Needful Things

Patrick Doyle

" Stephen King serves us Patrick Doyle music "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

The ways of scoring a Stephen King adaptation is slim with options, especially when it concerns the impact of the devil itself. And orchestral power backed up with a choral performance is really the only way to do it properly. And when you look at it, that part of musical composition ruled Henry V of Patrick Doyle. And since Doyle was interested in the whole project, it was rather easy assuming it would become an orchestral and choral performance of extreme proportions. Luckily Needful Things is just that. At least to the point that Doyle energizes his own pace so fast that the choral singing becomes purely demonic, filled with a rather explosive end in both movie and soundtrack.

Sadly Needful Things also lacks a bit of variety. Patrick Doyle unleashes some wonderful moments of energetic delight, but this appears too much in the same old form, making the additional moody underscore a thorn in its side. Of course when you look at the bright spots, it is an extreme entertaining performance.

"The Arrival" is Doyle at his best. Choral singing backed up by the energetic racing music. It is as they say classic Doyle. The first 8 tracks offer their choral highlights but they do it too frequently with too less variety. The best moments are found in "Racing towards Apple Throwing Time". Here Danny Elfman fans will discover some similarities with their respected dark composer.

The two classical pieces of Schubert and Grieg don't interrupt at all. The first one is a rather relaxing performance of "Ave Maria" while the second is one of those favourite classical pieces.

I was rather disappointed with the 12 minute "The Turning Point". The tension that keeps building is never disturbing but never explodes into something as well, leaving the climax a bit behind. That part was saved for the last three cues where Doyle's choral music really starts to explode, offering the best parts of the score.

So it is an extremely enjoyable score with Doyle's usual knack of orchestral pace and choral back up. The impressive parts are unquestionable but the overall impression is sadly not convincing overall. It repeats too much the same old deal while offering also a substantial amount of underscore. Yet combining all those averages with such positives, Needful Things still becomes devilish music where the orchestra and choir offers stylish compositional (choral) film music. Sadly it is not as strong as the king that followed it, namely Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.


1. The Arrival (2.56) Excellent track
2. To my Good Friend Brian (5.28)
3. Needful Things (2.37)
4. Brian's Deed (1.37)
5. More Deeds (2.23)
6. Art & the Minister (1.47)
7. Gaunt's Web (2.51)
8. Racing Towards Apple Throwing Time (4.43)
9. Nettie Finds her Dog (1.49)
10. Ave Maria * (3.51)
11. Peer Gynt: Hall Of The Mountain King ** (2.14) Excellent track
12. Go Upstairs (2.57)
13. The Turning Point (12.08)
14. They Broke The Law (1.36)
15. The Devil's Here (4.30)
16. Just Blow Them Away (2.45)
17. End Titles (3.54) Excellent track

* Performed by Franz Shubert
** Performed by Edvard Grieg

Total Length: 60.18
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 16 votes - average 4.66/5)

Released by

Varèse Sarabande VSD-5438 (regular release 1993)

Conducted by

David Snell

Orchestrations by

Lawrence Ashmore & John Bell