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Pure Horror: A Compilation of Original Score Themes

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Label: Beyond

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Pure Horror: A Compilation of Original Score Themes collects creepy highlights from the scores of '90s horror films, including Candyman 3: Day of the Dead, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies, and Soul Survivors. Though some of the films represented here are of questionable quality, most of the music is at least effectively eerie. In particular, the excerpts from Carter Burwell's score for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 -- "Funny Farm" and "Dossiers" -- are particularly memorable for their blend of natural sounds and avant-garde arrangements. Likewise, "The Cellar," a rustling, clanking piece from the original Blair Witch Project, instantly recalls the film's distinctive blend of manipulated reality and the scene of its most horrific (if unseen) moments. Of the more traditionally musical scores excerpted here, James Newton Howard's music for Stir of Echoes fares best; pieces like "Empty Couch" and "Kidnapping Jake" borrow from horror movie music traditions like eerie, high-pitched string sections, but also manage to sound original. Though Pure Horror: A Compilation of Original Score Themes certainly doesn't feature an ideal track selection, it's nice to see some attention paid to contemporary horror scores as well as the classic ones. ~ Heather Phares