Orchestral Horror in Hyde Park

This Halloween season, Hyde Park Picture House played host for two sold out screenings of 2014 horror film It Follows, with a live orchestra thrown in for good measure. The event was organised by Red Bull Music Academy, whose alumni Emma-Jane Thackray conducted the eight musicians that took to the stage. The film portrays the oddly dream-like story of suburban American teenagers, plagued by a murderous entity which constantly pursues its intended victim, determined by a curse that can only be passed on through sex. Through Thackray’s arrangement of the original score, the small orchestra brought the music of Disasterpeace, otherwise known as Richard Vreeland, to visceral life and created an engrossing and immersive experience.

‘Through Thackray’s arrangement of the original score, the small orchestra brought the music of Disasterpeace, otherwise known as Richard Vreeland, to visceral life’

The excitement was palpable outside the cinema, where the queues extended round the block on both sides of the building. This sense of expectation was carried into the cinema, where the first order of business was a Q&A with Disasterpeace himself. Composer of the film’s original score, Richard Vreeland gave a fascinating insight into the process of writing music for film and explained how he had caught the eye of It Follows director, David Robert Mitchell. Mitchell asked Vreeland to translate the heavily distorted and electronic music he had mainly made for videogames onto the big screen for the director’s upcoming horror. The resulting score was recreated by the orchestra to chilling effect.

The packed out cinema, as well as the presence of the film’s original composer, gave the screening a real sense of occasion. The music from the orchestra filled the historic theatre, and created an atmosphere which allowed the thrilling film to be even more impactful. It Follows is already viewed as one of this century’s best horrors, and the effective use of the orchestra made this screening a truly unique experience.

Joe Scott

(Image courtesy of Dimension Films)

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