Album: Friday The 13th OST (LP)

Artist: Harry Manfredini

Label: Waxwork

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Friday 13th


Quick, what’s the scariest sound to you: rapidly-sawing strings that summon images of the shower scene in Psycho; a throbbing, da-DUN-da-DUN forever associated with an incoming shark in the post-Jaws era; darkly ominous drones that set you up for the inevitable orchestral burst-from-the-shadows explosion; or maybe even some Deliverance-styled hillbilly banjo riffin’? All those, and more, can be found on the soundtrack to Sean Cunningham’s 1980 fright night classic Friday the 13th, the film that arguably launched the teen slasher genre. As envisioned by composer Harry Manfredini, the accompanying score would need to enhance the movie’s crucial psychological component of being shot mostly from the killer’s p.o.v., but with the killer unseen until the final reel, it had to do more than simply underline—it had to supply the viewers with sufficient foreboding and dread to make Jason’s appearance all the more terrifying.

They were warned… They are doomed… And on Friday the 13th, nothing will save them.” — from one of the original movie posters.

In his new liner notes to this reissue of the soundtrack, filmmaker Cunningham details how he hosted an early screening of the movie before a score had even been recorded; it went poorly, to say the least, and as he puts it, the attendees “tried to find a few good things and get the hell out as quickly as possible.” A month and a half later he held another screening with the score added, and even though it was the same exact cut, Manfredini’s music made all the difference and the attendees were enthusiastic. (Cunningham singles out a particular scene in which one of the teenagers walks from the cabin to the bathrooms to brush her teeth, and that it was “a dull and boring scene because we’re not being told what anything means [or] how to feel. But when Harry finished this scene, the audiences were completely riveted, literally on the edges of their seats.”)

Which of course is what a good film score is supposed to do. In his own notes, Manfredini outlines how he approached the music and how he overcame certain obstacles to help synch the visual with the auditory. He also writes about how a Dolly Parton song called “My Blue Tears” inspired him to come up with the country-rock tune “Sail Away Tiny Sparrow” that plays on the screen at the end with deceptive smoothness, just prior to Jason coming out of the water to grab Alice in her canoe. It’s all rather fascinating, and it’s likely that anyone who reads the two men’s comments while listening to the album won’t be able to watch the film again in quite the same light.

The LP, incidentally, is pressed on stunning deep sea-green swirl 180gm vinyl and is housed in a handsome thick-stock tip-on gatefold sleeve. Included is a limited edition 12”x12” art print tastefully depicting a floating canoe with a bloody, hatchet-split head superimposed.

DOWNLOAD: All of it, natch.

Friday 13th wax


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