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The Thing (1982 Original Soundtrack)

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John Carpenter’s films are of course known for their incredible scores, often performed by Carpenter himself, but for The Thing, Ennio Morricone handled the music. With his landmark score, Morricone – who recently won the Oscar for The Hateful Eight (which, funny enough, used bits of The Thing score) – pitch-perfectly captured the cold, isolated atmosphere of the story. Although Carpenter himself (in collaboration with Alan Howarth) had scored his five previous films, he turned to the Italian maestro to compose the original score for The Thing since it was his first film with a big studio budget. Due to scheduling conflicts, Morricone composed the music after viewing the film before it was even complete. He recorded the synthesizer parts in Rome and the large orchestra in Los Angeles. Ultimately, more than half the score was not used in the film, and some parts were replaced by electronic music newly composed by Carpenter and Howarth. However, Morricone's work—one of his most imaginative, claustrophobic and paranoid scores—has developed a cult following. It is one of the scores most appreciated by the composer's fans, and also by Carpenter fans.

Two years later, Morricone reflected on the score. “The collaboration with Carpenter was really something extraordinary and something very peculiar, as well,” Morricone told Rolling Stone. “He came to Rome to show me the movie but immediately after the end of the screening, he had to rush away, so I couldn’t speak to him. I was very impressed by what I’d seen but I was concerned because he didn’t give me any clue or indication about what he wanted.” The LP version of the original score for The Thing, which is coming out via Waxwork, features remastered audio and has been pressed on 180-gram “blood sample,” red-splattered vinyl. It also includes an 11-inch-by-22-inch poster.It gives a nice and clean yet smooth presentation and gets across the right feel the music wants to convey for the most part. Ennio Morricone composed the magnificent score for my movie The Thing,” Carpenter said in a statement. “Because we weren’t finished editing the movie, Ennio had to score without seeing a complete picture. When we put everything together, there were gaps dramatically where I would have wanted music. So I went off and scored a couple of simple pieces that filled in.” Midway through, Morricone’s themes strike a balance between acoustic, human sounds and cold electronics. The strings of “Solitude” oscillate between anxious and vertiginous. Keys twinkle like melting icicles on the electronic-tinged “Eternity,” soon joined by a church organ line that seems to be perpetually in descent, ratcheting up the tension and creating a sense of the inevitable. A meandering synth piece, “Sterilization,” shows Morricone not altogether comfortable mixing these two distinct palettes together.

Following decades of success in Europe and his iconic scores for spaghetti westerns, Morricone was only just making inroads into Hollywood. Despite having hundreds of credits to his name, Morricone’s scores remain instantly recognizable, be they the yips of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the stinging surf guitars of Danger Diabolik, or the romantic orchestral swells of The Mission. Watching the film when it screened at BAM a few years ago, it was startling when Morricone’s name emerged on the credits for The Thing—so minimal, restrained, and atmospheric is his score. When editing down The Thing, Carpenter felt that the film could benefit by the inclusion of additional music to fill in gaps. This additional music would sonically tie the overall film together. Taking the initiative, Carpenter performed and recorded multiple synth driven cues in his renowned scoring style and edited them into the film.The first features the original score by Ennio Morricone— best known for spaghetti westerns like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and his Oscar-winning music for The Hateful Eight (which included music he’d originally written for The Thing) — and the second, Lost Cues: The Thing, contains newly rerecorded music Carpenter himself wrote for the film. Both LPs are due out May 5th. He went on to make several different cues in many different styles. “In the end, he chose just one single piece of music,” Morricone said. “Now one of the pieces he didn’t use is in The Hateful Eight.” Most probably dont play things like this very loud and that certainly helps but I prefer to create a more real sense of staging and size to things which requires a volume crank that elevates these problems. Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows. Two different versions were initially available, the “Snow Variant” and “Deluxe Ice Edition,” but the latter has already sold out. So you better act fast on this one.

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