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Although "Theatre Of Blood" happens to be a campy horror-comedy, this score happens to be one of my favorites from a horror film of any type. The composer, Michael J. Lewis, released his complete original score as a promotional release in 1973. I couldn't find any information regarding the number of physical copies he produced, but needless to say the promotional vinyl release this rip originates from is extremely rare. La La Land recently released a remastered version of the score on CD, with the slightly altered title of "Theater of Blood". While the sound quality of the La La Land release is undoubtedly superior to that of this rip, I still find this version to be superior, if only for one reason. The promo release contains each cue as an individual track, with 24 total tracks, while the La La Land version combines several of the cues, and amounts to only 25 tracks. In my opinion they made some poor decisions with their choice of combinations also, which detracts from the mood Lewis managed to establish on each of the individual tracks.
Theatre of Blood sees the legendary Vincent Price in the role of Edward Kendal Sheridan Lionheart, a psychopathic Shakespearean actor who fakes his own suicide in order to take revenge on the critics who snubbed him. Price's character manipulates his targets into unwittingly playing the role of various victims that appear in each of his performances of Shakespeare's plays. He then proceeds to dispatch them in an inventive yet extremely brutal manner. Theatre of Blood was considered one of the goriest horror-comedies of its era, and remains considerably gory even by today's standards. This may be the campiest film Price ever starred in. He even sports an afro at one point in the film. Price has often claimed the film to be his favorite though, as it gave him the opportunity to recite famous Shakespearean lines. Due to his reputation as an actor who devoted his career to horror films, he was never seriously considered for a role in any adaption of Shakespeare's work.
I should point out that many of the tracks contained on this release aren't exactly in the spirit of our ongoing Nightmare Before Christmas event. As with the film, much of the music heard on Lewis' score isn't strictly rooted in horror, as Lewis captures a diverse range of moods throughout his score, which frequently changes in tone as a result. Lewis captures the spirit of adventure with a few tracks, particularly "The Trojan Trail", which features a distinct military beat. He also shows a more romantic side on "Master of the Killing Phrase" and "Cymbeline" and "Edwina's Theme", all of which are beautiful tracks, dominated by sweeping strings, and highlighted by beautiful piano melodies. As the title alludes to, "Where Are My Doggy Woggies" has a comedic feel to it, and actually sounds downright downright goofy at the onset, before gradually transitioning to its suspenseful conclusion. I'm sure that some of you are thinking, why I is he posting this when so many of the tracks stand in sharp contrast to the ongoing dark theme? The answer to this is: because the remaining tracks are deliciously dark enough to warrant their inclusion in our Nightmare Before Christmas event. While they may not even make up the majority of the tracks which comprise this score, I believe they are strong enough to dominate the overall mood of the album, almost reducing the contrasting themes they share the album with to an afterthought.
Year of Release: 1973 Label: N/A (Promotional Release) Catalog #: CD 156-192 Original Format: Vinyl Digital Format: MP3 Bitrate: 192kbps
Track List: 1. Main Theme 2. Ides Of March 3. Oh Pardon Me, Thou Bleeding Piece Of Earth 4. Friends, Romans, Countrymen 5. The Dragon Wing Of Night 6. The Trojan Trail 7. Master Of The Killing Phrase 8. Fear No More The Heat Of The Sun 9. Cymbeline 10. Sexy Lips & Swinging Hips 11. A Pound Of Flesh 12. To Be Or Not To Be 13. Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent 14. Here Clarence Comes 15. Drown In A Butt Of Wine 16. Partita Of Blood 17. Alive In Triumph 18. Fugato 19. I'm So Glad You've Come 20. Flame With Ash Highlights 21. Edwina's Theme 22. Where Are My Doggy Woggies 23. Come Fire, Consume This Pretty World 24. He Did Know How To Make An Exit