This edition of Out of the Past features a special guest. Last year I was ranting and raving about Ti West’s The House of the Devil to anybody who would listen. I even ranted and raved to people who weren’t listening. It was in my official Top Five Movies of 2010 which I drew up for a now defunct site. Last year I also got to interview Jocelin Donahue, the film’s heroine. I might re-publish this interview shortly on the site.
One of my absolute favourite things about the movie was the opening credit sequence. The editing, the pauses, and music produced a winning combo and fantastic in their overall effect.
So I’m ranting and raving and I told a friend, the writer Ben Loory, how much I loved the film and how great the opening music is. And to prove what a small world it is these days, he tells me: ‘I know the guy, Mike Armstrong, who did the opening music.’
This news was great. So through the magic of Facebook, a couple of weeks ago we did a sort of interview… more a rambling conversation which took place on Ben’s Facebook page, in which Mike Armstrong told me about his involvement in the movie.
Mike Armstrong on the inspiration for the track
The temp music was the Cars “Moving in Stereo” as you can tell since the thing I did was the cheeseball, knock-off version. I even used a plug-in called ‘The Cheese Machine’ which finally came in handy. I regret being arm-twisted into doing a knock-off especially since they paid me not a cent and never passed my name off to anyone.
So why isn’t the best piece of music on the soundtrack?
Martyn, I can tell you that maybe a 100 or so people have emailed me (somehow, with no website) about this silly piece of music; all of them bummed or angry that it wasn’t of the soundtrack release.
On how his piece of music ended up being used for the opening titles:
They couldn’t afford the Cars…they must have blown their money on that other song (where she dances around and breaks the vase…) So, I tried to not copy it too closely but the guitar intro and beat…it’s hard not to be so close to it when it’s so simple.
Everybody I know loves the opening sequence to this movie. A large part of its success is Mike’s pastiche track. Jeff Grace provided the film’s spooky score and his recent work on The Innkeepers was great too. But Mike Armstrong’s slice of 1980s synth pop is brilliant and really helped deliver the tone of the picture.
With the likes of Amer, Finale and The House of the Devil there seems to be a vogue at the moment for retro horror flicks which ape the styles of Italian gore merchants such as Lucio Fulci and others. With House of the Devil Ti West got the homage spot on.
A couple of weeks ago I got to speak with Ti West during FrightFest and we quickly discussed The House of the Devil and its critical and commercial success. Read it Ti West Interview.
Now watch the opening scene. It’s very cool.
extra special thanks to Ben Loory for being a conduit and Mike Armstrong for answering my questions.