The Hammer Vampire Film Music Collection

Original Soundtrack

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The Hammer Vampire Film Music Collection Review

by Heather Phares

The straightforwardly named Hammer Vampire Film Music Collection features excerpts from some of the famed horror movie studio's most notable films. The album includes music from The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires and The Kiss of the Vampire, which were both composed by James Bernard; Vampire Circus, which features music by David Whitaker; and Lust for a Vampire, which features music by Harry Robinson. While all three of the composers' scores are eerie instrumental pieces, within that sound they remain fairly distinctive: Bernard's work such as "Who Dares Disturb the Sanctity of Dracula?," "Ambush," and "Credits" from The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires and "Ravna's Power" from The Kiss of the Vampire have an elegant menace, driven by slowly building strings and ominous brass arrangements. Bernard's work also shows the most range here: pieces like "Vampire Rhapsody," "The Masked Ball," and "Mariane and Carl" are alternately hypnotic, festive, and romantic, fitting the film's seductive feel perfectly. Whitaker's music, however, is more dynamic and lush, particularly on Vampire Circus' "Opening Credits" and "Tiger Dance," which also adds a touch of exotica. Robinson's music for Lust for a Vampire is dreamy and dominated by strings and woodwinds, particularly on "Lestrange and Mircalla," although "Castle Karnstein Burns/Finale" has an appropriately apocalyptic air. The Lust for a Vampire score also features "The Dream," a beautifully spooky fusion of '60s pop vocals and the Hammer horror aesthetic. The Hammer Vampire Film Music Collection also includes several bonus tracks, including an alternate version of "Tiger Dance" and two extra songs from The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, "The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula" and "Call of the Undead." While it's not an overarching retrospective of the studio's eerie film music, digging deep into these four scores is just as satisfying, if not more so.

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