MUNCHIE - Original Soundtrack by Chuck Cirino
(CD comes with Digital Download / Digital PDF
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Dragon’s Domain Records presents the original motion picture soundtrack to MUNCHIE, featuring music composed by Chuck Cirino for the 1992 family comedy directed by Jim Wynorski, written by R.J. Robertson and Wynorski, starring Lonnie Anderson, Andrew Stevens, Jamie McEnnan, Monique Gabrielle, Ace Mask, Lenny Juliano, John Henry Richardson, Fred Olen Ray, Toni Naples, Mike Simmrin, Scott Ferguson, Jennifer Love Hewitt, George ‘Buck’ Flower, Arte Johnson as Professor Cruikshank and Dom DeLuise as the voice of Munchie. MUNCHIE continues the longtime collaboration between filmmaker Jim Wynorski and composer Chuck Cirino, which includes films such as CHOPPING MALL, DEATHSTALKER II, NOT OF THIS EARTH, TRANSYLVANIA TWIST, A DOGGONE CHRISTMAS, A DOGGONE HOLLYWOOD and, most recently, A DOGGONE ADVENTURE.
The popular success of Joe Dante’s GREMLINS in 1984 quickly spawned a torrent of contentious pint-size creatures from the minds of moviemakers hoping to feast on box office revenue as satisfying as that of the original GREMLINS. A sequel in name only to MUNCHIES, released earlier in 1987, MUNCHIE was inspired by a 1955 Warner Bros. cartoon short made by Chuck Jones called ONE FROGGY EVENING, about a guy who struggles to make his fortune with a frog that sings and dances, but only when it is alone with the owner. Wynorski and his co-writer of the time, the late R. J. Robertson, developed a script based on that premise, except instead of being a frog, Munchie was a friendly gremlin-like creature that dressed like a lounge singer, sounded like a stand-up comedian and had magic powers. Gabriel Bartalos, a veteran Jack-of-all-trades in the film business, designed and created Munchie’s creature costume, which was made out of foam rubber. It was based on an illustration by co-scripter R. J. Robertson.
Dragon’s Domain Records is excited to bring MUNCHIE to compact disc for the first time, mastered by James Nelson at Digital Outland with exclusive liner notes by author Randall Larson, with the participation of the composer and the director.
MUNCHIE is a limited edition release of 500 units. As a special offer, the first 50 people to order the album from the record label’s website will have their copy autographed by the composer at no additional charge.
1. Opening Chase (3:53)
2. Munchie Main Titles (2:11)
3. Dreaming of Andrea (1:15)
4. If You Need a Friend / Western Fantasy (2:12)
5. Funeral Fantasy (3:40)
6. Gage Finds Munchie (1:50)
7. Hello, My Baby (0:42)
Vocal: Dom Deluise
8. Gage Tells Munchie His Wish List (1:26)
9. Unidentified Flying Pizza (Finiculi Finicula) (1:42)
10. Munchie is Gone (3:07)
11. Munchie Changes Grades (3:01)
12. Gage Punches Out the Bully (3:23)
13. He’s Out of Commission (2:29)
14. Just Leave Me Alone, Munchie (1:18)
15. Elliot’s Hot Foot (1:00)
16. Munchie’s Phone Fraud (1:18)
17. Mom’s Dinner Date (1:23)
18. Elliot Discovers Munchie (1:51)
19. The Chase is On / Elliot Crashes (4:25)
20. Airport Goodbyes / Finale (2:38)
21. Munchie End Credits Suite (5:00)
22. Stingers (0:18)
23. Outtakes Suite (3:23)
Total Time: 54:24
Munchie (1992) *** 1/2 / Sorceress (1995) ***
Dragon’s Domain DDR718
23 tracks - 53:25
14 tracks - 43:37
As 2020 came to a close, two Chuck Cirino soundtracks were released by Dragon’s Domain and BSX, and may have flown under the radar. These genre works demonstrate the composer’s versatility and skills working on low-budget films and using the latest synthesizers of the day.
First up is the score for the 1992 comedy Munchie (a sequel to the earlier Munchies), directed by Jim Wynorski, one of Cirino’s most frequent collaborators. The film features Loni Anderson, Andrew Stevens, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Dom DeLuise (providing the voice work for the title character). It’s something of a lighter take on Gremlins, as the lead monster is a sort of lounge lizard with magical powers who comes to the rescue of a bullied kid.
Cirino captures the film’s carnival-like atmosphere with tracks that cover a wide range of styles. A lyrical melody, often preceded by bell tones, runs throughout the score and often serves as a departure point for other hijinks. Highlights include the Morricone-esque “You Need a Friend—Western Fantasy”; action cues like the “Opening Chase” and “The Chase Is On”; lyrical passages in “Funeral Fantasy—Munchie Is Gone” and “Airport Goodbyes—Finale”; and quotations from the likes of “Funiculi, Funicula,” “O Sole Mio” and “Greensleeves.” There’s also an excellent end credits suite that sums things up nicely.
The album has a couple of bonus tracks that include stingers and outtakes. Despite its source inspiration, the main theme is quite beautiful, and Cirino’s various stylistic references make for humorous, engaging elements of the score.
Coming a couple of years later, Wynorski’s Sorceress (1995) stars Linda Blair in a fantasy/horror take about a witch (Julie Strain) who uses her skills to influence her husband and others at his law firm. For the score, Cirino dives into atmospheric horror with dark synth colors, but still offers lyrical writing, as evidenced right from the start in “Prologue & The Accident.”
Alexa Anastasia is a featured vocalist whose dark tone appears first in “Larry Finds Maria in Bed,” (a bonus track uses the same material, minus her contribution) and later in the haunting “Carol’s Erotic Dream.”
The score features appropriate menace throughout, often via amorphous clusters and blocks of sound anchored by a repeating chime motive. While some of the thematic material is interesting, the horror elements dominate here.
For additional samples of these two scores, each limited to 500 units, click here. —Steven A. Kennedy
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