Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Lucky 13: Week One: Grindhouse & Exploitation

Well - I guess you didn't see this one coming. To be honest, neither did I. I'm sitting here on a Sunday morning thinking of something that I could post for this week and it dawned on me - Why not just include myself in The Lucky 13 project? What's that you say? Well, it's basically a 13 week project that I started for my main site - Brutal As Hell - in collaboration with Brian Solomon from The Vault of Horror. Every week, for 13 weeks, we'll be selecting our favorite films from a specific sub-genre of horror film and will talk about their influence on us, and of course what we find so appealing about our chosen film. Yesterday was the debut of week one where we covered Grindhouse and Exploitation films. You can check out the features here (BAH) and here (VOH).

For my favorite grindhouse film I picked Pieces. It was a tough call between that and Cannibal Ferox, but in the end I had to go with Pieces. It's way too fun and way too gory to not have been at the top of the stack.

But when it comes to soundtracks, theme songs, and the blazing synth riffs that define grindhouse cinema my film list goes in a totally different direction. Several themes immediately come to mind. Fabio Frizzi's score from The Beyond is easily tops and makes the lists of finalists. It's a well constructed score from top to bottom and I promise I'll make a post regarding this one at a later date. Another one, and I hate to say it, is the theme song from Robert Rodiguez's tribute to grindhouse, Planet Terror. This riff is quite catchy and has been already utilized in other films, such as Run Bitch Run. But I don't really consider Planet Terror to be true grindhouse. Homage is homage and we'll leave it at that.

When it came down to it, after pouring over my fairly large collection of grindhouse film one track in particular stood out well above and beyond any others. And that one is the theme track from Cannibal Holocaust. What I love about this track is that it is so unassuming. For a film as notorious as Cannibal Holocaust the main theme is a direct juxtaposition of tone. Its soft, serene, and almost calming effect clashes with the unyielding brutality that is highlighted throughout the film. Italian composer Riz Ortolani created something that is instantly recognizable and infectious. Once you give it a listen you'll have a hard time getting it out of your head. I'm even considering covering a variation of the theme for my band to take on. I probably won't even tell them what it is when I introduce it to them!

I'm not going to blather further about this song. Just give it a listen below and leave a comment on what your favorite grindhouse theme track is!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent idea! And an excellent choice. Ortolani's theme from CH is unforgettable, and paradoxically beautiful! This is the same guy who won an Oscar for Best Original Song for the song
    "More" from Mondo Cane (which, oddly enough, went on to become a standard with English lyrics).