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GHOST RIDER – Christopher Young

February 16, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The first of Christopher Young’s two major 2007 releases, Ghost Rider is a super hero movie with a twist. Directed by Mark Steven Johnson and starring Nicolas Cage, Peter Fonda, Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott and Wes Bentley, the film follows the life of daredevil stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze (Cage). When his father falls terminally ill with cancer, Blaze strikes a deal with the devil: his soul to save his father’s life. The deal, however, backfires on Johnny, turning him into a skeleton-headed motorbike-riding demon with a blazing inferno raging from his skull and hands! If this sounds all a bit hokey, you could well be right, but the fight between Cage’s urban cowboy superhero and Bentley’s evil son-of-the-devil strikes the right balance between over the top action and downright silliness.

As befits the character, Young treats his protagonist almost as a modern day cowboy outlaw, cruising around the West on his trusty hog. The score is low, bass-heavy, action-packed, and makes liberal use of a throng of electric guitars which grunt down in the mix and underpin the entire work. The opening track, “Ghost Rider” is quite magnificent, a full-on gothic orchestral powerhouse with dark, trilling brasses and a powerful choir which hearkens back to the days of Hellraiser. Unfortunately, the rest of the score doesn’t maintain the same level of intensity, only even coming close during the driving “More Sinister Than Popcorn”, the operatic “Blood Signature”, and the conclusive, Latin chant heavy “The West Was Built on Legends”.

The romantic theme, first heard in “A Thing for Karen Carpenter” is sweet and lush, with a prominent acoustic guitar element, “San Veganza” sounds like a refugee from a Morricone western with its lonely solo trumpet refrain, and some of the action cues, notably “Cemetery Dance” and “Nebuchadnezzar Phase” are impressive in their volume and intensity, although some of them do come across more like Metallica rock instrumentals than a traditional film score.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • Ghost Rider (3:16)
  • Blackheart Beat (3:06)
  • Artistry in Death (4:13)
  • A Thing for Karen Carpenter (2:01)
  • Cemetery Dance (5:31)
  • More Sinister Than Popcorn (5:40)
  • No Way to Wisdom (2:15)
  • Chain Chariot (6:18)
  • Santa Sardonicus (3:36)
  • Penance Stare (5:26)
  • San Venganza (3:22)
  • Blood Signature (2:08)
  • Serenade to a Daredevil’s Devil (1:53)
  • Nebuchadnezzar Phase (5:52)
  • The West Was Built on Legends (3:59)

Running Time: 58 minutes 36 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6789 (2007)

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