Gremlins SoundtrackComposer: Jerry Goldsmith
Distributor: WaterTower Music
Run Time: 1 hour, 16 Minutes
Format: Digital Download

The day before Halloween, WaterTower Music re-released Jerry Goldsmith’s 1984 Gremlins soundtrack. I have had well over a month to listen to this score, but held off my review because this is a Christmas movie. Reading about a motion picture, set during Christmas, mid-November, is a bit of a kill joy. As we are now in the full holiday swing, there is no better film than Gremlins to discuss.

The movie itself is a classic mix of holiday spirit, family fun, and horror. It is a strange combination, but perfectly blended by the master himself, Jerry Goldsmith. Gremlins was directed by Joe Dante, a man whom I personally once heard describe Goldsmith as a composer who could make your 4 million dollar movie look and sound like 40 million. Gremlins was the little movie that could and its place in pop culture proves that. In fact, Goldsmith as secured his place in cinema legends next to John Williams, Bernard Herrmann, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold with his contributions. His Oscar nominated score for The Planet of the Apes (1969) is easily one of my favorites.

This score blends holiday fixtures with the film’s own unique combination of zaniness and horror. So naturally, when I heard “Mrs. Deagle / That Dog” (Track #3) I broke into my best Gremlin imitation and said, “Deagle, Deagle, Deagle, Deagle”. It is not the exact music cue for that particular moment, but one that reminded that Mrs. Deagle, the old bitch, eventually got her comeuppance. “The Gift” (track #4) quickly reminds you of the relationship between Billy and Gizmo. It is a quick friendship, but one that the audience completely accepts because of their own love for the Mogwai. Before this track is over, the rules are spoken to Billy, and we are just given a hint of what horror is to come. Again, Goldsmith is a genius and accomplishes all this in 1 minute and 45 seconds.

“The Injection” (track #9) starts of with Goldsmith’s sweet rendition of “Holy Night” turning into his own theme from Gremlins. He slowly changes the pace to remind that you what we are dealing with here is not a toy., further illustrated by the eerie “Snack Time/ Wrong Time” (track #10) when the offspring of Gizmo decides to take our story into the nightmare before Christmas it really is.

“The Plow/ Special Delivery” is a strange track as it starts off sounding like bits and pieces of Goldsmith’s Planet of the Apes. It then slides into the eerie moaning synonymous with the Gremlins, and then he kicks in the strings, reminiscent of his Twilight Zone the Movie (1983) “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” segment. All this happens in 30 seconds before the upbeat Gremlins music takes over. Keep listening as “High Flyer” (track #18) turns into an electronic rendition of the theme sounding as if the Gremlins themselves are singing it. “Too Many Gremlins” (track #19) completely rounds out these previous two tracks and ends with just a hint of music that is clearly taken from Goldsmith’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).

I am all for an actual physical album that I can hold in my hand. Whether that is on vinyl or CD, I prefer to have my music on the shelf where I can find it. This digital copy of Goldsmith’s Gremlins is an incredible treat because many versions of the score, that do exist, are either high priced or out of print. So I am thrilled that WaterTower Music released all the little extra tracks that usually don’t make a single CD or vinyl release. “Blues” (track #26) is like having another cut from Goldsmith’s Chinatown (1974). “Gizmo’s New Song” (track #33) and “Gizmo’s Trumpet” (track #34) may each be under 30 seconds, but damn it if I don’t want that bit of uniqueness, too. Thank you, WaterTower music. This is a perfect treat for the holidays! [review]

Buy Gremlins: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack here at WaterTower Music.

Track Listing:

  1. Fanfare In C / The Shop / The Little One
  2. Late For Work
  3. Mrs. Deagle / That Dog
  4. The Gift
  5. First Aid
  6. Spilt Water
  7. A New One
  8. The Lab / Old Times
  9. The Injection
  10. Snack Box / The Old Times
  11. The Box
  12. First Aid
  13. Disconnected / Hurry Home
  14. Kitchen Fight
  15. Dirty Linen
  16. The Pool
  17. The Plow / Special Delivery
  18. High Flyer
  19. Too Many Gremlins
  20. No Santa Claus
  21. After Theater
  22. Theater Escape / Stripe Is Loose . Toy Dept. / No Gizmo
  23. The Fountain / Stripe’s Death
  24. Goodbye, Billy
  25. End Title / The Gremlin Rag
  26. Blues
  27. Mrs Deagle (Film Version)
  28. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
  29. After Theater (With Silent Night)
  30. After Theater (Without Silent Night)
  31. Rabbit Rampage
  32. The Gremlin Rag (Full Version)
  33. Gizmo’s New Song
  34. Gizmo’s Trumpet

By Robert Trate

In my career as a writer, I have made Doctor Who giggle, asked Ahsoka Tano what underwear she was wearing, and spoke with a Raptor from Jurassic Park.

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