Composers and filmmakers can often go hand in hand for their style and creativity when applying music to a movie. Last time I took a quick look at Basil Poledouris, a composer who wrote for a range of films and genres. However, there are a few composers who will immediately spring to mind when I hear a new movie is coming out. Perhaps when you hear of a new Lucasfilm project you think generally think, “Ah, John Williams will be onboard!” James Horner returned to score Avatar (2009), a composer I always think of when James Cameron writes or directs. The director or genre will offer a clue about who will score the soundtrack.
Now think, Tim Burton (although most people would shout Johnny Depp) I am or course speaking of Danny Elfman. He is a composer who suits Burton’s dark, gothic creativity perfectly. Some of his work with Burton includes; Beetlejuice (1988) Batman (1989) Edward Scissorhands (1990) Batman Returns (1992) A Nightmare before Christmas (1993) Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Corpse Bride (2005). I love the eerie feel to the music, usually provided by a choral background, and the way it draws you in and provides a dark ambience to the story being told. A particular favourite of mine is The Nightmare before Christmas, with Elfman providing the singing voice for Jack Skellington. It’s a film I can watch over and over and never grow tired of, it is also strangely becoming a tradition to watch it on Christmas Eve, along with Scrooged (1988).
Obviously Danny Elfman has worked with many other directors and producers on many projects, his job title ranging from music producer and composer to singer/actor. He has a long and impressive resume of work in film and television music. However his long-term collaboration with Burton has produced his most recognisable work (possibly aside from The Simpsons) and he seems to flawlessly provide the right atmosphere (to bring out the best in the scenes, characters and dialogue) in any movie he composes for.
Image of Danny Elfman from Collider.com, visit the site and interview here!