Dynamic orchestral score by John Beal arrives on CD! Universal releases no-nonsense horror film in 1981, brings attention to career of director Tobe Hooper, who follows year later with hit scare-fest, Poltergeist. Young cast features Elizabeth Berridge, Cooper Huckabee, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin as group of four teens attending local carnival, with veteran Kevin Conway as memorable Barker. Larry Block scripts, John Beal scores. Vivid orchestral score is anchored by waltz theme emphasizing intervals of the tritone, not just in melody but in harmonic structure as well. Interesting shape has theme begin in solo flute in upper register, increase in weight and density, then close in powerful statement for full orchestra. Harmonic vernacular continues throughout, and in one instance stands out in pure tritone major chords for French horn during closing bars of “All Alone No. 1”, a highlight. When scares arrive, Beal unleashes in kind with intense fortissimo episodes of musical fury. Interestingly, while intensity is keynote, Beal relies on propulsive energy and exciting jabs of color rather than overt dissonance to underscore the thrills. Results are striking! First half of score leads to the horror, second half provides the thrills. Standout action cues include “The Unmasking”, “Hatchet Job”, “Liz and the Knife”, “Losing Battle”. Spotlight unquestionably goes to lengthy “Monster Mashed” sequence: As gears and chains grind away underneath the Funhouse, so does the score with a relentless obstinate for basses and cellos underneath sharp jabs from the orchestra above. Spoiler alert: As lone survivor Amy struggles with monster, Beal adds chopping figures to his ostinato, creating powerhouse buildup of musical terror. Fortissimo intensity plays all the way up until monster is mashed between the gears. Sensational cue! When all the horror subsides, picture winds up without cheap gimmicks, and Beal returns to his solo piccolo to usher Amy away from danger… albeit all alone. As fadeout turns to ending credits, Beal returns with his powerful waltz theme to close. Very strong finish to dramatic score! Following are numerous extras featuring carnival music, calliope tunes, assorted cues scored by Beal and used as “source music” as teens stroll throughout carnival. Even the bulk of these pieces play with an unsettling veneer. Complete score presented courtesy of Universal, mastered from the 24-track session tapes recorded by Rick Riccio, mixed by Matt La Point. Score recorded at Evergreen Studios in November 1980. Orchestrations by John Beal, Miles Goodman, Richard Ellis, Don James. Graphic CD package designed by Kay Marshall, informative booklet notes by John Takis. John Beal composes, conducts. Intrada Special Collection CD available while quantities and interest remain!