Sunday, August 6, 2023

Full Length Review: Fabio Frizzi "Zombie: Composer's Cut" (Cadabra Records) by Dave Wolff

Composer: Fabio Frizzi
Country: Italy
Genre: Soundtracks, horror
Full length: Zombie: Composer's Cut
Format: Vinyl album
Release date: July 28, 2023
It has been forty-four years since the release of Zombie (or Zombie 2 or Zombie Flesh Eaters, depending on where you're from) and people are still discussing it as one of the best indie horror/gore films ever made, along with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, The Evil Dead and Cannibal Holocaust. All ground breaking classics in their own right.
Developed by Lucio Fulci following the success of Dawn of the Dead, it provided a far different take on zombie horror from George Romero's vision. While the walking corpses were likewise sluggish and laggy, effects/makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi created the impression of earth-caked decay. Zombie possessed a gritty atmosphere and a creepily minimalist soundtrack that set it apart from other movies of the zombie craze he and Romero began.
Long celebrated by horror fans and extreme metal bands, this film has been given a fresh perspective by co-composer Fabio Frizzi who has recorded albums for distribution by Cadabra Records for quite some time. As opposed to the typical horror and slasher soundtracks of the time, Frizzi and Tucci provided a mosaic taking the viewer into Fulci's resolutely funereal world of isolated islands, forbidden voodoo rites, and mad, prepossessed doctors.
Described as euphoric, mournful and exciting, violent and mysterious, his score captured the unseen devilry that brings the dead to life as much as the horrid deterioration and excessive gore on screen. The contrast between the beautiful and the gruesome is blurred in a way that has resonated with so many over the years and in such a unique way.
In an effort to expand on that mosaic, "Zombie: Composer's Cut" enriches the minimalism of the original 1979 soundtrack. Movies aren’t made the way Fulci envisioned them anymore, and it’s possible that what works in film and creates the appropriate atmosphere may not be captured in soundtrack form. But there’s the question of reintroducing a classic without completely changing it.
This special cut bridges the gap between old school horror and today’s higher-tech recording, expanding upon the film’s haunting melodies with traditional instruments, synthesizers, and strings to tell the story we cannot watch in the theater. The integrity of the first recordings is preserved while the newer themes woven into the tracks will allow you to discover facets you may have missed before. The result is not nostalgia, nor is it completely abandoning Frizzi’s old vision.
After a few listens, this expanded soundtrack begins to sink in and resonate with you, and you may be surprised at how well it blends with the newer compositions inspired by them. When and if remaking an old cult horror movie, directors should take inspiration from Frizzi's arrangements on this album. There is little if any need to cram as much activity into every "scene" in order to convey the slow intensity and sudden scares provided here. Just a need to keep it simple.
It is by adding just a little something different to each track on the album that allows the listener to gain a deeper understanding of the characters and the unearthly events unfolding all around them. As with radio presentations of old, it allows you to visualize everything that is happening in the privacy of your own mind. This is, after all, the most important factor when appreciating a horror movie.
“Zombie: Composer's Cut” commemorates the theatrical release of the film with a complete uncut score that is available on multiple color variations of vinyl as well as a deluxe heavyweight gatefold jacket containing artwork designed by Jeremy Hush, movie artwork, and essays written by Stephen Thrower and J. Blake Fichera, and liner notes penned by Frizzi. –Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. The Boat Can Leave Now, Tell The Crew
2. Paula's Eye
3. Cut Off From The Rest Of The World
4. Zombie vs. Policeman
5. Zombies Wake Up And Walk
6. Afraid Of Voodoo
7. The Door Of Menard's House
8. Cemetary For Spanish Conquistadores
9. Gruesome Banquet
10. Zombie vs. Shark
11. Blood Under A Microscope
12. Brooklyn Bridge (end credits)
13. These Islands, Voodooism, Zombies...
14. Main Title

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