REVIEWS

 

FANTASIA.COM:

Subject Two:

"Subject Two is an ambitious and thoughtful rumination on the age-old dangers of man playing god. Its organic setting is a unique juxtaposition for the complexities of modern medical science – cryonics, nanotechnology and mysterious revival serums. An imposing musical score by Erik Godal lends to the film’s haunting atmosphere of cold, inescapable dread......"

—Jovanka Vuckovic

 

FOSTER ON FILM review:

"The ominous music by Erik Godal placed me squarely in the lands of mystery and I can't imagine the film working without his score.  But it is the acting that really sells the piece.  JoBeth Williams plays the realtor, and I can't argue with the casting of the star of Poltergeist, one of the near-iconic ghost stories, in this concentrated version.  As good as she is, it is Juliet Landau as Alison Labatte who is the biggest piece in the puzzle.  The daughter of Martin Landau and Barbara Bain"

 

ProgNaut.com Review:
Gacy, the original motion picture score is a cross between what Goblin does for Dario Argento’s films and what Univerz Zero (circa Ceux de Hors) does in the RIO genre. This is a very excellent body of work done by Erik Godal and Mark Fontana.
Erik and Mark, provide some of the most dramatic music for a Score in years. Some parts are somber while other’s keep you on the edge of excitement. Although, I’m not sure I’d be interested in seeing the movie but perhaps in the future I will to see how the music fits with the motion picture.
For those who don’t know or remember, here’s a passage from the liner notes that sums up the history. Gacy (John Wayne Gacy) was the model citizen. He even volunteered as a clown for the children at a local hospital. Shockingly, he kept a gruesome secret. A trail of a missing young man led to Gacy’s suburban Chicago home. The nation watched in horror as, one by one, the details of over 30 murders came to light and most victims entombed in the crawl space under his house, were unearthed. Based on a true story of one of the most prolific serial killers in American history, “Gacy” will leave you shocked and in disbelief. This is a highly recommended release of 2003, as long as you put aside the subject matter of “Gacy” then you’ll be just fine.
~Ron for ProgNaut.com [December 17th, 2003]

 

splendidezine.com> reviews > 2/24/2004

A quick jaunt over to movie review meta-site RottenTomatoes.com is sufficient to demonstrate that those among the cinema-reviewing press who have seen the movie that this soundtrack accompanies have not thought much of it. Thankfully, then, Godal and Fontana, perhaps alone among the creative forces behind this film, have chosen not to go for cheap shocks in their score. It certainly would have been easy to go a different route: how many Rob Zombie-esque "edgy" pieces have been foisted on the moviegoing public in a vain attempt to generate tension or fear in the viewer?
Instead of spewing jarring power chords and faux-industrial audio frippery, Erik Godal and Mark Fontana (who are also two members of the tiki/lounge band Blue Hawaiians) have chosen to create a brooding, string-and-woodwind-heavy exercise in restraint and atmosphere. Naturally, other elements are thrown in as needed: a clean, echoing guitar and the occasional electronic scrape serve to remind us of just what we're listening to. Still, the overwhelming effect of listening to Gacy is a sense of calm derangement, as if the peripheral feeling that the music conveys (of a slightly unreal reality) were the most pleasant thing in the world to observe. It's the sound of well-adjusted insanity, a sound that certainly conveys the complexities of a man who was able to be both birthday-party clown and serial murderer of young men.
Then, in a truly weird turn, the album closes with a combination of full-on pop song ("Cruel World") and a reprise of the opening theme. The song is perfectly upbeat and positive, to the point that it's impossible to hear it as anything but a hideous juxtaposition with the subject matter. It's either a huge lapse in taste, or (far more likely) a final, clever irony played out by two very thoughtful composers.
In a world of soundalike film scores, it's a damn shame that one this good has ended up attached to a film about which no one seems to have a nice thing to say. The film might not have another redeeming quality, but having spawned this disc, it can be judged a worthwhile endeavor.
-- Brett McCallon


VIDEO WATCHDOG Magazine
Send in the Clown
Visits to the local Blockbuster reveal a new twist in the serial killer
genre: serial films, each named for its provocative perp – DAHMER,
GEIN, SPECK, GACY. What sets the latter apart from the pack is its
effective and intelligent electronic/symphonic score, composed
and performed by Erik Godal and Mark Fontana of The Blue
Hawaiians. I'm not clowning around here: This is genuinely great
stuff that channels Bernard Herrman into the new century, armed
with synths and a sharkskin suit. -Douglas E. Winter

INK19.COM

Gacy
Original Soundtrack
Pascal Records
Erik Godal and Mark Fontana of The Blue Hawaiians have crafted a moody and brooding soundtrack to the movie Gacy, about serial killer John Wayne Gacy. The orchestrated and slow-moving episodic pieces are haunting and dark, performed with quietly disturbed seriousness. These pieces are short and concise -- there are 29 of them on this 45-minutes disc -- and the overall effect is a bit fragmentary and one-sided. Probably brutally effective as accompaniment to the film, the soundtrack doesn't quite succeed without its visual counterpart; although, the general feel of disturbed dismay and chilling unease demonstrate huge ambitions and solid craftsmanship.
Pascal Records: http://www.pascalrecords.com/
Stein Haukland

BABYSUE .COM
Being one of our favorite personalities of all time, we were curious
to see how Erik Godal and Mark Fontana (of the group The Blue
Hawaiians ) would interpret the mind of John Wayne Gacy through
their music. The end result is...an overwhelming success. Gacy is
a strange and haunting journey through the mind of the
madman...as told through 29 compelling compositions. Listening
to this music, one can almost begin to understand the alienation
and frustration that would lead an individual to succumb to their
innermost desires. What differentiates the sane from the insane is
that, supposedly, sane people have the ability to refrain from doing
things that their mind tells them to do...whereas the insane do not
. Whether this is true or not is still up for debate...but one thing is
for certain. Those who have the desire and the ability to murder
countless numbers of people for months and months without
being detected still hold a curious fascination for the rest of us.
Even without the visuals, this album stands squarely on its
own...as an extremely mental...and sometimes horrific listen.
Ending on the surprisingly poppy "Cruel World"...the song
eventually disintegrates into odd dissonance. Easily one of the
best soundtrack albums we have heard, Gacy is an abstract and
bizarre experience. (Rating: 5++)

SMOTHER.net
EDITOR'S PICK
I saw this movie quite a while ago and it left me wondering what I
thought was more haunting, the story of Gacy, or the music that
accompanied it. After listening to the score this time in CD form I'd
have to look in the direction of the latter. You can hear David
Lynch's favorite composer Angelo Badalamenti's influence in
there. As chilling as the clown serial killer himself, the score will
leave you with a tingle down your spine and looking over your
shoulder. If you ever wanted to imagine what it would be like to be
one of his victims laying dead and buried in his crawlspace, I'd
urge you to get the next best thing—this album. You'll never dream
again as it'll be one long nightmare after the other. • J-Sin

RAZORCAKE MAGAZINE
As can be expected from the musical score of one of the more
recent entries in the booming serial killer series of biopics, the
music is, naturally, moody and creepy sounding (what were you
expecting, circus music?1?). If film scores ain't your bag, let me
add that this would also make some primo mood music for your
next Halloween haunted house. Two thumbs up for this on that tip
alone. -Jimmy Alvarado

Ampersand Etcetera
“Gacy” is a soundtrack to the movie of the same name by two
people from The Blue Hawaiians (I haven't heard them). As such it
is a collection of 29 short tracks, so don't expect a blow-by-blow.
Gacy's story is generally known, and the sound here is what you
would expect in its telling – there is a mood of dread or tension,
rather than fear or surprise. The instrumentation is mainly strings,
occasionally strident and atonal but mainly long and moody, some
guitar striking through here and there and a suprisingly restrained
use of a fairground sound – the clown image could have tempted
more such by ways. Each of the moments is well crafted and
invested with atmosphere, but it is too fragmentary. I think of some
of the dark ambient moodpieces – Shinjuku Thief, Lustmord,
When to name too few – their power comes from being able to
manipulate the mood through longer time frames and with a
freedom to switch tensions as they see fit, not in line with the story.
Here a response starts to gel and then we slide into another piece
– although the overall mood is well maintained. And while I can
see some ironic intent in the song over the end titles, it didn't work
for me.
But despite those comments, the album is interesting in relation to
that overarching development and the sounds and variations of the
tracks – it is evocative and enjoyable. And as a further reflection, it
reminded me of the Bill Nelson theatre works “La Belle…” and
“The cabinet…” both in structure and mood.

TURK'S HEAD REVIEW
One might well expect that an original motion picture score to a
film about famed serial killer John Wayne Gacy would be
disturbing, and Erik Godal & Mark Fontana of the Blue Hawaiians
don't dissapoint. The score's pensive, lumbering orchestral
arrangements spiked with aural effects and stray guitar licks
create a sense of “mystery movie” unease and suspense. The
final track ”Cruel World”, the only cut with vocals, raises the
possibility of redemption, only to disintegrate back into the
demented Gacy string theme. Moody and hauntingly lush. -James
Esch