Demon in the Bottle

November 30, 2020

Track Listing

  1. Demon in the Bottle: Main Title (1:07)
  2. Pirates Battle (1:57)
  3. Deadly Cave (2:46)
  4. Locker Intimidation (1:25)
  5. Skeletons / Discovering Treasure (3:47)
  6. Murray Talks (1:02)
  7. Blue Bottle Monster / Run for Your Life (4:12)
  8. Isn’t No Monster (1:54)
  9. Marvin Monster Chase / Looking for an Exit (2:43)
  10. Frantic Buttons / Freddie Finds Bottle (1:57)
  11. Nana’s Efreet Stories / Efreet Jumps (1:29)
  12. Hunting Murray / Marvin Escapes (2:25)
  13. Murray in the Lunchbox (1:01)
  14. Marvin’s Shower (2:12)
  15. Finding the Painting and The Body (2:29)
  16. Mirror Monster Chase / Scaffolding Climb (3:11)
  17. The Kiss (:33)
  18. Vice Grip Interrogation (1:27)
  19. Murray Plugs In (1:56)
  20. Monster Suction (2:28)
  21. She’s Dead,You Moron! / Trapped Inside (3:50)
  22. Heap of Melted Slang (:57)
  23. Freddie Regrets / The Girl Still Lives (4:31)
  24. Words of Reason / Amanda Expelled (5:18)
  25. Treasure Rediscovered (1:29)
  26. Marvin Leaves (2:04)
  27. Russell Learns (1:14)
  28. Demon in the Bottle: End Credits (2:13)
  29. Demon in the Bottle Suite
    (Moscow Symphony Orchestra) (3:25)
    Total Running Time: 68:12

John W. Morgan to me will always be remembered for the series of reconstructions of films he did for Naxos with William Stromberg for twenty-plus years. The liner notes explain his background and how he ended up in Hollywood doing what he wants which is to do scores for films.

John W. Morgan is a film composer/orchestrator/ and reconstructionist based in Los Angeles, California. After receiving his Master’s Degree in music at San Diego State University in 1977 and studying composition with David Ward-Steinman, he stayed at UCSD. He taught orchestration, music theory, and various film music courses.

The film, which is available to watch on U Tube, is from 1996 starring Ashley Tesoro, Michael Melota, Rahi Azizi, and Michael Dubrow. It is also now part of the Disney package and runs for 82 minutes produced by the Band brothers Charles and Albert, directed by Randall William Cook which on paper sounded great but in reality with no real budget to work with they were not a factor in the making of this film. Special effects, acting, and sets were awful. The music was relegated to background music which had little or no impact on the film. An understatement is to say I was disappointed in what it had to offer. I guess if I were younger I might have appreciated the film more but if I had not done this review I wouldn’t have wasted my time watching it.

Having said all of the above I found the score to be delightful, filled with underscore material that deserved a far better film than what it ended up in. The main title is a strong one, you’ll remember it as it is a pirate song complete with the era of Arabia and adventure a tribute of sorts to Ray Harryhausen and his movies. This theme is repeated several times in the score not as a leitmotif but in addition to the material being played.

The vast majority of the material is a mixture of synth, woodwinds, keyboard, trombones who did quadruple time in playing (played trombone); the result being incredible for the little he had to work with. Recorded over a three-day period of time the result was nothing short of spectacular and for this reason, it is something you should have in your collection as a study of how to orchestrate!

Some examples. Blue Bottle Monster features a harpsichord which is led in by a solo flute. It is quickly followed by Run For Your Life which has trombones playing overtime sliding almost out of control. It is followed by a cue Isn_t No Monster where the horns pick up again playing a theme in Herrmann-like fashion. One can picture Gunsmoke or Perry Mason and one of the many library cues used by Bernard Herrmann musical cues he wrote for CBS.

Marvin Escapes is a return to the main theme again with the secondary theme being played by the horns in frantic style. Each cue even though blocked out by the film is thought out, well placed and interesting to listen to if you enjoy soundtracks like I do. Mirror Monster Chase/Scaffold Climbing is another example of frantic overtime work from the brass.