Jennifer 8/Young & Jarre

April 2, 2012

One of the latest trends in CD re-issues has been including when possible the rejected material along with the original soundtrack so the listener can compare composer interpretations. This reviewer recently had the opportunity to compare the scores of Henry Mancini and Charles Strouse for the film Molly Maguires, released by Kritzerland. It was quite an eye opener to hear the difference and the same can be said about Jennifer 8. Written and directed by Bruce Robinson, the film starred Andy Garcia, Lance Henricksen, and Uma Thurman in a suspense/thriller dealing with an unsolved serial killer case involving blind girls. The film didn’t do well at the box office resulting in a twenty year hiatus of directing for Robinson who recently returned in Rum Diaries last year, also offering a Chris Young score.

Christopher Young approached the thriller with a somewhat subdued score featuring the piano(s) backed by an orchestra featuring harp, strings, and percussion. The little brass that was used only included French horns in the orchestration from Pete Anthony and Young. Also absent are woodwinds which contribute to the unique sound that Young was able to offer. Highlighting the soundtrack were selective uses of the synthesizer. Young never felt the need to use loud dissonance to terrify and get the attention of the audience. He used a dissonant but delicate background on several of the tracks that achieved the same result. The “Jennifer 8” theme is a strong memorable one introduced by the piano and part or all of it is repeated on other tracks. It is a theme that I like to say is one that gets stuck in the brain and you can’t get it out. “Cello for Helena” certainly doesn’t sound like it is from a terror movie. While the piano beginning is somewhat creepy the cello solo is very quiet, simply played, and very somber. No razzle/dazzle on this one. The track ends with the piano as it began. “I Remember Red” is music that puts to rest the terror we’ve seen on the screen with delicate piano, a statement from the horns and shimmering strings. “Up On a Star” is a nice re-statement of the main title as the concluding material in the score. The original RCA release combines both of these tracks in “I Remember Red.” “Brain Vanish” is an excellent example of the underscore Young can create. He uses strings only as the main focal point and carefully places celesta, piano, double bass, and harp to bring out the suspense even further. This score is one that often gets overlooked as top 100 material. It was a breaking out score for Chris who went on to get more lucrative assignments as a result of this soundtrack. It should not be overlooked.

The other CD in the set is the unused/rejected score from Oscar winning composer Maurice Jarre. Your first listen will reveal the addition of a woodwind section resulting in a typical sounding orchestral arrangement, again with French horn for brass and a greater dependence upon the use of synthesizers to achieve the creepiness necessary. Like the Young material it doesn’t resort to loud brash dissonant chords but subtle means to achieve the desired effect. The “Main Title” is also an excellent offering which offers a good melody that changes ½ way through and also introduces the killer melody, dark and brooding. My favorite track from Jarre is “On Your Own/Cello Solo/Breathless/Café Chat” which begins with low register woodwinds, a brief Cello voice, and then the disturbing killer melody with swirling strings. It is followed by the Cello solo with the Double Bass offering a response. Overall, the Cello melody is a bit stronger than Young’s. What follows is a nice violin exchange between piano and cello with some nice piano work in a major key concluding the track. Another nice track is “.22 Bullet” which features the killer theme with woodwinds and low register strings. Keep in mind that the Jarre material is not complete as the change to Young was made part way through. His underscore is very heavily synthesized material.

I found the transfer from a digital master to be excellent offering nice tonal range with distinct separation between the instruments. I was a little disappointed that the two source cues “Humming Chorus” and “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” were not included in the Young CD. I’ve included them as audio clips for a little bonus in addition to the original track listing so you might compare. If you don’t have this fine soundtrack why haven’t you picked up the phone and ordered it? It will be a welcome addition in your collection. If you have the original release I feel there is enough difference for you to re-invest in this release as you’ll be getting close to an hour of additional material.

Track listing:

Disc/1

1.     Jennifer 8 (02:06)

2.     What You See (01:50)

3.     Eight To Nine (02:02)

4.     Still Life (05:15)

5.     Black Winter (02:27)

6.     Eyes of A Child (01:36)

7.     Cello for Helena (02:40)

8.     See No Evil (06:44)

9.     Retrograde (01:27)

10.    Blind Faith (02:42)

11.    Talking Elevator (02:13)

12.    Outfoxed (02:17)

13.    Malice Aforethought (03:15)

14.    Brain Vanish (05:18)

15.    See How They Run (01:27)

16.    I Remember Red (01:55)

17.    Up on A Star (02:15)

Disc/2

1.     Main Title (02:14)

2.     To the Dump / One Hand (01:39)

3.     Frozen Hand / Dig Jennifer (01:36)

4.     Braille Reader /Tea Time / Elevator Man / Hello Helena (01:45)

5.     22 Bullet (01:29)

6.     On Your Own / Cello Solo / Breathless / Cafe Chat (02:59)

7.     VW Van / Van Search / Picking Lock (03:36)

8.     No Braille (02:34)

9.     X-mas Threat / Not Wrong / Up the Ladder / Flashlight (Part I) (02:48)

10.    Flashlight (Part II) (02:02)

11.    Flashlight (Part III) / Ross Shot / Deviate Calls (03:37)

12.    First Degree / Taxi Ride / Needed Friend (01:46)

13.    No Lies / Ashtray (03:17)

ALTERNATE CUES:

14.    Main Title (Alternate Version) (02:12)

15.    Hello Helena (Pad Stem) (00:43)

16.    Van Search (Alternate Version) (01:20)

17.    Ross Shot / Deviate Calls (Alternate Mix) (02:49)

18.    Taxi Ride (Alternate Version) (00:50)

Total Duration: 01:26:45

Track listing: RCA/Milan #66120-2

1.     Jennifer 8, Main Title (02:06)

2.     Retrograde (01:27)

3.     Eight to Nine (02:58)

4.     Cello for Helena (02:29)

5.     What You See (01:18)

6.     Humming Chorus (03:07)  06 – Puccini Madama Butterfly – Humming Chorus

(From Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”)

7.     Eye to Eye (02:18)

8.     Still Life (02:56)

9.     Brain Vanish (05:16)

10.    Black Winter (02:24)

11.    Palmist (01:23)

12.    Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (02:45)  12 – Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

Written by F. Gruber and J. Mohr; Performed by Thomanerchor Leipzig

13.    Malice Aforethought (03:13)

14.    Talking Elevator (02:37)

15.    Outfoxed (02:14)

16.    I Remember Red (04:00)

Total Duration: 00:42:31

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