Lost Platoon is a very cheap 1990 action-horror movie that has been likened to a hybrid of The Lost Boys/Near Dark and Platoon. A war journalist finds a group of soldiers who turn out to have taken part in various wars throughout the centuries – because they are vampires. The vampires discover an evil warlord foe in Nicaragua who is also a vampire and a battle ensues. Probably forgotten as a movie not long after it was released, its profile has been resurrected by a digital release of the score composed by Mark Mancina, with additional contributions from Tim James and Steve McClintock.
Lost Platoon is a muddled mess of cheesy synths and drum pads of various kinds that are seemingly thrown together without much thought to create a soundtrack that’s pretty much devoid of any emotional worth. Disarmingly, the album opens positively with a piano-led theme which features some encouraging support from synth chords and percussion (“Lost Platoon (Opening Theme)”). There are also hints of a forthcoming score that may contain some interesting thematic material and perhaps some worthwhile tension. But this optimism is soon dispelled in the next track, “Three Men Shooting 2”, a track that is an amalgamation of various cheaply-realised ostinato patterns. I don’t think that I have heard such poor synths. Most of the album varies little except for when the tempo slows, the annoying ostinatos are put to one side and we hear washes of meandering synth chords that attempt (without much success) to instill some tension (e.g., “Before Battle”, “That’s My Guess”). Things sound a little less grating with the introduction of piano towards the end of the album and it’s here that we also hear something that approaches some sort of melodic development (“Cut To Bricks”). But it’s too little, too late. The album ends with “Read My Lips (Lost Platoon Theme)”, an AOR (‘album-oriented rock’) song performed by Steve McClintock, which is the highlight of the album(!).
From a score perspective, Lost Platoon is a very difficult to listen. The dated synths aren’t in themselves a signpost to a poor listening experience but when they are used with such little inspiration, they quickly become annoying. I am a big fan of digital releases of film music as it gives the opportunity for enthusiasts to hear scores that would not otherwise be released. But Lost Platoon is a good example of much that can be bad about digital releases. There seems to have been very little thought gone into how to make the quality of the listening experience an enjoyable one. The movie itself plays with mono sound and this is reflected in the mono sound of the music. Mono sound scores can sound very good but the sound quality here is pretty poor to my ears (however the final song track does have better quality stereo sound). There are several ‘drop outs’ in the sound levels and there’s an obvious and constant low-level hum that plays throughout the score. Also, the album artwork seems to be the movie poster reformatted to a square dimensioned ‘album’ so that everything is visibly squashed. There’s very little to recommend here save for the closing song.
The album can be purchased at online stores as a digital download.
- Lost Platoon (Opening Theme) (3:13)
- Three Men Shooting 2 (4:39)
- On Gunfire (2:01)
- Cut To Village (1:38)
- Before Battle (1:57)
- That’s My Guess (2:08)
- Cut To Trees (4:30)
- On Gunshot (1:06)
- Cut To Bricks (4:50)
- Read My Lips (Lost Platoon Theme) (3:18)
Running Time: 29:23
McJames Music Inc. (2019)