When I mention the titles of some of the most famous, iconic horror movies, you can’t help but think of their equally iconic scores. HALLOWEEN. PSYCHO. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Their themes have become synonymous with the movies, themselves, and are inseparable. At the mere mention of William Friedkin’s 1973 masterpiece THE EXORCIST, we immediately hear “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfiend and see that poster image of Father Merrin arriving at the MacNeils’. But it wasn’t originally supposed to be that song.
For savvy genre fans, this isn’t news. It’s common knowledge that originally Friedkin had tapped the esteemed Lalo Schifrin (THE AMITYVILLE HORROR & the goddamned theme to MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE!) to compose the score. In his interview with VICE, the director is rather diplomatic when asked about the original score, at least more so than he’s ever been before by saying, “I had commissioned Lalo Schifrin to write a score and I didn’t like the score. I felt the need for something that was akin to Brahams’s “Lullaby”—a kind of childhood feel.” But if you’ve seen the documentaries on THE EXORCIST Blu-Ray release, he’s very vocal and not very kind about Schifrin’s firing. For the most part, at least up until now, the only place to hear a glimpse of what could’ve been was in the film’s original teaser trailer. Finally after all these years, Schrifin commented very candidly about his original score to SCORE Magacine:
“The truth is that it was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life, but I have recently read that in order to triumph in your life, you may previously have some fails. What happened is that the director, William Friedkin, hired me to write the music for the trailer, six minutes were recorded for the Warners’ edition of the trailer. The people who saw the trailer reacted against the film, because the scenes were heavy and frightening, so most of them went to the toilet to vomit. The trailer was terrific, but the mix of those frightening scenes and my music, which was also a very difficult and heavy score, scared the audiences away. So, the Warner Brothers executives said Friedkin to tell me that I must write less dramatic and softer score. I could easily and perfectly do what they wanted because it was way too simple in relevance to what I have previously written, but Friedkin didn’t tell me what they said. I´m sure he did it deliberately. In the past we had an incident, caused by other reasons, and I think he wanted vengeance. This is my theory. This is the first time I speak of this matter, my attorney recommended me not to talk about it, but I think this is a good time to reveal the truth.”
“Finally, I wrote the music for the film in the same vein as that of the trailer. In fact, when I wrote the trailer I was in the studio with Friedkin and he congratulated me for it. So, I thought I was in the right way… but the truth was very different.”
I bet right about now, you want to hear that original score, don’t you? You got it!
I don’t know about you guys, but I kind of love this. It’s very noisy, alarming and terrifying, just as music! It reminds me of what the great Joseph Bishara did for the INSIDIOUS score. With the rise in popularity of horror soundtracks on vinyl, it’d be really awesome if someone out there could release this officially.
And while we’re at it, here’s the original teaser that used Schifrin’s music:
And lastly, audience reactions to the release of THE EXORCIST! Rare that we see anything like this these days over a movie!
Source: Dangerous Minds