© 2016 Lawrence Tuczynski
ALL info and scans courtesy of Brandon O'Brian (Updated December 28, 2017)
|Title||Bloodthirsty Music: Toho's "Bloodthirsty" Series Music Collection|
|Music by:||Riichiro Manabe|
|Number of tracks||60|
|Number of discs||1|
|Year of release/manufacture||November 25, 2015|
May 25, 2016
In late November 2015, Cinema-kan (a label of Disk Union, which is Japan's largest record store chain) released this album featuring a collection of music from the scores to Michio Yamamoto's Bloodthirsty Trilogy (1970, 1971 and 1974). All three scores were composed by Riichiro Manabe (November 9, 1924 - January 29, 2015), who was most known for his scores to "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" (1971) and "Godzilla vs. Megalon" (1973).
Music from the trilogy first appeared in volume seven (K22G-7117) of a multi volume LP series titled SF Special Effects Film Music Complete Works. As far as I know, the series consists of at least fifteen volumes, and was released by Starchild (a label of King Records) in 1983. The music from the trilogy found on volume seven consists of three cues from "Fear of the Ghost House: Bloodthirsty Doll", two cues from "Cursed House: Bloodthirsty Eyes" and four cues from "Bloodthirsty Rose". The first ten volumes were reissued in CD form by King Records in 1991. Larry's reviews for these volumes can be found elsewhere on this site. In 1994, King Records released the ambitious ten disc King of Monsters box set (KICA 2201~10). The music from the trilogy is found on disc eight, and consists of five cues from "Fear of the Ghost House: Bloodthirsty Doll", four cues from "Cursed House: Bloodthirsty Eyes" and six cues from "Bloodthirsty Rose". VAP's ten disc Toho SFX Champion Festival box set (VPCD-81382), released in 2001, marked the first time the complete scores to the trilogy were finally made available. Those scores are found on discs six and seven (the score to "Bloodsucking Rose" spills over onto the seventh disc).
Enter Cinema-kan's release. How does it stack up to the rest? Unfortunately, this release doesn't contain the complete scores to the trilogy, which means the only way to obtain the complete scores is to purchase VAP's Champion Festival set. Does this mean you should pass up on this release? Not at all! It's still a solid collection, providing a good sampler of the music from the films. Basically, you get most of the important cues from the films for the fraction of Champion Festival box set's price. These days, it may cost you $200 or $300 to purchase VAP's box set, while this release is only around $25. Also, this release contains much more music than the previously mentioned 1983/1991 and 1994 releases. Plus, this release contains four bonus tracks (alternate takes) that were previously unreleased.
Besides the brand new bonus tracks, another great thing about this release is the packaging design. It's attractively packaged, with the booklet cover alone being quite appealing. Looking through the booklet, one can tell that a lot of care and effort went into this release. The booklet features some neat black and white photos, and goes into detail about the tracks. The booklet goes as far as listing the musical instruments used for each score, which is pretty neat. I'm also glad that the M (Music) numbers are included with this release. I'm quite sure not many will care that the cue numbers are included here, but cue numbers are quite important to me. Long story short, the packaging design is excellent, and a real winner here.
Now for the moment you have been waiting for: the music. I will be honest, I'm a fan of composer Riichiro Manabe's film scores. In fact, "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" is my second favorite Godzilla film score. Most people have negative, sometimes harsh, opinions of Manabe's music, especially for scores like "Fear of the Ghost House: Bloodthirsty Doll", "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" and "Bloodthirsty Rose". My opinions are the exact opposite, being generally positive. Having said that, I enjoy Manabe's work from the Bloodthirsty Trilogy. Each score has something unique to bring to the table and features some solid cues.
The score to "Fear of the Ghost House: Bloodsucking Doll", A.K.A. "Vampire Doll" is quite atmospheric, featuring a lot of harpsichord. The score begins with Main Title (M1T4), which introduces the main theme. It's a simple, yet effective cue consisting only of harpsichord backed by eerie electronics. The outtake of this cue found in the bonus tracks (M1T1) is quite different than the final take. It's essentially a slightly faster variation of the film take, but without the electronic backing. Dead Beauty at Midnight 3 (M9) is quite dark, and succeeds at being unnerving and creepy. To Tateshina (M10) shows off composer Manabe's talent for creating background and source music. It's quite dated, but is pretty enjoyable. In the Mansion... (M16T2) is a variation of the main theme, and is one of my favorite cues from the score. Keiko and Hiroshi (M18) is a slow harpsichord solo of the main theme, and is another favorite of mine. I Saw a Ghost (M20) is one of the best cues of the score, and is quite haunting. Return to the Ghost House (M21) is an action cue that gives the listener a sense of urgency. Shido's Recollection ~ Devil's Whisper (M27T3) is yet another favorite of mine being on the somber side. The Devil's Last Moments ~ Yuko Welcomes True Death (M29) features some creepy instrumentation, and concludes with the strike of a piano's lowest keys. Ending (M30T4) is my absolute favorite cue from this score, and is one of my favorites of Manabe's compositions. The outtake of this cue (M30T2) is completely different than the film take. It starts off like the final film take, but ends up being completely different altogether. However, I like the differences in this outtake. Overall, it's a pretty good score with some solid cues, especially M20 and M30T4.
Manabe composed an excellent score for "Cursed House: Bloodthirsty Eyes", A.K.A. "Lake of Dracula" (1971). Apart from the memorable main theme, there are a variety of stand out cues found in this score. The first two cues, Toho Mark ~ Prologue (M1) and Strange Western House (M2) are quite nice having a mysterious quality to them. After them, we are treated to the excellent Main Title (M3), which introduces the main theme. Time to Talk (M9) is a favorite of mine featuring some nice piano and guitar work. Akiko and Natsuko 2: Window Shopping ~ Cafe (M11) is another nice cue featuring piano work. It's a good example of Manabe's talent for creating background and source music. Vision of the Vampire (M14) and Bloodsucking Ceremony (M20) are two creepy cues that feature some interesting instrumentation. Vampire and Natsuko (M23) is pretty foreboding. It always gives me the chills whenever I hear it hear it. One thing to note about this cue is that Manabe used that groaning effect that he used for "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" in cues like Sulfuric Acid Mist (M20). It actually adds to the foreboding nature of M23. Natsuko's Death (M29) is a brief reprise of the film's main theme. To Noto (M36) is another reprise of the main theme. Abominable Blood (M39T2) is another favorite of mine from this score. The outtake of this cue found in the bonus tracks (M39T1) is similar to the final film take. You'll have to play both takes back-to-back in order to compare the differences. The Vampire's Scream (M42) features some chilling string and electronic work. The score concludes on a strong note with Epilogue (M43), another reprise of the main theme. While not my favorite of the three, this is the best score of the trilogy. It makes for an excellent stand-alone listening experience featuring excellent cues like M1, M2, M3, M9, M11, M13, M14, M20, M21, M22, M23, M29, M36, M39T2, M42 and M43. As you see, that's a majority of the cues featured with this release. This score is a true winner.
Out of the three, Manabe's score to "Bloodthirsty Rose, A.K.A. "Evil of Dracula" (1974) is the most experimental score of the trilogy, maybe even his most experimental score period. I know that this score isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I personally love it. In fact, it's my favorite score of the trilogy. Beginning things is Toho Mark (M1). It's a wonderful yet brief cue, and it's a shame it gets reprised only once in the entire score (this cue is M18 and is not included with this release). Following this is Main Title (M2T3), a great cue that screams the '70s (this is the case for the whole score). Road to the School (M3T2) is a favorite of mine featuring some piano work with a guitar backing. The outtake of this cue found in the bonus tracks (M3T1) is notably different than the film take. While being similar, the piano melody is different. Also, the electric guitar is out of key for a second or two. The first three cues are on the more traditional side, however, the rest of the score gets experimental from there beginning with Shiraki and the Principal (M4). Beautiful Voice at Midnight 1 (M5) is a female a capella cue. Origin of the Beautiful Voice ~ Nightmare Scene (M6T2) gives me the firghts thanks to the use of electronics. To the Basement (M7T2) is another favorite of mine from this score, especially the second have which consists of an electric organ. Invitation to Suck Blood (M20T2) is a creepy cue that has an interesting use of electronics. Devil's Servant (M26) features some great flute work. Seeking the Truth (M28T3), an action oriented tune, is yet another favorite of mine. Ceremony in the Basement terrifies me every time I hear it. Describing it as "creepy" it putting it lightly. The cue features the groaning effect used in "Godzilla vs. Hedorah". The Vampires Die (M39) is completely unusual, beginning with stringed instruments basically being plucked at random, transitioning to electric organ, again transitioning to a haunting flute solo, then finally concluding with foreboding drumming and strings. This is by far my absolute favorite cue of this score. Overall, this is an unusual score being experimental as well as featuring an interesting mix of electronics. I personally love the score, but I can understand the dislike it receives. Highlights are M1, M2T3, M3T2, M6T2, M7T2, M12, M17, M20T2, M26, M28T3, M32 and M39.
In the end, this is a great release. The packaging design and booklet contents are great as well as the music selections featured with this release. The bonus tracks are a real treat as we finally get to hear some outtakes from these scores. Being a fan of these scores, it was great seeing a collection of music from the scores get a well deserved release. I bought my copy at ARK Soundtrack SQUARE for $25.80 and is by far one of my best CD purchases to date. Grab a copy before it's too late.
Bloodthirsty Music: Toho's "Bloodthirsty" Series Music Collection
"Fear of the Ghost House: Bloodthirsty Doll Original Soundtrack", A.K.A. "Vampire Doll" (1970)
"Cursed House: Bloodthirsty Eyes Original Soundtrack", A.K.A. "Lake of Dracula" (1971)
"Bloodthirsty Rose Original Soundtrack", A.K.A. "Evil of Dracula" (1974)
Bonus Tracks (Unused Sound Sources