Van Helsing


Now when it comes to the soundtrack of a vampire (amongst others) movie, there are a few things you should know are going to be coming:

1.) The majority of the music is going to be creepy, on edge, and not very happy. But don’t let that lead you into thinking it’s not going to be exciting – because there is plenty of action, baby.

2.) There’s going to be chorus singing. You can’t not have a chorus singing in Latin or something when it comes to a good vampire movie.

3.) The string section is going to do some freaky stuff. Let’s face it, if done right, those violins and such can creep you out. Might even get some bells in here too.

That’s the main stuff. Now, Alan Silvestri (who has also done The Mummy Returns), let’s see what you’ve got. I saw this movie and thought that the soundtrack might have some good stuff to offer. Besides, I haven’t heard any edgy Transylvanian stuff for a while. Time for something new.

1.) Transylvania 1887 – 1:26 This track begins things abruptly and powerfully with the full spectrum of the orchestra, complete with chorus (and I swear even a few bat noises somewhere), it slows a little, but then brings the pace back up again into heavily beating drums and slips so neatly into track 2…

2.) Burn It Down! – 4:46 …that at first you don’t even know the two are different tracks. I didn’t. Things slow down a little here, bringing in the first of the creepy violins and soft horns, but then, like a train, things start chugging along the track, going down that dark vampire tunnel and flaring into a wide opening for, mm, someone. Things turn into a time race, a little bit of that desperate vampire theme coming into play, before dipping back down to those drums and rising up once more like before. Escape is the name of the game here for those in the movie, and things aren’t looking very good. Even a harp can tell them so… Does it all end well? I couldn’t tell you…but maybe the finishing chorus can.

3.) Werewolf Trap – 1:53 We open with that very same chorus. This is a fast track, and you just know danger is abundant here, and it’s another race for time. Man, it’s all one big game of capture and escape in this movie! Velkan was cute too – and it is in this song that much of his fate is decided.

4.) Journey to Transylvania – 1:33 Short though it may be, I like this track a lot just for the instruments used. They’re not what you get to hear every day, and I wished it said what string instrument they used in this CD. This song is fast, and makes for good Van Helsing traveling music because, after all, that’s exactly what they are doing here!

5.) Attacking Brides – 5:02 Winding strings bring us into this next track, and that’s not a good thing. You can almost see those evil brides swooping down on people to this track – complete with squeaking, bat-sounding strings. Chorus harps, among other instruments, all of which are fast and thumping. At around 2 minutes, you almost think things are going to slow down…but it just gets creepy instead…who’s going to win? Who’s going to die? I don’t know, but man, listen to those drums pound! We finish things off with a mix of everything, complete with the bell and chorus singing powerfully to the skies and just a tad bit of organ.

6.) Dracula’s Nursery – 5:46 Careful…don’t turn things up too loudly…because after that blowing wind, things will get pretty heavy, pretty quick. And then stop. They reopen with a near empty tone…the kind you get when you have a couple people walking around in a dead place and they don’t know just what they’re going to expect – and if they even want to at all. It doesn’t matter, because they get it, yes siree. Gotta love the horns in this one. They have the evil Dracula thing down perfectly.

7.) Useless Crucifix – 2:35 We start off with a bang and powerful rise up here, before dropping down into desolate areas – but that doesn’t last too long because soon we have that fast paced thudding music and a snippet of Van Helsing’s heroic theme. But then we go right back into Dracula’s territory – and that isn’t a good thing. Up go the horns, swishing by go the strings, and boom, boom go the drums. This time, however, we get the full Van Helsing hero theme and end on a good note for once…almost.

8.) Transylvanian Horses – 3:55 I knew exactly what the name of this track was without even looking, just by the instrumentation it used. This is actually the first time I’ve listened to this soundtrack because I just got my hands on it. Face it, I’m just that good. Hehe. Anyways, we start off quickly, the same exotic string (I really wish it said in here what it was, because it ain’t your usual violin!) setting the pace for the horses. It leads into those Van Helsing drums and horns, blasting away his heroic theme. But he’s not out of the woods yet, as the chorus will tell you, and an abrupt end to this chase.

9.) All Hallow’s Eve Ball – 3:01 You know, I heard this one in the movie and man, I’ll tell you, weird ball music mixed with that bizarre carnival music is just the freakiest kind of stuff ever. I don’t know why. Carnival music itself is just creepy. Anyway, there’s that violin doing some Adam’s Family style crooning, more strings coming in to back it up, trying to be elegant, but retaining that uneasy feeling. That feeling continues as the whole ball opens up to the orchestra, but then nonstop beating drums take over, met with that chorus again as Van Helsing comes in once more to save the day.

10.) Who Are They to Judge? – 2:00 Horns open this track, paving the way for the rest of the instruments and voices. Despair begins here, and things end on a low note.

11.) Final Battle – 6:28 Ah, the longest track on here – what will it bring? Things start off with horns and strings trading on and off, bringing up the suspense for the big fight, the drums banging away at their part. And I do mean banging. Man, these drums just go and go on this CD, whoo! The chorus throws themselves into the melee before backing off again as an apprehensive mix of the heroic theme and unsure music goes round and round, the chorus coming in whenever they’re needed. Things just keep on rising in this track, and I do love the chorus. I have no idea what they’re saying, but it just sounds so freakin’ cool. And even though I don’t like drums clanging around all that much, I don’t mind them at all in this CD because they just give it character. This track is ever changing and you don’t think it’s ever going to slow down. War on Van Helsing and Dracula…battle on…

12.) Reunited – 4:25 This is the only track you’re going to hear that isn’t going to force your heart into beating in time with the music. It starts very sadly, you should be able to tell what has happened even if you haven’t seen the movie. It moves more into a farewell type of sound, and blossoms into an acceptance of this farewell (and those drums haven’t given up either, they’re just not a prominent). A little ghostly chorus and a flute take center stage for just a bit before it turns back into a more loving style. Finally we hit the one spot that turns into the turning point for the end credits to begin and we hear one last time that bit of Journey to Transylvania before an abrupt ending.

Some good vampire style music in here with that heroic theme going on – you wouldn’t think it would work, but it does, and very well too. Even though there are 12 tracks, the CD actually feels a little short and I kind of expected more out of it. I’m sure I’ll warm up to it more as time goes on, but that feeling lingers, which leads me to give it only 4 stars. But that’s perfectly fine because I still thing Alan Silvestri did a fine job with this, and the music fit very, very well to the movie, no complaints about that. Feeling a little Transylvanian? Then sink your teeth into this!

NT


Originally posted on Epinions.com

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I am an author, I sell books for a living, and I love music like there's no tomorrow. I've experienced much of this country, from forested hills of the East, to the golden plains of the Midwest, the sandy beaches of the Southeast, and the oh-so-majestic mountains of the Rockies. And when all else fails, eat chocolate.