CD Review – Drag Me To Hell – Original Soundtrack.
Composer – Christopher Young
Distributed by Lakeshore Records
In this era of smarter than thou horror films, it is quite refreshing (to say nothing of fun) when a horror movie aims squarely at the cliches and makes it work. Raimi’s return to horror with Drag Me To Hell did just that. Now, a few months after it’s theatrical run, Lakeshore Records releases the score by Christopher Young. A score jammed packed with spiking violins, ominous pipe organs, and sinister choirs. Seriously, you couldn’t be more Phantasmagoria if you had James Whale direct an episode of Dark Shadows, written by VC Andrews. And you know what? The horror music audience is better for it.
Christopher Young doesn’t hold back at all with this score. Gone is any subtly as heard in his music for The Grudge or The Uninvited. Each track makes it’s point with glorious tones and themes. From the titular “Drag Me to Hell”, with it’s ode to William Castle violin and choir work; to the rather dreamlike tones of “Tales of a Haunted Banker”. Each element from the film has a moment to shine within Young’s composition. “The Lamia” doesn’t hesitate is leaping from the speakers in dramatic fashion, then dance around with quixotic organ work and end with a waltz that cam only be described as fiendishly wonderful.
As Young mentions in is own notes regarding the score, Drag Me To Hell makes very heavy use of violins. A very natural choice when one considers that two keys elements of the movie, Gypsies and the Devil, are so strongly associated with the stringed instrument. Getting the two themes confused could have been an easy folly to make. Thankfully, the score avoids such traps. The dark whimsy connected to the Gypsy violin moments stand in stark contrast to the gleefully evil strings whenever the Lamia makes its presence known.
Christopher Young’s score to Drag Me To Hell may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you love the cooling shiver that runs down your spine as you walk past a cemetery at night. If you smile when imagining what horrors await you within the halls of the local Spook House. If you take a devilish fancy to the thought of scaring your friends with tales of ghosts wandering the forest. If you come alive as the leaves change to vibrant yellows and oranges. Then Drag Me To Hell is your soundtrack for the coming autumn months. Turn down the lights. Let the shadows dance on your walls and hit play.
Enjoy the ride.