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Most of you who have followed this blog for some time now are familiar with my fondness for Delia Derbyshire's work. I have managed to collect the majority of her solo albums, as well as projects she contributed to, namely for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. However, there has been one album that has eluded my grasp until now, due to the fact that it was never officially released. The album in question is the score for 1973 horror film, "The Legend of Hell House", which she composed along with fellow BBC Radiophonic Workshop member Brian Hodgson in Hodgson's Electrophon studio in London. I had hoped that it would appear somewhere on the internet for years before finally discovering this on the old Isbum's Place blog, which is now no longer active. The score was ripped from DVD by a fellow who goes by the name of "The Master Cylinder", who happened to run one of the many sub-blogs on Isbum's Place. The Master Cylinder is a well known figure among rare soundtrack/score enthusiasts, having ripped and released soundtracks and scores for hundreds of movies that were never officially released. This particular release was numbered MC 208.
Original 1973 Movie Poster
I wish I could find out more information about the ripping job MC performed on this release. I couldn't find a DVD version of this film containing 5.1 surround sound. One common way to rip the audio from a DVD is simply to isolate the 5.1 surround sound and rip it to mp3 format. If a disc doesn't include 5.1 surround sound it makes the whole process a bit trickier, and heavy editing is usually required to remove dialogue and other sound found in the movie. Perhaps The Master Cylinder himself will grace us with his presence and be able to elaborate a bit on this particular release, but I'm not sure if he is still around.
Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to watch this film, so I can't say for sure how complete this score actually is. Judging from the length of the album, I find it very unlikely that this is a 5.1 surround sound rip. The album clocks in at just over 10 minutes in total length, which leads me to believe that there was more music which had to be edited out due to the fact that it contained dialogue and various other sounds from the movie. There are also a few places where the audio seems to jump just a bit, although it isn't noticeable enough to be a distraction.
Given the facts mentioned above, I debated as to whether or not I should share this here, but in the end I decided to go ahead for the following reason: To the best of my knowledge, this is the only version in any form of the score for The Legend of Hell House in existence, making it the only way many people will have the opportunity to listen to music from one of Delia Derbyshire's final projects. There are also a few people who frequent this blog that are big fans of Delia's work, and will be excited to see this regardless of how complete it is. Musically speaking, this may turn out to be one of the weaker selections of the Halloween Countdown for some, however I can't emphasize the significance of this collection of music enough.
As for the music, it is very different from the majority of Delia's work, which tends to be more rich and bold in nature. This is a bit more subdued, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that it is boring. Brian Hodgson is best known for creating sound effects for the sci-fi television series, Doctor Who, and is responsible for the strange sound effects that can be heard. The majority of the tracks on this release feature a haunting minimalistic ambient-like atmosphere, with minor amounts of percussion and brass. My favorite thing about the music is that it combines sounds that seem both organic and mechanical in nature. Hodgson's strange sound effects can be heard throughout each cue, the majority of which sound like spirits calling out from the beyond and letting out tortorous moans, although what sounds like muffled sexual moans can be also heard in some places. There is a very small amount of dialogue found on track 5, though it fades out almost as quickly as it appears.
I'm not going to go into detail about the plot of the movie, as plenty of information can be found online. You can find the wikipedia article for the film here, and the IMDB page here. Unfortunately there is neither a tracklist or album cover for this release. The "album cover" is simply a cropped-out section of the original movie poster I created so that I could have a folder image for my harddrive, and there isn't a track listing to include since this isn't an official release. If any of you can provide any further details surround this release please take the time to leave a comment.
Year of Release: 1973 Label: NA / Bootleg Release Genres: Soundtrack/Score, Horror Bitrate: 320kbps