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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Friday May 22, 2020 


Review by Brad Green:
The dead have risen and who can blame them. This season of wizardry, mythology and ghoulish phantasmagoria has inspired music that would have zombies dancing on their own graves. The air is thick with the sounds of spookiness and every mortal and immortal soul with a penchant for fantastical tones is inhaling it hungrily.

The television Halloween special When Good Ghouls Go Bad arrived earlier and with less fanfare than the adventures of Hogwartís Wiz-kid or the Ring-seeking Hobbit, but it came with every bit as fiendishly fabulous a soundtrack.

Donít let the obligatory celeste fool you, there is a certain vocabulary for creating an aural sense of the supernatural, but the conjurers composing these scores weave their magic with individual finesse. In this instance De-composer is Christopher Gordon, whose multi-award winning scores for Moby Dick and On The Beach (no beached whale puns síil vous plait) had this reviewer dipping his critiques in a sea of superlatives.

Gordon could hardly rise to greater heights than On The Beach, but he did ring up another gong at the recent AGSC Screen Music Awards with this soundtrack, and he continues to amaze with his versatility. In this instance heís in playful menace-mode, with the most devilish delicacies in the details. No need to go knocking for harmonic tricks and melodic treats; they come to life from the start with a dark side of the Andrews Sisters ditty, and danse macabre their way through a score of impish humour, "oompa" rhythms, a polka indulgence, and always a new surprise: a gothic organ flourish, or a nod to Ride of the Valkyries!

The orchestral arrangements are again masterful, the strings delineating all manner of shadows: light suspense and wry relief in turn as their mood is shaped by brass accents or they tiptoe in pizzicato around trilling flutes. And there is a grand arc of dynamics across the score, with no cue allowed to rest in peace, but the mock horror periodically mollified by a solo, pensive piano.

Perhaps Gordonís greatest achievement is that he taps into that alchemy of the childlike mind that allows creepy crawlies and ghoulish ghastlies to transform into a world of diabolical delight. Frighteningly brilliant.

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Varese Sarabande




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