its heavy percussion based main title, She Demons (1958) (MMM-1971) opens with
a sense of heart pounding excitement and sets the tone for what is to follow.
Nicholas Carras’s jungle-based score is threaded with dramatic cues of which
the composer makes impressive use of his 22 piece orchestra. Whist She Demons
(as a movie) was never going to attain the title of ‘classic’, Carras’s music,
as is often the case, promotes the film to a higher level. Cues such as Escape
and Nazis in Pursuit make excellent use of the orchestra’s brass and string
section. Carras provides a hopeful, triumphant end title that runs concurrent
with a few lonesome drum beats which provides continuity with the film’s
central themes. For an isolated island movie (occupied by scantily clad girls,
caged mutant women and Nazis) they probably don’t come any better than this.
MMM have previously delighted us with a couple of superb Carras scores such as
Missile to the Moon and Frankenstein’s Daughter. Their commitment to the
composer’s work has proven to be a fruitful decision as She Demons is certainly
one of his most accomplished scores.
Doubling up very nicely with She Demons is
Guenther Kauer’s score to another low budget slice of sci-fi, The Astounding
She-Creature (1957). If Carras’s score for She Demons was impressive, Kauer’s
is simply enlightening. Granted, Kauer’s score was recorded using a 45 piece
orchestra and as a result, the sound is a great deal richer. Perhaps more
remarkably, Kauer sent his 33 minute written score to a friend in Germany who
conducted and recorded the music (performed beautifully by The Stuttgart
Symphony Orchestra) without screening the actual film. Cue timings were sent,
but it often meant that final cues were not always precise. However, what emerged
was a wonderful sounding score. Ronnie Ashcroft’s rather poor film succumbed to
many edits and, as a result, the final music mix suffered. Thankfully, all of
Kauer’s score is delivered here and is an orchestral delight. It is a
beautifully crafted and intelligently written composition that really has no
right to accompany such a lacklustre movie. Like many sci-fi classics, there is
an undeniable ambiance that is certainly Herrmannesque in its delivery, and
that can’t be a bad thing. Included is a super 20 page booklet that covers just
about every aspect of the music, composer and the film, all written (in
exquisite detail) by David Schecter.