October 18

31 Days 31 Scores

October 18th


“Sure is a funky old house, ain’t it?”

Welcome Back to “31 Days 31 Scores”.  It wouldn’t be Halloween without at least one haunted house so today we look at the score to the 1999 film “The House On Haunted Hill” by Don Davis.  The score starts off with a cliché pipe organ sound but quickly adds some menacing strings and later piano. The score seems to have a kind of sense of humour to it as it seems to wink to the audience that they’re not to take this film too seriously.  “Pencil Neck” has a weird chanting choir that almost comes at you in a flurry. This is contrasted with the following cue “Hans Verboseman” which is a very straight forward cue with orchestration and has an almost waltz like quality.  Davis seems to take great pleasure in reminding us that this is a haunted house movie using a classic horror music approach with the pipe organ and then using a great low brass and string line to create a great horror vibe.  The score creaks and moans like an old house to wonderful effect in the cue “Gun Control” and then shrieks at us in “Surprise”.  There is a wonderful vibe of dread, horror and fun at the same time it is quite refreshing.   Davis seems to be having a blast crafting a horror vibe throughout.  This is another score that young composers should take note of as it perfectly conveys the horror when it needs to.  “Sorry, Tulip” is a strangely sad cue with an almost twisted sense with the introduction of pipe organ.  A brief tone shift comes through in “Struggling To Escape” as it sounds like an instrumental version of a song with electric guitar and other rock elements.  However, score returns to form with the oddly titled and equally odd sounding “Soiree A Saturation”.  The cue uses a variety of creepy sounds and dissonant voices and vocal effects. “The Price Petard” is a delightfully over the top sad cue with choir that ends with a wonderful crescendo of choir.     “House On Haunted Hill” is a delightful listen that knows the audience it’s made for and is having fun doing it.  Davis is also having a ball with the music and it’s a shame that he didn’t do many horror films after this as this is truly worth the listen. The score was released on the Varese Sarabande label.

Join me tomorrow for more 31 Days 31 scores where “If someone hurt someone you love, how far would you go to get revenge?”