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Lesbian Vampire Killers
Album Cover Art
Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
Debbie Wiseman

Performed by:
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The Crouch End Festival Chorus

Solo Vocals by:
Hayley Westenra
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Silva Screen Records
(February 16th, 2009)
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Regular European release, available for download internationally. Difficult to find on CD in America.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you're ready to grab the nearest crucifix and battle the undead to the sound of monumental and glorious Gothic magnificence of extreme harmonic force, robust symphonic and choral colors, and memorable thematic grandeur at unsafe volumes.

Avoid it... if you simply can't accept the fact that the best parody scores in any genre make little attempt to hide their influences, because Debbie Wiseman's impressive adaptation of vampire and horror genre stereotypes will remind you of several existing scores.
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WRITTEN 1/23/10
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Lesbian Vampire Killers: (Debbie Wiseman) Why do movie critics even bother with things like Lesbian Vampire Killers? The whole point of the 2009 independent British romp was to parody classic Hammer Horror films and produce a exposition of flesh so wretched that it was funny. Wretched it was, slammed by critics as among the worst features in the totality of cinema during the year. Anyone looking for logic in the plot will face immediate and perpetual problems during the quickly-paced 88-minute film. Two young British men, tired of the trials of their urban life, decide to take a hike in the countryside. They stumble straight into a curse that has existed for centuries, one that plagues a small town by turning all of its 18-year-old women into lesbian vampires. By supplying the blood-sucking clan with fresh meat, the locals of the village are spared death, and when one of the two young men, Jimmy, turns out to be the last descendant of a baron destined to slay the vampire queen, Carmilla, the plot (if you could call it that) is set in motion. The bumbling friend, Fletch, and a local vicar team up with an escaped woman (Lotte, lured to a potential eternity serving Carmilla) to use a sword (with a cock as a handle... a running gag) to strike down the evil bitch before she can extend her rule to places where lesbians nor vampires are welcome. Low brow humor with plenty of obscenities and comical references to vampire lore are central to the appeal of the script. The amount of flesh and sex, outside of a multitude of naked thighs early and an innumerous quantity of naked boobs later on, is surprisingly slim in Lesbian Vampire Killers, though from the urban scenes to the ceremonial resurrection late, director Phil Claydon playfully utilizes the sounds of female sexual gratification as background noise. He also seems to have been inspired by some of the camera movements and sound effects from Moulin Rouge, with sudden shifts and swooshing sounds to accompany them in an MTV fashion suitable to the writers that both came from that mould. The film performed so badly after being crucified by critics that it was actually offered as a free download from iTunes on New Year's Eve, 2009. Both a religious group and a lesbian organization protested the film, and the production's fruitless American debut (just two days prior to the free offering) was limited in title to "Vampire Killers." A waste of space, these pious and politically correct imbeciles.

Anyone who has actually witnessed Lesbian Vampire Killers will certainly recall its obvious emphasis on music. It's doubtful there has been a score in context that has stood out like such a sore thumb to this extent anytime in recent years. How the production was able to afford the services of Debbie Wiseman and the impressive collaboration of her ensemble and singers is a head-scratcher. Beyond her massively-proportioned orchestral score, the film also utilized a collection of 1950's-styled rock songs, some ambient colloquial source material, a few classical references, and "Amazing Grace." The rock songs accompany the early humor of Lesbian Vampire Killers, spanning the comic-like main titles and the introduction to the ladies of the tale once the men reach the countryside. The film also closes with this campy tone. Otherwise, Lesbian Vampire Killers relied upon Wiseman, who perhaps choose to accept this assignment out of humor and some lingering affinity for trashy horror of the worst B-rate variety, to create the appropriate parody atmosphere for the vampire topic. The best parody scores are, as the saying goes, the ones that take themselves absolutely seriously, and Wiseman approached the project as though it were nothing less than a mainstream vampire epic with a $300 million budget. There's nothing in the style of the music to address the lesbian element directly; the songs take care of that. Instead, she whips up a Gothic storm of immense fortitude, explosive in its unrelenting power and elegant in its romantic appeal. Outside of one cue that specifically pulls quotations from recognizable classical or pop culture tunes, as well as a few light rhythmic pieces, this score is clearly focused on morbid melodrama of unrestricted power and unashamed application of stereotypes. Some reviewers of film music have struck their ratings of Lesbian Vampire Killers, despite recognition of its prowess, because of its referencing of both genre stereotypes and ideas from specific vampire and horror scores in the recent past. For such writers, the music clearly falls into the guilty pleasure category, serving the vampire genre like Basil Poledouris' Cherry 2000 did for the futuristic Western. Dismissing Wiseman's achievement for Lesbian Vampire Killers is completely unfair, however, for several reasons. First, it's a parody score, so it's supposed to expose its inspirations. Secondly, there's only so much you can do in the vampire genre to make it creatively unique without betraying the parody purpose. Thirdly, Wiseman vastly overachieved for the assignment; this film certainly did not deserve this score.

If you are, like those reviewers who downplayed the quality of the music for Lesbian Vampire Killers simply because of its necessary configuration (or the hideousness of the film), ultimately bothered by hearing Wiseman cross territory already covered by Danny Elfman's Sleepy Hollow, Wojciech Kilar's Bram Stoker's Dracula, Alan Silvestri's Van Helsing, and several other notable scores to have recently graced the vampire and/or horror genre, then you're missing the point. A sense of humor is more valuable when evaluating Lesbian Vampire Killers than a comprehensive knowledge of the film music that inspires it, because what matters is the effectiveness of the music in supplying the expected parodied sound with complete sincerity. So, with that issue out of the way, a review of Wiseman's music can commence without any grumbling about a lack of inspiration. The scope of Lesbian Vampire Killers is what will strike you immediately. Wiseman has written the majority of the score to utilize as much majestic harmony as possible, only skirting dissonance in individual stingers or hazy atmosphere from violins. As such, you get one mammoth declaration of Gothic power after another, often connected by forceful, ambitious rhythms from angry bass strings, pulsating low brass, and rip-snorting percussion. If you were impressed by Wiseman's robust symphonic whirlwind Arsène Lupin five years prior, then Lesbian Vampire Killers will condense the same flurry of impressively orchestrated activity into a more consistent Gothic romp. The composer's handling of the spectrum of instrumental tones is potentially overshadowed by the harmonic beauty of the work, but if you get past the massive size of the whole, you often can hear a fantastic collection of free-floating treble accents. These violin, piano, xylophone, flute, and chime contributions aren't mixed at the forefront of the recording, so you don't get the feeling that you're hearing an awkwardly dainty Alexandre Desplat technique in a Gothic environment. Rather, in her emphasis on providing elements native to the treble clef with something to do at all times, Wiseman avoids allowing the otherwise incredible bass power of the recording to dominate. The Cherry 2000-like trumpet at the end of "You're a Virgin?," for instance, is sublime. It should also mentioned that she seemingly accomplishes all of the momentous force in Lesbian Vampire Killers without any electronic enhancements of the bass region. A pipe organ effect (specifically for the vicar) instead supplies the right dose of religious gravity.

While the orchestral side of Lesbian Vampire Killers is extremely impressive in the handling of its individual pieces, the choral aspect is equally intelligent. The Crouch End Festival Chorus joins The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the task of breathing new life into the vampire genre, and Wiseman goes far beyond just the stereotypical harmonic accompaniment or counterpoint that such singing groups often contribute for the mere purpose of adding depth and legitimacy. The chorus is sometimes split into several sections, performing complimentary lines or exhaling in chants that announce the arrival of the dreaded lesbian vampires. On top of these sonic colors is the pristine tone of popular soprano Hayley Westenra, whose voice was introduced to film music collectors at the conclusion of James Horner's The New World. Anyone dissatisfied with Wiseman's collaboration with Westerna for the underachieving disaster score written by the composer for Flood a few years before Lesbian Vampire Killers will delight in her role this time around. From the opening logos of the film, Westerna provides the score with its cold, distantly erotic appeal, beautiful but chilling in each of her performances of the score's title theme. Wiseman sometimes overlays the full choir with Westerna's voice, even as counterpoint to each other, while the orchestra pounds away at the title theme in one of its grandiose statements. When all three of these recorded elements are merged, Lesbian Vampire Killers is nothing less than spectacular. Fortunately, these performers have some pretty monumental thematic material to chew on, and if you thought the instrumental handling in this score was creative, wait until you hear Wiseman take her stereotypical genre themes and manipulate them with skill throughout its entirety. There are two primary themes that dominate Lesbian Vampire Killers, though while the love theme for Jimmy and Lotte is concise enough in its development, the primary theme is extremely deceptive in how Wiseman employs its various parts. What may seem like a highly repetitive score in terms of its loyalty to this theme is actually one that is frightfully adept at taking the phrases within the title theme and juggling them in refreshing ways from start to finish. The most recognizable portion of this theme is its first four notes, the anchors from which Wiseman tethers the variants of the theme; this phrase, an obvious genre parody, is what reminds listeners of Sleepy Hollow, though the fourth note in Wiseman's progression is a half note higher than Elfman's.

Ratings Icon
Average: 3.98 Stars
***** 215 5 Stars
**** 86 4 Stars
*** 54 3 Stars
** 34 2 Stars
* 33 1 Stars
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Fear not, conservative Christians!
Richard Kleiner - April 16, 2010, at 11:16 a.m.
1 comment  (1933 views)
Wow   Expand >>
SmokeyPSD - March 17, 2010, at 10:56 a.m.
3 comments  (2917 views)
Newest: March 18, 2010, at 1:45 a.m. by

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 54:14
• 1. Centuries Ago... (3:13)
• 2. Adv_nture (2:03)
• 3. At the Olde Mircalla Cottage (1:47)
• 4. Have You Been Hanging Out With Vicars? (2:18)
• 5. I Know Something Really Wrong is Happening Here, But is There Any Chance We Can Just Ignore It? (2:45)
• 6. Vampires? Lesbian Vampires! (2:56)
• 7. Run You Bellends! (2:49)
• 8. You're a Virgin? (1:28)
• 9. Give Me One Last Kiss (1:09)
• 10. My Axe Girlfriend (1:07)
• 11. Full-On Lesbian Vampire Attack! (3:43)
• 12. The Dawn of the Red Moon (6:06)
• 13. Jimmy, I Love You (1:27)
• 14. All Grown Up (3:10)
• 15. The Crypt of Carmilla (2:05)
• 16. Carmilla, The Vampire Queen (3:22)
• 17. Whores of Fucking Hades, Prepare for Fucking Death! (2:29)
• 18. Lesbian Vampire Killers (5:34)
• 19. Lesbian Vampire Killers It Is... Let's Ride! (1:28)
• 20. Under the Moon of Love - performed by Showaddywaddy (3:13)

Notes Icon
The insert includes notes from both the director and composer about the score, but unfortunately no outward nudity.
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or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Lesbian Vampire Killers are Copyright © 2009, Silva Screen Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/23/10 (and not updated significantly since).
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