Spanning 24 tracks and a wide variety of musical styles and
genres, the soundtrack of Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN
is a clever collision of popular tunes, dialogue clips and
score recordings which entertainingly demonstrate the writer/director's
creative plan to defeat expectation and put his unique stamp
on a classic tale of terrible fate and the monstrous embodiment
of evil. Think of it as the music of Michael Myers —
the soundtrack of a psychopathic mind obsessed with the past
while wreaking havoc on the contemporary world around him.
Explore this enjoyable anthology of tunes and film
cues track-by-track below, and discover a CD which represents
a rich sample of what Rob Zombie has in mind for his horror
1 - "THESE ARE THE EYES" (0:39)
soundtrack opens with psychological incantation of Dr. Sam
Loomis, describing the dark essence of Michael Myers to an
audience unaware and unprepared to discover the murderous
void behind his uncaring eyes. Actor Malcolm McDowell's delivery
of this 40-second speech set up the professional fascination
and, eventually, the personal obsession Loomis has with his
silent, masked patient who remains unhealed by any therapeutic
treatment at Smith's Grove Sanitarium. At the soul of Michael
Myers is "the absence of light" and the destroyer
2 - HALLOWEEN 2007 - Tyler Bates (3:05)
film score begins with Tyler Bates' haunting, eerie interpretation
of John Carpenter's original HALLOWEEN theme, as a female
voice drifts in and out through the opening build-up. Abruptly
the musically iconic 5/4 plinking tones begin but with slightly
warping reverb effects and sharpening repitch that throws
the listener's ear off-balance from nearly three decades of
melodic expectation. The opening female voice turns desperate
amid the cacophony, uttering moans, gasps and cries now as
lower-tone growls and howls seem to chase at a distance. Several
electronic effects and sounds punctuate the chords as if stabbing
and slicing the tune at high points, while a low driving rhythm
echoes Michael's relentlessness as a lethal killing machine.
As the staccato stabs of piano hits conclude the main theme,
the sound of Michael's animal breath echoes from inside his
mask. As well known as Carpenter's original composition is
to three decades of fans, Tyler Bates has definitely put his
own creative stamp on this classic movie theme, sharply and
successfully distinguishing it and Rob Zombie's film from
its 1978 progenitor.
3 - "IS THE BOOGIEMAN REAL?" (0:04)
very quick sound bite from Skyler Gisondo as Tommy Doyle,
asking babysitter Laurie Strode if that mysterious figure
looming in the shadows of Halloween is more than make-believe.
The answer soon becomes all too real for Laurie and those
around her in Haddonfield.
4 - (DONT' FEAR) THE REAPER - Blue Oyster Cult (5:08)
first of Rob Zombie's picks from the popular music soundtrack
of the '70s is this radio and album rock classic from 1976.
As it always has done, Donald Roeser's dark, foreboding lyrics
lurk in the shadows contrasted by the energetic guitar strains
and wispy vocals of the band. The song perfectly fits this
timeless and time-warping tale which is both familiar and
nightmarish, in which lives will be saved or lost amid the
fear of an evil none fully understand.
5 - "ARE YOU SAYING MICHAEL DID THIS?" (0:17)
voices of Sheri Moon Zombie and Malcolm McDowell play out
part of a scene in which Deborah Myers learns of her son Michael's
psychological danger signs. Dr. Loomis suspects that the boy's
torture of small animals may lead to much more serious acts
6 - LOVE HURTS - Nazareth (3:52)
theme of causing pain continues on in this selection of Nazareth's
1975 ode to heartache and emotional turmoil. This second recall
from a generation ago exposes love's power to destroy those
most vulnerable to it, especially when wielded as a weapon
by those who are betrayed by love -- or worse, those who can't
feel it at all. The tune is another memorable anthem to the
disconnection between people, and the epic suffering it can
cause in the minds and hearts of those who fall into the abyss
of darkness which results. If this song appears where I think
it will in the film, it would be a brilliant counterpoint
between character and action.
7 - "I HOPE SHE LIKES CRIPPLES" (0:14)
Sheri Moon Zombie and William Forsythe enact a verbal battle
between Deborah Myers and her abusive boyfriend, Ronnie White.
This sampling of dialogue (replete with humorous use of parental
advisory language) quickly illustrates the couple's utterly
dysfunctional relationship, leaving little mystery why pain
and emotional withdrawal become a central preoccupation of
young Michael Myers.
8 - BABY, I LOVE YOUR WAY (LIVE) - Peter Frampton (4:50)
Zombie's third dose of '70s acoustic environment spins out
in this Frampton smash hit from his landmark 1976 live concert
album. The tune is surely a contrast in mood and tempo to
the previous song selections, adding an upbeat and lyrical
look at the healing, harmonious power of love. Consistent
with director Zombie's goal to have the early act of his story
feel reminiscent of the period while not locked into a specific
decade, Frampton's classic echoes the past for those who grew
up playing this album, while remaining timeless in its appeal
today. Listeners will have to wait another week before they
learn how Rob Zombie fits this joyous tune into his dark study
of a psychopathic killer.
9 - "A TACO DELUXE SUPREME" (0:13)
escaped from Smith's Grove Sanitarium, adult Michael Myers
encounters Big Joe Grizzley in a men's room, who is not pleased
with this invasion of privacy. But the momentary inconvenience
and Grizzley's verbose bravado quickly vanish when the scene
soon takes a turn for the worse. Again Zombie contrasts humorous
characterization with dramatic danger.
10 - TOM SAWYER - Rush (4:33)
technically not a musical release from the '70s, this popular
1981 release gained tons of airplay on AOR-format radio stations
and solidified Rush's place in rock history. Riding the musical
cusp between '70s and '80s sound and subtext, Tom Sawyer
stands out as another highly evocative track selection for
11 - "DRIVEN BY PURE ANIMAL INSTINCT" (0:10)
the verge of Michael Myers' transfer from Smith's Grove, Dr.
Loomis warns of Michael Myers' hidden, horrific urges to kill.
Having failed to cure Michael, all Loomis can do is make an
unsuspecting world aware that a monster lives and lurks among
12 - LET IT RIDE - Bachman-Turner Overdrive (4:23)
soundtrack returns to the early '70s with the inclusion of
BTO's enduring rock classic. The tune's instrumentation, vocals
and production all evoke the distinct audio palette from its
1973 release. Much like tracks 4 and 10 before it, Let
It Ride pulses with a driving beat, urging the song and
listener onward just as the Halloween theme does in its off-kilter
measure. Perhaps reminiscent of nature's perfect killing machine,
a shark, this song reinforces the thematic motivation of Michael
Myers to march ever-forward toward his psychopathic fixation,
destroying anyone in his way.
13 - "TRICK OR TREAT, BABY" (0:07)
Moseley and Leslie Easterbrook, acting alumni from Rob Zombie's
previous film THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, play two security officers
in charge of transferring Dr. Loomis' patient Michael Myers.
Moseley's character, Zach Garrett, delivers the Halloween-themed
pun without knowing the true nature of the trickster in their
custody until it's much too late.
14 - GOD OF THUNDER - KISS (4:14)
it to a band which practically has a patent on the '70s larger-than-life
rock experience to provide what amounts to Michael Myers'
own murderous anthem, God of Thunder blasts out epic
chords of sacrifice and destruction at the hands of a mythic
titan laying waste to the mortal world before it. Rob Zombie
might have picked ten more well-known tracks by KISS, but
perhaps none which draws a sharper picture of HALLOWEEN's
menacing agent of true evil.
15 - "SATAN'S MOTHER" (0:12)
brief dialogue clip voiced by Zombie-favorite actor Sid Haig
as Chester Chesterfield, who relates the ultimate fate of
Deborah Myers, left to cope with the bloody aftermath suffered
by her family at the hands of her only son.
16 - 1969 - Iggy Pop (2:45)
icon with his band The Stooges, this Iggy Pop selection from
1988 unfurls a hectic tale of restless wandering amid turbulent
times, in search of or exploiting a lack of personal direction
and purpose. It's another high-energy track picked by Zombie,
perhaps chosen to illustrate the commonly-felt uncertainty
about life and often youth's lack of awareness how precious
17 - "TALKING ABOUT THE ANTI-CHRIST" (0:06)
Brad Dourif and Malcolm McDowell enact a moment between Sheriff
Brackett and Dr. Loomis in which the two men charged with
upholding rational judgment in Haddonfield are faced with
a force of utterly irrational peril. Brackett too has a personal
interest in the actions of Michael Myers, as his daughter
Annie is one of the citizens living under the lurking threat
of an escaped killer.
18 - ONLY WOMEN BLEED - Alice Cooper (5:45)
preceding KISS is the makeup-masked visage of this iconic
rocker from the '70s, Alice Cooper. This track was a Top 10
hit from Cooper's megahit 1975 solo album Welcome to My Nightmare,
and its ballad sound played off somewhat darkly themed lyrics
-- a far cry from the gothic and grotesque theatrics of Cooper's
stage concerts. Almost subversively, this ballad directly
addresses the thematic elements of emotional abuse and physical
violence in HALLOWEEN. If this ends up a
sad, soulful theme song for the unfortunate Deborah Myers,
it's an apt choice indeed.
19 - "NEEDS TO GET LAID" (0:11)
short dialogue snippet which happily, humorously earns the
parental advisory label, this brief buddy moment between Laurie
Strode and Lynda illustrates a typical bond between gossiping
20 - HALLOWEEN II - The Misfits (2:11)
influences mixing movie monsters and heavy metal, the horror
punk band released this track as the B-side to a 7" single
in 1981, though the title merely coincidental to the John
Carpenter-produced sequel released the same year. Director
and musician Rob Zombie shares a passion for classic film
creatures and art with The Misfits, who fuse distorted vocals
and instrumentation with gothic themes and lyrics to celebrate
the darker side of edgy rock. Lead vocals by Glenn Danzig
incant the word Halloween repeatedly within the driving punk
beat and background groans.
21 - "WAS THAT THE BOOGIEMAN?" (0:07)
Scout Taylor-Compton and Malcolm McDowell enact a scene in
the climax of the film, as Laurie puts the burning question
of this bloody holiday to Michael Myers' doctor. Sometimes
evil can actually live and walk amongst us, as the two are
about to find out.
22 - THE SHAPE STALKS LAURIE - Tyler Bates (3:51)
Bates returns on the CD with another stylish reinterpretation
of John Carpenter's iconic compositions from the 1978 film.
Bates' version, however, bears a more industrial, acoustic
stamp than Carpenter's synthesized score piece. This track
builds a threatening auditory environment around the infamous
stalking theme until the pounding, ominous keyboard plays
out the cue. Bates' reworking retains the style and substance
of Carpenter's original track, but creatively embodies the
disturbing, gritty texture of Zombie's realistic approach
to the horrors spilled onscreen by Michael Myers.
23 - "THE SCREAM" (0:12)
sound of true terror, performed by Scout Taylor-Compton as
Laurie Strode in a climactic shock from the film.
24 - MR. SANDMAN - Nan Vernon (3:27)
is a most curious and welcome tune selection by Rob Zombie,
since this song (originally by The Chordettes) didn't appear
in the HALLOWEEN cinema timeline until 1981's HALLOWEEN II,
most infamously in the end credits as the mask of Michael
Myers bubbles and burns in the flames of a hospital corridor.
Here Nan Vernon reinterprets the 1954 hit by slowing down
the speedy doo-wop style, and performing her own four-part
harmony filtered in a breathy style almost reminiscent to
the bass-reduced sound of some 1930s/40s records. The slow
tempo and vocal effects enhance the dreamlike mood sung about
in the lyrics, at the same time certainly taking the effervescent
joy out of the tune, perhaps by design depending on its context
in the film. Will Vernon's tune underscore the tale of Michael
Myers as an awakening from a bad dream, or a final descent
into a dark nightmare?
to the HALLOWEEN soundtrack won't provide
you with a solid answer, but this collection of original score,
dialogue tracks and rocking blasts from the past certainly
provide a varied and enjoyable musical journey through the
film. Once again, Rob Zombie demonstrates his talent for picking
identifiable, often iconic musical hits which evoke specific
moments and memories of the past while remaining timelessly
by artists such as Rush, BTO, Nazareth and Peter Frampton
stand proudly as individual tunes which have endured by merit,
yet their unrelated tunes tie in so well and so cleverly to
the dramatic themes of Zombie's film in ways few other creative
minds could envision. If the HALLOWEEN soundtrack's
success on these multiple levels of meaning are any indication,
Zombie's original retelling of this horror cinema classic
tale will soon have movie audiences screaming for more.
Zombie's HALLOWEEN opens in theaters everywhere
on August 31, 2007.