Unboxing and reviewing one of horrordom’s most iconic scores on Vinyl from Mondo/Death Waltz
Lend an ear to SPINEMA: a column exploring all movie music, music related to movies, and movies related to music. Be they film scores on vinyl, documentaries on legendary musicians, or albums of original songs by horror directors, all shall be reviewed here. Batten down your headphones, because shit’s about to sound cinematic.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET — Original Motion Picture Soundtrack LP. Music by Charles Bernstein. Artwork by Mike Saputo. Pressed on 180 Gram “Freddy’s Sweater” Red with Green Stripe colored vinyl. Expected to Ship in October 2019. Ships Worldwide. $30
Charles Bernstein’s score to the 1984 horror-classic A Nightmare on Elm Street is available on vinyl again from Death Waltz and Mondo.
Restocked and available now is the “Freddy’s Sweater” Red with Green Stripe colored 180 gram vinyl. (A Texas Frightmare exclusive Red with Green Splatter variant was also produced, but appears to be sold out).
Unboxing The Package
Nightmare’s LP jacket features incredible artwork by Mike Caputo (inside and out), and a full tracklist on the back side. An informative U-card (spine cover), typical of Death Waltz/Mondo releases, is also included.
Pictured is the “ Freddy’s Sweater Red with Green Stripe” vinyl design, a visual nod to the bogeyman’s famous attire. A black innersleeve is included and the LP labels feature a full track list.
Some close-ups detailing the beautiful artwork of artist Mike Saputo. I love these designs!
“This melody is playing with your sense of order… That theme really created the flavor for the film.”
— Charles Bernstein
In an interview on the documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, composer Charles Bernstein explains the primary concept behind the famous theme of A Nightmare on Elm Street. The notion of the thematic melody is deliberately playing against mental expectation, even placing some intentionally false notes to keep you on edge.
One thing that’s great about this score, particularly in comparison to a lot of horror music, its that it’s not just spooky ambience and scary noises. This is some really great music that’s a lot of fun to listen to — and probably my personal favorite classic horror film score. Listening to this on vinyl in particular, the analog sounds reminds me of the terrific experience of watching the film on 35mm.
The LP includes 29 tracks in total, clocking in at around 46 minutes. Many of the tracks are quite short, but it turns out that’s not a bad thing — this record is full of variety and the frequent change-ups keep thing moving at a furious clip.
Bernstein’s score effectively creates a great sense of off-kilter atmosphere, with a hint of playground whimsy (“1, 2, Freddy’s Coming for You”). And of course that famous main theme’s motif which weaves its way in throughout the score, notably in “Terror in the Tub” which switches over to a hard-driving synth melody, the expansive “Nancy Glen” and “Boiler Room”, and piano-accompanied “Bridge Talk” and “Dad at Glen’s”, among others.
Hard-driving musical sequences accompany the film’s various moments of action or terror with pulsating beats and throbbing synth tones — among these tracks are “Fountain of Blood” and “Run Nancy”, while “Laying the Trap” is a musical outlier which features an angry wailing guitar over a heavy drum loop.
“Lurking” opens up Side B with eerie echoing tones before going into full nightmare mode in the jangly and discordant “Telephone Terror”.
Other more low-key tracks which focus more on atmosphere and eeriness include “Evil Freddy”, “Final Search”, “Horror Movie”, “Freddy’s Hat” and album closer “Stingers”.
The point is that this is a terrific album with a mix of scary and exciting tones that plays well as music for music’s sake, separate from the film. This is a gorgeous presentation of one of the most iconic and listenable horror film scores: A Nightmare on Elm Street Soundtrack LP is an easy recommend.
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All package photography in this article was taken by the author.