On December 20th, Wes Craven’s classic slasher film Scream turns 20 years old. Many of you know how I feel about Scream. I’ve made my love for it and its sequels (yes, even Scream 3) apparent in the past, but the original really was a landmark film that redefined the horror genre. I’ll be spending this week writing a handful of posts about Scream (call it “Scream Week,” if you will) in the hopes that more people will join in on celebrating this wonderful film. This article is sort of a cheat since it is more about Halloween: H20, but it does show how influential Scream was on the horror genre in the years following its release.
Many of you may already know this story, but for the uninitiated, let’s start from the beginning. John Ottman was hired to compose the score for Halloween: H20 and compose it he did. You can still hear some of it in the finished film (I’m actually a fan of his re-tooling of John Carpenter’s theme in the opening credits), but certain segments during the more suspenseful scenes were switched out with segments of Marco Beltrami’s scores for Scream, Scream 2 and Mimic.
Most of Ottman’s score was removed because the producers (read: Bob Weinstein) wanted a darker and more imposing score, and they didn’t believe Ottman’s score fit that criteria. In the Making Of featurette on Anchor Bay’s Blu-Ray release of the film, editor Patrick Lussier actually admits that Ottman’s score felt like it was for a different movie, saying it was “over-orchestrated, very detailed [and] wasn’t a score for a Halloween movie…it was busy.” Though he did later admit that it was “good music in its own right but it just wasn’t right for the film.”
Understandably, Ottman “was horrified because [he] was the composer of that particular approach” to the score, lamenting that the new approach that ended up in the final cut was a standard slasher score. Unfortunately for Ottman, that approach tested better with test audiences.
Halloween: H20‘s release date was pushed up a month during post-production, giving the crew five days to retool the score. Had they more time, an entirely new score would have been composed. Since they had such limited time, Beltrami was flown in to re-do about half of the score. What remained of Ottman’s score was either edited heavily or used for scenes they weren’t originally intended to be used for. In some scenes parts of Ottman’s score was mixed in with Beltrami’s score, making for an hybrid pieces of music.
It’s an unfortunate situation for Ottman, but it does seem to have been the right choice for the film. It also shows just how good of a score Scream had, since it did work out pretty well for Halloween: H20.
To see an example of Halloween: H20 with Beltrami’s score, watch the clip below:
As you can see, it uses the same music from Tatum’s (Rose McGowan’s) death scene in Scream:
pretty similar exactly the same, huh? There are multiple uses of Beltrami’s scores all throughout the film, including the pre-credits sequence when Michael murders Nurse Chambers. You can still listen to Ottman’s full score though. It was released as a standalone album called “Portrait of Terror“, but clips of the film with the score weren’t actually released until Shout! Factory released the box set of the entire franchise back in 2014.
You can hear the original version here:
What say you on the matter? Which score do you prefer? You can listen to other comparisons on YouTube user Anthony Borga’s account (Or just buy Anchor Bay’s totally awesome box set of the whole series. It’s only $50 right now for the basic set and $180 for the Deluxe Set).
What say you on the matter? Which score do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!