The Hateful Eight, the appropriately titled eighth film by Quentin Tarantino, was released in late 2015 to much fanfare as the first Ultra Panavision 70 film released since 1966. The gory post-Civil War tale was also the first Western film in nearly 40 years scored by composer Ennio Morricone, who popularized the classic spaghetti Western sound in the '60s and '70s. The film itself is a typically brutal Tarantino affair, full of dialogue, blood, and brain matter, and Morricone's score sets an ominous and deliciously over the top tone throughout the nearly three hours of action. Soundtrack and film opener "L'Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock" ("The Last Stage[coach] of Red Rock") creeps and swells to a grand climax before bleeding into the "Overture" (which was heard first, before the film began, in the roadhouse film event). The tension created by the horns, pounding drums, and stirring strings permeates the soundtrack, with the "L'Ultima Diligenza" motif repeated again and again. A quartet of less aggressive but still creepy "Neve" ("Snow") tracks produce an icy chill to balance the bombast of the main theme. A trio of songs from other musicians is peppered in amongst the Morricone grandeur: the White Stripes pop in with "Apple Blossom"; David Hess reminds us that "Now You're All Alone"; and Roy Orbison puts a final nail in the Hateful coffin with the presciently titled "There Won't Be Many Coming Home." For all of Morricone's great score work, some listeners may be distracted by the dialogue interludes peppered into the proceedings. Like the conversations from the movie itself, these snippets are loaded with uses of the n-word, which threaten to derail the flow of the music and are, arguably, unnecessary. However, like anything from Tarantino, fans should know what they are getting into and listeners are likewise warned. The movie and score are fun and entertaining, but at the same time, the ugly bits of hate speech are jarring and take away from the sheer pleasure of it all. Listen (and watch) at your own discretion.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung
feat: The White Stripes
feat: David Hess
feat: Walton Goggins
feat: Roy Orbison