Frankenstein Unbound/Carl Davis
December 14, 2013
Do you remember being told growing up to never judge a book by its cover? I sure was on many occasions and it turned out to be very sound advice. I’m also going on record right now that you should never judge a CD by its cover which is exactly what I did when Mark Banning of BSX records sent me a review copy of “Frankenstein Unbound.” When I saw that it was a Roger Corman film with a creepy looking stitched eye I immediately pronounced judgment and came to the conclusion that this would be what I categorized as a one and done CD.When my eye picked up on Davis I thought it was Don not Carl and judged that this would be a synthesized droning horror score. Not only was I wrong but I really like it and will be one that I’ll revisit on a regular basis. The composer is Carl Davis and he has written a fabulous gothic film score performed by the Munich Symphony Orchestra. Carl has been a positive force in soundtrack material as well as writing for silent films which was something I encountered early in my listening.
The film wasn’t a low budget affair that Corman was use to (perhaps the problem?) and it failed at the box office miserably. It had a cast of Raul Julia, John Hurt, and Bridget Fonda, filmed in Italy in a one month period of time. The basic plot is summed up by a quote from Dr. Buchanan in the film: “When we implode an object it simply goes out of time. And right now when it goes, it sort of leaves a door open.” It shifts in time between 1816 and 2031 which is an important point when we talk about the music.
Beginning with constant pounding of the timpani, like Brahms’s 1st our main melody is introduced with a prelude from the horns. It is a gothic one, heavy, foretelling what we’re in store for.”Demonstration of Power” begins quietly with a soft version of the victim melody before it segues into ominous chords. This intermingling of themes is important as it ties together the 200+ years.
“Buchanan’s Regret” is another example of themes being blended together with the victim theme.”Man About Town” is a complete departure from what we’ve heard. It is a sprightly theme reminding one of something Mozart could have written. A minuet of sorts that segues itself into the main melody before the cue concludes. Look for some very well done reed work that is delicate in nature. “Joe and Mary” is another quiet softer passage that introduces a new motif which builds to a passage filled with romance and happiness. A favorite cue of mine on this release is “I Am Frankenstein, I Am Unbound” a track that in my opinion best portrays the Frankenstein Monster. The theme is allowed to fully develop without getting too loud and toward the end we hear a brief reference to the victim theme. The “End Credits” which I’m including as a quietly begin with the victim theme, an angelic motif, and a return to the pounding percussion followed by the main theme. The brass is given an opportunity to carry theme in a majestic fashion.
This is one that you should give serious thought to owning. It is limited editions of only 1200 units so don’t delay too long. Like Benjamin Frankel Carl Davis seems to be right at home in many types of genres.
Total Duration: 00:52:11