Thanks to everybody who showed up at the signing last week! Wrong Turn 2 has finally come out on DVD and has been getting incredible reviews. I’m fortunate enough to have gotten a CD release from La La Land Records, which is also now shipping. Autographed copies are available from the label’s website.
The movie is a lot more fun than it has any right to be, considering it’s a straight to DVD sequel. Director Joe Lynch threw blood by the bucket loads and let everyone in the film have fun with it. The music was no exception. Traditional horror score cliches were replaced by fiddles, banjos, accordions, washboards and jugs… the bluegrass band from hell.
Here’s me, kicking the unholy hell out of Joe’s ass at Guitar Hero II. I don’t mean to gloat. I’m really not very good. He just sucks at it, I guess.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the record (click on the links to hear a clip):
1. Main Title
- The duality of the film is summed up perfectly in this opening track. A dark and oppressive synth texture is punctured with statements of the mutant “Family’s theme” in distorted banjos. It continues to build in ferocious energy until it suddenly explodes… into a mangled waltz, played by lazy strumming guitars and a fiddle. Doug Lacy whistles the tune over this oddly comical backdrop. If you’ve seen the film, you know that this music accompanies the first kill… among the most gruesome moments in film I’ve seen in a long time. The music gives you permission to have a little chuckle along with the filmmakers. Getting this cue right was a big challenge for me, but I think that we nailed it.
2. “Ultimate Survivalist” Theme Song
- This is a bit of source music, the theme song for the fictitious reality show hosted by Henry Rollins’ character Dale Murphy. I collaborated with long-time friend Jonathan Snipes, and his band Captain Ahab to provide loops for the whole score. But he also produced two songs for us, including this one. Music nerds may notice this theme coming back in future cues as “Dale’s Theme.”
3. Dale for Dinner
- The first of the real score cues, and it highlights both “Dale’s theme” (performed by distorted synthesizers and taiko drums) and the “Family’s theme “(performed by banjos, guitars and fiddles).
4. The Birth of Baby Splooge
- A very disturbing scene of a mutant cannibal giving birth gives way to a pulse-pounding action cue. The backdrop of the cue is an energetic acoustic guitar riff. I was going for something out of a bluegrass or blues tune. But, the melodic and textural elements above it are pretty disturbing. Distorted fiddle, screaming vocals shot through tube amplifiers and of course, banjos and more banjos.
5. Nina’s Theme
- I didn’t have many scenes in this movie to do something sensitive, so I tried to make them count. This theme was part of a sneaky little trick Joe pulled on the audience. I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll just say that this theme is associated with a different character in the earlier parts of the film. Regardless, it’s actually a pretty little tune, which doesn’t get much screen time in the action-packed film.
6. Mutant Cannibal Incest
- This cue introduces the biggest, most bad-ass mutant hillbilly of them all, known simply as Pa. This guy prowls through the forest, firing off arrows and throwing axes like a ninja or something. So, I gave him a signature little bluegrass riff that builds in energy as he stalks his prey. Then, later on in the cue, our main characters encounter Brother and Sister mutants in the woods, doing… well, you get the idea. 🙂
7. Into the Mill
- This cue marked the beginning of Act III, where our heroes find the abandoned paper mill, the source of all the evil mutants. A lone, acoustic sitar represents their journey into an exotic, new location. Later on in the cue, we get more of Dale’s theme as he sneaks through the shadows. At the end, you’ll hear a bunch of scraping autoharps that haven’t been tuned in decades, which gives the groove a very disturbing quality.
8. Arrow Through Two Heads
- Some more of Pa’s theme, with a particularly insane Steve Bartek guitar solo screaming in the background. This cue is actually among my favorite of the score cues. Two characters are ensnared in a trap and await their fate in this scene, and it allowed me a great opportunity to create music both sympathetic and terrifying at the same time. Also listen for some crazy accordion pads and totally bizarre John Avila bass riffs in the background.
9. Dale Vigilante
- This is a medley of my favorite Dale moments, including his hand-to-hand battles with Three Finger and Old Timer. Dale’s theme, both the distorted synth melody and taiko drums, play important roles throughout this track.
10. Hunting Dale
- This was a fun sequence where Dale plays a game of “Cat and Mouse” with Brother and Sister. Most of the action cues in this film were totally chaotic. This scene provided me the chance to let things simmer a little while, take more time building up the suspense. The de-tuned autoharps make another appearance as well.
11. Rescuing Nina
- My favorite of the big action cues. The “Family theme” is woven throughout this dark guitar riff. This cue was a lot of fun and provided the inspiration for the Captain Ahab song at the end of the record.
12. Dale to the Rescue
- Another cue developing “Dale’s theme.” This one ends with a particularly weird and disturbing sound collage of banjos and guitars. Fun stuff.
13. The Meat Grinder
- The big, scary finale. This scene was a bitch to score, but very rewarding in the end.
14. Baby Splooge Lives
- After a brief return of an earlier theme, this scene devolves into a variation of the Main Title: slow, ominous fiddle textures beneath banjo statements of the “Family theme.”
- I wanted to give the film an upbeat ending that reminded us of all the various 80s horror film references in the movie. So, this energetic rock / techno beat delivers the “Family theme” in its most kick-ass arrangement. Paul Cartwright’s fiddle solo in the middle of this still blows me away. The track ends with a variation of the waltz from the “Main Title,” taking the album full circle.
16. Under Your Bones
- Performed and produced by Captain Ahab, this track was written by Jonathan Snipes and myself, with lyrics by Brian Miller. I’ve always wanted to collaborate with Captain Ahab, and this movie was clearly the perfect opportunity. This song turned out so well, we worked together last summer on a song for the Eureka soundtrack.
While it’s definitely a little more chaotic and crazy than the Battlestar Galactica albums, I think you guys will dig this record. Frequent Battlestar musicians Steve Bartek (guitars and banjos), John Avila (bass), Paul Cartwright (fiddle and mandolins), Doug Lacy (whistling and percussion) and M.B. Gordy (percussion and taikos) contribute some really amazing musicianship to this album.
As for Galactica news, I’ve finished scoring Razor and I begin the first episode of season 4 in a week or two. I’ve also collaborated with a member of the Galactica cast to write a song that was used in a pivotal scene they shot last week. More on that later. 🙂
The long-delayed Battlestar Galactica Season 3 album starts shipping Oct. 23rd, but it will be worth the wait. I’ll try to do another blog like this one breaking the various tracks apart, but it might have to wait until November. That week is going to be a busy one for me, since I will also be performing again with the Oingo Boingo alums for our third Johnny Vatos Tribute to Halloween at the House of Blues on October 26th and 27th. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster. Hope to see you guys there!
So Say We All,