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So I Married an Axe Murderer
  • Composed by Bruce Broughton
  • Intrada / 2013 / 54m

Between the two Wayne’s World movies that propelled him to international stardom, Mike Myers appeared in So I Married an Axe Murderer, a kind of madcap macabre comedy in which his character (well, one of his characters) suspects his girlfriend has knocked off her previous partners.  With an axe. The wonderfully talented composer Bruce Broughton was around the most commercially successful period of his career at the time, but this was a new type of film for him, not just in terms of its genre but in its filmmakers’ intention to get a successful song-dominated soundtrack album spinoff.  He scored it in the kind of way these genre-busting comedies must be scored – flitting around all over the place in terms of style, pushing himself into areas he hadn’t previously travelled.

The music as heard on the album (there’s a lot more of it than ended up in the film) comes in about equal measure orchestral exuberance and a mix of jazz/pop/synth.  The former is considerably more satisfying than the latter, but they are so intricately mixed with each other, it’s hard to enjoy the style that plays to the composer’s strengths because it is forever being ended with a jolt just as it seems to get going.  The fantastic opening title piece, with its Phantom of the Opera-inspired melody, is the highlight of the score; later orchestral sections, particularly when the composer is accentuating the macabre, are also terrific.  The synths in the love theme sound rather older than 1993; some of the jazz and pop elements are more like source than dramatic underscore, but many are nicely listenable as far as they go – trouble is, they often go no more than a few seconds, as demanded by the film.  It’s such a piecemeal album, that’s the trouble – it adds up to less than the sum of its parts as a result.  There are moments of such real quality, but they really are just moments, because another idea always comes along before you even get into them; it’s certainly worth Broughton fans (like me) getting it for those moments, but it’s not likely to be pulled off the shelf nearly as often as most of his others.

Rating: ** | |

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