Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 October 15 • Monday

James Horner scored Wolfen, but not before Craig Safan did. His rejected score is the 239th Soundtrack of the Week.

According to Gergely Hubai's Torn Music: Rejected Film Scores, a Selected History, Safan's score was appreciated by everybody but got cut when the movie was taken away from the original director, "well behind schedule and working with an overly long director's cut", and given to at least two other people to direct.

"Main Title and First Killings" is over nine minutes and almost consistently unsettling and menacing. Eerily bent notes for flutes or something similar usher in "The Body". The same instruments and ideas are also found in "The Morgue". Both cues contain some explosive and lush moments as well.

Dense, keening horns, bursts of percussion, panicky strings, swirling unknown instruments and pounding pursuit music provide the mood for "Run to Church" while "Run from Church" begins calmly, with relatively peaceful wooden flute playing. After a burst of aggression from the orchestra, more textured passages are the norm, alternating between sweeping and haunting, with regular interruptions to suggest dread and danger.

The use of chimes distinguishes "Wilson and Pearl", which also has interesting, unusual writing for horns. "Thinking of the Kill" has a startling moment when the clarinet swoops from one note to another, using a Dixieland sound where you would never expect one.

"Shape Shifting"seems to suggest its own title as instruments blend with and overlap other instruments and the music, using what sounds like the whole orchestra, changes shape completely a few times.

More nervous and ominous music is heard "At the Zoo", at least in the beginning and ending. In the middle is an almost gentle section.

"The Dream and Love Scene" is mostly tense music similar to what's gone before. At the very end is a little bit that sounds like it might be for a love scene.

Weird sounds abound in " Whittington Gets Snuffed". Especially effective are the plucked strings, perhaps zithers, that sound as though they've been muted with paper.

"Indian Bar" begins with an assaultive blast from the orchestra before continuing to the more familiar, textural territory of the score. The last two tracks, "Discovery and Penthouse" and "Wall Street and Wolfen Finale", mostly wind things down before building to a big finish.

Safan manages the neat trick, over and over, of getting an orchestra to produce a wide range of sounds in the same way that sound spills out of wind chimes. His score for Wolfen is propelled by air, more stormy than breezy.