Latest reviews of new albums:
Exorcist II: The Heretic
  • Composed by Ennio Morricone
  • Perseverance Reissue / 2011 / 34:24

John Boorman had a hard act to follow when he made Exorcist II: The Heretic.  It’s fair to say that he didn’t do very well, with the resulting movie being savaged by critics and widely hated by audiences.  Ennio Morricone had a hard act to follow, too – the first film’s eclectic mix of Mike Oldfield and Krzyzstof Penderecki quickly becoming nothing short of iconic – but he fared somewhat better, in one of his first mainstream Hollywood scores.  He produced a core of excellent, highly varied themes and seemed to understand what needed doing better than pretty much anyone else involved with the film.  The popular album has been released on CD before but has been out-of-print for a while, so this new issue from Perseverance Records (at a good price, too – lower than is usually charged by most of the speciality film music labels for straight reissues) is a welcome one.

The album opens with the spectacularly gorgeous “Regan’s Theme”, a seductively beautiful poppish piece for female vocalist and small orchestra.  But this is an eclectic score (and album), and things transform completely in “Pazuzu”, a sort of crazed version of African tribal music.  The terrific “Interrupted Melody” has that slightly off-kilter beauty that Morricone has done so well, so often.  “Little Afro-Flemish Mass”, perhaps the greatest track title there’s ever been on a soundtrack album, is an unsettling, occultish piece for all sorts of weird and wonderful instruments and vocalists.  There’s also the great “Magic and Ecstasy”, pure instrumental rock, a classic from a composer who’s provided no shortage of those.  Indeed, the whole album is just fantastic, worthy of a place in any soundtrack collection – it showcases Morricone’s gifts at creating gorgeous melody alongside his ability to compose genuinely unsettling music, but despite the dominance of the latter, everything remains completely listenable throughout.  **** 1/2 |

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  1. Hasta (Reply) on Saturday 7 January, 2012 at 05:58

    I’m not sure if the trailer for this movie uses Morricone’s music; if it does, and the whole album follows suit, this score must rock the shit.

    Makes me proud to be a Far(cone)….. as if the rest of Ennio’s music doesn’t…

  2. Hasta (Reply) on Saturday 7 January, 2012 at 06:01

    Oops, wanted to provide a link to the (badass) trailer… too bad the movie itself doesn’t quite compare, but I do actually like it.. flawed but extremely interesting, almost more so than the first (and the first is defintely one of my favorite movies).

    Here’s the link; watch it and be highly amused!

  3. elfenthalsmith (Reply) on Saturday 7 January, 2012 at 10:34

    Very amusing indeed. It’ls like pazuzu himself edited this trailer.

  4. Jesper Andersen (Reply) on Saturday 20 December, 2014 at 23:41

    Great score! “Regan’s Theme” is my all-time favorite theme. Stunningly beautiful. It almost rips time and place into pieces and inserts every hurt and joy into your heart at the same time.
    A little dramatic maybe, haha, but that’s how great it is to me.
    I wish you would make reviews for Broughton’s “Young Sherlock Holmes” and Fenton’s “Mary Reilly” someday. I’ve just bought both and it’s not gonna be the same listening when I don’t have your reviews as support 🙂
    Jesper, Denmark.