Fall, and its bite-size candy trick-or-treat assortments, pumpkin guts still on your fingers,
the slowly spiraling colored dry leaves, the darkness and the chill each
with its own rooted black wet shiver,
the crisp new school year already darkening into sinister homework maze; girls and/or guys gone wild... with other people, you left alone
with the Hardy Boys inside Smuggler's Coven,
but then the movies, that autumnal chill in the creeping tick-tockable momentum of HALLOWEEN, PHANTASM, SUSPIRIA, PHENOMENA,
they're coming to get you Barbara,
but then they leave without you,
curled under the watchful eye of your dozing big daddy, the heater coming on for the first time since May with the smell of mold and mop handle incense.
mom in the kitchen, the safety of her presence without the meddling,
and then when they dress and leave for bridge... you're all alone
and barely old enough to be without a babysitter. Powerless, even with a butcher knife in your side pocket
And the chill in the leaf-swirling wind settles into your bones
like a personal threat.
I feel it all whenever I hear one of those great horror soundtracks from the 70s-80s, the time when simplicity and synthesizers and eerie time signatures left an uncanny mark that no amount of Williams, Goldsmith, Shore, or Elfman-style orchestral themes could or will ever match. Less is more and the more instruments and elocution you stuff the music with the less we care. We're not idiots. Imagine HALLOWEEN if scored by John Williams. Yiick!
Yeah, he got lucky with JAWS, which is mainly a rip of the rip of Les Baxter's MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH 'initiation ceremony / shamanic dream' ritual music which itself is lifted from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. But then, all you need to hear is that ridiculous jaunty pirate music when the boys go out on the Orca to know that shark cue was a bleedin' fluke. Less is more: Goblin, John Carpenter, Ennio Morricone, Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, and of course the ones that started it all, the creepy sing-song theme of ROSEMARY'S BABY and the moody keyboards of "Tubular Bells."
And a special shout out to the groups/composers Zombi and Umberto, who make music for 70s-80s movies that never existed! They use the Italian / American drive-in synth score format as a jumping off point, into the dark spooky heart of the creepiness that is the fall we love, remember, and chill to, so come along, or you might get left behind... in the dark!