During my studies in Pulse College, for my final year thesis project for my Degree in Music Production I rescored Frankenstein
I chose Frankenstein for this project as it is one of the most famous horror stories in the history of cinema, and as of 2018 will see the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s original novel published in 1818. This is my own 15 minute edit and adaption of James Whales classic monster horror film, released by Universal Pictures in 1931. There are also some small visual manipulations throughout the film, In contrast to the beautiful black and white images a flash of colour surrounding the monster can be seen which initially starts out as faint and becomes more dominant as the Monster becomes more enraged. This is creative decision, a metaphor for the introduction of colour into cinema.
At the time of it’s release, known as the ‘Silent Era’ due to the limitations of adding a musical score to a film’s soundtrack during the early 1930’s, no musical score had ever been composed for the movie. As a composer and avid horror film fan this really interested me, and so this project came to life.
My inspiration for my score comes from how the sound of horror can’t be explained by a single sound or instrument, but at its best, the music is as gripping as the scariest visual, and it is timelessly evocative. I believe that in film scoring, and in particular within the horror genre, it allows the composer to create an intense atmosphere using a wide range of tools and instrumentation, that have been echoed in countless other films over decades, for example; slashing violins, designed to shred your nerves each time you hear them or dark pulsing synthesised electronic sounds which pay homage to the 70’s & 80’s. There are other horror tropes within my score such as a Theremin, which produces a distinctively eerie tone shifting up and down in pitch according to the position of the operator’s hands in relation to a pair of magnetised antennae
Using both instrumentation of the time (solo string quartet) and production and recording techniques used in contemporary horror film scoring (synthesisers, automation, sampling instruments, audio manipulation and sound design etc..) my approach was to create a juxtaposing piece of music and to consider how this would react to a silent film released in the early 1900’s.
So please, go grab yourself a cup of tea, turn out the lights, click play below and enjoy this experience (hopefully with a decent set of headphones/speakers!)
The film was presented in Windmill Lane Recording Studios, Studio One to a small audience in May 2017.