John Carpenter has revealed some secrets behind his new Halloween score. John Carpenter wasn't initially interested in coming on board for David Gordon Green's new take on the franchise, but Jason Blum was able to persuade him in the end, which resulted in an executive producer role as well as composing a new score. After some trepidation, Carpenter got back into the swing of things and is very happy with the results, and says that the new film is easily the best one since his 1978 original.
Halloween isn't even out yet, but it has gained quite a bit of praise from those who have already seen it, and John Carpenter's Halloween score is one of the factors that helps make it as good as it is. In a recent interview, Carpenter talked about some of the unusual methods that he and his son Cody, and godson Daniel Davies used while crafting the new score. One of the more weirder elements utilized was the team rubbing their pants, recording it, and then manipulating the sample with distortion, according to Carpenter. He says, "you're also hearing the drum machine orchestral hits," mixed in with the pants rubbing. The technique is used during a house slasher scene.
Back when John Carpenter created the iconic score for 1978's Halloween, he was using old analog synthesizers, which gave him the ability to create orchestrations cheaply, and by himself. The composer broke new ground with the use of the synthesizers, which soon became the go to element in horror movies of the late 70s and 80s. Carpenter had this to say about using the old technology and blending in today's more advanced tools.
"The score was done in 1978 on old tube synthesizers. It was very crude. Well, today, the technology has just advanced, amazingly. And the sounds have become very sophisticated and deep. We adapted the old themes and refurbished them so they sound better. But then we sprinkled the new stuff."
John Carpenter also talked about the different musical motifs that he uses for Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, noting that he does not mix the two. It's that eye for detail that really drives the different elements of one of Carpenter's scores. There's always something similar going on, but at the same time, it's very different when you sit back and pay attention. He explains.
"They're never going to merge as characters. They're in conflict, so there are always different approaches to the music. He's just aggression, he's evil on the hoof."
Early reviews of John Carpenter's new Halloween score have been favorable, especially for the "The Shape Returns" and the music during the finale, where the composer says he "pulled out the kitchen sink and made it dark." Lucky attendees to Carpenter's upcoming tour will be able to hear some of these new tracks live alongside his classic material, which sounds like a pretty epic show. You can read the rest of the interview with John Carpenter over at Indie Wire.