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Big Trouble in Little China
Album Cover Art
1986 Enigma
1999 SuperTracks
Album 2 Cover Art
2009 La-La Land
Album 3 Cover Art
2016 La-La Land
Album 4 Cover Art
Composed, Performed, and Co-Produced by:
John Carpenter
Alan Howarth

Albums Co-Produced by:
Nick Redman
MV Gerhard
Mike Matessino
Alan Howarth
Ford A. Thaxton
Labels Icon
Enigma Records

Super Tracks Music Group (Promo)
(June, 1999)

La-La Land Records
(January 13th, 2009)

La-La Land Records
(May 3rd, 2016)
Availability Icon
The 1986 Enigma album was a regular commercial release and is completely out of print. The 1999 album is a promotional release by the composers, available only through soundtrack specialty outlets. The 2009 La-La Land album is limited to 3,000 copies and was initially available at soundtrack specialty outlets for $20. The 2016 re-issue from La-La Land was also limited to 3,000 copies and sold initially for $25.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you enjoy an enduring taste for synthetic rock scores of the 1980's and revel in their inherently shameless cheesiness.

Avoid it... if you have no love at all for the body of musical work from John Carpenter during this period of time, for this score reflects the best and worst of his badly dated style.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 6/23/99, REVISED 1/21/17
Big Trouble in Little China: (John Carpenter/Alan Howarth) John Carpenter's films were a hit and miss affair in the 1970's and 1980's, and he had suffered several misses by the time his reunion with Kurt Russell for Big Trouble in Little China punched him back into the mainstream in 1986. The film was a sloppy but nevertheless fun action flick featuring the no-nonsense but clumsy and comedic Russell as an average trucker sucked into the world of Chinese black magic in the process of helping a friend. Carpenter's enthusiastic love of the kung fu genre fueled this rather silly but still attractive foray into the martial arts. Audiences wanted little of it at the time, causing the studio a fair amount of panic before and after the movie's box office failure, but Big Trouble in Little China gained quite the cult following in the years to come. Undoubtedly, it is a film saturated with the styles and mores of the 1980's, anchoring all aspects of the production to its original generation, including the music. Combining the experience of a singer/composer/director and a sound effects editor, the team of Carpenter and Alan Howarth brought a wealth of knowledge to the music and other audio details of Carpenter's films. Their electronic style of film scoring was especially suited for the snazzy, synthesized style of the 1980s and, consequently, Howarth and Carpenter's scores for such films as Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York became their own form of cult classics with a strong and devoted following. Never mind, of course, the fact that these men had no real, formal training in writing scores and therefore flew by the seat of their pants during the entire process, inspiring, in some ways, the entire Hans Zimmer "guest artist" phenomenon decades later. With Big Trouble in Little China bordering on the fantasy genre, Carpenter leaves behind his usual, glum synthetic droning in favor of a hip, straight forward rock score that emphasizes the film's nearly incessant action more than anything else. He fondly remembers this score, interestingly, as likely his best and most technically accomplished, with lines of action more complicated than in his other efforts.

Ratings Icon
Average: 2.91 Stars
***** 86 5 Stars
**** 89 4 Stars
*** 127 3 Stars
** 118 2 Stars
* 94 1 Stars
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Read All Start New Thread Search Comments
Boy, this sure sounds like a guilty pleasure.
Richard Kleiner - October 6, 2010, at 3:36 p.m.
1 comment  (1295 views)
cult movie   Expand >>
kharol - August 5, 2008, at 12:57 p.m.
2 comments  (2936 views)
Newest: February 9, 2009, at 3:53 p.m. by
So Ford A. Thaxton produced this...
Jack - August 3, 2008, at 7:32 p.m.
1 comment  (1913 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1986 Enigma Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 45:38
• 1. Big Trouble in Little China - performed by The Coupe de Villes (3:13)
• 2. Pork Chop Express (3:40)
• 3. The Alley (2:00)
• 4. Here Come the Storms (2:20)
• 5. Lo Pan's Domain (4:30)
• 6. Escape from Wing Kong (8:00)
• 7. Into the Spirit Path (7:07)
• 8. The Great Arcade (7:50)
• 9. The Final Escape (6:58)
1999 SuperTracks Promo Tracks   ▼Total Time: 71:35
2009/2016 La-La Land Albums Tracks   ▼Total Time: 96:29

Notes Icon
The Enigma insert contains no extra information about the film or score. The SuperTracks insert includes notes of great detail by Josh Horowitz, including a cue by cue analysis of Big Trouble in Little China, but no additional information about the other scores included on the album. The 2009 and 2016 La-La Land albums contain very lengthy information in their massive insert booklets, though the 2016 product contains different art and notes.
Copyright © 1999-2020, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Big Trouble in Little China are Copyright © 1986, 1999, 2009, 2016, Enigma Records, Super Tracks Music Group (Promo), La-La Land Records, La-La Land Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 6/23/99 and last updated 1/21/17.
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