By Joseph "Skull Vault" Walter
1) There would never be a Halloween movie that lived up to the original.
2) I would never buy the entire soundtrack to a horror movie (though Hellraiser and its sequel were pretty tempting.)
Against all odds, the latest Halloween film was nothing short of a modern-day slasher masterpiece that miraculously managed to nail just about everything that everyone adored about the series while simultaneously infusing it with new life in unexpectedly satisfying and spectacular ways.
Likewise, the legendary John Carpenter returned to the franchise that put his name on the map and he, along with his son, Cody, delivered a soundtrack that, much like the film, contained the essence of what made the original so compelling while imbuing it with a contemporary edge that proves just how much Carpenter has grown as a composer and musician.
While the entire soundtrack is absolutely worth a full purchase, there are three pieces in particular that I wanted to discuss for this Halloween edition of "Weekly Soundcheck," so let's head to Haddonfield to celebrate "the night HE came back home..."
the Shape Hunts Allyson (Listen Here!)
The spine-tingling synths, the increasingly powerful (and threatening) pulses of digital distortion and the subtle additions of new elements all come together to create a tense track that not only does its job in the context of the film, but is so musically compelling that's worth listening to on its own.
Prison Montage (Listen Here!)
Expertly paced, emotionally impactful and fully immersed in an intoxicatingly heavy atmosphere, "Prison Montage" may seem somewhat repetitive first, but it's continually evolving, slowly creeping towards an incredible climax that culminates in an impressive integration of classic Halloween synth sounds and the iconic theme itself.
This is a piece you can easily get lost in: it rhythmically and methodically drawing you into its relaxing, yet simultaneously sinister, world.
the Shape Burns (Listen Here!)
Halloween (2018) is the perfect conclusion to the franchise: there's a general sense of finality permeating the film, as long-standing character arcs come to a close and the tables are satisfyingly turned against the Shape, once and for all.
After years of suffering, Laurie Strode gives Michael Myers a taste of his own medicine, beating him at his own game. In the end, the Shape created a monster that surpassed even himself and, in (what should have canonically been) his final moments, he can do nothing but silently stare at the woman who killed the Boogeyman, while burning into oblivion.
"The Shape Burns" is not only the ultimate exclamation point for this sequence and the film's finale, in general, but the definitive capstone for the entire franchise.
Masterfully taking the iconic Halloween theme and transitioning it towards the major mode, the once-ominous and unnervingly tense cue finally reaches a resolution, decades later.
As the track goes on, additional synths join the celebration, each of which adding in elements of hope, triumph and relief.
In incredibly fitting fashion, these triumphant elements (possibly representing Laurie and her family) eventually overwhelm the de-fanged Halloween theme, taking center stage as the piece that once represented a seemingly unstoppable serial killer becomes nothing more than background noise.
"The Shape Burns" is a thematically perfect conclusion to the entire Halloween saga. It takes everything that the series embodied and, much like how Laurie turned the tables on Michael, flips it upside-down.
With the film channelling everything that has ever worked for the Halloween series, and the music flawlessly complimenting it by embodying the emotional core, I'm hard-pressed to a think of a more ideal conclusion to a long-running franchise than Halloween (2018.)
As I said earlier, I'm definitely still excited to see more of what this creative team has to offer in terms of a sequel, but something tells me that, no matter what it happens, it'll never be as lushly fitting of a finale as what we got here, thanks in no small part to "The Shape Burns" and the rest of the stellar soundtrack.