These two title sequences are how you get into Autumn. Listen and watch and you will be resigned to it.

I have melancholic mixed feelings about James Horner’s music for SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES — it was imposed by DisneyCorp against director Jack Clayton’s wishes, after Georges Delerue’s original, beautiful score was rejected. I really like Horner’s derivative, evocative, hammy theme tune, though. But I’d love a restored director’s cut. They say Disney never throws anything away…

Michael Kamen’s opening theme for THE DEAD ZONE may be the best thing he did in his two-short career. I guess it’s the first of Cronenberg’s snazzy title sequences — he’s had them ever since, and then his films settle down to being visually quite flat, which works because usually there will be some startling imagery, and if the camera is just resting its chin in its hand in an apathetic way, that can be quite effective.

OK, you can have this one too:

6 Responses to “Autumnal”

  1. ehrenstein47 Says:

    With all due respect you seriously underrate Kamen (full disclosure: he was a classmate of mine at “Communist Martyrs High”)

  2. ehrenstein47 Says:

    As for Autumn —

  3. I rewatched (and loved) The Dead Zone recently, and that visual flatness you mention in Cronenberg not only makes it work not only on his terms (like you said, to offset the groresque imagery – I say it’s like a medical textbook approach. Here it’s observing Walken, who is plenty alarming on his own), but also on King’s – his pulpy excesses are curbed alittle bit, and we get to see the humanity he can be pretty good at. Helps the horror feel really offhand and casual (although I think the shock cuts to Walken’s visions are very simple, but effective).

  4. The visions are really well done — putting Walken INTO them was a masterstroke.

    Don’t mean to underrate Kamen — he hit his stride when I was a youngster, and suddenly he was everywhere. Brazil and Die Hard!

  5. Simon Kane Says:

    I happened to have this open while watching Dracula, and something a bit wonderful happened. So I made this

  6. This is great!

    Have you tried the Kronos Quartet option? I think it’s on the Blu-Ray. Dracula + nonstop Philip Glass has a curious effect. It fills all the atmospheric silence with atmospheric music, resulting in something not that different in effect but, oddly, MORE like a silent movie.

    I think Kamen works nicely but is slightly too lively for playing under dialogue — I would propose a moody bit of Bernard Herrmann for your next experiment.

    The other thing that really helps Dracula is seeing it on a big screen: you get a lot more access to the performances and suddenly a whole lot of detail in Lugosi’s work becomes perceptible. Thanks to Randy Cook for that observation.

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