Soundtrack Information

Helter Skelter

Helter Skelter

BSX Records (BSXCD1001)

Release Date: 2004

Format: CD

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Track Listing

1. Helter Skelter 3:27
2. Titles 1:03
3. Sword 1:56
4. Ranchy Chello / Boom Top Chase 2:22
5. Creepy Crawl 4:13
6. Cielo Drive / A Bullet for Dennis / Sending Tex / Testing the Pool 3:52
7. Slaughterhouse 4:32
8. Bedtime Crime Scene / Bad News / Tex Talk / Labianca 5:36
9. Come To Now 2:17
10. News Views / Leave the Baby 3:36
11. Sunrise Arrest 2:02
12. Barker Ranch 4:23
13. Formosa Organ 1:18
14. Booked / Indictments 2:25
15. Sadie Tells About Tate 4:00
16. Linda Surrenders / Labianca Tales / Eerie Smile 3:40
17. Stopped Watch / Helter Skelter Reprise 2:42
18. Heltering The Skelter / Revisiting The House 3:50
19. Finale 2:15
  Total Album Time: 59:29

Review: Helter Skelter

by Brian McVickar November 11, 2004
1 / 5 Stars

Apparently, someone in Hollywood felt it was high time to pull Charles Manson back into the media spotlight with a new made for television version following his perspective on the murderous rampage he led. Again, the source material utilized is the 1976 book Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi. The producers then decided that composer Mark Snow would bring the right amount of menace and foreboding into the project, at which he has succeeded in the past with the television series "The X-Files" and "Millenium".

By opening with a new version of the classic Beatles tune, "Helter Skelter" this new revisiting of the cruel, infamous bloody events of the Charles Manson murders retains its ties to the original TV movie Helter Skelter and the period of time in which the actual events occurred. However, a major shift in tones musically occurs with the "Titles", which inexplicably falls prey to the overbearing trend of wailing female vocal soloist. The following tracks, starting with "Sword", displays more of what Mark Snow was known for on "The X-Files", namely eerie, dissonant atmospheric electronic textures and rhythms which work better with the visuals than on their own as an engaging album.

There is a neat propulsive quality to "Creepy Crawl" and spooky tones in "Cielo Drive / A Bullet for Dennis / Testing the Pool". The dread continues into "Slaughterhouse" and "Bedtime Crime Scene", where the musicís main function is simply to unsettle the listener as opposed to adding extra context or subtext, though an ominous electronic pulse highlights the latter track. The experiments in thudding sound design and texture dominates "Come to Now", while the intensity mounts in "Sunrise Arrest" where heavy techno backbeats (not unlike those heard in the Michael Giacchino's music for "Alias") are presented along with the wailing female vocal. It is a welcome change of pace but I can only imagine how out of place it must seem while watching events which takes place in the 1960's.

The sparse, spooky "X-Files"-type atmosphere returns in "Barker Ranch". "Formosa Organ" throws us for a loop with its funky, groovy and Gospel-inspired style, but it is all too brief and we return to moody electronic pads (with a slight touch of tablas) in "Booked / Indictments". A more melodic, tonal quality starts "Linda Surrenders / Labianca Tales / Eerie Smile", but this is then replaced by darker material again. The song "Helter Skelter" is reprised again later, which then leads to the penultimate track, which again is dominated by the murky synth tones with some extra assistance from the solo female vocalist. Snow wraps up the "Finale" in a similar manner. I would think that this album is mainly for hardcore Mark Snow and/or fans of the X-Files style of scoring.

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