Haunting - Continually recurring to the mind; Unforgettable. SEE: Edward Scissorhands


Every film composer has their magnum opus - their grand masterpiece that captivates so many and seems to be the product of divine inspiration. Many have suggested that Batman is Elfman's greatest score. In essence, this stems more from a popularity contest - which Batman has won without a shadow of a doubt. Unfortunately, a masterpiece is not always a score that sounds good alone on the release. Certainly Batman is a "fun" score, and this analysis is in no way a criticism of other great Elfman film scores. Yet, it must be said there are greater scores beyond the world of the bat.
Enter: Edward Scissorhands, which, without a shadow of a doubt, is Elfman's greatest film score, ever! In fact, it has become my favorite film score of all time - beating out countless others from the late Bernard Herrmann to John Williams. Ever since I first heard its haunting theme in the cinema, I was obsessed with finding the release. I found myself watching the film over and over again just to hear the beauty and grotesque of the music. Finally, in 1997, I found it - and it's been ecstasy ever since. Why do I enjoy it so much?
First and foremost, this compilation passes the Texas Ranger's three film score criterion with unparalleled excellence. In my opinion, a perfect film score release must satisfy three basic needs to achieve an absolutely perfect four star rating. Edward Scissorhands is one of the few scores that satisfy all of them. The music is stellar, and there are very few, if any, low points on the CD. In addition, almost all of the music from the film is presented on the release - thus ensuring the listener can enjoy the entire score. Finally, it passes the final test with flying colors: it's an absolutely stunning score that made the film (i.e. this movie would have utterly failed without Elfman's expertise).
Secondly, this masterpiece represents the pinnacle of Elfman's greatness during one of the most gothic, exquisite, complex points in his career. While others come close (such as the Batmans, Sommersby, Dolores Claiborne, and others), this beauty maintains a lead against the competition. The score is a wonderfully balanced cross section of Elfman's "post- Beetlejuice/pre-To Die For" works. By that, I mean this score represents just about every aspect of Elfman's late eighties/early nineties style. This is why Scissorhands is a must for anybody interested in Elfman's career. In fact, I think it can be argued that this work is far more necessary for Elfman enthusiasts than his two Music for a Darkened Theater compilations. Every Elfman signature is contained in this score; from the grotesque darkness of Batman, to the later seasonal/Gothic nature of its sequel, and even the quirky antics of Beetlejuice; there is definitely something for every Elfman fan. If Beetlejuice, Batman, and Darkman (which was written in the same year as Edward) were the prophecies of things yet to come, than this score is the time capsule - preserving the greatness that was foretold by those previous classics.
Last but not least, there is also the effort factor. There are many composers who put little, if any, effort into their scores. Even Elfman has had a few choice works that seemed to lack a major exertion (Flubber, Extreme Measures, Hot to Trot come to mind). Yet, in the case of Edward Scissorhands, Elfman seemed to pour his very heart and soul into the work, which he openly admitted when he stated it was—
Still probably my favorite score. The movie was such a lovely blend of sentimental and peculiar. I could have done variations on Edward's theme forever.
His love for the score shows with every twinkle of the bells and every weeping sigh from the violins. This is truly Elfman's Citizen Kane. . .
Index page | Next page | Elfman Zone