Endless Loop: Experiment in Terror

henrymanciniHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Experiment in Terror” by Henry Mancini

Composer and arranger Henry Mancini was, I believe, the first film score composer I ever took any kind of interest in all because of his work on The Pink Panther, and not the Blake Edwards films, but the cartoons that I used to watch among all the Looney Toons and Hannah Barbera shorts when I was a little kid.  I loved The Pink Panther cartoons, so much so that I remember being wholly disappointed and agitated when I realized that the movies were not the further adventures of the colorful feline, but a showcase for the comic talents of Peter Sellers.  But that theme song always stayed with me.  And from there, as I got older, other composers began to cross my path gradually increasing my appreciation for the art of soundtracks: John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Ennio Morricone, John Carpenter, Fabio Frizzi, Bruno Nicolai, Riz Ortolani, and on and on.  My ears were full.

It took a little while to get back to Mancini, but I eventually did, and because of Mike Patton of all people.

In 2001, I had no idea that the then former Faith No More lead singer was a huge connoisseur of film music, but then I picked up The Director’s Cut album from his experimental metal supergroup Fantômas, a collection of twisted cover versions of many an old movie theme.  That was a turning point for me.  Aside from sending me down countless rabbit holes and exploratory paths of any and every kind of musical subgenre I could conceive of, I also dove headfirst into film scores, both old and new, traditional and experimental, and everything in between.  And Fantômas’s version of “Experiment in Terror” sent me right back into the arms of Mancini.

From the 1962 suspense-thriller of the same name, “Experiment in Terror” utilizes an autoharp, an almost spy-movie bassline, a jazzy beat, and some traditional orchestra swells to create an air of mystery and a mood full of suspense.  It’s magic.  I hope to have it score a scene from my own life someday.  Listen to it as well as Fantômas’s take below.



Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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