Thursday, January 29, 2015

American Horror Story by James S. Levine

One can't watch FX's hit series "American Horror Story" without noticing the excellent score by James S. Levine or the alarming theme song by the increasingly more accomplished Charlie Clouser along with César Dávila-Irizarry.

In the theme song, jarring atonal synths blast their way through a spartan groove complete with scrape-y percussive noises, upright bass and a barebones drum beat along with some sort of weird repetitive ghostly whisper.

In Levine's score, a recurring theme features a fingerpicked spanish guitar while a child like voice sings "la la la"; it seems to be an homage to Komeda's theme song from "Rosemary's Baby", but it never comes close to being a direct ripoff. All sorts of familiar sounds occur during the score, cleverly referencing any number of horror classics but the addition of modern production techniques and some innovative ideas take the music into the now; it's all expertly executed. The entire music department at AHS does an enviable job; the music is such an important part of the show; it would only be half as good with your typical stock TV thriller sounds.

Though AHS treads a lot of familiar territory, even the most cynical horror fan would have a hard time denying its effectiveness, both visually and sonically, and for a basic cable TV show it's very graphic and is able to get satisfyingly freaky. And it's one of the highest rated shows on cable TV. It's silly that the same Hollywood that produces such a high quality product for television continues to churn out sub-par, tired tripe to release in theaters.

I doubt very many horror fans have managed to miss American Horror Story, but even if you're not a horror obsessive, you'll still enjoy the show; particularly the first season.

1 comment:

  1. I've only caught the first season so far, but it didn't disappoint on bringing something original to well-trodden territory. Welcome to the HBA!