Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2022 October 24 • Monday

The 749th Soundtrack of the Week is Dracula A.D. 1972, scored by Mike Vickers.

The movie begins in 1872 and the first track, the "Warner Bros. Logo", has a deliberately old-fashioned sound to it, perhaps meant to refer back to Lugosi-era Dracula.

Then "Prologue/Hyde Park 1872" introduces us to the main theme accompanied by an insistent snare drum part and organ, plus a few breaks for wind instruments.

A percussion intro brings us into the groovy world of the seventies and "Main Theme: Dracula A.D. 1972", with distorted guitar and horns now playing the theme we just heard with a funky groove.

Organ and electric guitar create an eerie atmosphere for bass clarinet and other wind and string instruments for the suspenseful "Johnny Looks at Ring/Legend of Dracula" while "Devil Circle Music" is a wonderfully crazy cue full of percussion, weird electronic noises and bizarre wordless vocals.

"Baptism by Blood" is also strange but much more cloudy and sedate, as echoing and fluttering instruments swoop around in an airy sonic world.

Timpani propel us remorselessly into "Dracula Rising/The Blood Ritual/Laura Screams", which starts slowly but menacingly with carefully chosen statements by just a few statements before jumping into a driving seventies groove again, basically the main theme again but not exactly the same.

Some big open chords, major and minor, announce that “Mae Comes Back”, and the feeling is moving and uplifting, with an angelic upper register synth line as the focus.

“Father and Son (Resurrection 2)” is a tenser, more ominous piece, again with a cool synth rhythm track and very composed and controlled keyboard work on top.

The next cue, “Severin Dies”, is an errie and effective bit of dramatic underscore, holding itself back for the first half, which has as almost as much space as sound, but then exploding into action and horror for the second half.

Vickers uses a similar structure for "Dracula Returns/Dracula Bites Laura", the the musical specifics are different, just again starting with something moody and in waiting and then bursting into a faster, more rhythmic, denser section.

"Alucard=Dracula/Not the One!/Give Me the Power!" begins with droning organ, soon to be joined by the ensemble emitting an urgent pulse. The beats stop and there's some more atmospheric playing that gets a thicker, joined by electric guitar and swirling wind instrument lines. This stops, there's more unison eighth note clusters and eventually the backbeat and wah-wah guitar come slinking in for more 1972 sounds. These ideas are basically reprised in the next piece, "Dumping the Body/Van Helsing Prepares/Jessica Walks into the Trap".

The main theme comes charging out of the gate for "Van Helsing Heads to the Club", which is a straightforward groovy rocking take with a small break for a bit of atmosphere in the middle.

Wah-wah guitar, percussion and some mesmerizing lines from wind instruments start off "Van Helsing Confronts Johnny/Johnny's Ignoble Death Scene". There's a section for string instruments and then percussion and electric bass and electric guitar come in, setting up a killer groove for… is it an oboe solo? It sort of sounds like it but maybe it's saxophone.

The next piece is a big chunk, an almost twelve minute-long suite called "Johnny Be Really Dead!/Van Helsing at the Church/Van Helsing Confronts Dracula/Rest in Final Peace/Main Theme: Dracula A.D. 1972 (Reprise)". What to say? You hear the main theme, some dramatic underscore, some very nice "church" music.

The record ends with two songs. "You Better Come Through for Me" is a surprisingly raw rock/soul number with great energy and awesome guitar playing. "Alligator Man" is more bluesy and relaxed but still toe-tapping and lively.