Eight Legged Freaks / 2002 Composed

Eight Legged Freaks / 2002
Suite from Eight Legged Freaks
# Title Duration
Spider Mania 2:09
Spider Shack 4:20
Cat Napped 1:36
Trailer Trashed 5:53
Investigating 1:35
Mall Mayhem 4:02
Bedroom Attack 1:47
Out of the Fire 0:46
Spider Got Your Tongue 1:21
Scurry Flurry 2:16
They Will Come 2:19
Spider Assault 2:52
Shopping Spree 1:12
The Tunnels 3:42
Climactic Plan 7:05
All's Well That Ends Well 2:44
Spiders and Cycles 1:53

John's Thoughts

I had always wanted to work with Dean Devlin and Roland Emerich because of their love of larger-than-life genre films. And besides, I'm a sci-fi freak. I remember when I was mixing the score to The Usual Suspects, Bryan (Singer) stopped in to say he was going to kill some time and see a new sci-fi film called Stargate. He returned from the theater and told me I'd love it. When I eventually saw it I drooled with envy hoping I could one day score a big genre picture like that, no offense to Usual Suspects! (Little did I know just a few years later I'd be turning down X-Men, of all things! We all know THAT story by now.)

So when I heard Dean was looking for a composer for Eight Legged Freaks I was thrilled. Eight Legged isn't exactly about space aliens, well unless you're the character, Harlan, in the film, who believes the spiders to be just that. It was originally called Arac Attack, and I first thought when told about it over the phone that it was going to be a war movie (you know, "Iraq", until it was re-itterated to me, "A-rac." OH. Spiders. Hmmm. Obviously the film was toungue and cheek, and would require me tapping into my quirky side (like that's hard), yet at the same time playing the suspense and frolicy nature of the movie. It's a wink at monster films like Them and Tarantula, so the the score too needed to be broad and no-holds-barred at times, as in those films. But the main challenge was giving the film a likable personality and the spiders an identity as a whole. So one theme basically encompasses all of the critters, with the exception of Consuela, the sort of Queen Bee. She has her own mean motif accented with castanettes. The other main theme is the kid's, featuring the oboe, which also passes off to other characters in the film. If too many themes are jammed into a story, the audience has a hard time subconsciously grasping onto a musical idea, so I tried to keep a cohesiveness by not fraying too far from the main motifs - yet re-shaping them to keep them fresh.

We recorded the score January 8th through the 11th at the Newman Stage in 20th Century Fox. I'm always nervous going to an unknown environment to record, especially with a smaller than desired ensemble. But I was BLOWN AWAY. I never want to step foot on any other stage. The score, even with our smaller string section (even giant spider films have budget constraints), sounds astounding; the players were the creme de la creme of LA, and seemed to really enjoy the non-stop frenetic, wacky style of the music. As usual, Damon got us through in record time (75 minutes of insane music in 3 and 1/2 days.) His head is getting bigger by the second. Of course it helps your speed when the director and producer have already heard a detailed synth rendering of the entire score and have been able to pre-emplement their changes. It really reduces the tensions and insecurities; and it makes the recording experience fun bringing to life orchestrally everything we've gotten used to hearing synthesized. As good as the renderings sound, there's just no comparison when you experience the nervona of the real thing. Thanks to the Newman Stage, the amazing musicians and, yes, Casey Stone, the superb engineering, the sonic quality of this score is definitely the best I have ever experienced. Imagine actually having 60 strings instead of 42 next time!