With 1982's Pranks -- perhaps better known to B-movie buffs under its more lurid title, The Dorm That Dripped Blood -- composer Christopher Young veered sharply away from the electronic approach then dominating horror movie music, eschewing synthesizers in favor of strings, pianos, percussion, and, most important, bass harmonica. The result is one of the most evocative and memorable horror scores of the period: though recalling Bernard Herrmann with its sinister string arrangements, Pranks is very much its own creation, employing Young's dark, portentous harmonica to strikingly original effect. Bells and chimes add to the off-kilter, disorienting atmosphere as Young ratchets up the tension in broad, blood-red strokes. Citadel's 2004 reissue offers a definitive presentation of this material, with rich, detailed sound worthy of its subject.
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