Original Review by Alan RogersThe Furred Man

The Furred Man (2010) sees Max (play by Daniel Carter-Pope) as a guy who resorts to donning a werewolf costume in order to drum up business for his failing camping site business. But things get out of hand when he finds himself sitting in a police interrogation room, his furry suit caked in dried blood and under suspicion for having carried out a particularly gruesome murder. Writer/director Paul Williams’ award-winning, low-budget short film is a darkly comedic piece that’s carried by Carter-Pope’s playing of Max’s bemusement at his circumstances. And it’s well worth a watch HERE.

Composer/producer Paul Terry has written for a number of films and has released a series of non-film related albums under the alias, Cellarscape. Terry has also co-authored a number of books including “Fringe: September’s Notebook – The Bishop Paradox” and the official “Lost Encyclopedia”. When writing for short films composers need to be both versatile (because of limited music budgets) and to get straight to the point in terms of establishing any thematic material (due to the film’s short running time). The Furred Man delivers on both counts. The score opens with “The Lone Moon Incident”, which is essentially a musical overture where Terry’s main thematic material is stated on solo violin. Played expertly by Carole Carpenter, this simple theme manages to convey not only an air of suspense but also a sense of folklore and gothic history. And all in the space of less than a minute! Sampled percussion and voices adds a cinematic element to the track. (Note: I’m not sure if it’s just my own imagination but the main theme has echoes of Anton Karas’ iconic theme for The Third Man and may mirror The Furred Man’s own nod to the Carol Reed film’s title.)

Although featuring additional sampled strings and percussion elements to beef up the score, it’s the violin that’s the workhorse instrument. The thematic material is given a number of interesting variations, adding a further dimension to the movie: there’s the straight-out statement of the opening cue, as well as the use of plucked strings and sickening glissandi (“An Idea Struck” and “Still Haunted”, respectively) which enhance the film’s narrative. The use of tremolo strings generates an air of suspense as campers of the Lone Moon campsite face a lycanthropic encounter (“Some Kind of Sighting”).

Director Paul Williams manages to get just the right balance of horror and comedy for the film and Terry’s score succeeds in getting just enough comedy into his score for it to hold everything together. For example, a final flourish at the conclusion of “An Idea Struck” succeeds at emphasising the seemingly preposterous a-man-in-a-costume idea Max has to boost the prospects of his failing business. It’s interesting to note also the dialling out of an upward harp glissando at the start of “Some Kind of Sighting”. This effect seems to have been written for a transition between the interrogation room interview and a “werewolf” encounter flashback and illustrates the filmmakers’ keenness on keeping the horror/comedy mix balanced; perhaps the harp glissandi made things just a bit too comedic? The short score is rounded out with a Rocky Horror Picture Show-styled song, “Bite Me (She Said)”; a track that Bear McCreary would be proud of.

Paul Terry’s The Furred Man is an excellent little score, showcasing how a soundtrack with a simple, catchy theme from a composer with imagination and a clear idea of the role of his music in a project, can deliver a superior asset for a low-budget film. The score, only recently released, can be purchased from a variety of online digital stores including HERE, the composer’s own Bandcamp page where a purchase includes a bonus 24-page digital booklet.

Rating: ***½

  1. The Lone Moon Incident (0:48)
  2. Still Haunted (0:16)
  3. An Idea Struck (1:04)
  4. Some Kind of Sighting (0:49)
  5. Sprinting Back (0:15)
  6. Lycanthropic (0:32)
  7. Choked (0:22)
  8. Bite Me (She Said) (1:26)

Running Time: 5:35

Skybabyrecords (2015)

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