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The Curse of Sleeping Beauty
  • Composed by Scott Glasgow
  • MovieScore Media / 2016 / 61m

A reimagined haunted house movie take on the Brothers Grimm fairytale, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty sees a man inherit a large mansion – good news, one would think, except when there’s an ancient curse on it.  Which there is.  The man is convinced a girl in his dreams trapped in perpetual slumber is somewhere in the house, and as he tries to find her the house starts fighting back, more intensely the closer he gets.  The film has had only a limited release so far and seems the type that may well find more attention when people are able to watch it at home.

Director Pearry Teo – who has made many horror films in the past – previously worked with composer Scott Glasgow on 2007’s The Gene Generation, a score that made me sit up and take notice of an exciting new film music talent.  He too has become a bit of a horror/thriller specialist (though he has worked in numerous genres), with several scores in the genre.  Perhaps my favourite music he’s done to date is Riddle, but in truth I have rarely been less than impressed by whatever I’ve heard and he’s one of those composers you feel just needs a lucky break whereby one of these movies is an unexpected hit to really make people sit up and take the notice his talent deserves.

Scott Glasgow

Scott Glasgow

Glasgow once worked with the great horror veteran Christopher Young and there is an element of Young’s classy approach to this kind of movie in the score, which is an impressive one.  Of particular note is the choral music, the most striking I’ve heard in a film score in a long time (and in a fun fact, the countertenor solos are by Mikael Carlsson, a familiar name in the film music community and this album’s producer).  Four cues accompany dream sequences (“Somnium” I-IV), the first of which opens the album – unnerving, hypnotic, haunting – they’re very cleverly done, combining the voice with orchestra and electronics in an original and effective way.

Two strong themes are heard through the score.  “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty” introduces the main theme, swirling and in the classic gothic horror style, complete with full choir singing Latin – grand and imposing, it’s a great theme.  There’s also “Thomas’s Theme” (heard several times and expressed most fully in the album’s final cue), a beautiful cello melody, expressive but slightly tortured.  For Sleeping Beauty herself Glasgow used a variant of the Dies Irae, which reaches its apex near the end of the score.

The choral music is excellent throughout and “The Chamber” features multi-layered voices with a distinctly liturgical feel.  Later, I love the violent shouting in “Mannequins”.  In “Thomas’s World”, another of the score’s features comes to the fore, which is the use of unusual and distinctive instrumentation alongside the traditional orchestral components.  Glasgow details in his liner notes the various instruments heard, which give the music a refreshing feeling of being different, ranging from an occasional baroque feeling, all the way back to ancient cultures (with the Tibetan throat singing, the Aztec flute) and some much more modern sounds.  While various samples were used, they are so high-quality it’s actually hard to tell most of the time and it doesn’t have a great adverse impact.

As you’d expect, the score does spend a lot of time exploring dark areas but like the best of these things, there are always glimmers of light waiting around the corner.  The music is cleverly-plotted and continually interesting, there are strong themes and as mentioned the choral music is particularly impressive.  The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is an excellent horror score which makes a very satisfying album – it’s another strong effort from a composer who always impresses.

Rating: **** | |

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