Friday, March 9, 2018

"Sleepwalkers" Revisited, Part 4: The Music of "Sleepwalkers"

Well, werecats, our time with Sleepwalkers is drawing to a close.  It's been fun for me, and hopefully it's been of use to a few of you, as well.  (You can find the first three segments here, here, and here.)
We're going to conclude with a look at the music of the film, beginning with -- but not limited to -- the Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album.

A word about the word "soundtrack."  This is going to sound pedantic, but I think it's a good thing to remind people of every once in a while (myself included).  At this point, I'd say the most common use of the word "soundtrack" is in the denotation of "the music in a film or television show" (or video game, nowadays).  Even more specifically, it often refers to a commercially-available album collecting that music.
But in fact, a sound track (or soundtrack) is exactly what it, uh, sounds like: it's the entirety of everything you hear in a movie.  Music, yes; but also sound effects, dialogue, and even silence.  The word itself comes from the days of film -- actually, physical film -- when the sound was imprinted onto the celluloid.  Eventually, when music from films began to be marketed as its own thing, the word became commonly used simply to denote those albums (or cassettes, or CDs, or downloads) of songs and/or score.
Seeing the "Music From the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" designation on the Sleepwalkers CD made me think of it, and the way my blog posts work is that typically whatever jumps into my mind is what ends up on the screen.  In this case, though, I think it's permissible.

Soundtracks -- hard not to use that as a shorthand, and I'm actually not going to put much effort into resisting it -- have been on my mind a lot lately.  I mean, really, they've been on my mind more or less constantly since the late 1980s.  Recently, though, I was asked to make a guest appearance on The Stephen King Podcast, the house podcast of Lilja's Library, for the purpose of talking about music in Stephen King movies.  As of this writing, the episode had not been published yet, but it was fun to record, and if you want to hear me speak, there'll be your chance to do it when it does go up.
Anyways, part of the allure to me in recording that guest appearance was to shine just a little bit of light on the original scores for Stephen King movies.  The world of Stephen King fandom is a HUGE one, and there are corners and cul-de-sacs (culs-de-sac?) of all types, and I've gone into a few of them in my time, but it's been rare for me to encounter other people talking specifically about the composers of Stephen King scores.
Nothing weird about that, by the way.  Even though it's a massive part of virtually every movie ever made, film scores don't receive much attention outside the small (but insanely devoted) segment of people who identify as film-score aficionados.  So it stands to reason that if you can't walk down a crowded street and bump into a massive fan of, say, the music of Marvel superhero films, it must be even more impossible to bump into a fan of the scores to Stephen King films.
All of which is to say that since I am both a film-music fan AND a Stephen King fan, it kind of feels incumbent upon me to provide occasional reminders that these composers are indeed a huge part of these films.
So, naturally, I'm going to begin my exploration of the music in Sleepwalkers by immediately sidelining the score and focusing on the non-original songs used within.  I'm doing that because I think the songs are given more of a spotlight by the movie than is the score.  Apologies to Mr. Pike!  But we'll cover your contributions quite fully, have no fear.
Any discussion of the source music in Sleepwalkers should begin with the song "Sleep Walk" as recorded by Santo & Johnny.
In case you've been wondering what my opinion of this is, let me dispel the tension by saying that I think this is one of the best pieces of music ever recorded.  It's appeared in a lot of movies and television shows, including one incredibly silly one about cat-people who have incestual sex and then briefly fight Ron Perlman; in all honesty, that ought to destroy a piece of music forever.  But no, this one remains utterly haunting, from beginning to end, no matter how many times Hollywood types put it to their own uses.  It seems to be impervious; it is effortlessly evocative, so much so that it can and does survive and attempt to contextualize it beyond the context provided within the span of its scant runtime.

And it's not simply a great composition, it's also a great performance by Santo Farina and Johnny Farina, the brothers who (with Ann Farina, their sister) co-wrote and performed the song in 1959.  What makes the song is the phenomenal, heartbreaking steel-guitar work by Santo, and here's an awesome vintage video I found of that happening on live television.

Santo & Johnny themselves were apparently more or less just a band-for-hire (playing at school dances and other such events) at the time they struck it big with "Sleep Walk."  Legend has it that after playing a gig one night, the brothers couldn't sleep, and began jamming.  From that came "sleep Walk," which would eventually go to #1 on the Billboard charts.

How about that typo, man?  It's supposed to be "All Night Diner."

The song was covered numerous times in the years since: among others, there are versions by Chet Atkins (1960), The Ventures (1960), The Shadows (1961), Jeff Beck (1985), Diana Ross & The Supremes (1986), Stray Cats (1992), Charlie Musselwhite (1997), and Joe Satriani (2002).

And here's an interesting one, by Betsy Brye in 1959:

Lyrics!  This song has LYRICS?!?

Indeed it does, and they were apparently Ann Farina's contribution.

Sleep walk
'stead of dreaming
I sleep walk
Cause I lost you
And now what am I to do
Can't believe that we're through
Sleep talk
Cause I miss you
I sleep talk
While the memory of you
Lingers like a song
Darling, I was so wrong
The night fills my lonely place
I see your face
Spinning through my brain
I know, I want you so
I still love you
And it drives me insane
Sleep walk
Every night 
I just sleep walk
Please come back
And when you walk inside the door
I will sleep walk no more

Now, obviously I prefer the Santo & Johnny instrumental, but I kind of dig the layer of melancholy romance added by the lyrics.

I mentioned earlier that "Sleep Walk" has been used extensively in film and television.  Here's a partial list of those uses:

  • the 1975 film Crazy Mama, which was directed by Jonathan Demme
  • Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)
  • La Bamba (1987)
  • two different episodes of Quantum Leap (1989 and 1990)
  • Mermaids (1990)
  • Sleepwalkers (1992) -- so this was by no means even the first time the song had been used
  • Telling Lies in America (1997)
  • Hearts In Atlantis (2001) -- another King movie, obviously!
  • "Wheel of Fortune," the debut episode of The Dead Zone (2002) -- yet another King property
  • Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)
  • the Neil Jordan film Breakfast on Pulto (2005)
  • a 2009 episode of Heroes, which was a garbage television series nobody should ever watch
  • a 2010 episode of Mad Men, which is one of the best television series ever made
  • a 2013 episode of Criminal Minds, which is an unknown quantity to me
  • the 2015 Tom Hardy film Legend

And that's just the original Santo & Johnny version!  I'd imagine various cover versions have also been featured here and there, and one thing is (presumably) for sure: every time that happens, Santo, Johnny, and Anna get paychecks in the mail.  I'm guessing that's been a decent living down through the decades, and it ought to have been; you put something that lovely into the world, you deserve to be able to retire on it.

Moving on, the second most notable song in the movie is possibly not the one you think it is.  I mean, depending on opinion, you probably think it's the song that plays during Tanya's dancing scene.  And we'll get to that in a moment.

But no, I'd argue that the second-most song in the film in terms of its importance to the movie is this:

I bet a lot of people would have no idea that that was a song -- or an instrumental (defining the word "song" is a basket of snakes) -- which predated the film.  I bet most viewers, if they thought about it consciously at all, probably just assume it's a piece of score written by composer Nicholas Pike.

Nope, not at all.  It's from Enya's 1987 debut album (originally titled Enya, but retitled The Celts for its 1992 rerelease).  Enya composed the piece herself, and Nicky Ryan arranged it.

The title refers to a Celtic warrior Queen who, in 60 AD, led a revolt against Roman occupying Roman forces.  She had some success, and her revolt evidently resulted in about 80,000 deaths; but ultimately, she was defeated.  According to Wikipedia, Roman historian Cassius Dio described her as "tall, with tawny hair hanging down to below her waist, a harsh voice and a piercing glare."

Now, I'm guessing that that description is purely coincidental, but does it not sound a bit like Alice Krige playing Mary Brady?  And while Mary is not exactly a Celtic Queen, it's hard for me not to say "HMMMMMMM...!" to the fact that Sleepwalkers ends with Enya's song playing over the fires resultant from Mary's final defeat.

The song is used elsewhere in the film, as well, and it fits like a glove.  It's got a sort of John Carpenter-style bassline, and its general ominousness suits a horror movie, even a relatively silly one like this.

Enya herself, obviously, has had a hell of a career.  I know very little about her work, which seems like a mistake.  I know her primarily from "Boadicea" and two other soundtrack appearances: "Book of Days," which made an appearance in Ron Howard's Far and Away (1992), though it was not written for that film; and "May It Be," her Oscar-nominated song for The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).  I'm guessing I'd like most of her work; maybe someday I'll find out.

Let's now move along to "Do You Love Me?" by The Contours, which appears in the scene where we find Tanya dancing while at work.

Kind of embarrassing, kind of awesome.

The song itself is 100% awesome.  It had obviously been around for a while by the time it appeared in Sleepwalkers; thirty years, in fact, having gone as far as #3 on the Billboard charts in 1962.  It was written by Berry Gordy Jr., who intended The Temptations to record it; but, so the legend goes, they had dipped out of the studio early one day, so Gordy found The Contours standing around in a hallway and gave it to them.

It would prove to be their only huge hit, but they -- with of a revolving-door roster of members -- have been playing gigs off the back of that one hit ever since.

Does it seem weird, by the way, for a hip young woman like Tanya Robertson to be grooving to a song from 1962?  Well, maybe it does; but it needn't.  Many of you will be way ahead of me on this, but it's worth pointing out that "Do You Love Me?" had actually landed on the charts a second time in 1988 due to the phenomenal success of the soundtrack album for Dirty Dancing.

So my assumption is that Tanya herself was a huge fan of that movie (which is itself about a virginal young woman who has to survive an encounter with a mysterious and charismatic older man), and is grooving to the soundtrack on cassette.  It's not implausible in the least; millions of young women her age did the same thing in 1988, and thousands were likely still doing it in 1992, when Sleepwalkers came out.

By the way, as a movie-theatre manager, I cannot and do not endorse staff members using portable music devices while clocked in.  Their focus should always be on the guests.  I'm not necessarily saying that if she were paying more attention to her job and less attention to dancing, she'd have realized right off the bat that Charles Brady was a murderous werecat, but I am saying that it couldn't have hurt.

Let's now turn our attention to:

I was a hair-metal fan for most of middle school and high school, so naturally Extreme was right up my alley.  This almost certainly began with their 1989 song "Mutha (Don't Wanna Go to School Today)," which might also have been a pretty good candidate for the scene in Sleepwalkers where "It('s a Monster)" appears.

"It('s a Monster)" fits pretty well, though.  An examination of the lyrics reveals that Gary Cherone is singing about either sex or masturbation, or both.  But some of the phrases have some resonance within the context of the movie: "It's gone too far; that's who we are," for example.  "It's a monster we all have within us," the song insists; "turns us into sinners."  "Once you've been bit, you can't seem to get rid of it."  So on the one hand, it's just a period-appropriate rock song for Charles Brady to play while he's driving around; but on the other hand, it's kind of also a peek into his brain, which is indeed consumed by the feral sex drives of his kind.

I had kind of forgotten about this song until rewatching Sleepwalkers, but I'm reminded now that it was a bit of a favorite for me circa its 1990 release (on their second album, Extreme II: Pornograffitti).

Their big hit, the slow ballad "More Than Words," was also an especial favorite, and let me tell you, if you never got a blowjob while listening to that song, you regret it.  I say this with confidence because I never ONCE got a blowjob while listening to that song, and I really regret that; I suspect it was happening all over the place from 1990-91, and I bet it was really cool.  Ah, well.

Also from that album: "Get the Funk Out," which I still very much dig, and yes, that's mainly because when I was a kid, it thrilled me that they were obviously just saying "get the fuck out."  See, kids, back in the day you couldn't just cuss up a storm in commercially-released music.  You had to find inventive ways to cheat the system, and the more blatant and transparent those cheats were, the better.  Now, people just say it all straight, and it's just not as fun.  More old-fogey talk, I know, but suck my asshole, you shit-snorting hoodlums; our way was better.

And hey, speaking of profanity in music, we can't transition over the score talk without mentioning "The Rodeo Song" again!

I kid y'all not, I've had the Showdown version of this song stuck firmly in my brain since finding it in research for these posts.

I mean, that's just delightful. And like "Sleep Walk" -- but unlike "Boadicea," "Do You Love Me?," or "It('s a Monster)" -- it is specifically called for in King's screenplay.  I'd love to know how King heard this song, and why he thought it would be a good idea to have Deputy Simpson sing it in Sleepwalkers.  Don't get me wrong: it WAS a good idea.  Might even have been a great one.  Somehow, it's precisely the sort of tasteless, comedically mercenary thing that fits this movie.

After all, an argument could persuasively be made that Sleepwalkers comes from the same type of drive-in-cinema, late-night-television, disreputable-video-store-rental tradition as Troma movies, or Full Moon movies, or other types of trash cinema of the seventies and eighties and nineties.  For a lot of people who love that sort of thing, the appeal is that it exists outside the traditional societal bounds; yeah, The Toxic Avenger may be a piece of garbage by YOUR standards, but fuck you, jack, I don't have to play by your rules!

That's what "The Rodeo Song" is, too.  Oh, yeah, you BET there was an underground trash-music scene during that time, too.  We often think of punk rock as being that, and it was, but it wasn't all that there was; clearly, there was at least this one country song that did the same thing.  I have zero doubt there is plenty more where that came.
Anyways, I've sung the lines "Well, it's forty below and I don't give a fuck, got a heater in my truck and I'm off to the rodeo" to my cats this week innumerable times.  I have songrwiter Gaye Delorme to thank for that; he wrote "The Rodeo Song," and apparently did a good bit of work for Cheech & Chong back in the day.  That makes sense.


Let's now turn our attentions to the score by Nicholas Pike.

Here are the contents of the soundtrack album:

Let's go through it one track at a time.  All tracks by Nicholas Pike unless otherwise noted.

(1)  "Sleepwalk" (performed by Santo & Johnny):  We've already talked about this at length, so there's nothing to add here, apart from noting that the title is spelled incorrectly.  It's (mis)spelled that way in the movie's end credits, as well, but the correct version IS two words as opposed to one, as illustrated above.

(2)  "Main Titles":  The is a mysterious piece that kind of pulses slowly at the outset before strings and horns come in.  Just as the title indicates, this piece plays in the film underneath the main title sequence, with all the Egyptian imagery and whatnot.  There's a brief statement of a six-note theme that will reappear later in the film, so let's try to remember that.

It's often the case that on score albums, main-title or end-title tracks will be almost like summaries of the entire score.  Let's say you're a score nerd, and one of your friends who isn't has tasked you with making a mix tape consisting of examples of all your favorite scores, but with a caveat: you can only use a single track per movie.  Your natural inclination is likely to be to look to main-title (or end-title) pieces; statistically-speaking, this will not lead you wrong.

But in the case of the "Main Titles" for Sleepwalkers, I think you'd want to pick something else.  This isn't bad, but it's almost more like a prologue to the score than a summary of it.

(3)  "Cop Kabob":  Here's a common thing that happens on score albums: the score being presented out of the chronological order it takes within the actual movie.  Now, whether you care about this or not is a thing I leave between you and the God of your understanding.  It doesn't always bother me, but sometimes it does.  Here?  Kind of bothers me.  Anyways, this is obviously the cue for the scene in which Charles attacks Andy and is then attacked in turn by Clovis.  This is where Clovis's theme is introduced (I think).  Good action music; one of the score's quintessential cues.

(4)  "This Is Homeland":  For example, this cue really ought to play right before "Cop Kabob," and not right after it.  Presumably, though, the soundtrack album was sequenced in a manner that somebody -- possibly composer Nicholas Pike, though not necessarily -- thought would make for a more satisfying listening experience for the average listener.  I'm not sure how many average listeners were expected to buy this album in 1992 when it was released; I'd love to know how many copies it sold.  Anyways, this (obviously) is the music that accompanies Tanya and Charles while they are in Homeland Cemetery.  It's got some synthesizer in it, and sounds a wee bit like the sort of thing Christopher Franke was doing around this time.  (Franke would score The Tommyknockers the next year, by the way, and had one point in time -- though not during the recording of Firestarter -- been a member of Tangerine Dream.)  The cue does NOT go all the way through the assault, however.  That happens in...

(5)  "Is This What You Had in Mind?":  From a score point of view, the Homeland sequence is split into two cues, with this one representing the assault and Tanya's escape outside (where she will meet Andy).  It's interesting that Pike did this as two cues and not one.

(6)  "Let's Go Upstairs":  I assume this score is intended to accompany the scene where Tanya takes Charles upstairs to her bedroom, but -- and I could be wrong about this -- I don't think this cue actually appears in the film.  This is not uncommon; sometimes a composer will write a piece for a scene, but the director or editor will feel it doesn't quite work and might replace it with something else.  And yet, since the music has been recorded and the composer likes it, it sometimes shows up on the soundtrack album anyways.  I think this is one of those cases; it doesn't sound familiar to my ears, and I literally just watched the entire movie again two hours ago with an ear toward the music.

(7)  "You Didn't Get It":  This cue accompanies the scene when Charles comes home without having fed off of Tanya; Mary attacks him, but backs off when she sees he is injured.

(8)  "Run to That Jungle Beat":  This music represents Charles attacking and killing Mr. Fallows, I think.  It's NOT the music that is used in the film during that scene.  It's possible it is used elsewhere in the film and I'm not picking up on it; hard to say for sure.  This is where me not even vaguely being a musical expert starts to hurt; sometimes, even if I'm paying close attention, I'm probably missing certain things.

(9)  "Do You Love Me" (performed by The Contours):  Here's the problem; this is a shitty remix of the song, possibly the same remix that was issued around the time of Dirty Dancing.  I wasn't clear as to whether this is what Tanya is listening to in the movie or if that was the original; but a closer examination of the scene reveals that you CAN hear some of the aspects of the remix playing while we're hearing it coming from her cassette deck; the sound mix only cranks it up after the singer exhorts, "Watch me now!"  That scene is really well-done from a sound perspective.

(10)  "Am I Beautiful?":  This is only about a minute and a half, and it represents the scene after Charles comes home from the movie theatre.

(11)  "Let the Cats Run":  At 4:31, this is the longest score track on the album, and THIS is probably the one I'd pick to represent the movie on that hypothetical mix-tape I mentioned earlier.  The cue begins with the fun little bit that underscores the cats running en masse down the street, and runs through Mary attacking Soames, Ira running purposefully out of the police station, Mary exploding the cop cars, Mary driving Tanya away from her own house and to the Brady house, Mary driving the cop car literally into her own home, and then Tanya insisting that the Charles she sees on the couch must be dead.  This is an impressive cue, running through several different styles and tones without ever sounding as if the strain on the composer was showing.  Good stuff, especially if you're payign attention to the way it functions in the film.

(12)  "I'm Going to Make Us Dim":  This is a solid piece of music, and includes a really good motif that seems to represent Charles having been wounded.

(13)  "Fly on the Chicken":  This actually begins with the music for when Clovis goes and sits on Andy, but then transitions into the wounded-Charles motif.  Mixed into that is a slinky statement of Clovis's theme, which is awesome because it kind of musically states that Clovis is the reason why Charles has been wounded ... which he is!  Those of you paying attention will realize that this should play BEFORE "I'm Going to Make Us Dim," not after.

(14)  "Impaling Doom":  A strong action-music cue that has a lot of Clovis's theme in it.  I think there are a few other motifs in there, too, but I'm not quite sharp enough to have identified what they are, so I won't even try.

(15)  "Speedster":  This is the rock-n-roll music that plays while Charles is trying to outrun Andy.  Presumably, it was shunted off onto its own corner of the soundtrack because it doesn't sound anything like the rest of the score.  Fair enough, but "Do You Love Me?" is inserted right into the middle of the album.  And here's what's likely up with that: I'm guessing that tracks 9-16 represent side two of the LP and cassette versions of the album.  The presumption, then, was that lots of people would have bought the soundtrack just to be able to listen to "Sleepwalk" and "Do You Love Me?," so those two tracks were made super-accessible for the kind of people who didn't listen all the way through each side.  Makes sense, actually; and this, kids, is the kind of thing you likely know NOTHING about if you didn't grow up during that era.  Anyways, I noticed an interesting thing while listening to "Speedster" just now: there is a scant hint of the wounded-Charles motif that is hinted at at one point.  Cool!

(16)  "Boadicea" (performed by Enya):  Makes sense for the album to end this way, since the movie does.  I'd be curious to know if this was always intended to play over the closing credits.  If not, it's possible there's a never-released end-credits piece by Pike waiting to be unearthed.

So there's that.  It's a pretty good album if you like the music in the movie, and while I've always liked the score, I find myself appreciating it even more now.  This despite the fact that the album garbles the chronological order; this wouldn't make a HUGE difference, but that being the case, why not present it chronologically?

Speaking of which, here's my recommended sequencing order, with some of the songs shuffled around so as to not be too much of a mid-score distraction:

(1)  "Main Titles"
(2)  "Am I Beautiful?"
(3)  "Let's Go Upstairs"
(4)  "Run to That Jungle Beat"
(5)  "Speedster"
(6)  "You Didn't Get It"
(7)  "Sleep Walk"
(8)  "This Is Homeland"
(9)  "Is This What You Had In Mind?"
(10)  "Cop Kabob"
(11)  "Fly on the Chicken"
(12)  "I'm Going to Make Us Dim"
(13)  "Let the Cats Run"
(14)  "Impaling Doom"
(15)  "Boadicea"
(16)  "Do You Love Me?"
(17)  "It('s a Monster)"
(18)  "The Rodeo Song" (preferably the full version by Dan Martin, if such a thing was performed; if not, the Showdown version -- or both!)

Sadly, there's score in the film that did not get included on the album at all, and cannot therefore be included even in my hypothetical version.  This is almost always the case with soundtrack albums of scores.  It's very upsetting for those of us who care about such things, which is approximately next-to-none% of the population.

But hopefully someday, an expanded version will be released, and we can hear it all.

A few words about Pike himself are probably in order.

He's worked with Garris on numerous occasions, including: Critters 2; "Killer Instinct," Garris's episode of Freddy's Nightmares; Sleepwalkers; The Shining; Riding the Bullet; five episode of the Garris-produced series Masters of Horror; Desperation; and Bag of Bones.  And he even scored Ghosts, the Michael Jackson short film that Garris developed and directed an early version of.

Weirdly, he also scored Blank Check, the feature film directed by Rupert Wainwright, the gent who was fired from Sleepwalkers in the development stage!

He's also got kind of a Star Trek connection, presumably via Adam Nimoy, having scored the documentaries Leonard Nimoy In Boston, For the Love of Spock (which is great), and the upcoming What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine.


Now, I'll close out by tripping headlong into the land of true self-indulgence.

As I was preparing to write this post, it occurred to me that I was ... well ... unprepared.  A simple listen (or even two) to the soundtrack was not going to deliver the results I was hoping for.  There was only one thing to be done: I had to watch the movie yet again, this time paying close attention to the music in the film and taking notes on the way I understood it to be used.

Maybe it's just because I've been living closely with Sleepwalkers over the course of the past week, but I've got to say: I enjoyed the movie even more on this final go-round than I had on the previous ones.  I think I may have turned into a legitimate Sleepwalkers fan, and if so, I'm proud of myself for making that happen.

And I even turned up a few things I had not noticed during my previous note-taking sessions!  So I thought hey, why not transcribe those notes here for the sake of posterity?  After all, what resulted was a sort of chronicling of the music's role in the film, and I think some of it is kind of okay.  Mostly, it's unintelligible garbage, but SOME of it is okay. 

Here it comes, presented in bullet-point format:

  • The first thing we hear is Enya's "Boadicea" as the cops are standing outside the house in Bodega Bay.  It serves as an ominous introduction, and plays almost as a prologue to the full version appearing over the end credits; I'm hard-pressed to say why this is, but I think it makes the song's eventual resolution more impactful for it to be presented partially here first.
  • There is some score by Nicholas Pike once we get inside the house, complete with TWO different stings for the TWO different jump-scares.  Unless I am badly mistaken, this cue does not appear on the soundtrack album.  (I will be repeating this frequently as we process, but from this point forward, unless there is extra cause to do so, I'm simply going to state that the cue is not on the album.  I might possibly get that wrong, since there are a few tracks on the album that I could not quite link to the scenes they allegedly represent.  Extended comparison of these tracks to those scenes -- and/or to the scenes in the film with music that I think to be missing from the soundtrack album -- could clear up some of this, but good lord, man ... I'm crazy, but I'm not a maniac!  There's only so much time I can devote to this topic.  I do care, though, so if anyone reading this has answers, please do provide them via the comments.)
  • The opening credits use "Main Titles" from the album; this is slinky and mysterious music.
  • We arrive at the Brady home in Travis, Indiana and hear out first instance of "Sleep Walk," which is misspelled as "Sleepwalk" in both movie and soundtrack.
  • The next piece of music we hear is at The Aero, when we hear Tanya playing "Do You Love Me?" on her cassette deck.  I wasn't sure, but a careful listen clears it up: this IS the remix found on the soundtrack album, and not the 1962 original.
  • Oh!  I had not noticed this before, but there is music playing underneath Tanya and Charles' conversation.  I have no idea what; it's old-timey sounding movie music, clearly intended to be the sound from the auditorium where the movie is playing.  This was almost certainly public-domain or in-house audio from some old Columbia film; you wouldn't want to pay a dime to license that sort of thing, especially as low as it is buried in the sound mix.  but it does get a bit louder at the end of the sequence, presumably representing Charles going back into the auditorium.
  • We hear a reprise of "Boadicea" as we see that Charles is lurking in the shadows, watching Tanya's father drive off with her.  "Boadicea" continues to play as he walks home, and this brings up a thing I had not noticed before now.  He offered to drive Tanya home!  But his car is at home when he gets there, so how exactly was he planning to do that?  Anyways, "Boadicea" ceases when the animal-control officer (accompanied by a sting from Pike) shines a light onto Charles' face.
  • Mary asks Charles "Am I Beautiful?" and Pike's score transitions into Charles reciting his story at school.
  • Most the classroom scene -- which, weirdly, is staged inside a library -- is unscored.  But after Charles points out that a box has six sides and the scene fades out to an after-school scene of Mr. Fallows spying on Charles, a cue that is not present on the album shows up.  It's a brief piece that's got weird vocal effects not at all dissimilar to the tsee-tsee-tsee-ah-ah-ah Jason Voorhies motif in the Friday the 13th movies!
  • As Tanya begins walking off with Charles, having agreed to accept a ride home from him, a score cue plays underneath it; it's brief, kind of ominous but also kind of tentative, as if nobody is really sure WHAT exactly is going on right in this moment.  Which seems actually to be the case, so it makes sense!  This is not on the album.
  • There is no score when Tanya and Charles arrive at the Robertson house, even as she says "Let's Go Upstairs."  (The cue titled that on the album seems not to actually have been used for the movie.)  However, as Charles begins saying that he'd like to be able to see a photo before it is taken the way that Tanya sees it, a cue comes in that sounds like the unreleased cue from their walk away from school.  This might be the same piece, or it might be a continuation of it, or a reprise, or an alternate take, or I might just be imagining it.  Regardless, it ends when Mrs. Robertson walks into the room.
  • A cue that sounds related to the previous one plays briefly as Tanya asks Charles how he knew about grave rubbings.
  • Cut to Charles driving happily away, listening to "It('s a Monster)" by Extreme.  The Stephen King fan in me feels obliged to point out that if you remove the parenthetical portion of the title, the song is called "It."  YOU KNOW, LIKE PENNYWISE.  GET IT?  Eh, yeah, I know; that's not the "it" Extreme means.  Weirdly, this song was not on the soundtrack album, which seems like an unfortunate oversight.  It's possible that that is due to the fact the song has the word "shit" in it, and the record company might have been afraid that would cause there to have to be a warning sticker placed on the front.
  • The scene with Fallows does not have score to begin with, but it comes in as he sarcastically asks Charles if the countryside reminds him of Ohio.  This is a major piece of score that is nowhere to be found on the soundtrack album; there's a track titled "Run to That Jungle Beat" that sounds as if it might have been intended to go here, but that's purely a guess.  It isn't used here, unless my ears have gone nuts.  What plays here is kind of a snarling piece that leads up to Charles ripping off the hand, at which point it turns into an action cue that is orchestrated and paced similarly to Jerry Goldsmith's "The Hunt" from the original Planet of the Apes.  Don't be surprised if this is the result of the movie's temp-track; this is something editors do to help pace the film by layering in score from other films, which they then often let the composer see as a means of directing them toward using a certain tone/mood in their own final work.
  • As Charles goes flying past Andy, the police officer tells Clovis, "Looks like we've got ourselves a speedster!"  And obviously, the cue titled "Speedster" is what plays here.  Some ears might hear it and assume it's another rock song, but no, it's a composition of Pike's.
  • There's a great cue by Pike during the bit where Charles makes himself and the Trans-Am dim.  This, too, is not on the album.  And this, too, is reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith: this time, it reminds me a bit of "Vejur Flyover" from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (aka one of the all-time best scores, and no, I'm not kidding about that even one little bit).  To be clear, I'm not in any way saying that Pike ripped Goldsmith off; the similarity I hear is primarily one of orchestration and mood, not of melody.
  • Another unreleased cue -- which I think is actually a continuation of the one above -- as Andy stares up the deserted road, wondering how he lost the Trans-Am.  It's a cue reminiscent of the main titles but ... different in a way I lack the vocabulary to express.  "More mysterious and subdued," maybe?
  • As Charles drives away, yet another unreleased cue: a crescendo that leads into synth music with subdued vocals that sound like they could be from a bit of "Boadicea."  It's not from the Enya song, though.  This and the two foregoing bits I described are probably one long cue; and if so, this is the piece I'd most like to have on disc.
  • As Andy begins walking out of the police station, a cue that turns out to be "You Didn't Get It" begins playing.  This continues to play as Mary assaults Charles and then sees he's been injured and begins comforting him instead.  This brings up a thought for me, somehow: what if the entire movie had been told strictly from the point of view of Mary and Charles?  Like, they are these horrific monsters, right, but play the movie as if they are romantic leads?  You barely get to know Tanya, never see the policemen as anything other than attackers, etc.?  Then, play their demise like a tragedy.  If I'm ever hired to remake this movie, that's how I'm going to approach it.
  • Anyways, we get "Sleep Walk" again as Mary and Charles pay a visit to Bone Town.
  • The next day, Tanya, who does not have a car and seemingly didn't get a ride from anyone else, shows up unannounced at the Brady home.  How she got there: a mystery.  (Likely answer: walked.)
  • Another significant piece of unreleased score: as Charles closes the door behind Tanya after she enters the house, it begins, and there's a sting of sorts when we see Mary's true reflection in the mirror.  Vaguely Herrmannesque strings come in when Mary goes for the scissors; the cue crescendos and nearly ends when Mary clips the rose, but it comes back briefly.  There are breath-like vocal effects -- foreshadowing Charles' sucking of Tanya's essence, perhaps -- leading to the end of the cue, which comes when the kids leave for Homeland.
  • As Tanya and Charles enter Homeland, a new cue begins.  Synthy-sounding sampled vocals, kind of ethereal.  The track on the album is called "This Is Homeland."  An Indian-sounding woodwind -- Native American, I mean, not Asian Indian -- comes in; ominous synth effects come in leading to a sting as Charles disappears and then reappears.
  • A brief (unreleased) cue plays over the car morphing back into a Trans-Am.  Which is a bullshit plot point, now that I think of it.  Why would Charles want to turn the car back?  Or is the idea that his focus is slipping, and that's why the car turns back?  Anyways, this is the only thing that permits Tanya to live, so I guess I can live with it.  The music is what I would describe as "tortured synth," but I don't even know what I meant by that.  So who knows?
  • Cut to Deputy Andy Simpson, singing a bit of "The Rodeo Song."
  • Hey, wait a minute, I made a goof just now.  That cue playing over the morphing car is NOT unreleased, it's section of "This Is Homeland."  That cue continues as Charles begins looking at Tanya, and she snaps his photo several times, and they happily go rolling down the little hill.  The bit of music earlier that accompanied Tanya asking Charles how he knew abotu grave rubbings might have been a piece of this cue.  A good blogger would cue it up and check it out, but I am not he.
  • "This Is Homeland" ends and "Is This What You Had In Mind?" begins.  It's got some intense action music.  The "Vejur" Goldsmithesque music makes a brief reprise.  The score becomes sort of sad and vacant while it appears Charles is dead.  And hey, listening to the movie on headphones, I noticed something!  You actually hear Charles say "Tanya" as he's lying there, and it seems to be THIS that makes her turn around.  But I think it's a bit of looping; I don't think it was actually said on-set.  So I think somebody may have looped that in so as to provide some scant bit of motivation for what the fuck Tanya is doing right then.  Anyways, there's a sting when Charles bolts upright again, and the action music continues for a bit.
  • Cut back to Andy, singing another snatch of "The Rodeo Song."
  • As Tanya comes screaming out of Homeland, a new cue -- "Cob Kabob" -- begins.  It begins low and ominous, but a sting hits when Charles stabs Andy.  there's some action music like what we've been getting, but then something very new happens: a heroic motif for Clovis The Attack Cat!  It's played on what I assume are horns of some sort (possibly synthesized), and appears to be a four-note run followed then by a six-note phrase.  Oh, man, don't make me try to use musical vocabulary, but I will fuuuuuuuuuuck it up, and probably just did.  Anyways, that thing I just described shall henceforth be referred to as the Clovis theme or motif.  It's cool.
  • A new cue begins ("Fly on the Chicken") as Clovis mournfully goes and sits on Andy's dead body.  It's played on woodwinds, I think, and strings.  The scene shifts to the Brady kitchen, where Mary is cooking.  As Charles arrives, a repeated four-note figure plays; I'm referring to this as the wounded-Charles motif.  As it plays, a slinky version of the Clovis motif plays beneath -- atop? -- it.  It's almost like a musical explanation for Charles' physical struggles; I dig stuff like that, man.  Shimmery music -- celesta, perhaps? -- serves as a transition to Mary nursing Charles.  A plaintive bit underscores Charles trying and failing to go dim.  This is a strong cue, and it illustrates something about the power film scoring has to help the editing of a film.  Pike has on several occasions draped one cue across the end one scene and the beginning of another; this is a big help to a film's pacing, and it also helps to keep plot points seem connected.  He's not doing anything revolutionary there, of course; he's just doing his job very well.  But that's worth praising!
  • A very brief cue plays as Tanya gets in the back of Horace's squad car, as we see Clovis seeing her.  I'm guessing this was a piece lifted/reprised from some other cue.
  • We cut to the Brady house, and the score is kind of growling and ominous for a few seconds, and then turns plaintive.  ("I'm Going to Make Us Dim")  The sound of police sirens is heard, Mary goes to the window, begins concentrating on making the Trans-Am dim.  A crescendo signals her success.  The wounded-Charles motif returns, and as Charles says, "I'm so scared, Mom," the mix dials the score all the way out.  This is effective; it underlines the tenuousness of Charles' very life.  Mary makes the both of them dim, and the music kind of ... I don't how how to describe it, but the music kind of dies out in a straight line...?  It ends altogether as Ira bursts through the front door and Soames through the back.
  • Another unreleased cue as Ira begins investigating the home.  Low, rumbling strings and synth effects; an ominous phrase seems almost to suggest that the cops are in danger.  It ends as they walk out.  The score emphasizes that these two men are in alien territory and do NOT know it.
  • A very brief unreleased cue: as Tanya is soaking in the tub and imagines Charles being there, the music sort of rumbles ominously, almost as if implying something horrible is present.  It trails off and then disappears as "Charles" does.
  • Yet another unreleased cue: as the door at the Brady house -- which had been knocked off its hinges, hadn't it? -- opens and closes seemingly on its own, music plays that hints at the wounded-Charles motif.  It never fully develops, though, presumably on purpose on Pike's part; it works just fine.  There is a really weird-sounding instrument playing underneath; sounds like the sound you get when you play glasses with water in them.  A sting accompanies Mary bashing the cops' heads together.
  • A significant unreleased cue plays at the Robertson house: it begins in mysterious, almost ethereal fashion, with the same instrument from the foregoing cue.  It gets a bit darker when Mary shows up at the front door, but doesn't go full dark until she bashes Mr. Robertson in the head with the vase.  A percussive figure accompanies Mary as she strides purposefully into the house.  The score rumbles uncertainly as Horace ineptly tries to shoot Mary; the cue ends when Mary punches Tanya and knocks her out.
  • We cut to the police station, where Ira, Laurie, and a couple of lab techs -- played by John Landis and Joe Dante (directors, respectively, of An American Werewolf In London and The Howling) --  are checking out the photos of Charles that Tanya took.  No score in this scene; but since I neglected on my previous passes to get screencaps of these cameos, I figured I'd fix that and drop them in right here:



  • By the way, I think I may have found a bit of explanation for the "waterglass" sound I've heard in a few of theses cues.  On Pike's bio on his website, it says this: "Nicholas is known for his innovative use of instruments and sounds to create music.  An example of this technique is Stephen King's thriller Sleepwalkers, where he used the rubbing of a crystal wine glass to generate an edgy, metallic sound simulating the cats' wail.  When the monster appears, Pike uses a sampled Tibetan mountain pipe played two octaves below its original range giving it an unsettling kind of growl.  This technique created the 'instruments' with which he delivered thematic ideas."  Cool!  Oh, and by the way, it mentions on that page that Pike did the score for Graveyard Shift: indeed he did, but for a different movie with the same title.
  • More unreleased music kicks in as Horace frantically calls Laurie for backup.  It gets frantic as Mary stabs him with the corn cob, and a bit that sounds like the music is dying plays as we see Horace's body lying on the ground.
  • Now begins the cue that is, for me, the highlight of the score: "Let the Cats Run," it's called on the album.  We cut to shots of cats running down a studio backlot city street, an army of cats massing for the final confrontation with the sleepwalkers.  The music accompanying them is percussive and features plucked strings and is really fun in a sort of intense and crazy manner.  It's also got a hint of Clovis's motif played on the wine glass.  The music transitions into something more ominous as we cut back to the Robertson house, where Soames has arrived and orders Mary to let Tanya go.  Instead, she bites off three of his fingers and then kills him with his own broken arm.  We cut to the Travis police station, where Ira is running out to go and join the fray; he's accompanied by a sort of call-and-response stretch of music that seems almost to suggest indecision on his part.  It almost turns into Clovis's motif, which suggests Ira possessing the cat's courage but not his ability as it relates to harming sleepwalkers.  (Dug deep for that one, guys; but I like it!)  Cut back to the Robertson home: Mary gets some action music as she explodes two cop cars.  The music turns evilly playful as she drives away with Tanya, but turns tentative once they reach the Brady house and see all the cats.  The music revs up, though, as she drives the cop car straight into her house.  We hear Clovis's motif again; it shows up before he does!  A percussive figure accompanies Mary dragging Tanya out of the car and into the house.  The music turns tentative again as Tanya says Charles is obviously dead and Mary disputes her diagnosis.  The cue ends as Mary telekinetically begins playing...
  • "Sleep Walk" -- for the last time!  The sound mix here is really good.  The song dominates the mix at times, but at other times it's dialed way down so as to represent the way Tanya would be hearing it in the moment (it's playing upstairs while they are downstairs).  Then at times, it gets dialed all the way out in favor of bits of an unreleased score cue that takes over at times, beginning as Charles is reanimated in meat-puppet fashion by telekinetic Mary.  "Sleep Walk" returns full-throttle almost to represent this horrific dance, and maybe even to suggest Charles beginning to revive thanks to the contact with Tanya.
  • Cut outside the house for what is either a section of of the foregoing cue or is a different unreleased cue.  Ira is pulling up outside the house.  The score is kind of ethereal and incorporates the running-cat theme from earlier
  • Cut back inside; "Sleep Walk" and the score play simultaneously for a bit, and then the score takes over fully as Charles begins to regain consciousness.  He begins feeding upon Tanya's essence, but she ain't havin' it and pokes his other eye out with her thumb.  The score drops out altogether as Charles falls back onto the ground, freshly wounded, and Mary begins trying to wrestle Tanya off her son.  But this drop of the score is only a setup for...
  • ...the heroic arrival of Clovis The Attack Cat!  He lays back his ears and hisses at Mary.  His heroic motif plays as he attacks.  This is "Impaling Doom," the final score cue of the film.  Mary is able to knock Clovis away, but more cats come in and attack.
  • I noticed this viewing an awesomely awful -- emphasis on both aspects -- moment in which there is a fake-as-fuck cat on Mary's back.  She stops fighting for a moment as Ira approaches her with a shotgun, and you can clearly see the fake cat just hanging there, like it's been stapled onto Alice Krige's dress.  Ira blasts her through her midsection with the shotgun, which doesn't impact Mary too much, but blows the fake cat clear across the room!  Goddamn, if you love cheesy movies, you LIVE for moments like this.  Did I take screencaps of the whole thing?  Why, yes!  I surely did:

  • "Impaling Doom" has continued throughout this bit of cinematic gold.  Tanya has run outside, Ira following her, Mary pursuing them both.  She flings Ira into the yard, where he lands with one of his in a cat trap; it snaps shut.  Mary tries to get at Tanya through the window of one of cop cars; Ira flings the trap onto Mary's head!  She uses it to drag him over to her, and picks him up; she flings him bodily onto a picket fence, presumably killing the absolute fuck out of him.  But...
  • ...Clovis leaps onto her back and begins scratching away furiously, causing little gouts of fire to erupt.  More cats join in, and together they take Mary down for good; she bursts into flames.  The score sort of trails off as Tanya observes this, believing Mary to be dead.  She's clearly never seen a movie in her life. The score comes back as Mary leaps at the windshield of the car; in her human guise again, she accuses Tanya of killing her only son.  The effects here are not awesome, but they're okay for 1992:

  • The score fades out for good as Mary's life finally comes to an end.
  • Enya's "Boadicea" begins playing as Tanya tells Clovis, "It's just you and me."  The end credits begin and the song plays until they conclude.  It's a good piece of music to end the movie on.

I'd sum up my thoughts on the movie's music thus: Pike's score does WAY more for the movie than it has probably ever been given credit for.  It's an excellent score, not only as music in and of itself but also as a work of sustained dramatic film music.  The music that isn't by Pike -- especially "Boadicea" -- is worked into the mix nicely, and obviously, "Sleep Walk" does a great deal for the film.

I hadn't remembered this until just now, but I actually heard this score well before I saw the movie.  I was, at one point in time, such a film-score fan that I would just buy scores willy-nilly, simply because they were film scores.  I found a used CD of Sleepwalkers in a record store called Vinyl Solutions probably circa 1995, and bought it, and liked it.  I wouldn't say I played it repeatedly or anything, but I was familiar enough with it when I finally saw the movie that I recognized the music and enjoyed hearing it in context.  Even though I didn't like the movie, I never lost my affection for Pike's score, and I probably listened to it around Halloween just about every year since back in those days.

With that in mind, I'm very pleased to have given it this amount of attention; I feel like it's increased my own enjoyment, not only of the movie, but also of the music.  A good result!


And THAT, my friends, is that for Sleepwalkers.  This has been a shitload of fun for me; much more so than I expected.  You gotta love it when that happens.

The next targets in our sights for out exploration of King's work will likely be Gerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne, which I may well cover simultaneously.  But I might end up tackling a short story before that; it's been too long since I dove into one of those.

Before that, though, there will be a brief review of Robert McCammon's new novel, The Listener.  Probably next week sometime, although I've only finished about half of it thus far.  No fair telling how I like it so far; all I'll say is, I hope it ends as well as it's begun.


  1. (1) I really like that version of "Sleep Walk" with lyrics. Outside fo the classic original Santo and Johnny version, I'd say the version by the Ventures is probably my fave. I like those Ventures dudes. I also like how many times songs that were to King what 80s-tunes are to me come around in his head. It makes sense that he chose all the songs he did in the screenplay (from last time).

    (2) Kinda harsh on HEROES! But I don't blame ya. I resisted that show for long enough that by the time I got around to it, all the people who insisted I had to drop everything and watch it had already gotten over it/ didn't like it anymore, and then I had double reason to resent wasting my time. But yes, it (and LOST) are great examples of just making shit up as you go and making it sound epic through marketing and "save the cheerleader, save the world" type meme-thinking. Fuck this planet/ century.

    (3) I find it hard to believe "Orinoco Flow" by Enya wasn't as ubiquitous in your high school life as it was in mine! That song was everywhere for a good few years, and then when she came out with her "new" album somewhere around senior year that one, too. I forget the name of it, but that one song was on MTV all the time. Anyway, my wife always cracks on me for my enduring soft spot for Enya/ Dead Can Dance type stuff. (I tell her it's a Celtic thing.) Anyway, "Boadicea" is great.

    (4) I remember getting the letter from President Reagan somewhere around 1983 that insisted that a) there will be at least one goofy-dance-scene per day, preferably to a 60s oldies tune, b) if you were near a pool, someone had to go crashing into it fully clothed, and c) all work/ chores had to be done by montage. (Oh and d) pop that collar.)

    (5) Oh man, Extreme and "Pornograffiti." I echo/ second all of your remarks. I must have listened to this album a gazillion times in 1990/1991. I saw the band 3 times - the last time, Gary Cherone peformed only in his boxers the whole time and I thought okay, this guy clearly doesn't understand his fan base. (There were no chicks in the audience, and I'm fairly certain he wasn't trying to pick up dudes. Nothing wrong with that. I kind of wish he WAS, actually; it'd have been a little less pathetic.) Anyway! This particular tune wasn't one of my faves from the album (and neither was "More Than Words," actually - I was "that" Extreme fan who hated that video/ song, and don't get me going on "To Be With You" by Mr. Big) but this album is still pretty damn cool. Well, shoot - you know all my hair metal thoughts from the dozen or so #hairmetalconfessionals I've put up over the years, so I won't go on and on. But if you weren't 15 and grooving to "Play With Me" by Extreme and playing some Paperboy on the NES, then my adolesence rocked way harder than yours. (Altho I never got a blowjob that I remember to "More Than Words.")

    1. (1) I kind of mangled this remark, above. (See explanations on newborn-baby-ness, below!) I was trying to say I appreciate where King was coming from choosing the songs he did in his screenplay, or when he chooses any song from his formative years. I can relate to that sort of thing more these days that I'm King's age (when he wrote SLEEPWALKERS). If I had the means/ audience, would I work in any/all of the music of my formative years into any project I put out there? Absolutely. I don't even think I'd be able NOT to.

    2. (1) I would say it's probably a base expectation that artists be allowed to explore the things that jazzed them up during their formative years. When done well, it helps keep those things vital for the generations that have come after them: "this is what it was like for us, kids, wasn't it cool?" And in most circumstances, it really WAS cool!

      And it'll hopefully continue to be so. We're rapidly approaching an era where the nostalgic expressions of current artists will be for an era that came after the period(s) for which I personally have nostalgia. I'm kind of fascinated to see what that's going to be like from this side of things. I probably won't pay much attention to most of it, I'd guess; but I'm sure some will filter down to me. Hopefully, I can accept it in the spirit in which it is being given.

      (2) I'll give "Lost" a much bigger pass than I will "Heroes." The latter lost me before even the first season was finished, whereas the former managed -- for me, at least -- to keep it together until the final season. Wait, what am I saying? That show got canceled and never aired its final season...

      (3) I was aware of it, for sure. But I can't swear that I knew it was Enya. I might have, but I have no memory of that either way. What I do remember is being really impressed by the piece she had on the "Far and Away" soundtrack. It's similar to "Boadicea" in few ways except in that I kind of can't imagine the music to those respective films without the Enya compositions being there; and that's not always true of non-original pieces when they are combined with original scores.

      (4) Too bad b-d could not be worked into "Sleepwalkers." They would have fit just fine; that's a pretty good example of a quintessentially eighties movie still being made well into the nineties.

      (5) Oh, man, that Mr. Big song... Well, I was a pussy, so I liked it. In the case of that band, I had to go just now and do some research to remember whether I knew anything about them before they went pussy. And yeah, I did! I'd forgotten all about "Addicted to That Rush," but I loved that one when it came out. I remember also thinking even at the time that "To Be With You" sounded like what it probably was: a naked, shameless gambit to have a huge hit. And it worked!

    3. (5) I -- weirdly -- got so distracted by Mr. Big that I forgot to say what I was going to say about Extreme.

      First of all, that's pretty hilarious that Cherone wore only boxers to what was basically a sausage party. Probably some guys in the front who weren't super thrilled by that, I'd guess.

      That makes me wonder, though: apart from Rob Halford, were there any huge cock-rockers who were gay? I swear to God, that's enough of an excuse for cock rock to make a modern comeback right there; can you imagine the sorts of things that might result from a gay cock-rock band in the relatively permissive modern world?

      God knows why, but these are things I wonder sometimes.

      Speaking of which, does it seem -- and this might be a real can of worms here -- odd that there haven't been dozens of MeToo accusations against hair-metalist of the eighties and nineties? Because I think we all feel safe in saying that such excesses ABSOLUTELY happened. For fuck's sake, it was damn near part of the marketing pitch...and you can probably strike the "damn near" qualifier. I have always felt like that sort of thing was a big part of the reason why a lot of guys got into bands in the first place; which is maybe not a great thing and lord knows I would not want to glorify those sorts of impulses when take to (pardon the pun) extremes.

      It just seems very weird that there's not about one of these guys per day getting accused of gross impropriety for what they surely must have done with/to groupies.

      Part of me thinks it must be because the groupies went to them and were therefore not only okay with whatever went on, but quite possibly still proud of it!

      I believe a documentary on this subject is in order!

    4. (5) Oh, AND, by the way ... I'm reminded of how every time Dog Star Omnibus tackles hair metal, it makes me want to go on a year-long nostalgic bender wherein I revisit all that stuff (and probably find some I never knew to begin with). Bound to happen eventually.

      So when and if you return to that magical land of ripped t-shits, wicked shredding, hairbands, and innuendo, I'm totally there for it.

    5. 4. Yessir, Mr. President, one 80s inspired dance montage coming up:

      1. On the topic of artists exploring there own influences, I think we've reached the point where pretty everything old is new. So I think all future artists are pretty much going to have to rediscover the past in order to move forward.

      The biggest hurdle for that right now is a strange kind of ageist peer pressure that I can't help noticing creeping into the discourse of a lot of kids. It also doesn't help that these kids are then ripe targets for social media actors.


    6. 4. Radical!

      1. I don't necessarily think ageism is anything new. What was that old saying they had in the sixties about not trusting anyone over the age of thirty? Anyways, they're looking around and seeing previous generations and I don't know that there's all that much to like in what they're seeing. If they are ageist, I kinda don't blame them.

      You may be right about new artists feeling obliged to discover the past before moving forward. If so, I hope they can do it sensibly.

  2. (6) "More old-fogey talk, I know, but suck my asshole, you shit-snorting hoodlums; our way was better." Exactly!

    (7) I love that you dig this Rodeo song so much; your enthusiasm is definitely catchy.

    (8) Not hugely impressed with Pike's work (though I do like it fine) although I agree "Let the Cats Run" is fun. It's fine and all - I think a steady diet of opera and Bond soundtracks has made my bar for soundtrack appreciation somewhat askew. (In a good way!)

    (9) This is the first I've heard of this upcoming DS9 documentary. I look forward to seeing that!

    (10) You deserve some kind of medal from the Garris/King camp for this. Speaking of Garris, I watched about half of PSYCHO IV last night. I fell asleep but not on account of the film (I'm nodding off a lot these days. Lest anyone out there wonder if I'm doing heroin, nope, just the newborn-baby shuffle. These kids sleep for 20 minutes at a time. FFS. My wife has it worse than me but still.) Anyway! I enjoyed what I saw but there were a couple of little things that made me cringe. But not terrible. If I was King and someone showed me PSYCHO IV I'd have thought sure, I can work with this guy no problem.

    (11) "Goddamn, if you love cheesy movies, you LIVE for moments like this." Amen, brother!

    (12) Thank you for all this great stuff and screencaps! I look forward to watching this one again greatly now.

    1. (8) I can easily imagine that anyone with a working knowledge of opera would look at some of my affinities among film scores and just their head at me.

      (9) It was a thing that got Kickstarted last year. Blew past the goals, unsurprisingly (DS9 fans are crazy devoted). Not sure when it will actually come out, but I will buy one -- kinda feel bad for not Kickstarting it, actually.

      (10) Sounds like the bad kind of heroin to me! (The sleeplessness, that is.) All of the side effects but none of the fun. I say this having never done heroin. Don't do drugs, kids! As for "Psycho IV," I'm kind of looking forward to it.

    2. (8) Nah, not at all. I like the way you analyze music, particularly soundtracks. Your Bond soundtrack and John Williams overviews are great guides to their respective subject matter.

      The opera appreciation is new. And took me completely by surprise. I keep meaning to blog something about it. Maybe I still will. I was looking for ways to further alienate the reading public/ my contemporaries... that might do it.

    3. (8) Well, not this one! I'd be quite glad to read something from you about it. It's a topic I know virtually nothing about apart from some of the obviously-iconic overtures and whatnot. It'd be cool for me to get to learn a bit about it through the eyes of somebody whose tastes/methods I'm kind of familiar with.

  3. Speaking of Troma, I found an interesting example of an 80s soundtrack song being reused for another film.

    It's called "Angel". The band's name is GTM. It was first part of the soundtrack for "War Games", and then Loyd Kaufman put it to use for "The Class of Nukem High"

    For me, it's another example of a trend from that era. I mean sub-par films having either decent, kickass, or unjustly neglected pop songs on their soundtracks.

    One example that caught my attention in particular was "Children of the Night", written for "Maniac Cop 2". What's mind blowing about it is that the song was composed and sung by Buddy Miles, who used to drum for freakin' Hendrix, of all things. Then again, Ringo Starr once found himself reduced to a PBS kids series, so I guess it fits into that category, whatever that's supposed to be.

    The best example I know of, however is a little ditty called "Edge of a Dream":

    If that song sounds familiar, here's a memory jogger:


    1. Oh, man, some primo eighties there! Both of them. I kinda think I've heard "Edge of a Dream" someplace, but wouldn't swear to it; I've never seen that movie, or the MST3K episode.

      In the latter case, I'm sure I'm missing out.

  4. Just in case any of you fine folk are interested in hearing that podcast I mentioned appearing on, here 'tis: