2 out of 5
Label: Waxwork Records
Produced by: ?
Damn, this was… surprisingly boring. I can’t claim to know anything about Les Reed’s music – Reed was part of the John Barry 7 and composed notable tracks with Mr. Barry from before my time – but he has quite a history with movie and TV tunes prior to Creepshow 2, and I feel like a good horror score can benefit from some pop tune sensibilities that such scoring might employ, so, sure, y’know, Les Reed. Add to that Rick Wakeman of Yes (and 90 billions other albums’) fame, and you’d seem to have the backbone for at least an interesting score.
Reed’s liner notes on this Waxwork edition make it sound likely that Creepshow 2 producer David Ball, whom requested Wakeman, was probably just a prog fanboy, seeing if he could nab one of his musical heroes to guest star on the thing (this is 1000% conjecture on my behalf), which may be why Wakeman’s contributions are an absolute snooze, or, at least, why the guy approached it more as an experimental set of tracks – all minimalist, plodding notes – than something befitting a pulp-inspired scare flick, as in: he scored what he wanted to, versus what maybe made more sense.
Reed’s work is much more listenable in comparison, but he also seems to be unsure of what tone to strike at the score’s outset: the first LPs take until the first few tracks of side B to show much life. Side A has some spots of inspiration, when orchestration kicks in, but it’s otherwise rather wishy-washy, with the film clips that are mixed in too quiet in comparison to the music. However, side D’s tracks are fantastic, and full of life: fully orchestrated; big, thematic sounds. It’s admittedly been many years since I’ve seen Creepshow 2, so I can’t say if the scenes scored demanded the change in musical styles, but regardless, side D is the only part of the listen that actually emerges as fully composed and of interest.
Further knocking down the listenability of this is how it’s sequenced. Creepshow 2 is an anthology film with 3 segments. If we assume they’re of equal length, you can see how that creates some timing problems whether you’re on 1 LP or 2, and, indeed, the “episodes” are split across the sides, with the second part (the one Wakeman score) starting on the last track of side B, and the third part drifting over from C to D, meaning that we have to go and flip the vinyl or change it and start up sort of in the middle of a thought. As though to cover for the underwhelming nature of the score, Waxwork at least went all out – moreso than usual – on packaging, with a pseudo comic book as the liner notes, and super-bright, eye-catching cover art from Gary Pullin.