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Harry Manfredini – Friday The 13th

Original Motion Picture Score
Music By Harry Manfredini

I bought this because of jhubner.* He’s always on about horror movie soundtracks, so when this one (for the 1980 original film) turned up at work (for $1.50), I figured I’d give it a spin.

To heighten the experience, I listened to this alone, in the basement, late at night, through the good headphones. Good times!

Ah, Camp Crystal Lake. I remember having the wits scared out of me when I went over to a childhood friend (Jason, natch)’s house to watch this. On those old 80s plastic video cartridges that were the size of LPs… what the hell were they called? Oh yes, folks, I am old.

Anyway, this disc is great for atmosphere. If I were to ask you, right now, to imagine horror movie music in your head, I’ll wager it’d approximate this stuff. Minimal instrumentations, cool uses of breath and mouth noises (cha-ha-ha-ha, etc), long sustained notes, chiming and phaser effects, sharp instrumental stabs at just the right moments… it all simultaneously evokes an ineffable sadness and impending doom…

This may be an odd impression, but it occurred to me anyway… it was almost as though, through listening to the music, I came somehow to an understanding of Jason and his mother, as if the music explained what their actions certainly never could. Fascinating!

One track stands out, in this mix, as odd, and that was Banjo Travelin’, which is exactly that, banjo music… in amongst the rest it’s jolting. My only real complaint about it is that many of the tracks are only about a minute or two in length. I know this is because they are cut to fit scenes in the movie, but when heard in order on a CD like this, outside the context of the film, it felt more as though I’d just settled into the mood of a piece and then it was over and on to the next one. For all that, it still contains moments of beauty crushed up against moments of panic and terror, with pretty damn good timing for each.

In Sum:

I’m not really sure how often I will listen to this in future – it’s not something I would just thrown on as I worked around the house and, for me anyway, it’d take a dedicated listening session – but I truly did enjoy the excellent work here.

PS: This edition contains a Bonus Cue track called Sail Away Tiny Sparrow, which was apparently inspired by Dolly Parton. I KNOW!


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