Danny Elfman

" Elfman doing his early thing, which doesn't make it a true pleasure on disc "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

I can't say that my hopes were positively strong when I purchased this score, namely a dark horror soundtrack of Elfman in a time where nothing else than this apparently was offered to him. Plus I found it for $5. So Nightbreed became another curious part of my Danny Elfman collection. Normally these scores are way out of my league, with his dark and wacky orchestrations trying to punctuate the horrific and brutal emotions of the movie. Plus this is after all Clive Barker's creation of a dark breed that lives underground. And in some way does this score listen like many of his other dark creations (Sleepy Hollow, Beetlejuice and Men in Black). Which means it offers everything you expect from it, from the first to the last minute.

Well, persons that enjoy a score like Sleepy Hollow might find their luck in this one. Nightbreed offers Elfman's typical choir and dark mood, resembling the style when you would mix Beetlejuice with the choral moments of Edward Scissorhands. And by far are these the moments that keep the score afloat.

However Nightbreed isn't what I would call fun, but it does maintain to have moments where some appreciation lingers through. The difficult moments are "Dream", "Meat for the Beast", "Uh-Oh.... Decker" and "Mayhem in Midian". All have a pounding drum beat and a wacky Elfman score. And when we have choir alongside it, we resemble the better moments of Men in Black.

I don't consider Nightbreed to be a sensational score, but it does receive some credit because it could have been much, much worse. I remember the movie vividly and it fits with everything the movie is portraying. So, you could say that this score pushes the expectations a little higher in the end, but as a listening experience it fails consistently. My first impression was rather positive (put that lightly), but after repeated listens I had to think and observe that it fails as interesting material. Fans of Elfman's typical dark approach might try to pick up the copy, considering Nightbreed is some kind of a consolation prize.


1. Main Titles (2.40)
2. Dream (1.03)
3. Carnival Underground (3.22)
4. Into Midian (2.31)
5. Meat for the Beast (2.09)
6. Resurrection Suite (3.37)
7. Boone Transforms (0.56)
8. The Initiation (2.50)
9. Scalping Time (1.55)
10. Rachel's Oratory (1.03)
11. Party in the Past (0.51)
12. Poor Babette (1.40)
13. Uh-Oh .... Decker (1.38)
14. "Then Don't Say It!" (1.27)
15. Boone Gets A Taste (2.43)
16. Breed Love (1.02)
17. Mayhem in Midian (1.42)
18. Baphomet's Chamber (2.00)
19. Farewell (0.59)
20. 2nd Chance (1.33)
21. End Credits (4.33)
22. Country Skin * (4.17)

* Bonus Track

Total Length: 46.46
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 18 votes - average 4.22/5)

Released by

MCA Records MCAD 8037 (regular release 1990)

Conducted by

Shirley Walker

Orchestrations by

Shirley Walker & Steve Bartek