Thursday, 2 December 2010

Terror/Prey - Ivor Slaney

There’s a Party At James’s, then Carol Runs For Her Life and Suzy Breaks Down In A Storm. Not long after there’s an Orgasmic Stripper, ‘Phil The Greek’ Is Killed, and there’s Blood Leaking From The Upstairs Room. Viv Is Killed On The Stairs...there’s a Possessed Police’s all happening in Norman J. Warren’s 1978 film, ‘Terror’, which I shall probably never see, but hearing it on this two-film soundtrack CD is good enough.
   Things start as they mean to go on with the title track’s dread-laden atmospherics, female vocal in the style of Morricone, and I’m sure that’s Dr Phibes on the organ –a little cheesy, yes, but no worse for that than Hammer films are for not really being scary. Camp? Perhaps. Theatrical? Definitely.
   I suspect neither ‘Terror’ nor ‘Prey’ are cinematic classics, but then, we all have our personal definition of those, don’t we? Meanwhile, the music-with-effects is everything you could want from a horror soundtrack. ‘Catching Hannah’ is particularly effective, the kind of thing h*untologists dream of creating. It’s said that for soundtracks of a certain era ‘party’ tunes were obligatory (there always seems to be a party scene in 60s films, after all), and this is no exception, although at James’s place they’re a good few years off the pace of what was really happening judging by the boogie blues pub-rock number here. Or perhaps Warren was way behind the times. Surely it should have been a Disco number? Never mind, ‘Suzy Breaks Down In A Storm’ more than makes up for the odd musical lapse, being over 5mins of basically sound taken directly from film, which means much thunder, rain, fiddling about with the car, wind howling, and background organ. The drama continues on ‘You Want A Mechanic?’, by which time I’m thinking I really do want to see this film. The police car getting possessed is one of the highlights; two synthesizers throw waves of fear from either speaker.
   ‘Prey’, from ’79, starts with a strong run of dark synth mood pieces before a nice ‘Walk In The Woods’ (that’ll be the lovely/lovey interlude before more thrills, then). Later we get ‘Party Music On Record’, a kind of soul/rock thing which again gives the impression that, bizarrely, whoever thought of including it in the film was still living in 1969. There’s a song, a waltz on what sounds like an electronic Wurlitzer, and the especially psychotic ‘Walking On Water’, along with other various mood pieces. Perhaps the best comes last with an opening sound bite in which a man states that he’s found ‘Humans high in protein...(dramatic pause)...and easy prey’ – oh yes. How can you resist that? It’s the kind of track that was put on comps of very obscure grooves, the like of which became popular in the 90s (well, with us DJs anyway). The enjoyment on this CD, however, comes not from breaks and beats, but the FX and ‘spine-chilling’ (as they would say on a poster) gothic synthesizer/organ sounds.

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