5 out of 5
Produced by: J. Yuenger (vinyl remaste)
Label: Waxwork Records
I don’t think any genre fans are in doubt as to the awesomeness of Evil Dead 2 – though there might be debate as to the superior flick between it and the original – but for those latter-years Raimi appreciators who might’ve been hard-pressed to see the director’s merits in his earlier films, I’d recommend sitting down and experiencing Joseph LoDuca’s scores as standalone pieces. There’s something absolutely classic Hollywood about these compositions: lacking the sort of winky jaunt that a lot of horror composers employ, or the overt ominousness of Carpenter’s stuff, and instead employing an appreciation for tension and beauty that one might trace to Bernard Hermann’s Hitchcock stuff. That being said, the scores are equally recognizable as particular to ED and to LoDuca, and his merging of some classic sensibilities with a modern edge – some harsh sounds, some risks – is a perfect match for Sam’s visual presentation of the same.
What’s even more impressive about ED2’s music – to separate it from ED 1 – is how effectively haunting it is on its own, but then becomes the perfect counterpoint to the film’s comedy elements when experienced while viewing. It’s especially rewarding as a vinyl experience due the way it follows the film’s structure: with a sense of menace and playfulness on side A – the gorgeous, wicked combo of Hush Lil’ Baby and Pee-Wee Head or the implied threat in the latter third of Ash’s Dream / Dancing Game / Dance of the Dead – and then the unleashment of evil on the B side, giving us absolutely thrilling themes and a great combination of all that’s come before with the End Title tune.
Again, you have to stop and remember: this was essentially a comedy, and even thinking that while listening, it’s amazing how flexible the music proves to be – equally effective at straddling different moods based on context.
The Waxworks remaster is really impressive, maintaining the rich sound of the original recordings (for which Waxwork is known) without any notable pops or distortion (for which they’d also unfortunately become known); re-masterer Jay Yuenger did an excellent job. The artwork is also phenomenal, both on the jacket and vinyl itself, really capturing the flick’s style.
An excellent score already, given a professional re-presentation.