KING OF THE GALLOWS – Jayden Lawrence

Original Review by Alan RogersKing of the Gallows

Jim Riker finds himself marooned on a tropical island in the Caribbean after his ship is destroyed having come up against a Spanish galleon. In search of riches, Riker and his friend Esma Alvarez race to find the buried treasure they seek. Pursuing them is Spanish pirate-hunter Capitán Garza, who also seeks the island’s bounty. A mysterious islander – who comes to Riker’s aid –seems to have a connection with the cache the pirate is hunting for. The question is, what lengths will Riker go to in order to secure the prize he covets. King of The Gallows (2015) is a low-budget, short 20-minute film directed by film school student Erik Magnusson and submitted as a first year project at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in New South Wales. The film’s score is written by young composer Jayden Lawrence (recently graduated from the AFTRS and who studied under film composer Christopher Gordon) who rises to the challenge of writing a score that captures the mysterious nature of the pirate tale and delivering integrated action music for a number of short action set-pieces. [Read more…]

WILD CREATURES – Julian Kantus

Original Review by Alan RogersWild Creatures

Wild Creatures (2015) is a short film inspired by the quote “Hearts are wild creatures, that’s why our ribs are cages”. The film explores the cascade of feelings and emotions of the heart (both positive and negative) that arise from being in love: attraction, addiction, obsession, self-pity, self-destruction. Directed by German filmmaker Rene Zhang (who collaborated heavily with the lead actress Chara Valon on the concepts behind the film), Wild Creatures has no dialogue and is filmed in black and white, relying on the strength of the on-screen performances (particularly from Valon) and the musical score to bring the emotional depth to the film: an artistic decision made to encourage audiences to overlay their own ideas and emotional interpretations onto the audio-visual experience. The score is composed by Julian Kantus, who worked with Zhang on his previous film, Yellow. [Read more…]

THE HIDING PLACE – Jared DePasquale

Original Review by Alan RogersThe Hiding Place

The best-selling 1971 book, The Hiding Place, is the true story account of the efforts of the ten Boom family to help their persecuted Jewish friends after The Netherlands is invaded by the Nazis in 1940. The book recounts Corrie ten Boom’s perspective as the family home and business become a hiding place for the refugees. However, they are betrayed, Corrie along with her father, Casper and Betsie, are transported to a series of concentration camps. This review here is related to the American Christian organisation Focus On The Family’s three-and-a-half hour “Radio Theatre” audio drama adaptation based on the best-selling book. Recorded both in the UK and The Netherlands, the drama stars a number of British actors including Wendy Craig, Isla Blair and Alec McCowen and features an impressive score by Jared DePasquale. DePasquale, who studied under Joseph LoDuca in the mid-1990s, is a composer and orchestrator with over 25 years’ experience writing music for numerous projects for film and television and is a regular contributor to the Radio Theatre audio drama series productions. [Read more…]


Original Review by Alan RogersMea Maxima Culpa

Primetime Emmy Award-winning documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House of God is a 2012 documentary focusing the sexual abuse of boys by Roman Catholic priests at a Wisconsin boarding school for the deaf up to the mid-1970s. It documents the abuses suffered and the Vatican-sanctioned concealment that followed. Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney’s strong film also touches on how widespread the cover-up reached (e.g., similar cases from Ireland and Italy are also highlighted). Having previously worked on the 2007 documentary Taxi To The Dark Place, Gibney returns to the composing partnership of Ivor Guest and Robert Logan who give Mea Maxima Culpa an effective score that reflects the ruined innocence of those abused and the all-powerful “system” whose main aim was self-protection. [Read more…]

THE THREE SISTERS – Repeated Viewing (aka Alan Sinclair)

Original Review by Alan RogersThe Three Sisters

Written and directed by Dáire McNab, The Three Sisters is an independent Irish crime thriller and stars Gillian Walsh and Elliot Moriarty, both relative newcomers to feature films. Director McNab’s belief that the combination of a solid murder-mystery storyline and gory slasher film-style deaths  – a mix typically seen in many of the great Italian giallo films – has a broad commercial appeal prompted him to begin work on his own low-budget modern-day giallo film back in 2012. The plot revolves around the events that befall Walsh’s character after the suicide of her uncle, the brutal murder of her sister and the slow death of her father (played by cult giallo actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice) from cancer. To reinforce the whole neo-giallo feel of The Three Sisters, McNab turns to Scottish composer/musician Alan Sinclair (AKA Repeated Viewing), a composer who has begun to make a name for himself after scoring a number of independent horror and thriller films. Echoing the synth and guitar combinations of the original giallo soundtracks of the 1970s and 1980s (written by the likes of Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, etc.), Sinclair creates a score that works remarkably well away from the film for which it was written (I’ve not seen the film). [Read more…]