Saturday, November 9, 2013

SHE DEMONS / THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER SOUNDTRACK


After a bit of a hiatus, Mr. Tim Ferrante, audiophile and monsterologist extraordinaire, is back with a "new" batch of soundtrack reviews. Tim has graciously offered MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD the opportunity to reprint his movie score reviews that have appeared previously in THE PHANTOM OF THE MOVIES' VIDEOSCOPE magazine. Thanks, and welcome back, Tim!

 (This review originally appeared in The Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope magazine.)

SHE DEMONS / THE ASTOUNDING SHE-MONSTER (1958/1957) Music composed by Nicholas Carras/Guenther (Gene) Kauer. 53 tracks, 58 mins. Monstrous Movie Music MMM-1971 $19.95

Since 1996 the Monstrous Movie Music label has preserved compositions for some of the least acknowledged film music composers. In keeping with its self-imposed mission is its recent double-feature soundtrack: Nicholas Carras’ She Demons and Guenther Kauer’s The Astounding She-Monster. She Demons was co-written and directed by Richard Cunha, a filmmaker whose 1958 release slate included three other small budget thrillers for Astor Pictures. It’s widely agreed that the Carras touch was a prominent reason the film is viewable at all – aside from Irish McCalla’s very blonde presence. The composer kept audiences interested with a rousing and rhythmic main title loaded with jungle drum beats and jazzy brass. As David Schecter writes in the CD’s 20 page booklet, “(it) provides more excitement than you will find in every scene of the movie put together.” The cue surfaces again in a modified form during an exotic dance of the grass-skirted girl gaggle of She Demons. It’s unquestionably a standout amongst Carras’ expertly handled suspense, shock and mysterioso treatments. Contrasting his tropical horror sounds is Guenther Kauer’s striking approach to The Astounding She-Monster, a 62 minute must-see gem written, produced and directed by Ronald Ashcroft and featuring Kenne Duncan, both Ed Wood alums. Again referencing Schecter’s invaluable booklet, Kauer’s $2500 fee was largely spent overseas. He enlisted associates in Germany to contract an orchestra and have his music performed and recorded there. Thanks to a favorable currency exchange rate, Kauer’s score is interpreted by a whopping 45 musicians who provide a bursting performance of the composer’s edgy and plucking trumpet blast warnings for the film’s curvaceous outer space invader. She-Monster’s score is far too sophisticated for such a film; remarkably being recorded without the availability of the movie for which it would accompany. Many of its scenes were shot without sync sound, leaving Kauer to provide the sensory jolts which might explain why he wrote 33 minutes of music. It’s unlike anything you’ve experienced, an observation that also applies to the movie itself. Although, it’s his hair-raising main title for The Cape Canaveral Monsters (1960) that has forever been this reviewer’s all-time fave composition. Perhaps it will one day appear on the Monstrous Movie Music release roster. That would be…astounding.

 
 

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