4 out of 5
Label: Waxwork Records
Produced by: Jim Cironella
Almost intense to the point of exhaustion, Waxwork’s compiled Night of the Living Dead score would seem to be the first truly complete version of the movie’s soundtrack, though without any creator credits for whatever reason. Prior, abridged versions of the score included names like Spencer Moore, and George Hormel – names associated with a lot of low budget films of the same era – and we’ll suppose the same attributions still apply. This means that ‘Night’ may be somewhat generic in a sense, as I’m not sure I could tell you an individual track from any given horror movie cue, but it’s all rather vibrantly performed (and well reproduced on Waxwork’s vinyl, working with original production company Image Ten), and definitely synced up with the foreboding tone of the flick, which pretty much sticks to its tensions once the first zombie shambles on screen. In fact, given the expansiveness of this set – over 40 tracks across 2 LPs – it can get to be a bit much, although the C-side offers some respite, albeit in the form of music that then wholly recedes into the background.
It’s odd that the liner notes speak more to the legacy of the film than the music, but by the same token, it’s cool to have some insights from original dialogue recorder and sound engineer Gary Streiner – it adds to the legit feeling of the soundtrack’s presentation, which extends to the thematic color swirl variants Waxwork decided on, as well as Robert Sammelin’s well-reproduced likenesses of the movie’s characters on the cover. A very fun score that instantly calls to mind a grand ol’ B-movie experience – though not to relegate Romero’s classic to that status, of course.