December 7, 2015 | By


Goosebumps_2015Score: Excellent

LabelSony Classical

Released:  October 9, 2015

Tracks / Album Length:  29 tracks / (64:36)

Composer: Danny Elfman

Special Notes:  n/a




Danny Elfman returns to his inner Beetlejuice groove with a heavy theme-based score that’s rich in frenetic energy from constantly churning strings and grounded in a youthful vantage via a recurring children’s choir. Most of the score’s instrumentation is quite grand, but there are specifics that make Goosebumps a very deliberate attempt to capture the fear and mistrust of kids who know when they’re being hoodwinked and snookered.

Throughout the score’s manic cues, the brass slice through busy strings, whereas sudden pauses allow Elfman to almost reset a cue’s focus my pulling back the force of his orchestra, sometimes switching to glockenspiele and woodwinds for a thematic statement that’s more inquisitive than hectic.

The iconic woo-wooing of the Ondes Martinot recurs in the jaunty “Slappy’s Revenge,” and Elfman also makes more than a few nods to Bernard Herrmann with muted brass and a short cluster of heraldic notes in the same cue. “Lawn Gnomes” echoes Herrmann’s skeleton battle in Jason and the Argonauts with a similar rhythmic structure in the first bars, and brass and strings engaged in a tug-of-war between fast chunks of triplets and lethargic versions which dissipate for a finale where Elfman works in a subtle Theremin, discrete rumbling percussion, and woody bass clarinets.

The already chunky album comes with bonus tracks which more often than not repeat statements that are already represented in the album’s main 17 tracks, but it’s a beautifully engineered score rich with dynamic sounds, and Elfman delivering a work that draws from his own inimitable energetic style while acknowledging his love of all things Herrmann (with maybe a bit of classic Spielbergian John Williams to give the score a slightly lush, eighties veneer).


It takes a few listens, but Goosebumps soon formulates into a near-perfect portrait of a child’s immersion into whatever dark fantasies lurk under the bed, in cluttered closets, and creepy basements corners never visited without a bright flashlight.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



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Category: Soundtrack Reviews

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