- 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