Brian Tyler

Frailty [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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AllMusic Review by Evan Cater

Frailty, an unusually provocative horror film about a family of axe murderers, marked actor Bill Paxton's debut as a feature film director. It was also a key step forward in the career of 28-year-old film composer Brian Tyler. The scorist, the grandson of an Oscar-winning production designer, says he drew much of his inspiration from classic Hollywood suspense master Bernard Herrmann, whose score for Hitchcock's Vertigo explored a similar blend of emotional melancholy and heart-stopping terror. But Tyler's "Main Title" theme calls to mind a more contemporary sculptor of gothic film melodies: Danny Elfman. The opening strains, a slow-boiling morass of minor-key strings that swell into bass-toned brass explosions and shimmering cymbals, sound so much like Elfman's works that they may prompt viewers to scan the screen for the Bat Signal. Herrmann's influence, and that of a number of other golden age suspense composers -- Paxton's liner notes mention Invaders From Mars, Night of the Hunter, and Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte -- are more evident on later tracks like "The Rose Garden" and "The Abduction of Edward March." But regardless of influence, Tyler's Frailty is a rich and evocative work that may be seen as an early landmark in a long and productive career. The soundtrack album also features ponderous country songs by Johnny Cash and Dale Watson which provide a nice contrast to the score.

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