Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2023 December 25 • Monday

Well, here it is Christmas Day and, as all of you have expected, the 810th Soundtrack of the Week has to be Richard Band's score for Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation.

And now some of you are asking, is that really the cover of the CD in the Gutbrain Records collection? Well, of course not. The official Gutbrain archive contains an autographed copy.

And why not? Consider this film's importance in Band's career. I quote from the liner notes: "When asked about his experience scoring Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation, Band simply replied, 'I don't remember a fucking thing about that movie'".

It's actually really good, though. The "Prelude and Main Title" set the mood, which has ominous synth textures, strings alternating between stabbing and droning, and a particular sound that's probably some kind of electronic percussion. Then it goes into a pulse rhythm and a more melodic zone with some suspenseful descending chords.

"Afternoon Delight/Kim's Frustration/Kim Begins Snooping/Ricky Scares Kim/Kim Eats the Date" basically continues from where that left off and then reprises and expands some of the "Prelude" ideas.

This is followed by the airier and less intense "The Book/Kim Checks the Roof", which alternates some bright violin lines with tones of dread and tension, ending with some straight-up horror scoring.

Then there's "Kim Continues Hallucinating/Hallucinations Become Real", which more or less describes a normal Christmas. It's more swirling, droning, pulsating synth sounds and textures with some engaging writing for strings and keyboards.

Piano makes some appearances in "Kim Arrives at Picnic/They Toast 'The Turning Point'/Transition from Park/Kim Finds Fima/Spiked Coffee", popping up into the horror/suspense textures (now with some wordless vocals) and playing some pretty figures that make a nice contrast.

After that, "The Initiation Begins", with some creepy tones sliding down the scale, and the usual strings and percussion and weirdnesses all around. There's some especially nice hand drumming.

There's a lot going on here so I'm no surprised that "Kim Rises Very Dazed/Bolts Out the Door/Pops Pills". At first the music is consistent with what's come before but with a slightly more deliberate heaviness and space involved. Then it shifts into an action-ish cue, probably for her bolting out the door, before returning to the atmosphere of dread. It mellows out with electric piano at the end.

Creepy percussion and spidery strings distinguish "'Hank, Is That You?'/Ricky Enters/Ricky & Hank Fight". It gets into a cool electro-groove with some nice piano bits.

"Phone Rings/Fight Continues/Kim's Friend Arrives/Voodoo Begins" uses piano in a monomaniacal and percussive way that recalls some of Jerry Goldsmith's tension scoring. Later it gets into some queasy sound warpings and sliding strings.

More blends of electronic percussion and long tones from various interests start off "Kim's Transformation/Katherine: 'We Need a Life'". There are also some more spidery percussion and/or strings, some Doppler-esque note bendings, and gradual ramping up of terror, with occasional rhythmic pounding.

A reprise of the main title theme kicks off "Kim Escapes/Lonnie and Kim Into Van". The tempo accelerates and soon we're back in menacing soundscapes that make use of the effective strategies Band has already come up with.

For "The Attempted Sacrifice/Finale" we get something that sounds like a horror processional, acompanied by the familiar moans and drones and drums and string-soarings we've heard throughout, building in intensity and alternating unison voices with more chaotic groupings.

Finally, the "End Title" reprises the main title.