Music

Richard Band – Troll, Ghoulies, TerrorVision – Soundtrack Review

It’s a triple threat! A triple-decker cheese sandwich. It’s three releases from maestro Richard Band, who brought us the scores to such campy B-Movie classics as Laserblast, Reanimator and… Star Trek Pinball? Well, okay then. He’s also scored over a dozen episodes of Stargate: SG-1 and even three episodes of Walker: Texas Ranger. The man is nothing if not prolific.

The fine folks over at WRWTFWW (We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want) Records bring us a trilogy of Richard Band releases from some of his more well known work, specifically Ghoulies, TerrorVision and Troll. WRWTFWW are known for releasing music from somewhat more obscure artists, though they do occasionally dabble in the soundtrack side of things. Their vinyl release of Kenji Kawai’s Ghost in the Shell soundtrack is a thing of beauty that I proudly own myself.

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Each of these releases is on coloured vinyl. Blue for TerrorVision, pink for Ghoulies and yellow for Troll, and the physical copies are all available from WRWTFWW. But what about the music? Are these soundtracks worth purchasing? That’s a somewhat tougher sell. They’re all quite different, but none of them are what I would consider “must buys”. They work best within the confines of the films rather than for stand-alone listening. Ghoulies is by far the weakest of the three offerings, with the 80’s cheese of TerrorVision in the middle and Troll in the number one spot.

Troll tells the story of the Potter family who have just moved into a new apartment. Normally a new house is a good thing, but this particular block is also inhabited by a Troll who has a penchant for transforming his neighbours into fairytale creatures to rebuild the kingdom he once lost. This is also the shortest soundtrack of this set, at a mere five tracks in length and a total 37 minute runtime. It’s mostly orchestral and is the most operatic of the bunch. Of the three it’s the one that best stands on its own as something you can stick on in the background while you’re doing something else. Track 3 – ‘Cantos Profanae’ – is the most interesting of the five tracks, with the vocals front and centre as they chant in some strange, otherwordly ritual.

The score for Ghoulies is a longer affair. The film is a tale of Satanic rituals, ghosts, possession and horrid little critters who are perfectly happy to slit people up. When Johnathan inherits his late father’s run down mansion, he throws himself into repairing and refurbishing it, while along the way falling under the influence of the malevolent powers that inhabit the building.

The soundtrack is 20 tracks long and clocks in at a 55 minute runtime. There are no synths on display here (unlike Troll and TerrorVision); this is all entirely orchestral and a bit more traditionally “horror movie” in composition, which is certainly fitting for the subject matter. The main title theme (Track 2) is a jaunty little number vaguely reminiscent of some of the music from Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. ‘Basement Discovery’ (Track 3) has moments where it conjures up comparisons to James Horner’s superb soundtrack to Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

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TerrorVision, on the other hand, is a gloriously camp and over the top affair, dripping in 80’s nostalgia. The film tells the story of how the Putterman family’s satellite dish becomes the conduit for an alien creature known as “Hungry Beast” to come to Earth and wreak havoc on the family. The film features Gerrit Graham as the head of the family, Stanley Putterman. He’s had an extensive career in both film and TV, though you might known him better as “Beef” from Phantom of the Paradise or as the Q who wanted to die in Star Trek: TNG.

The score here is a whimsical and somewhat disjointed affair which definitely works far better within the film than on its own. It’s heavy on the synths and theremins and of the three it’s the least cohesive offering and definitely the hardest one to listen to on its own.

     
     
     
     

Track 8 – ‘Sherman Fights Back’ – does briefly conjure up comparisons to the Mission Impossible theme before dissolving into something that sounds like it was recorded while their cat ran up and down over their keyboard. Track 11 – ‘TerrorVision’ – is the standout track here. A rock/pop number that wouldn’t sound at all out of place on some mid-90’s FMV game a la The 7th Guest.

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These releases are, in my opinion, for the hardcore collector. These are for the BIG Richard/Charles Band fans. WRWTFWW have done a great job here, with each release sounding crisp and clean, every instrument, every synth chord ringing out like a bell. While we can only review the soundtrack as a piece of music without having access to the physical release, I’ve no doubt the actual vinyl copies will sound every bit as good. Are they worth picking up on vinyl rather than CD or a digital download? Only for the dedicated fan.

WRWTFWW Records presents Ghoulies OST on limited edition pink vinyl, Troll OST on limited edition yellow vinyl, and TerrorVision OST on limited edition blue vinyl, in stores worldwide now.

Ghoulies
Troll
TerrorVision

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