• Film: Pumpkinhead
  • Soundtrack composer: Richard Stone
  • Original year of release: 1988
  • Number of tracks: 13
  • Soundtrack duration: 32 mins 53 secs
  • Tracks with vocals/distracting aspects: None
  • Film score duration (with distracting tracks removed): 32 mins 53 secs
  • Suggested suitable book genres: Pulp horror or maybe even just some 80s horror fiction. Certainly nothing that takes itself too seriously. Perhaps even a dusty Splatter Western / Weird West offering.
DLS Summary:
Okay, so this is a short but fun soundtrack, bursting at the seams with cheesy 1980s horror. It’s one that’s pretty recognisable once you’ve played it once or twice. In fact, the score as a whole comprises of a handful of instantly recognisable styles and musical pieces, each of which the score keeps returning to throughout its length.

These returning pieces are generally a cross between an atmospheric Spaghetti Western style vibe and that of an electro-Country & Western offering. Nestled between these styles is a cheesy horror score, with church organs and all that eerie good stuff jostling for position in the throngs of this musical hotpot.

It may be a relatively short soundtrack, at a little over half-an-hour, but if you ask me, it’s a damn good ‘un. The sort of score you’d put on whilst reading a cheesy 1980s pulp horror or the like. Maybe even a dusty Western with a dark, horror twist going for it. That would work. Like something from Joe R. Landsale’s Weird West work.

DLS Review:
The score starts off with a quaint fiddle and bass drum affair, laying down an Irish Country vibe with a slight modern twist to it. Plenty of 80’s guitar solo work starts battling it out against harmonica solos which top off this cheesy 80’s opener.

Track Two gets underway along the same grounds, although this time sounding more suited to a dusty Spaghetti Western than that of your usual B-Movie style horror film score. A slowly played guitar is left resonating for the length of the notes, creating this slow and apprehensively atmospheric musical piece which is simply perfect for reading with.

Track Three on the other hand is a much more light-hearted and optimistic piece, creating a delicate and almost twee backing musical episode.

Track Four is where things start to turn decidedly “horror”. We still have those 80s electric guitar sequences, but these snippets are almost swallowed up by the overriding bottom-end keyboards and other low bass instruments, blending together to culminate in a wonderfully cheesy horror track. It’s short but a fantastically camp horror treat.

Track Five sticks with the overriding horror theme, with more lengthy-strung-out low keyboard notes and plucked cello strings. The Spaghetti Western guitars and harmonicas make brief appearances as does our friend the 80s guitar, continuing to tie in the connecting elements of the soundtrack as a whole.

Track Six is more of the same. In fact, we start to get some ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’ vibes going on at the start of this track, before the electro-acoustic guitar takes us into a delightfully wholesome and again ever-so-slightly twee offering.

Speaking of twee, Track Seven is every bit of that tweeness and then some. Harmonicas, brush struck snare drums, fiddles, and good ole electro-acoustic guitars again. Yeah, get your country and western cowboy hat on again for this one.

Track Eight is a cacophony of male choir vocal pieces sung in a decidedly eerie fashion. After we’ve been suitably submerged in their low tones, we’re given overlaying church organs, for an altogether creepy 80s horror extravaganza. This track really is every bit as eerie as it is cheesy – but in such a good way. At time feeling like it’s taken straight out of a Jörg Buttgereit film, the track is possibly the highlight of the entire soundtrack.

Track Nine is a more atmospheric and creepier affair, again with hints of 80s horror, but more focussed on laying down this atmosphere than it is on a musical composition. 

Track Ten stamps its authority on the soundtrack with a burst of church organs before we’re plunged into a variety of musical episodes seemingly plucked from all the preceding tracks. With this track, the whole score slots together quite well, almost making a homage of itself in some ways – but with an underlying sense of reservation behind being too overpowering. It works.

Track Eleven sends us back to that country and western vibe we keep returning to, with banjos and harmonicas doing a tango together, all for less than a minute.

Track Twelve is a horror flagship piece again, with 80s guitars and an overhanging sense of a cheesy B-Movie vibe thrown in. Returning snippets from the Spaghetti Western sections of the soundtrack slither into sporadic moments of the music, as do tumbling pieces of unsettling horror shenanigans. It’s all purposefully slightly off beat and off key, making for a musical backing score to put you on edge.

Track Thirteen ends the soundtrack off with a piece that again pulls in aspects from all the other tracks. It starts out with a slow and atmosphere inducing piece, to be overlayed with more harmonicas and country and western electro-acoustics and other such musical layering, all of which we’ve seen throughout the score. It’s all perfectly in keeping with the entire offering, retaining that fundamental connection through a handful of returning musical styles and pieces.

As a soundtrack for reading to:

The soundtrack as a whole:

© DLS Reviews

Make a free website with Yola