Many changes were wrought to Joe Johnston‘s The Wolfman during production, many of which we talked about yesterday. One of the last-stage changes was a switch from Danny Elfman‘s original score to a new one by electronic/rock composer Paul Haslinger. Originally working as part of Tangerine Dream in the mid ’80s, Haslinger had a part in scoring films like Near Dark, Miracle Mile and Three O’Clock High. (That one is such a fun, underrated little movie.) He moved on to score films like Death Race and Underworld, which made him seem like an odd fit for The Wolfman. Indeed, at the last minute, the film’s producers went back to Danny Elfman’s score, bolstered by additions from other composers.
Now there’s a clip of Haslinger’s rejected score online, so you can hear what might have been.
To my ears, this is a terrible fit for the picture. From a basic musical perspective it’s not my type of thing, but as music for the film I saw, I can’t see it working at all. One big problem with the film is that the characters are incredibly weak, so the other elements end up dominating the movie. Effects, production design, music — all those parts carry more weight because there are no characters to keep your attention.
With music like this The Wolfman would have been a wildly different movie. Going only on this sample, without hearing the full score, I’d guess the film wouldn’t have worked even as well as it did. (Which wasn’t very well at all.) The Elfman score at least worked in concert with the production design to create some sense of place and atmosphere.
Check out the track below, and tell us what you think about the idea of using this for The Wolfman.