by Aaron Kent
Seminal composer Bernard Herrmann is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, most notably his screeching strings on “The Murder” during the shower scene in Psycho. Hitchcock was initially hesitant to have any music during the scene, but it was Herrmann’s insistence that his composition would work that encouraged Hitchcock to include it – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Herrmann was an academy award winner, whose list of scores would make all but Ennio Morricone and John Williams jealous. He composed soundtracks for films such as Citizen Kane, Cape Fear, and Taxi Driver, and while his composition of the shower scene in Psycho may be the standout moment of his career, the soundtrack of Twisted Nerve suggests otherwise.
For the uninitiated, Twisted Nerve was a psychological thriller from the British producer/director duo The Boulting Brothers. The film itself hasn’t found itself in the canon of classic horror films, perhaps largely due to its controversial depiction of mental illness as a motivation for the main character to murder individuals. However, Herrmann’s inspired soundtrack has become something of a cult score, part in thanks due to Quentin Tarantino’s use of the whistling theme for Kill Bill Vol. 1, and Death Proof. Tarantino’s inspired choice to reuse Herrmann’s whistling theme actually lead to it becoming the most popular ringtone in Eastern Europe for an extended period.
Stylotone Records are a new label, their first release being this reissue of Twisted Nerve, as a 7” EP, and two more substantial reissues of Twisted Nerve as deluxe LPs – one as a yellow vinyl with blood red splatters and a yellow sleeve, the other with a clear vinyl with blood red splatters and a black sleeve. The deluxe versions also come with a 7” of the whistling tune, a CD of the score, download card, certificate of authentication, 30” x 40” quad film poster, and sleeve notes from Quentin Tarantino. The whole package is a thing of beauty, a real statement of intent for a new label that sets them apart from others around them.
The soundtrack itself is wonderful, Herrmann on the top of his game. This, much like Akira Ifukube’s Godzilla scores or Morricone’s westerns, is a fantastic listen, something to work around the house to, or lie back with headphones in and truly enjoy the whole experience.
Stylotone also have a release of Khartoum scheduled for 3rd June. If the label keeps up the high standards they have set out already, then they will definitely be one of the most exciting vinyl labels of the moment.
The Music: 5/5
The Package: 5/5
FIW Rating: 5/5