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Patrick
  • Composed by Pino Donaggio
  • Quartet Records / 2014 / 62m

A remake of the “cult classic” 1978 Richard Franklin-directed Australian horror movie Patrick (I’ve never heard of it), Mark Hartley’s 2013 version follows a young nurse who becomes obsessed by a comatose patient in a psychiatric hospital; in turn he begins controlling her life using his psychic powers.  Starring Charles Dance and Rachel Griffiths, the film didn’t attract particularly favourable reviews and didn’t do much at the box office, but of interest to film music fans is that director Hartley was looking for a Brian de Palma vibe and even went as far as hiring Pino Donaggio to craft an orchestral score which is very much in keeping with those he has written for de Palma.  (Brian May scored the original Patrick and his score is actually used as source music in the remake, being listened to by Dance’s character through his headphones.)

Donaggio’s score – recorded with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague accompanied by some of the composer’s trademark electronics – certainly doesn’t count subtlety amongst its virtues.  Everything is big, bold and up-front – a sweeping love theme appears now and then (sometimes in consciously overblown fashion for dream sequences) but for the most part terror is the main ingredient, from the brassy rhythmic action music to the swirling psychological drama.  A lot of it is very entertaining and it’s nice to hear Donaggio unleashed like this, even if it falls somewhat short of his best work from the past when it’s all put together.  Despite the quality, it’s a bit of a slog getting through over an hour of it once ideas start to repeat a few too many times.  Still, it’s well worth getting if you’re a fan of the composer and certainly provides some decent thrills.

Rating: ***

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  1. ANDRÉ - CAPE TOWN. (Reply) on Tuesday 17 June, 2014 at 17:39

    BRIAN MAY’S music for the Franklin-directed movie is so boringly awful that I’ve only listened to it once. However, James, outside of Australia the movie boasted a replacement score by the Italian Gothic musicians known as GOBLIN. Their music usually accompanied horror-master DARIO ARGENTO’S slasher – movies after MORRICONE & GIORGIO GASLINI became unavailable. GASLINI’S “Profundo Rosso” score arranged & performed by GOBLIN is a masterpiece of the rock-genré. Needless to say, their PATRICK replacement music is a vast improvement on BRIAN MAY’S themes.