News Column

'Night of Living Dead' gets spooky new soundtrack

October 31, 2013

YellowBrix

Oct. 31--There are few movies creepier and scarier than George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead."

And the Andrew Alden Ensemble hopes that by turning down the sound and introducing a new, feature-length score the music group can bring a new and fresh kind of creepy to the 1968 horror classic.

"The power of imagining what the sound would be like in the movie is actually effective and makes it thrilling," said the group's leader, Andrew Alden.

The ensemble will bring their take on a screening of the groundbreaking zombie movie, in which the original soundtrack is muted and the film is subtitled, to the Red River Theatres in Concord at 9:30 p.m. Friday. The subtitles were something of a concession, given that people are still going there to watch a movie, Alden said.

"It's hard to follow the movie without the subtitles," he said.

The group has set scores to several other films as well, including the already-silent films "Nosferatu" and "Vampyr."

But with "Night of the Living Dead," he said the idea behind the new score isn't necessarily to try to revert movies to the silent age, but bring the idea of silent movies to an updated age.

"In a way, with the subtitles, it works like a 1960s version of a silent movie," he said. "In my mind, ('Night of the Living Dead') works as a silent movie. It's really well put together and really eerie."

The cult classic centers on a group trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farm house, attacked by the "living dead," a relentless group mindlessly bent on consuming human flesh. The film helped sparked the zombie craze, which continues today with TV series like AMC's "The Walking Dead" and films like this year's "World War Z" with Brad Pitt.

Alden said his group, whose music melds classical and rock elements and is comprised of electric guitar, drum set, synthesizer, piano, violin and viola, has focused on the horror genre nominally because his sound doesn't work for other genres, such as comedy.

"I can't do my normal terror and dread over Buster Keaton," he said. "It won't feel right."

He said fans of the original film should like the new take.

"People have told me after shows that it completely reinvents the show for them," he said.

Tickets, which are $20, are available at redrivertheatres.org. Tickets to the 9:30 p.m. screening are $20.

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(c)2013 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)

Visit The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.) at www.unionleader.com

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