As I'm typing this I'm listening to the absolutely stunning score to John Carpenter's The Thing by Ennio Morricone. I was familiar with the music from the film previous to this, but only as a backdrop or an audio only track on the DVD. I had never sat down and just listened to it before tonight. Honestly, I'm a few tracks in and I can say, with some authority, that this is one of the best scores I've heard in a very long time. And all the more interesting for the fact that it feels like I'm hearing it for the very first time.
I guess, in some ways, I am hearing it for the first time. I've read that Morricone's score was not used in its entirety in the film, with Carpenter favouring only a few of the pieces, and subbing in some of his own work where he felt necessary. The soundtrack, features 10 tracks which comprise all of the music Morricone created for the film and none of the additional pieces by Carpenter.
What surprises me the most about this music is how orchestral it feels/sounds, which I'm sure sounds kind of dumb to say. Most of my memories from the film, however, are of the tracks "Humanity (Parts 1 & 2)" and a few other tracks which I'm not 100% sure are from the film or the DVD menus. Anyway, the "Humanity" pieces are very much in the tradition of Carpenter's style. It's very simple, rhythmic, and provides the background to a haunting, repeating, melody played with synthesizers. So, hearing the full breadth and scope of the music here is both jarring and tremendously cool.
The temptation to grab the DVD and pop it in is overwhelming, but I promised myself I would go watch the 'prequel' film on Friday and then watch the Carpenter version to see how well they line up. I've heard that they reverse engineered a lot of the '82 version in regards to the Norwegian team's involvement at the beginning of the movie, so maybe it would be rewarding to have all those little cues fresh in my head. Like when they explain how the axe got in the wall, for example.
Ah, well. All things to consider while I sit here listening and patiently await the October 14th release date for the new movie.