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Carrie (1976)

Pino Donaggio 

Released in:

Great score from Donaggio,
Alex (May 22, 2007)
Donaggio has crafted quite a score for one of the best, if not the best horror film of 1976. His music acts as a strong emotional anchor for the entire film, deftly alternating between hopeful and sad and scary.
The "Theme From Carrie" open the score perfectly: Swelling string figures and full orchestra, balanced by gentle woodwind and guitar textures, creating a sad, but somewhat hopeful motif for Carrie. It also creates a firm root for the rest of the score.
"And God Made Eve" opens in very much the same way as the main theme, but the harmony is interrupted by jarring strings. This track also introduces an excellent piano motif that we will hear from several points onward.
"Bucket of Blood" is the real turning point in the score. Biting strings and brass open the track and progressively grow more urgent and frenetic. The final fifteen or so seconds of this track have been emulated in many, many other horror scores.
"Mother at the Top of the Stairs" reprises the excellent piano motif, this time against tinny-sounding percussion (probably a xylophone) and strings. It's a very effective track.
"Colapse of Carrie's Home" begins with full orchestra, soon segueing into solo cello and theremin. It's a very unusual piece of music for one of the climactic scenes from the film.
The last piece of score before the reprise of the main theme, "Sue's Dream", encompase the emotional arc of the score, emphasizing the woonwind motif.
The main theme once again closes the score in a sad, but hopeful reprise of the main theme.
This is a fine, highly recommended score form Donaggio. My only complaint is the inclusion of "Incidental Dialogue From the Film", which destroys the flow of the music entirely. Still highly recommended though!

Donaggio Meets De Palma
filmfactsman (April 8, 2006)
Naturally, Brian De Palma would have wanted Bernard Herrmann ("Sisters", "Obsession") to write the score for "Carrie", but the composer had died shortly before production began. At the suggestion of his good friend, "Time" magazine film critic Jay Cocks, De Palma chose to collaborate for the first time with Italian composer Pino Donaggio ("Don't Look Now"); Donaggio went on to write the brilliant soundtracks to De Palma's "Home Movies", "Dressed to Kill", "Blow Out", and "Body Double". To pay tribute to Herrmann--and also to have the final word over the composer who had humiliated him when he had used the Hitchcock scores as examples of what he wanted for "Sisters"--De Palma employed the shrieking sound of violins, which Herrmann had composed for the shower scene in "Psycho", several times to accompany Carrie's use of her powers. Donaggio's score is memorable and provocative, constantly flowing with and embellishing the movie's many different moods. In grand operatic style, De Palma brings to life the secret dreams of millions of outcast American teenagers in Stephen King's tale of a gawky Cinderella who ruins everybody's good time at the ball. Carrie (Sissy Spacek), the graceless daughter of a bible-thumping loony (Piper Laurie), puts up with countless indignities at home and at school. Of all the King horror novels that have been transferred to the screen, "Carrie" is the best. ("Christine", another parable about a nerdy high schooler who wreaks havoc, runs a close second). Spacek is perfect in the title role; her pale eyes and fragile frame capture all the elements of Carrie's complex personality--the awkward wallflower, the beauty she might have been, and the powerful avenger she ultimately becomes. De Palma's flashy technique looks more and more shopworn as the years go by, but he does know how to orchestrate a vision of hellish vengeance and uncompromising bleakness. He's helped immeasurably by the young Spacek's painfully evocative performance (both she and Laurie got Oscar nominations). It's precisely this kind of acting that brings down the house (Aw shucks!).

Reviews on other sites:
Film Music: A Neglected Art 
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Thomas Kiefner (in Polish) 
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Score Magacine (in Spanish) 
suggested by:
Raul Garcia


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