Saturday, October 31, 2015

Deep Cuts #12: Cabin in the Woods





(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

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Cabin in the Woods
American, 2012, d. Drew Goddard

Happy Halloween!

As a fitting end to this series, I offer a film that too few horror fans appear to have seen. If you love horror and you've never seen this, do yourself a favor and check it out. Only make sure not to find anything out about it ahead of time-- just watch it. It's essentially a love letter to horror fans. Enjoy! And thanks for reading the Deep Cuts series.

imdb listing

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Contact: hallenbeckmike at gmail dot com

Trailer Sound Design + Musical Score: "Curse of the Invisible Werewolf"


Happy Halloween! Here's the trailer for "Curse of the Invisible Werewolf", a tribute to classic monster films of the 30s and 40s directed by Jay Ness and featuring my sound design and original music.



I plan to offer some behind the scenes info before too long, but for right now the trailer is its own reward. Enjoy! And for more info, feel free to engage "Curse"'s Facebook page.

More film sound design by Mike Hallenbeck

More film music by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Contact: hallenbeckmike at gmail dot com

Friday, October 30, 2015

Original Music for Web Series: Season Three of "Theater People" Launches




I've been brought back to score the third season of the popular web series "Theater People". After a successful premiere as part of the Twin Cities Film Festival's Digital Firsts: Webisodes programming, Episodes 1 and 2 launched online today.

I plan on getting more in-depth about these cues in the future, but for now I'll just post the episodes.

So here's Episode 1:



And here's Episode 2:



Enjoy!

More film music by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Contact: hallenbeckmike at gmail dot com

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Deep Cuts #11: Peeping Tom





(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

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Peeping Tom
British, 1960, d. Michael Powell

I'd call "Peeping Tom" the forbear of cinema that explores what we now think of as found footage, especially in the horror genre. "Cannibal Holocaust", "Videodrome", "Man Bites Dog", "The Blair Witch Project", "Ringu", "Sinister", and the proliferation of present-day found footage films bear its influence. It also engages the form with a critical angle not seen since-- although I'd say "The Dirties" comes close.



The story is not rendered exclusively in terms of first-person footage. In fact, the majority of the film is a conventional narrative thriller, linking it as much with Cronenberg, "Sinister" and "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" as with "V/H/S", "Trollhunter", or "Creep". Though the story is somewhat complicated, the legacy at the film's core is elemental: a young filmmaker contrives to record the expressions of women in their dying moments, shooting footage of his victims as he murders them.



I'm sure that plenty of graduate theses have been written on the film-theory implications of this film's interweaving of voyeurism, objectification, documentary, power dynamics, and what have you. But it's unfortunate that the film hasn't found more of a mass audience-- though released around the same time as Hitchcock's "Psycho", and similarly themed in terms of the pairing of voyeurism and serial murder, "Peeping Tom" received scathing reviews upon its release which effectively ruined director Michael Powell's career.



And that's too bad-- this is a uniquely cerebral movie, and I'd call it essential viewing for anyone curious about the origins of found footage flicks. And it's a well-crafted film to boot. Michael Powell was not, as they say, messing around.

imdb listing

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Contact: hallenbeckmike at gmail dot com

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sound Design + Music for Animation: Tim the Terrible Part I




"Tim the Terrible" is a new animated series from Flush Studios. I've had the pleasure of working on several Flush toons in the past, and it's been fun to contribute sound design and original music to "Tim" as well.

Here's the completed version of Episode 1, "Birth of a Bender", which has already surpassed 10,000 views on Newgrounds as of this writing.

Several of my music cues are featured in this piece. During the opening theme that accompanies the face-off between Tim and Tormentuous, it's possible to sing "Tim the Terrible" along with the melody. What convenience!



A more cacophonous cue underscores a savage attack later in the episode:



Director Josh Stifter recorded most of the voiceover at his studio; his own voice performances included those of Tormentuous' wife Shelly and their son Benjamin. Tormentuous was voiced by Dan Degnan.



Stifter also recorded the vocieover for the title character, performed by McCrae Olson:



I performed and recorded the voiceover for the griffin that arrives late in the episode to take Tim away; the script called for the griffin to play as a jaded cab driver.



Sound design was accomplished by replacing a few temp fx with a combo of library assets and original Foley. The weapon hits, stabs and gore effects were mostly library, but there were points where subtle movement and impacts called for cues of my own.



Josh worked long hours on this piece; it's good to see it getting some recognition!

More sound + music for animation by Mike Hallenbeck/ Junior Birdman Audio

Junior Birdman Audio home page

Contact: hallenbeckmike at gmail dot com

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Deep Cuts #10: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit



(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

= = = = =

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
British, 2005, d. Steve Box and Nick Park

Few have what it takes to endure the films of Wallace and Gromit. Located on the outer fringes of good taste in popular entertainment, this work emanates from a psychic signpost far beyond the breaking point for most. To witness one of these films is, put mildly, to stare into the abyss.



Forcing us to acknowledge aspects of the human experience we'd rather not confront, these tales stretch our tolerance for the repressed aspects of our psyches most of us would prefer went unexplored.



"The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" stands as perhaps the most bleak and forbidding entry in the series. For here we are asked to contemplate the unthinkable: the transformation of a human being into a large and furry bunny.



The squeamish among you will want to let this film go. But hardier viewers might emerge unscathed as the unbearable truth of this narrative comes home to roost. If you think you can witness the mind-shredding abomination that is "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and pick up the pieces of your life afterward, don't say I didn't warn you. You have nothing to lose but your mind.



imdb listing

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Monday, October 26, 2015

TCFF Bald Director Profile #3: Andrew Hunt, "Clean Cut"




The 2015 Twin Cities Film Festival features a number of films I worked on variously as a sound designer and composer. Each of these projects was helmed by a director who's bald like me. Today let's meet Andrew Hunt-- whose award-winning Clean Cut, a comedy-horror short about a Roomba gone rogue, screens at TCFF this year. I created the sound design and wrote the musical score for the film. Get tickets here.



Andy used to have hair, but the Roomba vacuumed it all up. Below, he holds forth about "Clean Cut" as the glare from his head clues us in on a potential hidden meaning of the film's title:



I've already blogged extensively about "Clean Cut" and its numerous festival screenings and awards, so I'll leave it to the preceding links to tell that story. But I do recommend this film highly. So if you're at the fest, do go see it!

Here's the trailer (which doubles as a credit sequence for the film), animated by Josh Stifter:

And here's a sample of my original music used in the score. I tailored this piece to fit the mechanical, workmanlike feel of the Roomba going about its business:



Get tickets for TCFF screening of "Clean Cut"

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More film sound by Mike Hallenbeck

More film music by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Deep Cuts #9: Vampira and Me



(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

= = = = =

Vampira and Me
American, 2012, d. R.H. Greene

If you're anything like me-- and I know I am-- then you're fascinated by the phenomenon of the horror host. And while it turns out that like most people I'd been vaguely aware of Vampira as a tangent, once I read the fairly detailed account of her life (or rather, that of her performer Maila Nurmi) in David J. Skal's The Monster Show, I found her story fascinating and tragic. Seeking out more information, I found R.H. Greene's documentary film "Vampira and Me" streaming on Amazon (the only distribution platform I'm aware of) and dug in.



Greene apparently anchored this film with interview footage of Nurmi from an earlier doc he'd made entitled "Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies". He claims that Nurmi had always wanted to tell her own story and that he was honoring her wishes posthumously by making this film. And while there's no way to know, her openness in the interviews suggests that what he depicts as a close friendship with his subject was in fact quite real.

It turns out that the character of Vampira was indeed originally a knockoff of Charles Adams' character Morticia, then an unnamed 2D character in the "Addams Family" cartoon. Little footage remains of Vampira actually hosting her TV show, but here we can at least catch a glimpse:



Nurmi says her eventual scream was meant as a depiction of orgasm, which she never told anyone but seems plausible in retrospect-- a very "Bride of Frankenstein"-essque subversive strategy, and strong stuff indeed for 1954!

The film goes on to weave together a variety of her life's strands. Nurmi pursued a friendship with James Dean early in his career-- entirely Platonic, by all accounts-- and was blamed by some for his death when a doctored photo of her next to an open grave made its way into the public eye:



Sadly, Nurmi was never able to parlay the Vampira character into a lucrative revenue stream. Her final film role was an appearance in Ed Wood's craptastic "Plan 9 From Outer Space". And just as sadly, this is how most people are aware of her today.



I prefer to remember Vampira as the original horror host, a subversively powerful artifact.



It's widely speculated that the character of Elvira Mistress of the Dark was a knockoff of Vampira (in fact, Nurmi filed a lawsuit over just that). If so, there's a curious derivative throughline from Morticia right through to Elvira-- not a big shock, but it's interesting to see the (alleged) intention behind it all.



imdb listing

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Friday, October 23, 2015

TCFF Bald Director Profile #2: Matthew Anderson, "The Caper" and "Theater People: Season Three"




The 2015 Twin Cities Film Festival features a number of films I worked on variously as a sound designer and composer. Each of these projects was helmed by a director who's bald like me. Today, let's meet Matthew G. Anderson, who premieres the short romantic comedy The Caper and the pilot of the web series Theater People's third season, both at TCFF this year. I served as composer for both. Get your tickets by clicking on the linked titles above.

Years ago, back in what might safely be called "the day", Matt asked me if I'd ever seen the Powerpuff Girls Beatles episode. I replied that I had not.

"Oh, you gotta see it," he said. "I'll loan you the DVD."

"But I don't have a DVD player," I said.

"No problem, I'll loan you that too." And so he did.

Thusly, Matt's excitement to share creativity has snowballed into not one but two entries in TCFF this year. I remember back when we started these projects, he had hair. But as his passion and dedication for his work grew, he tore it all out. Or maybe it was kind of like "The Picture of Dorian Grey", except with an axis of filmmaking and hair loss, or something. I don't know.

Anyway, here's Matt Anderson talking about his process of making these pieces:



Here's a highlight reel of my original score for "The Caper":



A playlist of music featured in the film:



And here's the trailer for "The Caper":



As for the pilot webisode of "Theater People" Season Three, it's not out yet so a highlight reel would be inappropriate. But here's a reel of my music from Season One in the meantime:



And here's the trailer for "Theater People" Season Three:



And just for the heck of it, here are some clips from the Powerpuff Girls Beatles episode.



Enjoy!

More film music by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Deep Cuts #8: Eyes Without A Face



(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

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"Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face)
French, d. Georges Franju, 1960

This has to be the toughest going of any of the films under discussion in this series-- some harrowing gory moments. But it has a haunting quality that makes it one of my favorite horror movies, hard to watch though it may be.

Christiane Génessier, daughter of a brilliant surgeon, has suffered disfiguring facial wounds in a car accident for which her father was responsible. Dr. Génessier tries to rectify the situation by kidnapping young women, surgically removing the flesh of their faces and grafting it onto that of Christiane, who otherwise wanders the house wearing a white mask, almost literally a ghost (she's been officially pronounced dead).



Oddly jaunty music, evocative of a circus, accompanies the film at odd moments, usually at contemplative points that wouldn't be scored in other films. The grisly operating room scenes, on the other hand, are presented clinically and without any of the atmospherics often employed by horror films. The point, clearly, is not to entertain us with mad-scientist theatrics. This ain't Vincent Price. This is-- man, I don't know what this is.



And indeed, what *is* the point of all this? The film is generally presented as a naturalistic drama, which heightens the horror of what's actually going on. One doesn't get the idea that the gruesome goings-on are all just for the heck of it, thrills for thrills' sake-- in fact there are no thrills to be had, just a dolorous interweaving of trauma, guilt, revulsion and denial.



I don't pretend to know the thematic underpinnings, but I've gotten the feeling that "Eyes Without A Face" somehow references the Nazi occupation of France-- which, having ended a scant 15 years or so before this film's production, must have been pretty fresh in people's minds at the time.

It turns out that critics have bickered over this and other political interpretations quite a bit. In Shocking Representation: Historical Trauma, National Cinema, and the Modern Horror Film, for example, Adam Lowenstein positions the film as evocative not only of the Occupation but of the Holocaust and France's incurion into Algeria as well. And so on.

Which is a terrific point to segue into 80s pop music! It's worth noting that this film is-- as far as I'm aware-- the only 1960 French horror movie with a Billy Idol song named after it:



One of his better songs, I'd say-- and although it doesn't seem to have all that much to do with the aforementioned, backup vocalist Perri Lister is in fact singing "Les yeux sans visage" (the film's French title) in the background, so that's something.

imdb listing

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

TCFF Bald Director Profile #1: J.D. O'Brien, "Out in the Cold"




The 2015 Twin Cities Film Festival features a number of films I worked on variously as a sound designer and composer. Each of these projects was helmed by a director who's bald like me. Today, let's meet J.D. O'Brien, whose feature documentary Out in the Cold I had the pleasure of mixing in post this past summer. TCFF will host the world premiere of the film as part of its festival lineup. Get tickets here for the encore screening, recently added to accommdate increased demand.



To make this film, O’Brien and his friend John Koepke left the comfort of their own homes to spend a week of Minnesota winter sleeping either on the streets or in homeless shelters as an opportunity to create experiential empathy with those who truly have to live without stable housing.

Here's a highlight reel to demonstrate my mix of the film:



Working on the film was a real pleasure; I had a lot of help from some talented collaborators. O'Brien's good humor and trust in his team helped to foster a creative atmosphere. I was lucky to work with audio collected by production sound mixer Matt Manson, who did an incredible job of maintaining high standards under challenging circumstances. And a lovely musical score from Sean Cody and Elliot Johnston made the mix all the more enjoyable.

I'm really pleased with the rhetorical structure of this doc; it does a great job of amplifying the voices of many homeless people the filmmakers meet along the way, and demonstrating the intersection of unstable housing with alcoholism, mental illness, and other vectors that compromise quality of life. Best of all, it builds a convincing argument for a solution as the images and stories pile up.

More film sound by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Monday, October 19, 2015

Deep Cuts #7: The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires




(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

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The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
British/ Chinese, d. Roy Ward Baker and Cheh Chang, 1974

Perhaps at some point you've been watching a vampire movie and thought to yourself: "You know what this movie needs? Some awesome kung fu." Well, if that's the case then "The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires" is for you. Because this, my friends, is the film made in collaboration between Britain's Hammer Films and China's Shaw Brothers studio, and it's pretty much exactly what the sum of those parts ought to be.

As the trailer intones: "Black belt against black magic, in the greatest battle of all time." (Here the film is presented with the silver-tongued alternate title "The Seven Brothers and Their One Sister Meet Dracula".)



Indeed, this movie is primarly two things: 1. Just as ridiculous as a co-production of these two studios sounds like it would be be, and 2. just as satisfying as said co-production should be, since both have turned out some stellar genre product over the years.



Peter Cushing plays Lawrence Van Helsing, evidently a relative of Bram Stoker's character with the same surname, who leads an expedition to a Chinese village where vampires are terrorizing the countryside, enacting ritual human sacrifices and what have you.



Van Helsing recruits a group of rad kung fu practitioners to fight off the monsters along the way. On occasion, jiangshi (hopping vampires) can be spotted among the attackers. It should also be mentioned that the vampires have the power to raise former victims from the grave and assemble them as an army, which is awesome.

Anyway, you get the idea. If this appeals, make sure to check it out. And if you don't think it's for you, then you're probably right.



One motive for including this flick, though, is to call out Hammer films as a prime exponent of horror filmmaking-- one that I'm not sure is finding a lasting audience among contemporary horror fans. If you're looking for lurid, scenery-chewing Gothic horror with bombastic music, melodramatic acting, buxom babes, ambitious lighting and set design, people throwing candelabras, etc, look no further. I also heartily recommend "Twins of Evil" and "Hooror of Dracula" (the latter of which pairs Cushing and Chrisopher Lee to great effect). Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!

imdb listing

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Film Event Update, October 2015




Films featuring my sound design and original music are screening at upcoming festivals across North America! The pieces range from comedy to horror to documentary to experimental pieces. Here's an update...



CELLULAR CINEMA 7, TREVOR ADAMS: FROM SCRATCH

Every once in a while I get the chance to participate in an event that's utterly unique, that will not be documented or repeated. You want to experience it, you gotta be there.

In this case, I have the opportunity to provide live sonic accompaniment for experimental films by my friend Trevor Adams. Actual film projected from a 16 mm reel, accompanied with as close sync as I can manage, with all the hazard/ risk/ reward of a live presentation.

Event details:

Sunday, October 18 at 7:00 pm
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater
Doors open at 6:00 pm
Tickets: $6 - $12 sliding scale
Buy tickets-- make sure to reserve a seat in advance in case the show sells out
Event listing on Bryant-Lake Bowl's web site

Here's a complete blog entry with more details on this event.

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COMPLIANCE DIVISION PRESENTS CELLULAR CINEMA: ARBOREALITY + HIJACK: EASTERFEST

Cellular Cinema curator Kevin Obsatz heads out west to Portland, OR with a bunch of Twin Cities-made experimental films in tow. The lineup includes "McFowl!" by Trevor Adams and Obsatz's documentary "Deux Champs", both featuring music and sound design by Mike Hallenbeck.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
625 NW Everett St #101, Portland OR
(entrance is on NW 6th between Everett and Flanders)
Doors @ 7pm / Projector starts @ 7:30pm / Suggested $5 goes directly to the programmers / No one turned away for lack of funds / Limited quantities of complimentary seltzer and popcorn available / Please bring your own booze

More details

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TWIN CITIES FILM FEST
October 21- 31, 2015, Minneapolis MN
All screenings held at Showplace ICON Theatre in St. Louis Park, MN
Upcoming screenings for pieces featuring my work in the festival:



Out In The Cold
Documentary Feature, d. J.D. O'Brien
Sound Design + Mix by Mike Hallenbeck
TCFF screening: Wednesday October 28th at 6 PM
Part of the 2015 TCFF's Changemaker Series-- a selection of films concerning homelessness



The Caper
Short, d. Matthew Anderson
Original Musical Score by Mike Hallenbeck
TCFF screening: Wednesday October 28th at 8:15 PM
Part of the "Love American Style" Shorts Block



Web Series: Theater People
Pilot, Season Three, d. Matthew Anderson
Oiginal Musical Score by Mike Hallenbeck
TCFF screening: Saturday, October 24th at 12:15 PM
Part of the "Digital Firsts Webisodes" Shorts Block



Clean Cut
Short, d. Andrew Hunt
Sound Design + Original Musical Score by Mike Hallenbeck
TCFF screenings:
Tuesday October 27th at 5:30 PM and 5:45 PM

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And speaking of "Clean Cut", here's a blog entry dedicated exclusively to Clean Cut festival updates, as there have turned out to have been so many:

Clean Cut Festival Updates

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More film sound by Mike Hallenbeck

More film music by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Deep Cuts #6: Creep





(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

= = = = =

Creep
American, d. Patrick Brice, 2014

OK, so found footage horror films aren't for everyone. But me? I love 'em. Sure, there always has to be some explanation of "Why doesn't he put the camera down now?" But hey, if that's all the suspension of disbelief we need, sign me up.

To me, this genre epitomizes the notion that you don't need a lot of money to make a good movie. What you do need, of course, is high-quality acting, direction, cinematography, etc-- admittedly something plenty of films in this genre lack-- but in my opinion "Creep" delivers all of that, and satisfies.



The premise is simple enough: a freelance videographer (Patrick Brice, also director of the film) accepts a job he's found on craigslist (probably not product placement, is my guess), and heads out to a remote cabin to shoot what turns out to be-- according to the guy who's hired him-- the testimony of a man dying of brain cancer, to be viewed by his unborn son.



A plan that can't miss, right? Given the genre and setup, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict that things will go horribly awry. But watching it all unravel is unnerving enough that you can't look away, and the economy of what we see (and don't see) is impressive. It bears mentioning that this is one of the shortest feature films I've watched in recent memory-- about an hour and ten minutes total-- and I really wish more films could cut to the chase this efficiently.

imdb listing

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10/18/15 Soundscape for Live Film Screening: Cellular Cinema VII: Trevor Adams, From Scratch




Every once in a while I get the chance to participate in an event that's utterly unique, that will not be documented or repeated. You want to experience it, you gotta be there.

In this case, I have the opportunity to provide live sonic accompaniment for experimental films by my friend Trevor Adams. Actual film projected from a 16 mm reel, accompanied with as close sync as I can manage, with all the hazard/ risk/ reward of a live presentation.

Adams works in the folk art/ first-person tradition, repurposing found and salvaged footage, which he alters and distresses with chemicals, markers, and pens. His work lives somewhere between live action narrative, documentary, and animation.

Event details:

Sunday, October 18 at 7:00 pm
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater
Doors open at 6:00 pm
Tickets: $6 - $12 sliding scale
Buy tickets-- make sure to reserve a seat in advance in case the show sells out
Event listing on Bryant-Lake Bowl's web site



When I say that I'll provide a "live soundscape", I want to make clear what'll be going on… It's not like I'll be "performing" per se. The fact is, my role will be (as I generally prefer) mostly that of a mediator/ facilitator. Some films have a completed soundtrack, and my involvement in these pieces will be mere playback. Some have a soundscape that I'll add to by means of subtle or not-so-subtle augmentation/ intervention. For some pieces I'll create an original score. Some passages will intentionally be left silent, as per the filmmaker's wishes. And then there's the chance that I'll screw up entirely, performing sound where it's not wanted or choking and not providing anything at crucial moments...

You won't see me for the duration. I'll be seated behind the audience. My hope is that my involvement will be transparent, and that your experience will be that of simply watching some short films, and enjoying the living hell out of them!



I'm honored to be a part of this project. It's an opportunity to contribute to work that maintains a thread of emotional integrity that makes it easy to connect with. I also want to make sure you know that this is not material that takes itself too seriously. Looking over the footage I'm working with, I have to say I find a lot of it pretty damn hilarious. So if you're looking for experimental film that "takes the piss", look no further!

Hope to see you there. Please share this post to spread the word. Thank you!

More film sound by Mike Hallenbeck

More film music by Mike Hallenbeck

More sound/ music for animation by Mike Hallenbeck

Mike Hallenbeck home page

Deep Cuts #5: Kwaidan




(Just in time for Halloween, the "Deep Cuts" series highlights horror films I think deserve a little more recognition. Not to say they're obscure by any means-- most are major releases. I just want to give them a little more love is all. Enjoy!)

Index of all "Deep Cuts" entries, updated as they're posted

= = = = =

Kwadian
Japanese, 1964, d. Masaki Kobayashi



One of my favorite films of all time, and possibly my absolute favorite ever. Four separate ghost stories unfold in a way that's hauntingly beautiful, slow-paced, quiet, and underhandedly terrifying.


As far as I can tell, the film was entirely shot on a soundstage, even though much of the action takes place outdoors, and Kobayashi exploits this staged quality to give the film a mannered, presentational atmosphere. I've read that shooting averaged about three takes per day on set. The visual quality has often struck me as a bizarre inversion of "The Wizard of Oz" in a way.



The soundscape is heavy on the silence, and Toru Takemitsu's haunting score often blurs the line between whether or not the music is "in the scene" or a psychological/ artistic occurence. Highly recommended.

imdb listing

For those of you in the Minneapolis/ St Paul, keep in mind that Green T. Productions will present "Kaidan: Stories and Studies of the Strange" as part of the 2015 Twin Cities Horror Festival. It's my understanding that some of the material therein is derived from this film, or at least shares source material.

Mike Hallenbeck home page