What if the Best Synth Scores Are For Horror Films That Don’t Really Exist? - Dread Central
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What if the Best Synth Scores Are For Horror Films That Don’t Really Exist?



Some of the best horror soundtracks are for films that don’t even really exist. The composers of these scores draw their influence from the likes of John Carpenter and Goblin, crafting evocative synthesizer-driven pieces that tell suspenseful and horrifying stories despite nothing ever put on film.

These aren’t merely instrumental albums with vaguely connected instrumental tracks. Instead, composers like OGRE & Dallas Campbell, Antoni Maiovvi, and Repeated Viewing craft elaborate stories to go along with their music. What we’re left with is, in many ways, a fully realized film for our ears.

As this year’s Halloween, the most hallowed of holidays, slowly fades from our memory, here are five killer synth scores for horror films that exist only in someone’s imagination.

Slasher Film Festival Strategy – Psychic Shield

What would you expect from an artist called Slasher Film Festival Strategy? If you’re thinking of something supremely creative and evocative, then you’re right. The South Carolina-based project’s album Psychic Shield, which Death Waltz released on vinyl in 2015, is incredible.

The story behind Psychic Shield centers on a cult of flesh-eating witches who use their craftiness to lure unsuspecting victims to their gruesome deaths. Cult survivors tap into a “psychic shield” in a bid to protect people and set forth in a terminal battle to rid the world of the flesh-eaters once and for all.

SFFS draws on an ambient and drone background, paired with a love for ‘70s and ‘80s horror flicks, to create an entrancing experience that’s variously meditative, kinetic, and almost always suspenseful to the point of paralysis. Highlights like synth-woven “The Chant,” the massive “Cold War” and the triumphant “The Somnambulist” are prime examples of the power of SFFS’s preternatural ability to tell a story with music.

OGRE & Dallas Campbell – All Hallows’

The trans-Atlantic pair OGRE and Dallas Campbell have crafted several scores for imaginary films, and rescores for real ones, but All Hallows’ is their true masterpiece. They use their vast analogue synth collections to craft the perfect homage to ‘80s slasher films. An added bonus: they have written a story, which they include with every track on the album’s Bandcamp page. A listener could easily ignore the story and just make up their own with each dynamic score cue (track) that utilizes ethereal nuance to build suspense and terror. Or the listener could follow along with the provided slasher tale.

For those interested in the musicians’ chosen story, the narrative behind the haunting and dissonant minimal synth cut “Rabbit Run” paints the following sample: “The clatter of him was close behind her, closer than she wanted… She was blind, branches swiping at her in the pitch black, cutting her face as she ran. He was still coming, still on her trail.”

Regardless of how one experiences All Hallows’, it’s pretty clear that OGRE and Dallas Campbell have a masterpiece on their hands.

Mega Drive – Sleeper Street (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Mega Drive is a powerhouse electronic producer, who started out doing more straightforward dark synthwave before expanding his repertoire into more nuanced and complex compositions with diverse instrumentation and arrangements. His latest, Sleeper Street, is a masterclass in how to maximize nostalgia for ‘80s horror film synth scores while injecting something new into the mix.

From the frenetic theme that opens the soundtrack to softer, more contemplative fare like “Memories of the Room” and “Safety In The Dawning Light (A New Day)” and to the bit-crushed sensory overload of “Last Stand,” the Dallas, Texas-based Mega Drive gives the listener plenty of narrative milestones to work with in creating an entire film in their head. Interestingly, unlike some of his contemporaries, Mega Drive doesn’t seem to offer a prescribed narrative. It’s all on you, dear listener. Unfurl what you will.

Repeated Viewing – Street Force

One of the most compelling scores for an imaginary horror film is Scottish producer Repeated Viewing’s Street Force, released on Giallo Disco Records, a label that specializes in soundtracks for faux-films. On Street Force, Repeated Viewing (AKA Alan Sinclair) channels the likes of Goblin, Angelo Badalamenti, and at times even early New Order to tell the story of one man’s rampage across New York City in 1982.

These dark numbers cover an impressive swath of territory. The sweet and slow “Night Loving” has chunky percussive synth stabs you can feel in your bones, topped with delicate, crystalline melodies. “Dance Chat” has a circular drive and a jovial bounce to it that would have made it play well at Factory Records’ famed Manchester nightclub The Haçienda. “Hussein the Killer” is an onslaught of big guitar riffs, drums gated in a prison basement, and minimalist synths. These and other tracks underscore the need for a real Street Force movie. What an incredible film that would be. Even so, with just Sinclair’s work, you can conjure up something pretty intense on your own.

Antoni Maiovvi – Shadow of the Bloodstained Kiss

Nowadays, Antoni Maiovvi mostly scores real films, like Can Evrenol’s latest, Housewife, and Adam Mason’s 2015 picture Hangman. But the Giallo Disco Records co-founder made his name creating brilliant and elaborate scores for nonexistent horror flicks, often faux giallo stories he’d power with impressive soundscapes covering ambient, electro, Italo Disco, and everything in between. Shadow of the Bloodstained Kiss, released by Seed Records in 2009, is one of those.

Maiovvi posits Shadow as a sci-fi giallo released in 1983, and which tells the story of utopia-gone-bad on the Jovian moon of Europa. A sadistic killer is on the loose, killing anyone connected to a brutal crime. Some pretty stark, existential secrets are revealed. He succeeds universally in providing the listener with a compelling space horror story.

“They Return” is a spacey contemplative cut that transforms into a big and triumphant Moroderesque groover. “Nightmoves” is a measured track awash in white noise and suspenseful melodies, foretelling the imminent degradation of galactic colonial social norms. “6000SEX” has the frenetic arpeggiated synthesizers people so enjoy in their horror scores and the banging rhythms that make dystopia the hottest nightclub in town. Over the course of the entire release, it’s hard not to have fun despite a killer being on the loose.

Those are only five of the hundreds of fantastic, non-imaginary synth scores to imaginary horror films that you can find on the internet and in your local record store. I’d recommend starting with these five and going deep down the pitch-black rabbit hole. It’s dark and often deranged, but you’ll never be disappointed.

Aaron Vehling is publisher and editor-in-chief of Vehlinggo, a site dedicated to synth scores, synthpop and synthwave, among other electronic genres. He has written a sprawling feature on the Drive soundtrack that includes the insights of most of the soundtrack artists, and has interviewed horror film composers such as Disasterpeace and Wojciech Golczewski. You can discuss all things synthy with him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can



It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review



Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis

Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic


Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)



We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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