Scored to Death

Conversations with Some of Horror's Greatest Composers


356 Pages
6x9 Paper
Silman-James Press

"Horror films live and die with their musical scores, and J. Blake Fichera has delved deeply into the craft of finding that rear lobe of the brain where terror connects with sound. Some of these composers are well known to horror aficionados, others will be surprising discoveries, but all of them have something unique to say about this least understood aspect of genre filmmaking. If you claim to know how horror movies work, this book is a must-read.”
Joe Bob Briggs, movie critic and author of Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies that Changed History!

Scored to Death collects 14 info-packed, terrifyingly entertaining interviews with renowned film composers who have provided music for some of the horror genre’s greatest films and franchises, including Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Maniac, The Fog, Prince of Darkness, Cujo, Dawn of the Dead,Deep Red, Suspiria, Santa Sangre, Zombie, The Beyond, Insidious, The Conjuring,Hostel, The Strangers, House of the Devil, and many more!

Interviewed are director-composer John Carpenter; sound designer-composer Alan Howarth; Italian composers and members of the band Goblin (known for their scores for Dario Argento films) Claudio Simonetti and Maurizio Guarini; Hollywood composers Christopher Young, Tom Hajdu (of the composing team tomandandy),Charles Bernstein, Jay Chattaway, and Nathan Barr; as well as horror notables Fabio Frizzi, Simon Boswell, Joseph Bishara, Jeff Grace, and Harry Manfredini.

About J. Blake Fichera

J. Blake Fichera has taught film studies at the State University of New York at Purchase and has contributed as a writer and interviewer to several noteworthy film and music-related publications and websites, including Video Watchdog magazine,,,, and American Blues News. He has been a professional film/television editor and producer since 2001 and cohosts the film-themed podcast Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers. He is also a gigging musician in the New York City area and a New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee. He lives in Manhattan.

"This was music to my eyes! About time someone shined a light on the unsung heroes who compose many of the soundtracks of our nightmares. Great insight into their varied approaches to the craft.”
—Jeff Lieberman, director of Squirm,Blue Sunshine, and Just Before Dawn

"This book is the best opportunity you will have to peek behind the curtains of those people who create the soundtrack of your life! The music they create provides the emotional road map to the narrative for the audience, and embeds those moments in your memory forever. I highly recommend this for any film or music buff!”
—Tom Holland, director of Fright Night, Child’s Play, and Thinner

"Scored to Death is an excellent book, full of intriguing interviews…. Fichera gets these composers to open up about their lives and skills, and they share some amazing stories about their techniques and methods, and how it is to work in this genre."
Starburst magazine

"Try to imagine the shower scene in Psychowithout the famous staccato strings of Bernard Herrmann, and you begin to realize how important music is in making your skin crawl while watching a horror film. In J. Blake Fichera’s fascinating book, Scored to Death, he introduces you to some of the genre’s greatest composers as they explain the process of creating unforgettable nightmares of sound.”
Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator

"Have you ever watched Suspiria without the volume on? Or Halloween? Or Hostel? Music elevates a film to a level it could never achieve otherwise. It conjoins with the imagery. It burns into your memory. Too often we know the films, we can hum the tunes, but cannot name the composers or tell their stories. J. Blake Fichera’s brilliant Scored to Death gets into the meat of talented musicians and pulls out their insides for you to enjoy. A must-have for any horror aficionado.”
—The Soska Sisters, directors of Dead Hooker in a Trunk, American Mary, and See No Evil 2

"Horror is a genre that has generated many of the film world’s most original and influential scores. InScored to Death, J. Blake Fichera has assembled an impressive international cast of scary-music masters—and he knows what to ask, when to listen, and how to follow up on their behind-the-terror insights.”
—Michael Schelle, author of The Score

"The men in this book create music that makes our adrenaline pump and our fists clench. Reading it is a mini course in mastering horror.”
—Rob Schmidt, director of Wrong Turn and The Alphabet Killer

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