Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Movie Music Mania: THE EXORCIST

Welcome to MOVIE MUSIC MANIA, where we talk about some of the amazing music that shapes the films we love. This week I'm reviewing the musical score of the iconic horror film, THE EXORCIST.

Music does not always need words to make us feel an emotion about a person or an event. Many movie themes tell us something significant about the movie, and the theme to The Exorcist, titled "Tubular Bells", did just that for me. lt made feel me like there was more to the story. "Tubular Bells", which was written by Michael Oldfield, became very popular after The Exorcist came out.

The instrumental music during the first title sequence almost made me jump out of my seat, with its loud beats and terrifying screams. However, it was the instrumental music that played during the closing credits that sent chills up my spine. It was part of a musical piece called "Fantasia for Strings" by Hans Werner Henze. This musical piece just summed up the terror I felt in my heart that the monster may come back.

Director William Friedkin had Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki contribute some of his pieces to the musical score. His piece, "Polymorphia", starts out slow and sinister. But, then it gets faster and sounds like demons screeching from the depths of hell. It's very dark and disturbing to listen too. But, I also found it alluring and wanted to hear more.

Another piece of his, "String Quartet (1960)" had an interesting tempo. It would go from very fast to extremely slow. While listening to it, I heard doors slam and footsteps. I could almost see the demon stalking and tormenting Reagan. It was extremely unsettling to me.

There was also some drama surrounding this score, just like with the movie. Friedkin rejected Lalo Schifrin's working score because it was too "scary" for audiences. He did, however, create the music for the film's trailer, though, between the frightening scenes and the ominous tone of the music,mthe trailer was too much for some audience members and even scared some Warner Bros. executives. 

I absolutely love the music in this film. It matched what the characters were feeling and created a sense of impending doom that frightened me as an audience member. The Exorcist's musical score will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.

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