Our Halloween double feature is perfect for the drive-in theatre, as Spun Out of Control’s tapes are inspired by classic horror films, writings and synth scores. Get that popcorn ready and prepare to jump out of your seats!
The fun begins with Rupert Lally‘s Where the Dark Speaks. Each of the fourteen tracks is modeled on a Stephen King story, presented in chronological order from Salem’s Lot (1975) to The Institute (2019). From the opening spoken word sample, “Do you believe a thing can be inherently evil – a house for instance?”, Lally sets a mood and never lets go. This is a dark walk through a dark mind over the course of nearly half a century. Children laugh in “The Shining,” and you know what that means. Do not go in there. You were warned. Due to the track sequencing, when the kids grow tired of the hotel, they head right to the corn. Tonight they will be outside your door.
For King fans, it’s fun to play each track and recall where one was when reading each title: for me it started on a black beanbag chair at my parents’ house, on the second floor, also the scene of a memorable visit in Salem’s Lot. It’s also good to separate King’s books from the movies, as some (for example, “Firestarter”) fell flat on film. King has commented on some of the changes, most tellingly the end of The Shining, and re-released new versions of books (The Stand). But this set is all about mood: the terrifying, don’t turn the page feeling of a reader immersed in the story. “Pet Sematary” has one of the best themes, reminiscent of John Carpenter; the wind in “The Mist” and music box in “It” are fitting. Obviously the best way to enjoy Lally’s tape is to get one of the books and use the tape as a reading score, but it may also be a great way to scare away some of those trick-or-treaters so you can keep the candy for yourself.
Next up is Andy Fosberry‘s Blair, Maryland, inspired by The Blair Witch Project, the phenomenon that made people line up for blocks when it was first released, despite a budget low enough to fit on a credit card. The reputation of that movie suffered when the sequel was released, but those who experienced it the first time around may still find themselves trembling when they see a bundle of twigs.
Blair, Maryland is billed as “two albums in one,” albeit the length of one. Side A is a new score which begins with an opening sequence, then takes different scenes as launching points. Side B reimagines these tracks as sci-fi-synth excursions. Each approach is different from the score-free original. If you remember music, it’s probably the trailer, the “Witch Mix,” or the industrial / new wave tributes. One might argue that the final scene is effective because it lacks music, and “In the House” can’t match the oppression of silence, but “Blood Bundle” is particularly effective, and “I Am So, So Sorry” contains a strange poignancy.
London’s Spun Out of Control has a lot of releases like this, so if you’ve just stumbled upon them like a pit of pikes, you’re in luck. Their specialty is sci-fi and horror-themed synth, and in five years they’ve released an incredible 48 albums in various formats, all with attractively retro cover art and many in special, colorful editions. It’s the perfect choice for tonight: visit the site and let the synths unspool. (Richard Allen)