Fans of the original ABC afternoon series may remember the familiar flute theme of Dark Shadows, which played as Dan Curtis announced the latest events of Collinwood with a soft spoken narrative. Danny Elfman effectively uses the alto flute to begin “The Prologue” (track 1), setting the right tone for Dark Shadows. Mr. Elfman's score begins with the nostalgic and expands to epic proportions. The Prologue is the longest composition on the original score and, in it, the composer explores a vast range of dynamic colorful textures and effects with the symphonic orchestra and choir. The piece ends with a dark foreboding, taking us into Dark Shadows indeed.
During the "Resurrection" scene (track 2), the use of sonic clusters and rhythmic effects with the string sections and low thumps of sub tone analog synthesizer pulses build to a frenzy and drop us into a "disquiet." A child’s vocals call out and are answered by the signature Dark Shadows flute, which entice and frighten simultaneously. Danny Elfman is a master of the art of cinematic imagery, wedded to the unexpected blends of orchestra and electronic textures which can be heard in "The End" (track 19). It almost sets up like a dance track, with fast strings driving us for one bar, joined by 16th note pulsing synthesizer pedal bass. Flutes, and vibraphone were a huge part of the sound pallet of the original series, again illustrating the significant role that music has always played in Dark Shadows). Elfman's textural explosions of sound sweep the listener away with larger than life symphonic power -- both live, and electronic. The breakdowns complement the editing as the dynamics of the cues cut through you as sharply as perhaps being bitten by Barnabas.
No matter what your opinion of the film is, the Original Score will thrill you.
Dark Shadows opens in theaters May 11, 2012.