The 80’s and 90’s were a time of fantastic films and even more amazing music. When those things combined it could be considered a touch of magic in our mundane world. One composer that dominated those decades was a man named Danny Elfman. For years his work would be synonymous with wondrous films about men with scissor hands, or avenging dark knights, his music would guide us through syncopated introductions to insane worlds or just introduce us to a cartoon family we have known for the past thirty years. Today we talk about a collection of his best and most recognizable work in a set of albums known as Music for a Darkened Theatre Vol 1 and Vol 2.
Why These Albums?
I believe I was first aware of Elfman’s influence in my favorite films with the score to Tim Burton’s 1989 masterpiece, Batman. It was then that I realized that this was a modern composer that I had to hear more of his work. I quickly purchased the theatrical score to Batman, something I would normally not do, and set out to find any and all of Elfman’s work. In those days it was difficult to track down a discography as, I have mention before, the internet was still a very young thing in those days. We didn’t have the benefit of Wikipedia or Discogs to help us in our search. So I had to scour through bins of cd’s in our local music store or look at the composer on all of my favorite VHS tapes. It wasn’t long before I had many of my favorites including, Dick Tracy, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Edward Scissorhands and, of course Batman. Each time I found another of his scores it was like finding a new treasure and I was elated.
For years, Danny Elfman’s score left me breathless. It was something that I looked for in a new film and, when I saw his name attached, I knew that the music alone would be something unique and wondrous. Elfman’s genius comes from his ability to capture moments in time in such a way that his creations bring you directly back to the very moment you first heard those notes. He is a master and this compilation of some of his finest work really shows the range of his ability.
Comprised of music from many of his most memorable films these albums include pieces from well known movies such as the 1989 Batman score to the rare tracks of the Clive Barker film Nightbreed. Every piece is unique in it’s tone and flavor but also seem to have an underlying thread that is woven through each and every note. It is almost as if Danny is telling his own story through his music, it is a story that transcends the decades, yet it is one that only he knows the words to.
If there were ever albums that I could just play and relax to, these would be them. I have to admit, I have listened to both so much that, when I hear one of the pieces, I fully expect the next song that plays to be the following track on the albums. They are a set that I can’t get enough of and I keep coming back for more.
He still composes today, providing the scores to movies such as Fifty Shades of Grey to even Good Will Hunting. His talent knows no bounds and, while I am no longer out scouring the stores for his compositions, I still jump on to Spotify and enjoy his work to this day.
I could literally put every track on here and not feel that I was overdoing it, but for the sake of time, here are two that all the right notes. (pun intended).
Being a Clive Barker fan I have always adored the theme from Nightbreed. It is such a dark and powerful piece and really just sounds amazing.
Next up is the wonderous and magical theme from Edward Scissorhands. This is one that takes me back and reminds me of the first time I saw that film.
Ok, Where do I get it?
Sadly volume one of this particular release is no longer in print but you can still nab volume two on occasion. It will run you about $20 but it is totally worth it.
if you don’t want to waste time searching for these releases, you should check out the body of his work. It is mostly on spotify these days and there is lots to enjoy.
Late to the Game xx/xx/xx
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Wednesday and also a complete review of Star Trek Discovery. Be sure to check out our contributor Darkmovienight with the New Movie Reviews every Sunday. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these movies as well. If you just happend by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow us if you like the blog!