Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Oh, the horror: part 5

Title: Un urlo dalle tenebre (The return of the exorcist)
Year: 1975
Composer: Giuliano Sorgini

This Italian horror film has tons of different titles, one video title even claiming to be the third film in the Exorcist series (though the second film was actually released after this one in 1977) probably trying to cash in for its success. The true third film was released in 1990s. Well this one doesn’t have any relation to its American counterpart and even the score is by a fairly unknown composer and keyboardist Giuliano Sorgini who I only know from one other horror score: The living dead at Manchester morgue. The result is an ok horror score which unfortunately doesn’t really have musical highlights that would rise above the genre’s usual conventions.

The beginning 30 minutes form a promotional album that was never released. Messa nera begins with some atonal choral chords before a menacing yet simple electric organ melody appears over a poppish drum beat. Either the organ notes are tampered to make the cue sound somewhat fuzzy or there might be some issues with the sound quality. There are some added uneasy electronic effects which reappear for instance later in Reparto agitati which is purely ambient sound design enhanced by electronics. Risonanza n° 3 follows in the same vain but adds wandering harpsichord tinkles to the electronic patterns. The first track to make the hairs on my arms to stand up is Risonanza n° 4 which comprises of sighing women’s voices and a disturbing atonal organ that slowly grows in intensity as the cue progresses. Repeating phrases for strings are first heard in Tensione and combined to ominous bassoon notes making a successful suspense cue. Similar string melodies carry over to Demoniaco but unfortunately they don’t make much an impact here because there is no development but just some tremolo playing in unison. The ending of the promo album is called Angeli neri which starts with a hiss sounding like the record was damaged, before reprising the string motifs of Tensone.

The latter part of the Digitmovies release presents some alternates and additional cues. The original main titles feature similar sinister strings as heard in the other suspenseful tracks. There’s a long 10-minute cue called Esorcismo which is a big letdown as the scenes for the actual exorcism in these kinds of films are usually treated with the most bombastic music. However this one is one long drone for buzzing organ and other electronics offering only a little development in the layers of sound it creates. It makes you feel uneasy but it’s a quite lousy excuse for horror scoring in my opinion. The reprise of Messa nera is far more menacing than the opening version even though the organ has an odd celestial sound to it. The last cue Titoli di coda originali is by far the most shocking horror track on the album because here the electronic effects are finally released from the depths of hell along with sighing vocals.

Though most of the album’s duration concentrates on the horror aspects, there is a variety of other musical genres as well. Organo mistico is a beautiful organ composition which offers some sacred qualities to the film. It’s followed by a completely different musical style, Momento pop which is a party cue with a fun flute solo but a quite horrendously cheery and dated electronic organ in its B section that just ruins the track for me. Suore in convento on the other hand features a softer flute solo combined to the medieval organ style of Organo mistico. Flute dominates also a composition called Momento country pop which fortunately isn’t a country pop song per se but only draws inspiration from that genre. It’s actually the best cue on the album featuring sincerely moving flute and oboe performances over base formed by acoustic guitars and light percussion, and a cheesy 70s B section for piano, mellow strings and flute flourishes.

The overall feel I get from this score is that it’s a bit amateurish. It’s almost like Sorgini had just read a book called How to score a horror film beforehand and forgot to add something of his own. I do think that some of the electronic effects are imaginative and they make you think how they were achieved. Except for the few truly shocking cues and peaceful moments I doubt that I’m going to return to this album that often unfortunately.

Rating: ***

1. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Messa nera) (04:37) ***
2. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Organo mistico) (02:05) ****
3. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Momento pop) (02:51) ***
4. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Suore in convento) (01:30) ****
5. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Reparto agitati) (02:35) *
6. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Risonanza n° 3) (02:26) **
7. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Momento country pop) (05:06) *****
8. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Risonanza n° 4) (03:11) ****
9. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Tensione) (02:12) ****
10. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Demoniaco) (02:12) **
11. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Angeli neri) (03:20) ***
12. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Titoli di testa originali) (00:44) ***
13. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Organo mistico 2a versione) (02:04) ****
14. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Momento pop vrs. breve) (01:48) ***
15. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Esorcismo) (09:50) **
16. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Tensione n° 2) (02:02) ****
17. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Messa nera 2a versione) (01:27) ****
18. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Apparizione) (00:33) ***
19. Un urlo dalle tenebre (Titoli di coda originali) (01:28) ****

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