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1997 Bootleg
2011 Intrada
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Final Score Composed, Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:

Rejected Score Composed, Co-Orchestrated, Conducted, and Produced by:
Craig Safan

Rejected Score Co-Orchestrated by:
Peter Bernstein
Labels Icon
Pony Tail (Bootleg)

Intrada Records
(November 28th, 2011)

Intrada Records
(July 23rd, 2012)
Availability Icon
There has never been a retail album release for either of Horner's Wolfen or Deadly Blessing. The 1997 bootleg with both scores criculated in the secondary market for ten years at a price of about $50. A 1997, 58-minute promotional album containing Craig Safan's rejected score for Wolfen is even more rare, having fetched $100 or more.

Both the 2011 and 2012 Intrada albums featuring Horner and Safan's recordings for Wolfen individually are limited products of unspecified quantities, originally available through soundtrack specialty outlets for $20 each.
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you are curious about the origins of James Horner's most familiar structures and techniques, many of which evident in Wolfen and culminating in an interesting (if not marginally entertaining) listening experience.

Avoid it... on the rejected, experimental Craig Safan score's album and the bootlegs that contain both Horner's Wolfen and Deadly Blessing, the latter overshadowing some decent pastoral writing with harrowing and painfully obvious references to Jerry Goldsmith's The Omen.
Review Icon
WRITTEN 8/28/09, REVISED 8/17/12
Wolfen: (Craig Safan/James Horner) One of three major cinematic depictions of werewolves in Hollywood during 1981 was Wolfen, a film with an aim that did not equate with either studio or audience expectations and therefore suffered an undeservedly quick death. While advertised as a standard werewolf film, a topic that was obviously extremely popular at the time, Wolfen was actually a spin-off of that subgenre, exploring the mystical relationship between wolves and Native Americans in contemporary New York City. When the wolves' habitat in an abandoned section of the city is threatened by new development, they channel the thoughts of the Native Americans in their pursuit and killing of those who are responsible for this threat, namely politicians and other powerful scum. A detective played by Albert Finney is charged with solving the mystery, and while he slowly reveals the unlikely truth, director Michael Wadleigh provides audiences with thrilling shots of New York life through the eyes of the wolves, the images made psychedelic and shimmering by effects company Praxis to represent their sense of smell. This "Alienvision" technique, of which 20 minutes made the final cut, garnered the movie considerable praise within the industry's tech-whiz community but didn't receive the respect it truly deserved from others. Unfortunately, the radically altered adaptation of the story from the Whitley Strieber novel was considered too cerebral and was thus cut and rearranged by various editors several times in post-production; no less than four editors were eventually involved, leading to problematic, abrupt cuts and scene shifts that were unnatural. In this process of hacking the film to pieces, and after Wadleigh was fired, composer Craig Safan's original score for Wolfen was removed in the studio's process of attempting to salvage the picture.

Safan was a television music veteran just breaking into big screen assignments at the time, an effort in which he experienced limited success later in the decade. His excitement about landing the job for Wolfen yielded an intelligent, non-traditional approach to the concept (inspired by Krzysztof Penderecki's opera, "The Devils of Loudun," and John Corigliano's Altered States) that was met with praise from Wadleigh. Rather than utilize melodic or linear methodology to represent the mystical and action portions of the plot, he narrowed in on the ambient horror of the premise. While Safan wrote for a large orchestra in Wolfen, he used perpetually experimental performance methods to create a horrifically dissonant result. Members of the same section of each group were instructed to play on different notes at the same time, the brass and woodwinds slurring their pitches purposefully and two pianos tuned apart, all in an effort to produce unsettling effects. To hear this mastery of orchestral elements is interesting, especially given that synthesizers have become the de facto tool to general such noise in the decades after this score. While some motifs do recur, none is particularly attractive, instead dominated by chaotic atmospheres from start to finish. Even his theme of romance in "The Dream and Love Scene" is whiny and highly disturbed. As such, Safan's work for Wolfen, though admirably intriguing, is largely unlistenable on album. It likely did not impress the studio looking to streamline the appeal of the film in post-production, either, and budding composing star James Horner was hired to produce a replacement score. It was the first of several replacement assignments that would yield some of Horner's most interesting work of the early to mid-1980's. Graduating from the fun but pointless schlock of Roger Corman's New World Pictures at this time, Horner was beginning to take a variety of assignments for major studios and lesser known filmmakers of future stardom.

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Average: 2.88 Stars
***** 31 5 Stars
**** 25 4 Stars
*** 33 3 Stars
** 31 2 Stars
* 37 1 Stars
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FVSR Reviews Wolfen
Brendan Cochran - July 6, 2015, at 8:42 a.m.
1 comment  (551 views)
Alternative review at
Southall - January 21, 2012, at 4:44 p.m.
1 comment  (1287 views)
New Wolfen Soundtrack
Chris_FSB25 - January 17, 2012, at 11:53 p.m.
1 comment  (1171 views)

Track Listings Icon
Audio Samples   ▼
1997 Bootleg Tracks   ▼Total Time: 67:00

• 1. Main Title (2:23)
• 2. Battery Park (2:43)
• 3. Shape Shifting (2:12)
• 4. The Indian Bar (3:59)
• 5. Close Call (1:24)
• 6. Wolfen Run (1:45)
• 7. Reflective Moments (3:04)
• 8. Wolfen on Wall Street (2:56)
• 9. The Truth Revealed (3:30)
• 10. Epilogue (1:42)
• 11. End Title (4:17)
Deadly Blessing:

• 12. Main Title (2:23)
• 13. A New Day (0:57)
• 14. Unwelcome Visitor/Fiery (4:09)
• 15. Love Theme (1:54)
• 16. A Grisly Discovery (1:13)
• 17. A Brief Funeral (1:12)
• 18. Barn/Snake (8:10)
• 19. Vicky and John (1:13)
• 20. An Empty Grave (1:07)
• 21. Melissa's Awakening/Deadly (5:50)
• 22. Final Confrontation (4:09)
• 23. Finale/End Credits (4:06)
2011 Intrada/Horner Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 46:24
2012 Intrada/Safan Album Tracks   ▼Total Time: 60:36

Notes Icon
The inserts of the 1997 bootleg and its derivatives include no extra information about the score or film. Those of the 2011 and 2012 Intrada albums contain comprehensive information about both, though neither provides any insight into the other existing score.
Copyright © 2009-2021, 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 Wolfen are Copyright © 1997, 2011, 2012, Pony Tail (Bootleg), Intrada Records (Horner), Intrada Records (Safan) and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/28/09 and last updated 8/17/12.
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