Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Young’

THE OFFERING – Christopher Young

February 17, 2023 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

One of the most frustrating things to have happened over the last few years in film music is the apparent slow decline of Christopher Young’s career. This remarkable composer – the man behind such stellar works as Hellraiser, Murder in the First, Drag Me to Hell, The Monkey King, and so many others – has scored just a handful of major theatrical films in the United States in the last decade, with the last true box office successes being the remake of Pet Sematary in 2019, and then Sinister back in 2012. Seemingly the only people who remain loyal to him are independent horror directors, who regularly hire him to bring his unique sound to their films. Many of them likely grew up listening to Young’s earliest works from the 1980s – experimental efforts like The Dorm that Dripped Blood, The Power, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – and so in many ways one could say he has returned to his roots. The latest director to do this is Oliver Park, who hired him for his film The Offering. Read more…

JENNIFER 8 – Christopher Young

November 3, 2022 1 comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Jennifer 8 was one of a series of very good serial killer thrillers released in cinemas in the aftermath of The Silence of the Lambs. Written and directed by Englishman Bruce Robinson – a world away from Withnail & I – it stars Andy Garcia as cop John Berlin, who takes a job with a rural police force in northern California after becoming burnt out on the job in Los Angeles. Before long Berlin finds himself embroiled in a new mystery when he finds evidence of a serial killer apparently targeting blind women; this brings him into contact with visually impaired music teacher Helena Robertson (Uma Thurman), who is a likely candidate to be the killer’s next victim. The film co-starred Lance Henriksen, Kathy Baker, Graham Beckel, and John Malkovich, and was a reasonable critical success, but it flopped badly at the box office; director Robinson’s Hollywood career nose-dived as a result, and his only film since then was The Rum Diary in 2011. Read more…


October 18, 2022 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Hellraiser franchise, which was originally adapted from Clive Barker’s acclaimed novella ‘The Hellbound Heart’ and first hit cinema screens in 1987, has one of horror’s all-time-great conceptual cornerstones; the idea that an ancient puzzle box which, once solved by unwary and unwitting souls, releases a group of demonic figures known as Cenobites, who then abduct and subject their victims to endless torture. The original film also introduced one of horror’s all-time-great antagonists, the terrifying Pinhead, an S&M demon who comes from a realm of hell where pleasure, pain, and suffering are one and the same. Unfortunately, the franchise quickly became a shadow of its initial self; the first sequel, 1988’s Hellbound, was good, and the second sequel, 1992’s Hell on Earth, was tolerable, but then the subsequent SEVEN sequels got progressively worse and worse, the intelligence levels decreasing in unison with the budgets. This new film, also called Hellraiser, is an attempt to re-ignite the franchise with a better screenplay and re-imagined Cenobites; it’s directed by David Bruckner from a screenplay by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, stars Odessa Azion as the new protagonist Riley, and features Jamie Clayton as the new ‘Hell Priest,’ who is actually much closer to the pan-sexual and androgynous iteration of the Pinhead character from Barker’s original story. Read more…

BRIGHT ANGEL – Christopher Young

June 24, 2021 1 comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A thoughtful, contemplative road movie with a neo-western vibe, Bright Angel was directed by Michael Field, with a screenplay adapted from an acclaimed short story by novelist Richard Ford. The film stars Dermot Mulroney as George, a disaffected teenager from Montana whose mental health and grip on sanity is deteriorating due to the constant fights between his parents. Running away from home and hitting the road, he meets a quirky fellow runaway from Wyoming named Lucy (Lili Taylor), who is hitchhiking south to Arizona and intends to help her brother get out of jail. George agrees to help her, and soon the unlikely pair are traversing the American west, and attempting to find meaning in the darkness of their lives. The film co-stars Sam Shepard, Valerie Perrine, and Bill Pullman, and has a terrific, underrated score by Christopher Young. Read more…

THE EMPTY MAN – Christopher Young and Lustmord

October 31, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Empty Man is a horror-thriller written and directed by David Prior, based on the graphic novel of same name by Cullen Bunn and Vanesa R. Del Rey. James Badge Dale stars as James Lasombra, a retired detective who is called back into action after a group of teens from a small Midwestern town begin to mysteriously disappear. The locals believe the disappearances are the work of an urban legend known as the Empty Man, and as Lasombra delves into the mystery, he soon finds himself drawn into a supernatural world of secret societies, ritual sacrifice, and dark magic. The film also stars Marin Ireland, Stephen Root, and Ron Canada, and bizarrely is it not one of the films that fell victim to COVID-19 restrictions, opening in cinemas over Halloween weekend in an attempt to lure brave horror fans into the multiplexes that actually opened. Read more…

PET SEMATARY – Christopher Young

April 17, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

For many years, from the late 1970s through to the end of the 1990s, cinematic adaptations of novels by Stephen King were everywhere. Director Brian de Palma started it all with Carrie in 1976, and over the course of the next 20 years or so, film after film and TV series after TV series came out. Titles like Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Cujo, The Dead Zone, Christine, Children of the Corn, Stand By Me, The Running Man, It, Misery, The Dark Half, Needful Things, The Tommyknockers, The Stand, The Shawshank Redemption, Dolores Claiborne, The Green Mile, and many others, have received critical acclaim, box office success, cult status, or all three. Such is their enduring popularity that we are now in the realm where certain titles are on their second or third version, and this is the case with Pet Sematary. It is based on King’s 1983 novel, and was originally adapted for the screen in 1989 by director Mary Lambert. The film tells the story of the Creed family, who move to Maine when the father, Louis, accepts a job as the doctor at a local school. When Church, the family cat, is run over on the road outside their home, Louis and his elderly neighbor Jud Crandall take the body to a ‘pet cemetery’ deep in the woods by the Creed property, and bury it; the following day, the cat returns, apparently having been supernaturally resurrected. However, Church is now vicious and aggressive, whereas before he was sweet-natured and lovable. Some months later, Louis’s daughter Ellie is killed in a terrible traffic accident on the same road; distraught, and despite Jud’s dire warnings, Louis takes her body to the pet cemetery too… with naturally horrific results. The film stars Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, and Jeté Laurence, and is directed by Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch. Read more…

THE FLY II – Christopher Young

March 21, 2019 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

David Cronenberg’s horror classic The Fly was such a critical and commercial success in 1986 that 20th Century Fox and Brooksfilms green-lit a sequel almost immediately. The Fly II was written by Frank Darabont and Mick Garris, and directed by Chris Walas, who supervised the first film’s makeup effects, and won an Academy Award for his grotesque efforts. The film is set several months after the events of the first one, and begins when Veronica (Geena Davis’s character from the first movie) gives birth to a baby, the son of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum’s character). The baby was conceived after Seth began mutating into a fly, and Veronica dies in childbirth, but the infant – who is named Martin – initially appears to be healthy. Martin grows up in a laboratory owned by Anton Bartok (Lee Richardson), the scientist-businessmen who funded Seth’s research, but before long it becomes clear that Martin is different – he possesses a genius-level intellect, has incredible reflexes, and grows faster than a normal human, so much so that by the age of five he has the mental capacity of a 25-year-old man, and looks like Eric Stoltz. Eventually, Martin begins to question his life and existence, and slowly begins to learn some unnerving truths about Bartok, especially when he starts to exhibit some of the same fly-related symptoms as his father… Read more…


January 10, 2019 Leave a comment


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 1987 film Hellraiser, based on the novella The Hellbound Heart by British horror author Clive Barker, was an unexpected critical and commercial success at the box office, and as such an immediate sequel was commissioned to cash in on the new popularity of Pinhead and his merry band of ‘cenobite’ demons, who live in a realm of hell where pleasure, pain, and suffering are one. The resulting film, titled Hellbound: Hellraiser II, takes place in the immediate aftermath of the first film, and finds protagonist Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) – having escaped from Pinhead (Doug Bradley) – recovering in a mental institution under the care of Dr Channard (Kenneth Cranham). However, it is revealed that Channard is secretly obsessed with cenobites, and has been searching for the ‘lament configuration’ puzzle box that summons them for years. Despite Kirsty’s desperate pleas, Channard recovers the bloody mattress that Kirsty’s stepmother Julia (Clare Higgins) died on in the last film, and uses it to resurrect her; so begins a gruesome, desperate game, as Channard and Julia explore the realms of hell together, while Kirsty tries to stop the cenobites once and for all. The film was written by Peter Atkins and is directed by journeyman Tony Randel, taking over duties from Barker. Read more…

HELLRAISER – Christopher Young

September 14, 2017 3 comments


Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the early autumn of 1987 the movie world was introduced to its newest horror franchise: Hellraiser, based on the acclaimed novella ‘The Hellbound Heart’ by British author Clive Barker. It was directed by Barker himself, making his filmmaking debut, and contains sinister themes involving sexual experimentation and sadomasochism, dressed up with a darkly romantic sheen of gothic horror. The plot involves an ancient puzzle box which falls into the hands of the amoral Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) and which, once solved, releases a group of demonic figures known as Cenobites, who then abduct and subject their unwitting victims to endless torture. Years after Frank’s disappearance his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson), Larry’s daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), and Larry’s new wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into Frank’s old house; Larry is unaware that Julia had a passionate affair with Frank before he disappeared. A common household accident results in the skinless corpse of Frank somehow being resurrected in the attic; in order to finalize his reincarnation, Frank needs a fresh supply of human blood, which the still-obsessed Julia agrees to provide. However, the Cenobites have found out about Frank’s escape from ‘hell,’ and their terrifying leader, Pinhead (Doug Bradley), resolves to bring him back – at which point Kirsty finds herself caught in the middle of the nightmare. Read more…

THE MONKEY KING 2 – Christopher Young

July 22, 2016 3 comments

monkeyking2Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Xi You Ji Zhi: Sun Wukong San Da Baigu Jing – known in English as The Monkey King 2 – is the second in the series of Chinese films based on “Journey to the West,” one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, which was written in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty by Wu Cheng En. Directed by Cheang Pou-Soi, the film continues the adventures of Sun Wukong, a monkey born from a magical stone who acquires supernatural powers. Following the events of the previous film, when he rebelled against heaven and was subsequently imprisoned under a mountain for 500 years, Sun Wukong (Aaron Kwok) is released and becomes the companion of a monk named Tang Sanzang (Shaofeng Feng), who is on a journey to India on a quest for enlightenment. However, their journey is fraught with danger, not least from Baigujing, White Bone Spirit (Gong Li), a demon who seeks immortality, and believes Tang Sanzang has the power to grant it to her. Read more…


October 29, 2015 1 comment

nightmareonelmstreet2THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the wake of the massive, and unexpected, success of A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, New Line Cinema realized they had a potential franchise on their hands. Audiences had responded very positively to Freddy Krueger, the wisecracking maniac with a striped sweater and a gloved hand full of knives who kills people in their dreams. Despite him having apparently been vanquished at the end of the first film, they found a way to bring him back for a sequel, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge got the green light for release on Halloween weekend, 1985, under the direction of veteran Jack Sholder. With the exception of Robert Englund as Freddy, the film featured an all-new cast, focusing on Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton), a teenage boy who moves into a new house with his family, without realizing that it is the same house where Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) fought Freddy years previously. Before long, Jesse is having nightmares about being stranded on a school bus with two girls and being stalked by a deformed killer; Jesse and his friends soon uncover information regarding Freddy’s legacy, but things quickly turn violent, and it becomes apparent that, instead of Freddy murdering people in their dreams, he is actually possessing Jesse’s body so that he can carry out murders in the real world. Read more…

THE MONKEY KING – Christopher Young

November 14, 2014 5 comments

monkeykingOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In Chinese folklore and mythology, the story of The Monkey King is as important and well known as The Iliad and The Odyssey are to the Greeks, or as The Wizard of Oz is to Americans. Technically, The Monkey King is part of “Journey to the West,” one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, which was written in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty by Wu Cheng En. It tells the story of Sun Wukong, a monkey born from a magical stone who acquires supernatural powers. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain for 500 years, he later accompanies a monk named Xuanzang on a journey to India, and subsequently brings Buddhism to ancient China. The story his been told in film and on TV several times, but never so lavishly as in this big-budget 3D Chinese film (Xi You Ji: Da Nao Tian Gong in its native language), which is directed by Pou-Soi Cheang and stars Donnie Yen and Chow-Yun Fat. It is the first of three planned movies, and is essentially the origin story – beginning with the birth of Sun Wukong and ending with his imprisonment for his crimes under the Five-Peaked Mountain. Along the way he acquires incredible powers, battling the armies of the gods and the armies of the demons to find his rightful place in the heavens. Read more…

THE RUM DIARY – Christopher Young

November 2, 2011 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Rum Diary doesn’t quite know what kind of film it wants to be. On the one hand it’s another wry look at life through the alcohol-soaked and frequently hilarious lens of the late Gonzo author Hunter S. Thompson, on whose novel this film is based, and on whom the lead character Paul Kemp is clearly modeled. On the other hand, it’s a comparatively serious examination of the American suppression of native culture of Puerto Rico in the 1950s, specifically the way in which rich industrialists manipulate the system and steal from the local landowners in order to line their pockets. Then again, it’s a romance, in which the Kemp character falls in lust with the beautiful young wife of a shady entrepreneur. But, most of all, it’s a love letter to Puerto Rico itself – the unspoiled beaches, the sunny climes, the generous people, and the seemingly unlimited supply of alcohol that keep the wheels of the island greased. Read more…

A SYMPHONY OF HOPE: THE HAITI PROJECT – Christopher Lennertz et al.

October 2, 2011 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

On January 12, 2010, the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti was effectively flattened when it was struck by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Within a matter of seconds over 50,000 people had been killed, and over a million people left homeless. Diseases such as cholera blighted the survivors and thwarted relief efforts, and since then the humanitarian crisis in the country has reached staggering proportions, with over 250,000 residences destroyed and basic services and infrastructure left in ruins. Reacting to the global call for help, film composer Christopher Lennertz was inspired to act. Calling upon his fellow composers and other members of the Los Angeles film music community of musicians and engineers, Lennertz teamed up with the charity Hands Together to create A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project, a musical fundraising project intended to help the people of Haiti. Read more…

PRIEST – Christopher Young

May 15, 2011 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

You always know where you stand with a Christopher Young horror score. Throughout his career, going all the way back to Hellraiser in 1987 and continuing on through scores like Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Bless the Child and Drag Me to Hell, horror movies with religious overtones have defined the majority of his best work, brought him the most fans, and earned him the most acclaim. Although he is enormously accomplished at writing in literally dozens of styles, from the smooth jazz of scores like Rounders to the soaring orchestral beauty of scores like Murder in the First, his work in this genre remains the cornerstone of his writing, and Priest is yet another outstanding example of why he remains one of the best in the business as this kind of thing. Read more…