John Carpenter's Lost Themes II: The creeping, thumping spectre of an astounding 80s cinematic catalogue.
Even after a thorough soul search, I still have no idea why I buy horror movie soundtracks. I know why I watch horror movies, that's an easy one: the expressive techniques, the visceral thrills, the borderline sexual thrill of being scared. Listening to soundtracks from horror films though? That's far more difficult to reason. How can I possibly justify pottering around the house on a nice summery afternoon, while preparing some dinner for my wife, playing with the cat, organising my LEGO into colour-specific boxes, and listening to the pulsating, weird cacophony of Dario Argento's Tenebrae. I'm basically a sicko.
My addiction to buying horror movie soundtracks started a few years ago when I discovered the magnificent Death Waltz Recording Company, its US based counterpart Mondo and their range of artfully curated LPs. These beautifully produced records, often sourced from the original masters, cover everything from John Carpenter's entire back catalogue to Lucio Fulci's The House by the Cemetery, the overlooked masterpiece The Visitor and long-lost Italian curios like L Profumo Della Signora In Nero.
If you're already familiar with the work of John Carpenter (he of directing Halloween, The Thing and They Live fame) you'll already be familiar with his outstanding abilities as a composer. The frantic, tension building piano melody of Halloween. The throbbing electro pulse of Assault on Precinct 13 (which has fittingly been sampled by Afrika Bambaataa, Bomb the Bass and Tricky over the years). The sheer trouser-ruining spookiness of The Fog soundtrack. All of these themes are the expert handiwork of Carpenter himself and have become just as iconic as the films they score.