Often a soundtrack can make or break a movie – a big part of what made Halloween, Psycho, The Exorcist and Friday the 13th the classics they are was the combo of great score and screen action. So iconic is the music that it’d be hard to imagine Michael chasing Laurie to anything other than that creepy piano motif. Nowadays, many movies attempt to capture the sounds from this period, with long Carpenter-esque tones being near ubiquitous with indie horrors. Yet often I wonder if the music can, itself, could create a sense of tension without any of the visuals to help.
So goes the challenge facing All of Them Witches: a one man band consisting of Gary Dimes. On his latest release, Hunter’s Moon, he does the score for a quintessential Giallo thriller, but one that nobody will ever see. Clearly influenced by the 1970s and ‘80s, and the original rise of the synthesizer, he offers a soundscape that really captures all of the stylish psychosexuality and intrigue of the old yellow covers sub-genre. It’s all excellently put together, with great attention to detail. Moreover, with the innuendos in the names you can see exactly where they’d occur in an Argento movie.
Close your eyes and you can imagine it all unfold. Westward Foams is the sound of a brutal murder scene, dripping with atmosphere and threat, while Triple Stones could be a car chase in the night. The toe-tapping Silently Stalking sounds exactly like what the name suggests: it could be a pursuit down an alley in the rain. Then, with the powerful drums of Empathy Boxes, you can nearly watch the credits role on the back of a bittersweet finale. The evil is gone, but the protagonist’s life has been forever changed.
Yet despite its exemplary Giallo sensibilities, Hunter’s Moon isn’t throwback. Rather it is a loving homage that takes the prototype as a starting point, then pushes it to new places. Modern twists like the hollow groans on the aptly named It’s Not Cranberry Sauce, and the chill out beats of Blue Harvest are the kind of mix between the old and the new that genre fans will love. Most impressive is Hele Bay. Reportedly inspired by watching a storm approach the Devon Coast, its synth sounds like the waves lashing against the rocks whilst the creeping baseline hints at a terror to come. Menacing, inspiring and very evocative. As one of the old genre clichés goes, sometimes it’s the things you don’t see that get to you the most.