The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Composed and Co-Produced by:
Ford A. Thaxton
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Regular U.S. release.
Buy it... only if you were captivated by the music in the film, because this
score is among the worst of the 2000's in any genre.
Avoid it... if you are tired of uninteresting, droning, and generic horror
underscores that accomplish nothing unique in comparison to the hundreds of other
low budget efforts just like it.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
: (Steve Jablonsky) When a
survivor of the famous mass murder case stepped forward in the early 2000's to
update the public's morbid curiosity about this true historical event, producer
Michael Bay decided to bring another "inspired by" version of The Texas
to the big screen. The August, 1973 killing spree left over
thirty people dead, and the film follows the story of five particular youths who
stumbled upon the famed Hewitt house and encountered Leatherface, the
chainsaw-wielding butcher who wore his victim's flesh and was supposedly gunned
down eventually by police. All around, it's one of those grim situations that
begs for continued teenage horror flick treatment, and this one sold itself
beyond all of the others by roughly following what it deemed a true event. The
director of the project, Marcus Nispel, made it clear from the start that he
wanted a score that was "dissonant, atonal, subliminal, and disturbing," not to
mention that it had to be written and recorded in a very short time period and
was to be restrained to a very small budget. Enter Steve Jablonsky, a composer
who hadn't experienced the solo composition credit spotlight to any great degree.
But he did have extensive experience in the house of Media Ventures, and if there
was ever a time to mention the dreaded Media Venture lawsuit that was under way
between its co-founders, Jay Rifkin and Hans Zimmer, this would be that time.
Jablonsky was, in short, the poster child for everything sinister about the
"ghostwriting" industry in Hollywood. Some say that receiving credit for
assisting another composer in small print nullifies the "ghostwriting"
descriptor, but when that mainstream composer uses such help so often that it
completely dilutes his music (while maintaining his name solely on posters and
album covers), there is no better term to employ. Jablonsky had written
"additional music" for everything from Armageddon
and Chicken Run
to Pearl Harbor
. He even played his part in the
logistical nightmare otherwise known as Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of
the Black Pearl
. When film music industry insiders made noise about the
ghostwriting problem in Hollywood during this era, they were referring to puppets
like Jablonsky who write a lot of music (not all of it fantastic by any means)
but get very little recognition for it.
It is a shame, therefore, that Jablonsky's first major feature
film assignment would be one of such a low budget and low standards, following
wishes to explore musical territory doomed to fail. The composer's work for video
games and television series was perhaps a better indicator of Jablonsky's talent,
for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
is just as much of a nightmare for film
score listeners as the massacre itself was for its thirty-three victims.
Christopher Young had single-handedly proven that horror scores can be extremely
effective by alternating all of Nispel's sonic requests (dissonant, atonal,
subliminal, disturbing, etc) with elements of traditional harmony and melody
that, if anything, puts the listener even more on the edge of his or her seat.
But in the case of Jablonsky and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
, we hear the
dreaded, precise result of the lowest expectations when imagining small budget
horror scores of extreme, dissonant ambience. This score once again raised
questions about the fine line between music and atmospheric sound design (or
simple library effects), and it is far from being as interesting as New Line
Cinema's previous slashing horror entry, Freddy vs. Jason
in 2003, which
featured music from Graeme Revell that was both functional and interesting when
heard apart from the film. What Jablonsky wrote for The Texas Chainsaw
is very simplistic, with a subtle motif (it doesn't really qualify
as a theme) for the Hewitt house and Leatherface that appears just two or three
times over the course of the film. Otherwise, the music rumbles with stock
droning sounds of the keyboards and mucks around below the surface of expressive
characteristics for much of its length. That is, of course, unless someone's
being dismembered by a chainsaw, in which case Jablonsky slams on the synthetic
drums and percussive clangs. Frenetic string effects are jarring in their
application to these slashing moments, and their use points to a flaw with the
general recording. When the score needs vibrant life, such as in "Mercy Killing,"
the music is held at a distance by a muted, dull recording quality. Parts of
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
may have been intriguing on album if more of
the subtleties could have been heard over the basic, droning, flat atmosphere
sustained by murky sound quality. The score is so generic in its cliche horror
techniques that the album features a false resolution in which a somewhat
harmonic statement within the final cue is battered by a sudden crashing of
electronic noise. Overall, between the composition and its recording, this is one
mystery best left undiscovered. * @Amazon.com: CD or
For Steve Jablonsky reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 1.82
(in 11 reviews)|
and the average viewer rating is 2.39
(in 9,618 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.
RObert BenneTT - December 5, 2005, at 9:35 a.m.
1 comment (1689 views)|
L - January 13, 2005, at 11:28 a.m.
1 comment (1572 views)|
Total Time: 50:25
1. Leatherface (2:45)|
2. He's a Bad Man (4:02)
3. Erin and Kemper (1:07)
4. Hewitt House (1:09)
5. Driving with a Corpse (1:24)
6. Kemper Gets Whacked/Jedidiah (1:56)
7. Crawford Mill (1:50)
8. Interrogation (3:50)
9. Andy Loses a Leg (1:41)
10. You're So Dead (3:33)|
11. Hook Me Up (2:40)
12. My Boy (3:15)
13. Morgan's Wild Ride/Van Attack (4:35)
14. Mercy Killing (2:59)
15. Prairie House (3:13)
16. Final Confrontation (5:25)
17. Can't Go Back (3:55)
18. Last Goodbye (1:00)
The insert includes detailed notes about both the score and film.