[movie] Demons (Dancu version)

Demons (1985)

Lamberto Bava, director. Original music by Claudio Simonetti.

Additional music, sound effects, sound design, incidental music, atmospheres, video editing and recoloring by Brian Albers of Humorless Productions aka Dancu in 2016-2017.

https://dancu.bandcamp.com/

https://humorlessproductions.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Humorless-Productions/190626074303436?ref=hl

http://www.mixcloud.com/humorlessproductions/

Ok, so here is my version of Lamberto Bava’s classic proto-zombie flick Demons from 1985, where I re-scored it- added a bunch of music, atmospheres, sound effects and sound design.

I actually did all the work on this a couple years ago. This was the first movie I re-scored. The second was Elves (1989) which you can see here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcAtRHzCP-E).

All audio done in Presonus Studio One, with way too many synths and signal processors to list.

All video work done in FCPX and Adobe Premiere.

If you have any questions about what I did or how I did it, ask below. Here are some basic notes-

First I edited out the fat- I took out the three or four short scenes of the quartet of punk rockers driving around Berlin. Those characters do enter the movie in the second half, but these scenes in the first half that I axed were totally irrelevant to the movie as a whole, so I dropped them.

I went to a screening of this movie sometime in the 2000s in Los Angeles with a Q&A with some of the actors. Geretta Geretta was there, the black woman with the braids who becomes the first demon in the movie. Somebody asked why they chose to shoot the movie in Berlin instead of somewhere in Italy (where most of the actors and crew lived) or New York, which was all the rage with Italian horror filmmakers at the time. She fielded the question and said that Berlin was simply the super hip place in Europe in those days, and I think that’s why those scenes were included in the movie. But in retrospect, they’re 100% inconsequential to the story, and the film works just fine without them.

Bobby Rhodes was there too, and 35 years after the movie, he looked EXACTLY the same. Didn’t even looked like he’d aged a day.

I ditched only one other scene which happens most of the way through the movie. As they’re trying to escape the theatre, a group of people enter an empty room, with brick walls and a dirt floor, and they sort of grope around as if they’re blind or as if the room was completely dark, as if they’re in some sort of trance. Then they freak out in hysterics for about 10 or 20 seconds, and then they turn around and leave the room. There are no other references to that room. So what the hell was it? I don’t know. Does anybody know? Doubt it. In any case, it’s a better movie without that scene.

I tried to lose the whole helicopter thing (that’s another total head-scratcher), but the last part of the movie would have been one big non-sequitur, with them on the roof for the big fight scene. So I had to keep it, even though it makes no sense.

Also in this process, I color corrected many of the scenes. Especially the whole intro subway/S-bahn scenes. They were really green, so I warmed them up a bit. And I fixed a lot of the stuff in the rest of the movie, too. Mostly dropping the blacks and punching up the overall color a bit.

Then I started on the music. The one aspect of this movie which inspired me to take it on in the first place, was the fact that there is no music in the two most climactic scenes of the movie- the transformation scene about halfway through, and the final rooftop climactic battle. Once I made the music for those scenes, I thought I would leave it at that. But then as I watched the rest of the movie, I kept noticing other scenes that really needed filling out, so at that point I dove in head first and went through every scene and added what I thought they needed.

I also went so far as to remaster the movie’s original audio, including all dialog, all the heavy metal songs and Claudio Simonetti’s originals.

And now that it’s done, I can confidently say that it’s a vastly better movie. It’s still mind-boggling to me why so many of the scenes don’t have music in the first place, especially those two pivotal scenes. Lamberto Bava was a seasoned pro at this point, as was Claudio Simonetti. If they were rookies, you might think it’d be plausible that they made a rookie mistake like running out of time or running out of money. But I don’t think that’s realistic. Maybe they were just going for a stylistic thing where they thought having no music in those scenes and others would be best. Well, it’s not, and I fixed it.

Hope you like it. Go check out Elves, too, where I gave it the same treatment.

I’m working on Eyes of Fire (1983) now. I’ve made some very good progress on it, but it’s still a ways from being done. I’ll let you know when I post it.

[video] one of the movies I rescored: Elves (1989)

Elves

Here’s one of the movies for which I updated the music and sound design and sound effects and other audio stuff.

Elves (1989) is a totally bizarro horror flick starring Dan Haggerty, well after his days playing Grizzly Adams on tv, who plays a down-on-his-luck Santa at a dreary shopping mall, and who gets involved with some young woman trying to get to the bottom of something involving present-day Nazis still attempting to create the ‘master race’ and there’s a scary demon troll thing terrorizing everybody at that mall. It’s a full-on midnight movie cult flick, and is one of those movies that would never, ever get made today, because it’s just too weird.

It’s movies like this that are right up my alley. I love this type of movie. I love the higher quality ones like this, and also the lower budget attempts like this one. This isn’t the greatest movie ever, but it’s not the worst, and it’s certainly entertaining. Pretty funny how the wheelchair-bound grandpa is supposedly descended from Germans, and for the first half of the movie has a German accent, but as the movie drags on, it sort of morphs into a Jewish/Yiddish accent. Unintentional I’m sure; he just couldn’t stay in character.

This was a tricky one to work on. I had a VHS copy for a long time, but then I was all excited when I got a dvd rip of it. Except, for some reason, the audio (including the music) on the dvd rip was in mono. What the hell? How is this even possible? So what I ended up doing was taking the audio from the VHS rip (which also included an extended introductory song), and syncing it to the video of the dvd rip. Of course, the audio didn’t match up exactly, so I had to do a lot of stretching and pulling to make it work.

But once that was lined up, I got to work. I loaded up some low end in some spots (like at 18:40 and 48:40), cooked up a couple poundy industrial songs for appropriate scenes (at 44:10, and the big climax at 1:22:38), and touched up the atmospheres, sound design and sound effects throughout. And speaking of that intro piano song, I did some super subtle but effective techniques in the movie like adding the tremolo strings you’ll hear in that intro.

One thing about the gunfight scene in the second half of the movie-

I don’t know if they added sound to the natural, production sound of the gunshots, but in the movie they sound like toy cap guns. I’ve personally never shot a gun, and probably the only time I’ve heard actual gunshots was on New Years Eve because I lived in LA all those years. So I sorta know that guns don’t sound the way they do in this movie. So I wanted to bolster them up a bit.

But I didn’t want to go overboard with it, because on the other hand, we have a movie like the first Indiana Jones. Go back and listen to the scene at the beginning of that movie where there’s a gunfight at a bar in Siberia(?) where the Nazi guy burns his hand. Those handguns sound like giant air craft carrier cannons and it’s absolutely ludicrous. Of course, it’s the filmmaker’s and sound designer’s call to take such liberties, but once you notice that, it’s utterly laughable.

Even as cartoony as Elves is, I didn’t want to go to such ridiculous, comical lengths. So I found a pretty good middle ground, where the guns in this movie sound like more than toys, but less than cannons.

I also cropped this one into widescreen. Nothing of importance was lost. And I exploded it up to 720p. I ended up adjusting the color for a lot of it, not because I up-converted it, but even at small size, the picture was gonna need some help.

Someday I might be persuaded to post my version of Demons (1985) where I gave it much the same treatment as Elves. We’ll see…

And I think I’ve decided on a third movie to rescore. Not sure yet, but I’ll let you know.

[audio] Axiome live in Brussels, 31 October 2004

Axiome live at Breakcore Gives Me Wood vs Boups, 31 oct 2004 at Dexia, Brussels, Belgium.

Experimental industrial from Olivier Moreau and C-Drik Fermont.

 

I post all my audio to hearthis.at as well these days (but of course it’s a complete pain in the ass to embed audio to WordPress and I simply don’t have the patience any more to try to get the hearthis.at plug-in to work, so I’ll just give you the link for now)-

[audio] Dj? Acucrack live in San Francisco, 6 June 2006

Dj? Acucrack live at DNA Lounge, San Francisco, 6 June 2006.

Despite having one of the lamest monikers in all of electronic music, Dj Acucrack made some amazing music. Here’s the duo, captured at DNA Lounge in San Francisco in 2006, before the death of founding member Jamie Duffy.

Industrial strength drum and bass with many samples of metal guitars (ala Pantera, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails…). They pack a whole lotta music into 34 minutes.

RIP Jamie.