The Thing Soundtrack (2011)14.10.11 # Soundtrack # 3 Comments
The Thing soundtrack, 2011. Today’s prequel to the revered ’82 John Carpenter classic of exactly the same name has sparked debate like nothing else on Movie-Moron this year (see the comment thread on this news story. Oh, and this one too). Unfortunately, the general consensus seems to be that the new flick (a feature debut for commercials director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.) will probably take a great big blowtorch to the most beloved aspects of the original, thanks to an over-abundance of action sequences and weak digital effects.
One of those beloved elements from the 1982 film is the soundtrack, composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone in a chilly, synthesised style prefigured by the scores to previous Carpenter movies. The Thing was the first occasion that Carpenter, the king of one-finger synth, ceded musical control of one of his movies to another party, mainly due to reasons of time according to producer Stuart Cohen.
The man entrusted with the task of not screwing up the legacy of that Morricone music is Marco Beltrami, last heard not disgracing himself on the near-total disgrace that was Scream 4, and those listening out for a Morricone link in Beltrami’s The Thing score do not have to keep their lugholes open for too long, as God’s Country Music segues from samples of the windy Antarctic wastes to snippets of the ‘heartbeat’ theme from the Carpenter film.
However this particular nod to the past is a red herring (or maybe a Thing that has shape-shifted into a red herring. Who can truly say?), as other influences soon surge to the fore. Having begun in slow, hypnotic fashion, Road to Antarctica swiftly amps up via ominous strings and heavy brass, redolent of the more frantic compositions of Bernard Herrmann. Similarly, as it opens with a wave of percussive madness, flurries of woodwind and scurrying strings alluding to a general air of manic paranoia, Meet and Greet recalls the Planet of the Apes score by Beltrami’s erstwhile mentor Jerry Goldsmith (who, according to Cohen, was tapped up to score the ’82 Thing before Morricone got the gig).
From here, Beltrami builds to a mid-album dramatic peak, with Female Persuasion descending into frenzied bombast before relaxing into a relative stillness, this sense of tense calm then also persisting through Survivors and Open Your Mouth. The holding pattern of terse minimalism into which Beltrami’s score settles merely heightens the impact when Antarctic Standoff delivers a shock scream of orchestral angst so brief the listener could be forgiven for thinking they imagined it.
The Goldsmith-Apes vibe soon rises again on Meating of Minds (see sinister pun-tastic spelling), with its gambolling percussion and woodwind hurricanes, while the start of In the Ship sounds like a swarm of supersonic hornets, suggesting that whatever is inside said ship is a Very Nasty Thing Indeed. A private screening room showing a Kevin James double-bill, perhaps?
The Thing Soundtrack – Track List
1. God’s Country Music (1:27)
2. Road To Antarctica (2:41)
3. Into The Cave (0:39)
4. Eye Of The Survivor (2:25)
5. Meet And Greet (2:55)
6. Autopsy (3:08)
7. Cellular Activity (1:32)
8. Finding Filling (3:25)
9. Well Done (1:32)
10. Female Persuasion (4:51)
11. Survivors (3:28)
12. Open Your Mouth (4:20)
13. Antarctic Standoff (3:03)
14. Meating Of The Minds (4:28)
15. Sander Sucks At Hiding (2:22)
16. Can’t Stand The Heat (2:10)
17. Following Sander’s Lead (2:39)
18. In The Ship (2:39)
19. Sander Bucks (0:45)
20. The End (2:33)
21. How Did You Know? (2:29)
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