Bear McCreary

Rest Stop: Don't Look Back

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Rest Stop: Don't Look Back Review

by William Ruhlmann

John Shiban wrote and directed the 2006 straight-to-video low-budget slasher film Rest Stop (also known as Rest Stop: Dead Ahead), while Shawn Papazian served as producer. For its 2008 sequel, Rest Stop: Don't Look Back, Shiban again wrote the script, but he and Papazian switched director and producer duties. In both cases, however, Bear McCreary, most of whose credits come from cable television (e.g., the 21st century version of Battlestar Galactica), provided the music. In his liner notes, McCreary helpfully reveals that "The sound I was going for was 'Lynyrd Skynyrd Trapped in Hell.' I don't know if that's where I ended up," he adds, "but it was my starting point." Well, sort of. McCreary takes the film's Southern rural setting as a guide to coming up with music that often combines elements of classic rock, Southern style, with traditional country. The traditional country often seems to be played on instruments that the country musicians haven't bothered to tune lately, and that's deliberate, giving the music both a raucous and a bizarrely eerie feel appropriate to the theme of horror. The classic rock sections are less suggestive of Lynyrd Skynyrd than of the Band and the Eric Clapton of the early '70s, when he was palling around with members of Delaney & Bonnie's backup group prior to forming Derek & the Dominos. And then there is the song "Jesus, He Forgives You Too," performed by the Rev. Buford "Buck" Davis & His Minstrel Singers, a demented country gospel satire. The second half of the soundtrack, from the seventh track, "Creepy Gas Station," to the 14th, "The Driver Gets Marilyn," is more conventional horror movie scoring, full of ominous tones followed by furious action accompaniment. The last six tracks on the album actually are taken from the soundtrack to the first Rest Stop movie, making this a compendium of the music McCreary has provided so far to what must now be considered a movie series.

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