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
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.