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Child’s Play

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Chucky, the demented doll and horror icon with the devilish little face, peered out at me from a torn VHS cover at my local video store and haunted my dreams as a kid. Now, thirty years later, I found a surprising opportunity to contribute to his cinematic legacy, by scoring director Lars Klevberg’s imaginative new spin on the classic, Child’s Play. This film gave me the chance to assemble a unique “toy orchestra,” use my own voice to create a “kids choir,” and collaborate closely with legendary actor Mark Hamill, who sang my tune for the film, “The Buddi Song.” Child’s Play opened theatrically this week, and my soundtrack album is available now!

When I first watched the new film in an early cut, I was shocked by its sophisticated and surprisingly emotional storytelling. Stripped of the original film’s supernatural voodoo origins, this version of Child’s Play drew from contemporary fears of cloud-based computing, automation, loss of privacy, corporate irresponsibility, and the risks of smart-home convenience. The film drips with tonal references to many of my favorite 1980s films, incorporating Verhoeven’s satirical humor, Spielberg’s childhood wonder, and Kubrick’s existential dread – equal parts horror, science fiction, thriller, and classic Amblin-style childhood adventure. With these influences in mind, I dove into creating a musical voice for this new vision of the classic tale.

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Godzilla King of the Monsters

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PROLOGUE

Godzilla has permeated global popular culture for over six decades.  His first cinematic appearance in 1954’s Gojira launched the kaiju film genre, “kaiju,” translating literally to “strange beast.” This summer, he has returned to the big screen in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and I am honored to have composed the score for this next entry in cinema’s longest running franchise. Like many fans in the West, I knew Godzilla through television broadcasts of Japanese films and ubiquitous media culture. However, the film that actually introduced me to Godzilla and Ghidorah was not one of the Toho Co. classics scored by Akira Ifukube, but Peewee’s Big Adventure, a quirky American comedy scored by my childhood hero, Danny Elfman.

Nearly thirty years later, Godzilla would emerge into my life again and once again Danny Elfman’s music was playing. I invited a few friends to join me at the Hollywood Bowl performance of Danny Elfman’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, with Elfman himself on stage singing the songs. One of those friends was Michael Dougherty, with whom I share a mutual love of all things “scifi, fantasy, horror genre.” That night, Michael told me he was writing and directing the new Godzilla film, the sequel to the 2014 film, Godzilla, and I thought Warner Bros. and Legendary could not have picked a better guy to expand their “MonsterVerse” cinematic universe.

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