CRAIG SAFAN: HORROR MACABRE VOLUME 2 - Nightmares / Seduced By Madness
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Dragon’s Domain Records presents CRAIG SAFAN: HORROR MACABRE VOLUME 2, featuring music composed by Craig Safan for two projects from his extensive filmography. CRAIG SAFAN: HORROR MACABRE VOLUME 2 includes music from NIGHTMARES, the 1983 horror anthology, along with SEDUCED BY MADNESS: THE DIANE BORCHARDT STORY, a 1996 television film.
Released in 1983, NIGHTMARES had its origins in a short-lived weekly television series titled DARKROOM on ABC hosted by James Coburn in which two horrific tales unfolded back-to-back within its hour-long time slot. The show was conceived in the vein of other short horror-thriller programs such as ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, THRILLER, THE OUTER LIMITS, and NIGHT GALLERY.
In the year following the success of DARKROOM, rival network NBC moved to capitalize on anthology storytelling by commissioning Christopher Crowe and Jeffrey Bloom, who had written and directed a handful of episodes of DARKROOM, to write four short scripts to be assembled into a two-hour unnamed pilot directed by Joseph Sargent. Bolstered by distinguished acting talent including Emilio Estevez, Lance Henriksen, Christina Raines, William Sanderson, Veronica Cartwright, and Richard Masur, the completed pilot demonstrated genuine potential for the network. However, there was a small problem. The executives at NBC deemed the episodes too intense for television audiences. The television pilot was summarily scrapped in favor of resurrecting the anthology as a theatrical motion picture called NIGHTMARES released by Universal Pictures.
The music for NIGHTMARES was composed by Craig Safan, who had also composed most of the episodic music for DARKROOM. Safan had already made a name for himself scoring THE GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE and FADE TO BLACK and would further his career by authoring beloved scores for THE LAST STARFIGHTER, REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN and all two-hundred and seventy-one episodes of the hit television series CHEERS. Safan had just come off a particularly heartbreaking project when his entire score for WOLFEN was rejected and replaced by a score from another composer. Safan’s music for NIGHTMARES is a calculated blend of aleatoric orchestral music coupled with a heavy dose of synthesizers during one of the film’s most memorable segments.
SEDUCED BY MADNESS aired on the NBC network in 1996, presented in two episodes and starred the legendary Ann-Margret along with Peter Coyote, Leslie Hope, Christian Campbell, Hedy Burress, Tobey Maguire, Freddy Rodriguez, Cliff De Young, Dean Norris, Tomas Arana and Kurt Fuller. Ann-Margret plays Diane Kay Borchardt, a Wisconsin teacher’s aide convicted of hiring her students to spy on and eventually kill her estranged husband. SEDUCED BY MADNESS dramatizes the events leading to Borchardt’s conviction, life in prison without the possibility of parole until she has served forty-five years in prison. For SEDUCED BY MADNESS, Safan composed a chamber score—comprised primarily of strings, winds, and percussion.
Emmy-nominated and eight-time ASCAP award-winning composer Craig Safan has scored more than one hundred feature films, television and documentaries, has had more than 50 soundtrack albums of his music produced, as well as having three original albums of his own impressionistic music released. He’s been commissioned to compose for ballet as well as for live performance of silent films and was given the Poledouris Film Music Legend Award at the 2014 International Film Music Festival in Cordoba, Spain.
Dragon’s Domain Records presents CRAIG SAFAN: HORROR MACABRE VOLUME 2, featuring the premiere release of his music for NIGHTMARES and SEDUCED BY MADNESS: THE DIANE BORCHARDT STORY on compact disc, featuring Craig Safan’s music mastered by James Nelson of Digital Outland. The booklet contains liner notes written by author and composer Brian Satterwhite and includes comments from the composer.
CRAIG SAFAN: HORROR MACABRE VOLUME 2 is a limited edition release of 500 units.
CRAIG SAFAN: HORROR MACABRE VOLUME 2 is expected to begin shipping the week of February 13th, 2023. The first 50 copies sold through the website will include a booklet autographed by composer Craig Safan.
1. Nightmares Opening (0:43)
2. Bishop’s Game Music (1:32)
3. Bishop Vs. J.J. (3:33)
4. Master Of All I Survey / Finale (7:11)
5. Loss Of Faith and On The Road (4:49)
6. Confrontation and Faith Restored (2:44)
7. The Dangers of Smoking (7:31)
8. I Smell a Rat! (3:04)
9. We’re Going To Need a Bigger Trap (6:00)
10. The Devil Rodent Departs / Finale (4:18)
11. Nightmares Bumper (0:08)
SEDUCED BY MADNESS:
THE DIANE BORCHARDT STORY
12. Main Title / Brook’s Goodbye (4:05)
13. Planning Murder / Murder Weapon (5:00)
14. Easter Killing (4:20)
15. Ruben’s Dead / Doug Confesses (4:20)
16. Diane Arrested / Trial (3:30)
17. Guilt, New Life (3:54)
18. Behind Bars (2:14)
Total Time (69:33)
Dragon’s Domain DDR765
18 tracks - 68:44
Dragon’s Domain continues its survey of select composer back catalogues with this new release featuring music from Craig Safan (The Last Starfighter, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins). The album pairs together two genre scores that feature some intriguing work.
First up is music from the anthology horror film Nightmares (1983), which features four separate stories, and a lot of familiar faces like Emilio Estevez and Lance Henriksen. Across the four different segments, Safan crafts a variety of intriguing contemporary orchestral settings, focusing on aleatoric styles that work quite effectively on their own.
The album presentation is bookended by a brief main title and “bumper” track. In between is some fascinating material that starts off with an engaging ’80s-synth style for “Bishop’s Game Music,” before moving into more advanced string and electronic styles. This is countered by the bluesy-guitar twang motive of “The Dangers of Smoking.”
Among the score highlights are the choral segments that appear in “Loss of Faith on the Road” and “Confrontation and Faith Restored,” from the Duel-like demonic truck story. The macabre orchestral style also works quite well in the final tracks for the giant rat segment, with one last little twist in the finale. In all, this is a solid ’80s horror score that demonstrates Safan’s facility with advanced orchestral techniques.
Dragon’s Domain pairs Nightmares with the score for the made-for-TV mini-series, Seduced by Murder (1996), a true-crime story based on Wisconsin teacher Diane Borchardt, who somehow manipulated her students to kill her husband. Ann Margaret starred in the thriller, which aired on NBC that February. This time out, Safan uses a chamber ensemble, highlighting both pitched and non-pitched percussion, as evidenced right from the “Main Title.”
The composer sets interesting effects against murkier gothic string sounds in places like “Planning Murder/Murder Weapon,” building on the inherently dark qualities of the bass clarinet. Also noteworthy is the somber use of an Easter hymn against sinister backdrops in “Easter Killing.” By contrast, a beautiful moment occurs in “Guilt, New Life,” which has an almost romantic tinge to the piano and strings.
Both of these Safan scores are fine examples of contemporary orchestral writing with an emphasis on horror and thriller textures. It’s worth noting that this is of course the second BSX release of the composer’s horror work, so anyone who missed out on the first volume may want to backtrack for that one as well. Clips for this latest release, a limited edition of 500 units, can be heard at the label’s website. —Steven A. Kennedy
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