Anthology II (Sacred Bones)
Not content with just being a celebrated director, John Carpenter – the man who defined the slasher genre with Halloween, and sci-fi action with Escape From New York and The Thing – Is also one of the film world’s great soundtrackers. In some respects the antithesis of John Williams and Hans Zimmer’s sweeping orchestral works, though no less atmospheric, over the decades Carpenter’s body of music has barely strayed from his love of synth. Brooding, understated and direct, it’s both nostalgic in its 80s roots and timeless in this cultural specificity.
Anthology II, his third compilation since 2016, contains more recognisable classics. Laurie’s Theme, Chariot Of Pumpkins and The Shape Stalks Again from the Halloween series, tense and palpitating like a jittering heartbeat; Fuchs and To Macs Shack from The Thing, heavy and eerie like the film’s creeping sense of frosty paranoia; Wake Up, from They Live, and 69th Street Bridge from Escape To New York, upbeat counterbalances – the former a bouncing, rock‘n’roll-tinged jam and the latter painting an urban soundscape through bubbling marimba and ominous drumbeats, the underbelly of a thriving metropolis.
It’s telling that Carpenter was coaxed out of retirement for the Halloween franchise’s recent reboot to craft the trilogy’s music more than anything else. You almost have to wonder if the films exist to inspire the music, or if music was a happy byproduct that has kept a veteran artist’s creative mind sharp.
words HANNAH COLLINS