Local experimental musician Corey J. Brewer will create a new score for Stanley Kubrick's The Shining for the next Puget Soundtrack at Northwest Film Forum (Friday, December 1). But this isn't The Shining as Kubrick originally intended you to view it; rather, it's former Excepter member John Fell Ryan and Akiva Saunders's Forward & Backward revamp, its images superimposed for maximal psychedelic effect. Such a twist plays well into Brewer's predilection for sampling and scrambling source materials. For Puget Soundtrack, he will interweave new compositions with remixes of classical pieces by Béla Bartók and Krzysztof Penderecki that were deployed in the original score.
How old were you when you first watched The Shining, and how did it impact you? Where does it stand in your pantheon of horror films?
I first saw The Shining when I was maybe 9 or 10. I’d been binge-reading anything Stephen King-related, so my parents figured I could watch the movies. It was the scariest thing I’d ever seen and I've seen it countless times since then.
What motivated you to want to create an alternate soundtrack for it?
Honestly, if I was approaching the original film, I wouldn't even bother; the original soundtrack by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind is simply perfect. It would be silly to try to improve upon Penderecki and Bartók, but with the Forward & Backward version, I'm looking at it as a postmodern collage, a remix. So that is really liberating and opens it up to all sorts of new ideas.
What was the greatest challenge you faced while working on The Shining Forward & Backward?
There are a few scenes where the original score is quite loud and isolating the dialogue completely was impossible, so in those scenes I've created new pieces of music built out of samples of the score. Trying to imagine how the Bomb Squad would approach Bartók.
What’s your instrumental palette for this project?
Aside from samplers, I'm using sounds that would evoke the big band era: piano, clarinet. Also waterphone, and a prepared autoharp: lots of old-school haunted-house sounds that got used in radio plays. At its most basic level, it's a movie about a haunted hotel, so I'm trying to keep that in mind.
How are you dealing with blood deluging the hotel hallway scene, which I think is one of the most chilling in cinematic history?
I feel like this being the first vision Danny has of the Overlook, that it represents the hotel's deepest desire. It is the hotel's "loudest" message. I'm trying evoke that, its heart pumping an ocean of blood.
Have you ever done soundtrack work before?
This is my first solo soundtrack, but I've worked in ensembles for Clyde Petersen's Torrey Pines and with Lori Goldston for her live score series at the Frye last year. I just finished a solo album and I'm currently working on two other film scores.