From September 20-29, 2019, the Tenerife International Film Music Festival (FIMUCITÉ) was celebrated, and Rafa Melgar, a regular collaborator of SoundTrackFest and a big fan of the horror genre, wanted to pay tribute to what in his opinion, was the main concert of the festival: the concert “My Favourite Fears” performed on Friday, September 27.
If once you have read the article you want to know more, you can read the full summary of the festival in the following article by Gorka Oteiza:
Just reading the phrase “My favourite fears” can lead to many assumptions, and of course, depending on who reads it. The title itself is a playful paradox or distills certain masochism, don’t you think? A terror can be found on the fear to death, on fear to loneliness, or on the phrase: “you are my best friend” coming by the girl that you like so much in response to your love declaration. That was not my favorite terror, but it was the most recurring.
Undoubtedly, the reason that drives me to write this article or “love letter” is precisely what I lived on September 27 at the Tenerife Auditorium. I will not go much into technical details because in my opinion it was fantastic. I am sorry for those that their enjoyment depended on whether it was amplified or any other minor details; that was not my case.
Moreover, I will be benevolent with the issue of a “hot head” (aka “camera crane”) flying over me and even partially blocking my vision from the stage to get the best shot. I will not blame the operator. Nor will I carry a strict order when it comes to linking the programmed pieces with my emotions. But I will go over the vast majority of the themes or movies that were played that night.
A very suggestive and desirable program, which had six world premieres with titles such as “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Friday the 13th” or “Poltergeist”. That was enough for me, so seconds after knowing what was going to be played, I found myself looking for flights and accommodation in Tenerife. “YOU’RE KIDDING!” some may think, but others will understand me, reading what I will tell you next.
Horror/Terror cinema led me to be passionate about film music. As simple as that. I am not a lover of soundtracks who was fascinated with the music of Williams in Star Wars, Superman or Indiana Jones, to say a few. Perhaps because of a generational thing, I saw those films in my early childhood and I still did not pay attention to those details.
The late Chicho Ibáñez Serrador was right (and a very present figure in this edition of Fimucité where we could hear music from his movies “La residencia” & “¿Quién puede matar a un niño?” by Waldo de los Ríos) since thanks to this concert, I returned to experiencing again sensations linked not to a childhood, but rather to my pre-adolescence years, with not very good school results, where my escape valve were those movies that I rented secretly, because my mother wouldn’t let me see them.
At that age I was so unconscious, that I would even read the “Necronomicon” out loud in the middle of the literature class, to see if any spell transformed my teacher into something even more evil than she already was.
I remember one day going on the school bus and hearing everyone talk about a guy named Freddy Krueger. Last night, his first movie had been televised in the community video. No idea what they meant. I only knew that they talked about blood, about the terror that it caused to them, and about a little song that they kept repeating; “One, Two, Freddy’s Coming For You…Three, Four Better Lock Your Door… Five, Six Grab A Crucifix…Nine, Ten Never Sleep Again”.
Sometime later, they gave me a VHS tape where they had recorded “A Nightmare on Elm Street” on top of a porn movie. Don’t ask me why I know that detail. I remember that during the viewing, there were scenes where I kept my eyes closed and the fear increased, thanks to the score full of synthesizers and absolutely disturbing electronics by Charles Bernstein. So, it was wonderful to find that music taken to another level in the concert performed by the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra.
It’s funny how a musical leitmotiv survives so much in the common imaginary. It occurs in many cinematic cases and in the terror genre too. It is impossible to take the score of the character/movie and transcend over the years. This occurs in “Halloween” with a keyboard that recreated “something pure and simply evil”.
To close the concert, “Friday the 13th” was the piece chosen, one of the longest-lived sagas in the horror genre, and we had the presence of its composer Harry Manfredini. A world premiere suite that illuminated the entire auditorium in an intense red colour, and even permeated Christian Schumann (the conductor of our wonderful voyage) with Jason‘s spirit, who, which with each baton movement, emulated Voorhees and his machete… or that’s what I like that think.
Being an adolescent and at an age where tastes were being refined, I continued to phagocytize all the VHS tapes that I rented in the Atlantis video store in my town. You wouldn’t see me in the premieres section… I never rented “The Mask”. I went into the part where dust covered the place and a mix of titles from different categories were nearly falling from the shelves.
Among those films were several VHS by Tinto Brass, with their corresponding covers that were always nice to see. There was also the horror/terror cinema that interested me, with titles that sometimes I did not dare to rent such as “Cannibal Holocaust” due to the pure subliminal terror. In one of these escapades, I found “Hellraiser”. The cover seemed stimulating enough for me to pay at least the “150 pesetas” (less than 1 €) of that time.
Once inside the film I discovered a world never traveled. A transgressive aesthetic and a vision of terrifying evil. It was also my first contact with the music of Christopher Young (or at least my first conscious contact), who in this work built a melody of a brutal emotional and romantic power. Nothing to do with the strident and effective compositions, so common in this type of movies.
Maestro Young, guest at the concert and recognized with the FIMUCITÉ – Antón García Abril award, provoked delirium with his effusive thanks to the orchestra, choir, and conductor, after living & listening to one of the most epic themes of the evening: “Concerto to hell” from Sam Raimi‘s movie “Drag me to hell”.
Another example of the irresistible program were the two world premieres. A magnificent suite of “Poltergeist” that made Caroline find a way to return with the audience at the concert, and the other piece that gave visibility to a fabulous composition and less recognized by the general public: I’m talking about “Damien: Omen II” the continuation of “The Omen”.
Lalo Schiffrin was present via a video projected on the screen, to introduce what would be one of the great classics based on real events and that has been adapted many times “The Amityville Horror”.
I rescue this quote from the mythical cult movie “Scream”, since Christopher Young himself in the photo shoot I had the opportunity to do, asked me that. Now, with more time to think, I review my response to the maestro and… “sorry, my friend” I think I did not notice the most important or the one I usually cite most… I do not believe much in the lists of “your top 10” (although many times I have prepared them), but every time they ask me I change the order or leave out some remarkable title, as in this occasion.
I told Young about “The Shining”, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, etc… But I forgot the cornerstone that agglomerates all my interest in the genre that is “Rosemary’s Baby” by Roman Polański. A work that I do not get tired of watching and that is perfect, like the score composed by Krysztof Komeda. Undoubtedly, this was another drop that filled the glass of water, making clear my decision to fly to Tenerife. I could not miss a unique opportunity to listen live to the disturbing nanny performed by a big choir like the one at the University of La Laguna that shook me and moved me, and I hope that it gave the same feeling to the rest of the audience.
Fimucité was eclectic in its exquisite program dedicated to terror genre and we had the opportunity to revisit Hammer classics such as: “The Curse of Frankenstein” and “Dracula” by James Bernard, going through the sharp knife of Norman Bates in “Psycho” or enter the Gothic and the haze with “Interview with the Vampire” and “Sleepy Hollow”.
It wasn’t only a concert; it was also an interactive entertainment show, as the organizers had arranged a photocall where Freddy and Jason interacted with the attendees causing endless nervous laughs and camera flashes.
I have to highlight the care of the festival up to the last detail with the genre, with the incredible poster designed by Guillermo de la Peña that is an absolute love declaration for the Terror/Horror genre.
“The Cenobites gave me an experience beyond limits…” It is the same feeling that I had when the concert ended. Fimucité offered me an experience beyond just one film music concert. Gave me the opportunity to meet again with “My favourite fears”.
Article by Rafa Melgar