composer / filmmaker
Jack Gray
All content: Copyright © 2001-2015
by various publishers
Production notes and commentary:
Legend of the Sewer (2002)
Approximately seventeen gazillion horror films have been made since the 1930s, and, probably owing to some defect in my character, I've eagerly watched more than my share of them.

At first, it was just a fascination with The Strange and Unusual. I mean, when you're five, and watching your favorite cartoon show, and then all of a sudden, you're confronted by a commercial for the Saturday late-night "Creature Feature" - starring a growling, drooling Wolfman, as played by the great Lon Chaney, Jr. - it does make you
sit up and take notice.

(Why WGN in Chicago chose to put such a commercial on a cartoon show, I'll never know, but if I had been smart at that point, I would have immediately bought stock in a night-light company, because I've been unable to sleep without one ever since.)

Later, being a teenager (and thus, by definition, staying up as late as possible, whenever possible), the attraction was not only the films, but the hilarious "Creature Feature" hosts - in particular, Graves Ghastly (on Channel 9 in Washington, D.C.). Even later, I loved the antics of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and Edmus Scarey (and how I miss that terrific era - when local television stations produced their own shows!).

Somewhere in the 1980s - during the heyday of the Stephen King and slasher films - I had to temporarily abandon my guilty pleasure in horror films, for the sake of my kids. (After all, I couldn't very well let them be scarred for life, as I had been, could I?) So, I missed a lot of great stuff (and also a lot of wonderfully dreadful stuff) from then up to the present. But once my kids became old enough to tend their own night-lights, I eagerly began the process of catching up - initially, with latter-day classics like The Evil Dead and Day of the Dead.

So what does all of this have to do with the subject at hand:
The Blair Bitch Chronicles: Legend of the Sewer?

First, it explains why I jumped at the chance to score a horror film - especially an indie film, the arena from which so many great horror films have sprung. But, more importantly, it explains why I chose an approach - familiar and natural to me - that was ultimately doomed to failure in the context of this particular film. Attempting to write actual music for it was, simply, wrong-headed. Even though I constantly found myself rejecting ideas - "that's been done before - many times", "that's too 80's", "that's a great idea, but my circa-1995 synthesizer makes it sound too cheesy", etc. - I still fell into many of the traps. So, the final result was, for the most part, too earnestly over-the-top, melodramatic, and old-fashioned. It probably would have served the film best if I had just used straightforward sound design and atmospherics, and not tried so hard to be a "GREAT FILM COMPOSER". (Or, if I had pursued a wholly different approach, e.g. as did the composers of the film Monster's Ball.)

On the other hand, there were a few moments that continue to resonate with me, and so I've included those excerpts here. (And, from a purely mercenary perspective, I was able to place the entire score with a library as "B-movie" music - so I assume that the moments that border on laughable have also found their rightful homes!)

There was only one thing about this that I didn't enjoy: doing all of the work between the hours of 3 A.M. and 6 A.M. (that must be why they call it "moonlighting"). When you're writing loud horror film music using headphones in the dead of night, and your night-light suddenly goes out, it does make you sit up and take notice - to say the least.
Commercial Music
Cartoon / Comedy / Novelty
Film Scores
Easy Listening
Musica gratia artis