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LESBIAN VAMPIRE KILLERS
Splendid, massive horror score - with the temp-track left in
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2009 Momentum Pictures; review copyright (c) 2009 James Southall.
What a great title for a film. Lesbian Vampire Killers. Three words - three great words. No doubt many hoped this "comedy" would capture a similar audience to Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, but rarely can a film have so spectacularly failed to be as good as its title. It was released in the UK under a blaze of publicity, but strangely the filmmakers haven't taken too many quotes from the reviews. The Times said it's "an appalling waste of a perfectly good title... profoundly awful." The Independent was comparatively generous, noting only that "there's no plausible defence for this... woeful... unimaginably boring." In The Daily Telegraph: "There are lesbian vampires. What's not to like? There's as much not to like as you might find in a 20-year-old can of rancid minestrone in the back of your mum's larder." Perhaps the warmest words came in the Daily Mail, which said "The most that can be said for it, is it is consistently abominable."
Fortunately, none of those words could be used to describe the terrific music. Debbie Wiseman has put together (I don't use the word "composed", for reasons which will become apparent later - if you can stand the suspense!) a score which plays entirely with a straight face and goes completely over the top at every possible opportunity. If you love gigantic gothic horror music, you need look no further. Wiseman is not the first composer one would expect to find working on a film called Lesbian Vampire Killers, but she's certainly written her share of full-bodied music in the past, so isn't really such an unusual choice.
The opening piece, "Centuries Ago..." sets the stage very nicely. A big theme for orchestra and chorus - including a wordless solo for vocalist Hayley Westenra - is classic horror movie stuff, memorable and extremely entertaining. Later, the score veers between vaguely comic "creeping around" music ("Give Me One Last Kiss") and more of that almost apocalyptic action music, which is routinely great to hear. The two longest pieces, "The Dawn of the Red Moon" and "Lesbian Vampire Killers" are absolutely terrific, full-blown gothic romps which are enough to set the pulse well and truly racing.
Given that... how come there are only three stars at the top of this page!? Well, if you've got Alan Silvestri's Van Helsing or, even moreso, Danny Elfman's Sleepy Hollow in your collection then you will amost certainly wonder if you put the wrong CD in. We're not talking about the whole score resembling the other one, but the level of inspiration is really rather large, and for anyone who's familiar with Sleepy Hollow it will surely prove to be a massive distraction. All composers fall victim to temp-track love at some stage or another - but it's never nice to hear. Whether this bothers you is likely to be the main deciding factor in whether you like this CD or not. The music's good (though the album is very repetitive - I doubt that you would actually lose anything if you just had a 10-minute suite) - but a lot of it is very much not by Debbie Wiseman.