Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday the 13th Theme

----Haunted Six----

When Harry Manfredini began working on the musical score for the 1980 film, the decision was made to only play the music alongside the killer, so as not to trick the audience into believing that the killer was around during moments that they were not supposed to be.Manfredini explains that the lack of music for certain scenes was deliberate: "There's a scene where one of the girls […] is setting up the archery area […] One of the guys shoots an arrow into the target and just misses her. It's a huge scare, but if you notice, there's no music. That was a choice."Manfredini also noted that when something was about to happen, the music would cut off so that the audience would relax a bit, which allowed the scare to become more effective.

Since Mrs. Voorhees, the killer in the original Friday the 13th, does not show up until the final reel of the film, Manfredini had the job of creating a score that would represent the killer in her absence.Manfredini was inspired by the 1975 film Jaws, where the shark is not seen for the majority of the film but the motif created by John Williams cued the audience on when the shark was present during scenes when you could not see it.While listening to a piece of Krzysztof Penderecki music, which contained a chorus with "striking pronunciations", Manfredini was inspired to recreate a similar sound for Friday the 13th. He came up with the sound "ki ki ki, ma ma ma", based on the line "Kill her mommy!", which Mrs. Voorhees recites repeatedly in the final reel. The "ki" comes from "kill", and the "ma" from "mommy". To achieve the unique sound he wanted for the film, Manfredini spoke the two words "harshly, distinctly and rhythmically into a microphone" and ran them into an echo reverberation machine.Manfredini finished the original score after a few weeks and recorded it in a friend's basement.Victor Miller and assistant editor Jay Keuper have commented on how memorable the music is, with Keuper describing it as "iconographic". Manfredini makes note of the mispronunciation of the sounds: "Everybody thinks it's cha, cha, cha. I'm like, 'Cha, cha, cha? What are you talking about?"

When Manfredini returned for the first sequel; he had an easier time composing this time, as he only needed to perfect what he had already created on the first film.Over the course of the sequels, Manfredini loosened the philosophy that the theme should be reserved just for the killer. Manfredini describes the style of the sequels as more of a "setting 'em up and knocking 'em down" approach, which meant that there were more "McGuffins and red-herrings" that required the killer's theme music be played to try and trick the audience. Manfredini explains, "The original had the real myopic approach, and then we had to start thinking of the sequels as more conventional films." For Part 3, Manfredini only returned to score the first and last reels of the film, as he was busy with a Broadway production. Jack Tillar pieced together portions of the score from the first two films to fill the remaining time for Part 3, while Michael Zagar composed an opening and closing theme. Manfredini and Zagar met at the latter's apartment, where Zagar rescored the original opening theme using a disco beat. Manfredini returned for The Final Chapter, and although there were similar elements to the score, everything was newly recorded for the fourth Friday the 13th.

When he began work on the score for A New Beginning, Manfredini created a theme just for the character of Tommy Jarvis. The idea was to suggest that there was "madness afoot", which he believed helped to "'point the finger' at various characters [...] to suggest that things were not as you might expect".For Jason Lives, Tom McLoughlin instructed Manfredini to create a score that would not alert the audience to what was happening, or about to happen, "but instead allow the audience to do it to themselves". McLoughlin took this idea from John Carpenter's 1978 film Halloween, which would always follow any shock in the film with Carpenter's "Eeeeeeee!" sound. McLoughlin wanted something more subtle, with a "Gothic" resonance.

Manfredini did not score The New Blood and Jason Takes Manhattan because of prior film engagements, but his scores from previous films were reused.While Manfredini was working on Sean Cunningham's DeepStar Six, producer Iain Paterson hired Fred Mollin, who was scoring Friday the 13th: The Series, to finish composing the music to The New Blood; Manfredini's original music only filled half the film.Mollin returned to fully score Jason Takes Manhattan, as well as work with Steve Mizer to write an original song, reminiscent of Robert Plant, for the opening credits.Manfredini would score the next two entries in the series before being replaced on Freddy vs. Jason.The official reason for Manfredini's replacement was because New Line wanted to take the series in a "new direction", although Manfredini contends that the final cut of Freddy vs. Jason was "just the same thing".


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