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Rare Film Score from Ken Thorne Released

B-Movie director Kevin Connor helmed this Eddie Albert horror film from  a popular novel, The House Where Evil Dwells (1982).  Set in Japan, the backstory involves a tragic story involving a samurai discovering his wife in bed with his best friend.  These events somehow infest the home which Albert and his family then end up renting.  Dragon’s Domain released this Ken Thorne (1924-2014) in time for the centenary of his birth having also released The Protector (1985) a while back.  The British composer is perhaps more known for his conducting and orchestration work.  His scores are not as well known, though his work on Superman II and III appeared as part of a complete set of scores for that earlier franchise outing.  The 1980s were a particularly fruitful decade for him and he collaborated on other of Connor’s films (Arabian Adventure; Marco Polo; Return to Lonesome Dove).

Thorne sets up the ancient component of the story with Japanese musical gestures as the “Kyoto Prologue” begins.  This haunting quality continues into the main title music as well with string writing also adding a nice touch.  It gives way to a gentle lyric theme in “Drive to, And Tour The House” with flute and piano against a string background.  The flute adds its own haunting quality which then is blended in with additional sounds as the horror elements of the plot begin to emerge in “First Night-The Ghosts Appear”.  The score features these balanced elements with a fine engaging lyrical theme (often with piano and strings) in a common approach for films of this type at the time.  In fact, it is just this interesting blend of acoustic orchestral sounds that helps elevate the score above the material and makes for an engaging listen.  Urgent, more jagged string punctuations add tension against percussion and Japanese musical gestures and instrumentation as needed.  Alongside this are requisite little dissonant clusters (sometimes with electronics blended into the texture).  This adds to the overall uniqueness of the score.   

The premiere release of this brief score also includes two final alternate cues to help pad things out a bit.  The House Where Evil Dwells is a solid genre effort from Thorne with the ethnic elements adding a sort of macabre Kabuki-esque quality to the score.  His romantic primary theme, has a fine Williams-esque style that is also quite appealing.  Fans of horror scores of the 1970s and 1980s will want to also check this score out.  The album is also edited like a release of the time would be (i.e., longer tracks consisting of shorter elements).  For additional information and samples head to BuySoundtrax’s website.


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