Chances are you’ve heard plenty of Christopher Young’s music through the years, especially if you like horror. From 1982’s The Dorm That Dripped Blood through 2014’s Deliver Us from Evil, Young has been steady at work providing the aural background of some of the genre’s most popular films. He’s composed soundtracks for Tales from the Hood, Invaders from Mars, The Dark Half, Species, The Grudge, and Priest, to name just a few. In the industry for nearly forty years, Young always comes back to what he knows best, working with the directors who have come to trust him to make their films come alive with sound.
Young’s first passion was jazz drumming, but after hearing some of the music by Bernard Herrmann (Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Psycho), he shifted focus to film scores, studying film at UCLA Film School. Though quite adept with orchestral scores, Young isn’t afraid to step away from classical music, experimenting with synth with Sinister (2012), even heavy metal with Trick or Treat (1986). Young’s method is extremely fitting for the films he scores. After reading the script, he gets notes from the director, but never writes a single bar of music until he’s seen the finished film. Young is known for writing his music in a room filled with lighted jack-o-lanterns. Talk about setting a mood.
Of course, Young’s most well-known horror film soundtrack is for Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, and its sequel Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Menacing and majestic, the opening theme for Hellraiser is one the most memorable tracks ever for a horror film. Young has also scored many thrillers as well, including Murder in the First, Virtuosity, and Copycat.
With expert film knowledge, Young has an innate ability to find just the right moment to heighten the suspense to a crescendo, or send a chill down your spine with soft lulls designed to catch you off guard. It takes a lot of time and effort to score a horror film, so knowing the film, and communicating with the director, is paramount to making it all work out just right. A successful soundtrack isn’t just background noise for the visual horrors; it should disturb and scare just as easily in the dark.
With Hellraiser celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, a special edition of the soundtrack is available now in CD, mp3, and vinyl format, remastered with excellent sound quality for your listening pleasure, or pain … if you desire. The ebb and flow of the tracks, the recurring theme, rising and falling, heightening the senses to a fever pitch, has never sound better. It is definitely one OST you need to add to your collection as soon as possible.
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