One could argue that the stark minimalism of Alien, the horns of Patton or Planet Of The Apes are more iconic but I say that Gremlins is easily Goldsmith's most identifiable score. Spielberg has Williams. Zemeckis has Silvestri. Dante's man was Goldsmith and this was the first score in an unbreakable partnership that would last until Goldsmith's death in 2004.
Gremlins isn't a perfect score, at least not in comparison to the superior sequel. The film is a classic but the score falls just short of a 5/5 as it is a little too synthy and thus sounds dated in some parts as a result. It works well in the movie for the most part but I feel that just a slightly stronger orchestral backing would have made all the difference. If the meowing cat sounds were removed in favor of tense strings then we'd certainly have a perfect score, and maybe Mrs. Deagle's theme too. In contrast to Spielberg's and Zemeckis' high-key style Dante and cinematographer John Hora shot the movie in a dark, grubby style which really works in its favor. Goldsmith's cold, haunting synth is completely appropriate in this regard, so don't think I am totally dissing his work here.
With over 70 minutes of score this complete album from 2011, 27 years after the movie's release, is what fans have been wanting for decades though casual movie fans will already be familiar with the lovely Gizmo theme, and, most famously, the Gremlins Rag - a demented circus fanfare of anarchy and mayhem, the sound of delightful destruction and cheerful chaos. It's an absolute blast and one of my favorite things ever. I've been humming that tune since I was a little kid and it was one of the first melodies I learned how to play on a piano.
As an Xmas score it's okay. There are quotations from Silent Night and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen but the true nature of the sound is not Yuletide but dark, nasty comedy and in that regard it delivers all it needs to and more. I can't exaggerate just how good the Gremlin Rag is. If you've ever seen an orchestra performing it live you'll notice that everyone is doing so with a huge smile on their faces.
Any Goldsmith or Gremlins fan will probably already own this, if not it is indeed a necessary purchase. A vinyl edition is available for you lucky people with the money for such luxuries.
This is a long-overdue release of the complete score for Gremlins, composed and recorded in 1984 by the late Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004). For the benefit of younger readers: Goldsmith was one of the most distinctive and influential composers working in film during the second half of the twentieth century. Gremlins was his second collaboration with director Joe Dante following Twilight Zone: The Movie (OST) the previous year, and came at a time when Goldsmith was arguably at the height of his powers. Their future creative collaborations would include Explorers, Innerspace, Small Soldiers: Original Soundtrack [SOUNDTRACK] and Looney Tunes: Back in Action, the very last film Goldsmith scored before his death in 2004.
At the time of the movie's original release, only fifteen minutes of Goldsmith's typically inventive score was licensed for inclusion on a seven-track "mini album", released on the Geffen label. This original LP programme is included as Disc Two, and includes the pop songs by Michael Sembello, Quarterflash, and Peter Gabriel.
Disc One presents the entire score, including alternates and bonus tracks. Here for the very first time are previously unreleased highlights such as "Kitchen Fight" (a notoriously violent, but tongue-in-cheek face-off between a suburban mom and four gremlins that have invaded her home, culminating in an attack by a gremlin concealed in a Christmas tree!), a reflective setting of "Silent Night" in "No Santa Claus" and "After Theater", and the climactic mayhem of "The Fountain/Stripe's Death". The "Gremlins Rag" was an infectiously demented theme tune for the malevolent "little buggers" (Goldsmith's choice of words) and will be remembered along with the composer's themes for Dr. Kildare, The Waltons, Star Trek - The Motion Picture and many others.
Considering the master tapes were 27 years old when this CD was put together, the sound quality is terrific and the whole package is presented as a labour of love by Retrograde Records (aka Film Score Monthly). As a die-hard Jerry Goldsmith fan from way back when, I'm thrilled that this music is finally available.
2nd only to Goldsmith's Alien Soundtrack in my opinion This has to be the most fun listening to a soundtrack just by itself.
Gremlins is another one of my must have movie and this FULL ost Compliments it perfectly. Originally released with a split mix of score and pop tracks, this copy reistates the majority if not all of Goldsmith's work including additional ticks and stings and random sound effects that give a lot of his scores an edge over other composers.
The pop tracks from the original album are included and are very 80's but it's the score you're here for.
Very atmospheric, very catchy, very hummable, probably even very dance-able.
There are two seperate albums out there for Gremlins 2 but a complete extended two film set should be made.