At the rate I’ve been replaying Raekwon‘s shockingly worthy sequel Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, I’m surprised that I’ve been able to post here at all. Yesterday, the album ran through the iTunes a full five times; so far today, hardly even noon on the clock, it’s been two complete listens. 21 tracks, nothing to skip. It’s not a mind-blower of an album, just a damn solid one that’s better than I ever expected. I knew it’d have some gems, but not an entire tracklist’s worth. It’s true, though, that I’m a known Wu-Tang apologist, so there could very well be thick bias at hand, but that’s bullshit, really. I defy any rap head worth his/her marbles to say the album is a disappointment. All those brave enough to do so, meet me on Twitter/AIM or in any parking lot of your choice.
This is a film blog, obviously, so the point to all of this is still related to the cause. Back when I heard Cuban Linx 2 for the first time a month ago, one song—–the dank, organ-pushing “Black Mozart,” produced by The Rza—-immediately brought to mind the music from a forgotten example of minimalist horror done absolutely right: Herk Harvey’s incredibly creepy 1962 flick Carnival of Souls. A hypnotic marriage of supernatural atmosphere and zombie-movie-like visuals that left me quaking in shivers as a pre-teen. I can’t exactly recall how/where I first saw it, though I’m inclined to attribute it to Channel 11 (WPIX), the once-glorious basic programming network that delivered both obscure and celebrated horror films on the reg. The plot is lean but mean—–a woman survives a whopper of a car accident, but then finds herself compelled to routinely visit an abandoned carnival off the edge of town; she also begins seeing living-dead-ish spectres while generally losing her mind.
Carnival of Souls is never given the respect and admiration it deserves, and that’s bullocks. Trying to remember the last time it was even shown on any cable network is a pointless task; the closest cable has come to acknowledging the existence of Harvey’s jewel is that terrible 1998 quasi-remake, a straight-to-the-DVD-bargain-bin disaster that’s not worth any more typed words. There’s a strong remake to be made by some filmmaker, some day, since the original is ripe with a clever premise and room for chilly padding. I’d love to see somebody like David Fincher take the material on, though that’d never happen. Darren Aronofsky, possible. Whoever it’d be, it’d need to be a director capable of creating a mind-fucking slow-burn. You’d need a strong female lead, too, an actress who can carry an entire film with little dialogue and large emoting. Get either Naomi Watts or—-for a younger skew—-Evan Rachel Wood (a gamble, but I think it’d work) on the horn, stat.
Like Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Alexandre Aja’s High Tension (just to randomly pick a couple examples out of my fictitious hat), Carnival of Souls lingers in my head heavily due to its musical score, that of Souls composed by one Gene Moore. A few key scenes take place in an empty church, where the protagonist discovers that she can play the organ with the best of them. To fit the setting, Moore flipped some murky, anxiety-incubating keys; in SYP(Shit-Your-Pants)-minor. As my ears hear the two, Moore’s score and Rza’s “Black Mozart” beat on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 exist in the same space. Not a direct sample on Rza’s part at all, but a kindred spirit surfacing in the same audibly-dynamic dream. Or, nightmare.
Listen to both and judge for yourselves. Am I hearing things that don’t exist? Or is my probably-useless wealth of horror trivia making a bizarre connection? I’ve spent a couple of weeks thinking about this, so at least humor me, eh? [Both are after the jump]
First, Gene Moore’s score…..
And now, "Black Mozart" (you should be able to tell which specific section of the beat I'm referring to).....