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John Dies at the End
  • Composed by Brian Tyler
  • La-La Land Records / 2013 / 53m

The most recent film from Bubba Ho-Tep director Don Coscarelli, John Dies at the End is about a drug that opens doors to a different dimension – and allows rather less-than-savoury beings from that dimension to enter our own.  The film reunites the director with prolific composer Brian Tyler – here writing in a very different style from the all-action histrionics heard in so many of his recent works.  Rather, the relatively low budget has inspired him to creative heights for a wonderfully inventive score which takes a hodge-podge of ideas from various genres and somehow emerges with a compelling voice of its own.  Not for the first time, Tyler himself performs most of the instruments heard, which must be a challenging task.

There are some echoes of what you might expect to hear in a low-budget horror score, with electronics and electronically-manipulated acoustic instruments frequently conjuring an unsettling, slightly oppressive atmosphere.  More surprising are some of the other hints – whether of Morricone / spaghetti western music, light rock, hardcore electronica or sexy 60s European-style vocals.  None of it should really work together, but it does.  The main theme is, surprisingly, a memorable, hummable tune, repeated often – and that’s probably Tyler’s key success here, blending this very strange combination of elements together but never leaving that melody far away.  It’s an impressive CD, a reminder of the kind of creativity that marked the composer out as one to watch very early on in his career, and while there’s a danger it may get a bit lost in the slew of releases of bigger scores from bigger movies, it’s certainly well worth checking out.

Rating: *** 1/2 | |

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  1. Paul Cote (Reply) on Monday 15 April, 2013 at 21:01

    Looking forward to this – it’s been a long time since I’ve heard a score by him that interested me, but Bubba Ho-Tep is my favorite Tyler score.

  2. Solaris (Reply) on Monday 15 April, 2013 at 21:28

    Just downloaded that one at iTunes, looking forward to listen to it even more now. 🙂