The Car Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Car by Leonard Rosenman.
At a glance:
41 minutes of score
Geek Score: 83.8
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 23.3
Album Excellence: 57%
Buy or stream? Buy
The Car! Dum dum dum dum dum (Jaws theme). The Car is a 1977 horror film directed by Elliot Silverstein starring James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley and Ronny Cox. In The Car we meet a mean dark Lincoln that terrorises the countryside killing off people for fun. The thing is though that this car is apparently running itself. So who or what is controlling the car? Satan himself? This supernatural story is judged by people who has seen it to be a remake of Jaws in many ways, but with the car as the shark. Plus it’s set on dry land so there’s that. There’s a few movies like this or should I say stories like this, but it pretty much ended in the late 70s/early 80s (Maximum Overdrive and Christine). The Car was an instant success and it became so popular that Kenner Products toyed with the idea of creating The Car merchandise for children. The score is composed by Leonard Rosenman.
‘The Car (Main Title)’ is the opening cue starting with an eerie string getting more and more powerful and then a big bang and dark woodwinds enters. This is evil stuff. Then comes one of my favourite evil themes ever, Dies Irae. And with that there can be no doubt. This must be a demonic possession of some kind. The car is possessed! The ending is great with a dark bass rumble that’s really effectful. With ‘Cyclist Killed’ a pounding stabbing rhythm is established, it gets more pulsating, more frequent. The brass is really kicking it off here, starting low and going higher as the car picks off the helpless cyclists one by one. Loving this. This feels very strong and full of impact. ‘John Killed’ is the continuation with nothing much new, instead giving us more of the same. This is incredible suspense. ‘Dead Girl Found’ slows it down a bit giving us a low-key eerie thriller piece with subtle strings and woodwind. Although ‘Sheriff Killed’ has more of that exciting suspense music it’s only in small parts and ‘Pete Found’ is quite similar to ‘Dead Girl Found’. Dies Irae is used again in ‘Eerie Car – Bridge’, but then again it is uses a lot throughout.
‘Run’ is more exciting though with Rosenman building up his brass and woodwind pyramid to no doubt a very exciting action scene in the movie. The Dies Irae is the icing on the cake. Great cue. ‘Ray’s Pursuit’ is also relentless at times and I try to catch my breath as it ends. Rosenman doesn’t give up a good thing when he knows he got me. ‘Barrel Roll’ is more action goodness in the first half of the cue. The best suspense cue on the score are ‘Chase – Part 1’ and ‘Chase – Part 2 & 3’ although they are pretty similar in buildup and style. It is repetitive, but it is still fun. ‘The Car (End Title)’ is very calm and triumphant compared to the rest of the score. Victory for the good guys? ‘The Car (End Credits)’ is a more evil end credits with Dies Irae sprinkled around. There are some extras on here as well. ‘Apparition – Revised No. 1’, ‘Apparition – Revised No. 2’ and ‘Apparition – Revised No. 3’ are just different versions of Dies Irae. One of the fun parts is listening to a professional orchestra emulate bad school orchestra playing with ‘Semper Fidelis’. There’s a nice piece of source music using the classic William Tell motif, ‘William Tell – Pastorale’. Lastly there are four Universal Promo cues which are wonderful source cues of exciting improv 70s jingle music. Love those.
The Car is a fun score for horror and action enthusiasts. Rosenman has a style and yes, it’s similar to lot of his work, but it’s still excellent to hear this version and the addition of Dies Irae is great. Get this score from Intrada Records.
1. The Car (Main Title)
2. Cyclist Killed
3. John Killed
9. Ray’s Pursuit
12. Chase – Part 1
13. Chase – Part 2 & 3
15. The Car (End Title)
23. Universal Promo – The Car Version No. 1
24. Universal Promo – The Car Version No. 2
25. Universal Promo – The Car Version No. 3
26. Universal Promo – The Car Version No. 4