Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Tempest of Trilogies Part 1 : The Omen

I love trilogies. I mean if you're a horror fan then trilogies are an accepted  part of the landscape. Whether they  be maligned, met with indifference  or even celebrated they are here to stay.

Being a collector (and one with a completest bent) it is no doubt trilogies are high on the wish list. The Omen is truly one of the great horror trilogies. Yes i know there are 5 movies (if you count the 2 teleplays Omen IV and V) but the first 3 films are  the definitive story arc, ending with good triumphing over evil.

The soundtracks are a masterpiece, Jerry Goldsmith totally slam dunks on the brief to make it sound  all things Anti-Christ, resulting in the killer  Oscar Nominated first track Ave Satani.

Sounding  like an evil sect of Gregorian monks this track perfectly evokes the themes and ideas of the film. Its a choir, singing in Latin, singing about worshipping and drinking the blood of Satan. Where do I sign up? It's no wonder it gave everybody in 1978 the heebie jeebies ,  in fact it still does. It really is an amazing soundtrack, full of Goldsmiths signature fanfares and heraldic moments that appear throughout a lot of his work. 


I still do find it interesting though his use of orchestral singing to create atmosphere with an auspicious and (pardon the pun) ominous sense of doom through out the score. 3 Years earlier Black Sabbath did this amazingly well on their 1975 Sabotage album with the track Supertzar.

Whether Jerry was in fact  inspired by Black Sabbath's track from the album or not who knows, i think in fact just one look at Ozzy's Kimono on the front cover was enough to scare anyone.

The Omen 2 is a great Soundtrack as well. Like all good middle acts to a trilogy it picks up exactly where the first one leaves off wasting no time in getting into more choral chanting and satanic revelry. Almost like  a reprise to the original Ave Satani the opening track seems to be saying "Oh, you're back? Well everything's just where you left it but all that shit with the Antichrist is a little bit more fucking FULL ON!!"  Just listen.....

This soundtrack was recorded in the US (for the film) and then  re-recorded in the UK due to a temporary union rule that the musicians were to be paid for the film recording as well as the subsequent recorded release. To save money they got an orchestra in the UK to record it for the retail release of the soundtrack. How cheap ass is that?

And then onto number 3. The Final Conflict. Damien Thorn is all grown up and has his sights set on the White House. There's a new giant star in the sky, kickin' it old school like in Bethlehem, signaling the possible rebirth of Christ. Of course this prompts  him to request a giant baby culling/murder spree of all the newborns in the UK,(born after the star appeared)  a la King Herod style-y,  to possibly stop the coming of the new Christ-child. He also kills a slew of priests along the way, and  gathers up his flock of Anti-christ followers (known as Disciples of the Watch) to get ready for the end days Geez, threatened much? The film climaxes  with Kate, his journalist love interest (that's right even Beelzebub scores a girlfriend in this one), stabbing him in the back with an ancient dagger,  he almost makes it to the christ baby to do it in, succumbs to the daggers blow and  in his dying moments Christ appears to him as if to say a final "Fuck You buddy , no you don't!" and then  he dies. The Antichrist that is, not Jesus.

Goldsmith does an amazing feat with this score by not referencing the original Ave Satani at all but remaining true to the choral/orchestral thematics of the first two. By adding a loftier and more noble thrust to his compositions, the choral singing denotes a feeling of ascension to power reflecting Damien's/the Antichrist's rise to prominence in corporate America and politics. In the opening track he creates a cool sense of foreshadowing by incorporating the elements of the final track as the outro to the main title/first track. A cool musical easter egg if you will, offering  us a sign of things to come.

 Its a great trilogy and they are three great musical scores. Jerry Goldsmith has made some of the most iconic film scores in the history of  genre cinema and the world is richer for it. Believe me  if he were alive and I  was the Antichrist I'd want him to compose my presidential campaign theme without a doubt.

Hope you enjoyed this part one, I hope to do a few more about the other soundtrack franchises which I have a few of. Until then thanks for reading.

Luke Pencilneck

1 comment: