Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sony to release The Devil's Chair on DVD

I've just learned that Sony Pictures is going to release The Devil's Chair on DVD on the 30th of September. Last year, I wrote the score for this film by Adam Mason.

"With a pocketful of drugs, Nick West (Andrew Howard) takes out his girlfriend Sammy (Polly Brown), for a shag and a good time. When they explore an abandoned asylum, the discovery of a bizarre device - a cross between an electric chair and sadistic fetish machine - transforms drugged-out bliss into agony and despair."

I will warn you in advance that this film is NOT for the faint of heart or the extremely sensitive. It is graphic, gory and scary-as-shit. As I was writing the score, I could hardly bear to watch it and kept the sound off most of the time.

There are numerous funny stories about making music for the film. Jeff and I had only recently moved into our cabin in the woods, and you could say things were a bit rough around the edges. I setup my studio in a dark, freezing cold, spare bedroom, and was burning the candle at both ends to get the music done in time. One day, I had been up for 36 hrs, struggling with a particularly chilling scene starring an ax and a large quantity of blood, when Jeff returned home from the hardware store (he'd been very productive and had installed a woodstove). He stood in the doorway, all cute in his earflap hat, and exclaimed cheerfully "honey, I've bought an ax!", while brandishing his new red ax at me. For the rest of the day, things were extremely surreal. I continued to work on this dreadful scene, with the monster enthusiastically hacking up a lead character, and then I'd look out the window and see Jeff (in earflap hat) enthusiastically hacking at logs.

However, I did actually enjoy writing the music. I think I've talked about it before. I liked how with this genre all musical conventions go out the window. Anything goes. It was very liberating. It felt like I could do anything, which I know I always could, but it took a horror film to show me. The only difficult thing was the compressed schedule, because there was so much more I wanted to do, but we just ran out of time. But I'm happy with it and I'd do it again. I thank Adam for tracking me down and convincing me to do it.

One of the pieces in the movie is "Saddest Song" which I've played live (I think there is a YouTube video of it). I named it long ago when I was going through a phase where everything I wrote sounded like a tragedy. I kept joking that I was trying to out-sad myself with each new song so this particular piece I referred to as "the saddest song in the WORLD" (quickly followed by a new song, "the saddest song in the SOLAR SYSTEM"...etc). It just so happened that Adam really liked it, so I developed it into the larger score.

Also, it sounds like a funny thing to say about a horror film, but it is beautifully shot. It looks glorious. Adam's talent shines through the whole thing and I think Andrew Howard, the lead actor, is the cats pyjamas.


Blogger Daryl Darko said...

I believe this may be the YouTube video that you are speaking of. I remember that I wanted to record it once you said that it was a song for a horror film soundtrack, me being a long time horror film fan. The song is quite moving, but the film (from the trailer I saw) is very difficult to watch. I will give it a go though so that I can hear your work in context. It is quite a moving piece.

Anonymous Adrian Heath said...

Hi Zoe
Thanks for the laugh. The horror film and Jeff with his axe is hilarious. One of those situations which is 99% fine but that 1% of the brain is going, oh am I about to be chopped up in a scary flick.

Hey, I am an independent musician just getting my web presence together and I found you through bandcamp. I got some good ideas from your site and how you connected bandcamp and your website so thanks very much for that. I'm at adrianheath.com.au

Also really finding your blogs on being an indpoendatn musiciian useful such as the Pandora post. btw I thought you handled and wrote about that with a great deal of grace. Have a great time bringing up your baby, I have a 10 and a 12 year old and its a blast!

Cheers from OZ

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