Ramin Djawadi – Fright Night (2011) *Review In English*

“Eventually, Ramin Djawadi has done it right with FRIGHT NIGHT”

Soundtrack Label: Varese Sarabande

FRIGHT NIGHT is a remake of the 1985 American black-comedy/horror film of the same name. Pretty much like its original, the story is about a teenager name Charley who has discovered that Jerry, his new neighbor, is a deadly vampire after the missing of his childhood friends. However, with Jerry’s attractive appearance and kind manner (plus funnily terrible vampire name), no one really believes him. Therefore, he has to find the way to pit against the guy in order to protect his mother, his girlfriend, and probably the whole community.

The score of the 1985 version is composed by Brad Fiedel which is a mainly synthetic score as we can expect from that time. For the 2011 version, it is composed by Ramin Djawadi. At first, I was a bit worried about the score because Djawadi’s credit in either horror or thriller film music was not so great. As one of RCP composers, he can always compose the main theme and make it catchy enough but he sometimes fails to execute it throughout the score memorably. If you have listened to his forgettable BLADE: TRINITY, soft-score MR. BROOKS, average DECEPTION, and especially weak THE UNBORN, you will know what I mean. Surprisingly, FRIGHT NIGHT has turned out to be catchier and more enjoyable than I thought.

This score comprises of both orchestral and electronic elements but what make it sounds better (out of his accumulated experience) is how he tries to bring back some old-fashioned yet charming touch of horror film music. This case is so called “good but not great” but it is satisfying enough to be one of the best guilty pleasures of the year for me. It is not as classic as Bernard Herrmann’s works but as classic as John Carpenter’s works will be more like it.

For the record, the album is not completely according to film’s order but it still make its own fright and fun listening experience.

Starting from the beginning, Welcome To Fright Night is a brilliant appetizer that introduces the main theme with the strong dynamics between organ and electric cello. However, the main theme does not play much important role in the first half of the album. Actually, there is a secondary theme which rules here. This theme is implied to the horrifying vampire stuffs and slightly builds up from motifs in Jerry’s Date and especially A Terrible Vampire Name in which CLASH OF TITANS’ threatening strings technique can also be found in the first half and then the full form of the theme in the very end of the track. In addition, this secondary theme has its decent companion with thrill in We Could Rock This Evil Thing Together and gets even better in 400 Years of Survival with the rise of ghostly choir that creates the creepiest track of the album without any sudden banging.

Coming back to the main theme, as it starts to get hotter in the second half, many exciting cues do happen. The intro to that is at the 8th track which is How To Kill A Vampire. I know I don’t often appreciate heavy metal or rock things but I will make an exception for this modern variation of the theme that helps refreshing the middle of the album. Also, it can still be heard shorter and softer in Let’s Kill Something.

For the body of the excitement, there are the tracks such as No House, No Invitation, That’s A Mighty Big Cross, Go Get the Authorities, Enough With The Vampires, and Gotta Light. Despite some unavoidably sudden banging which is common for this genre, these tracks are still fun to listen to. Furthermore, some of them deserve 5 stars for how two themes are well-handled together and the balance of orchestral and electronic elements, notably the last two tracks above.

My last recommendation and the most pleasant one is Fright Night. This unmissable track is perfectly the extended presentation of the main theme heard in Welcome To Fright Night. The dynamics is now longer and stronger. The organ and electric cello are more delicious along with electric guitar and clearer orchestral ensemble. By the way, I have ranked it as my most favorite cue of 2011 because it is really that good!

Eventually, Ramin Djawadi has done it right with FRIGHT NIGHT. Though there are some spotty flaws and mediocrity, they are only a few and the overall result is still satisfying and always makes me feel welcome to revisit it.

Tracklist

01. Welcome To Fright Night (*****)

02. There’s A Lot Of Bad People Out There (***)

03. Jerry’s Date (****)

04. A Terrible Vampire Name (****)

05. We Could Rock This Evil Thing Together (****)

06. Is That A Stake? (***)

07. 400 Years of Survival (*****)

08. How To Kill A Vampire (*****)

09. Just Hit Me (**)

10. No House, No Invitation (*****)

11. That’s A Mighty Big Cross (****)

12. Let’s Kill Something (****)

13. Go Get the Authorities (****)

14. I Can Hear You Breathe (****)

15. I’m All Out Of Beer (**)

16. A Garlicky Omelet (**)

17. Enough With The Vampires (*****)

18. Gotta Light (*****)

19. Don’t Do Anything I Wouldn’t Do (***)

20. Fright Night (*****)

Final Score: 8

Buy It @Boomerang

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