Last week saw the release of the terrifying new horror film, DEAD AWAKE, which follows Kate Bowman (Jocelin Donahue), a straight-laced social worker, who is plagued into a world of supernatural terror while investigating a series of deaths where people died in their sleep. In preparation for the film’s release, we spoke with composer Marc Vanocur about his involvement and style used for creating a horror score as well as his love for the genre and his time working on the popular cult television show, “Tales From the Crypt.”

Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Marc, thanks so much for speaking with us today! To start things off, how did you get involved with DEAD AWAKE? 

Marc Vanocur: One of the producers of DEAD AWAKE, whom I’ve known for a long time, asked if I’d be interested in doing the post work on the color. Color correction is part of my background as well as post-production supervision, and I agreed. Since I’m also a musician, they asked me if I’d be interested in taking a stab at their score. I chatted with the director, who I didn’t know at the time, to find out what he wanted for the score. Within five minutes of talking with him, I knew I wanted to do the score and had a clear perspective of what he wanted.

NC: Are there any musical influences that helped you while making your scores? 

MV: Oh yeah! I’ve been a film junkie since I was a kid and have been influenced by many. I enjoy anything by Bernard Herman and as far as drama goes, Thomas Newman of course. I mean, I get very connected to almost everything he writes! I’m also a huge fan of Gustavo Santaolalla and have a distinct love for his music. There are too many amazing contemporary composers; it’s hard to pick.

NC: What can you tell us about the score for DEAD AWAKE? 

MV: DEAD AWAKE is a composite score in that it has elements of a synth/percussive component for the non-horror sequences, and then it switches to an orchestral horror score for the scary interactions with the night hag. It’s one of my first horror scores since I was supervising sound on “Tales From The Crypt” 25 years ago. I had a blast!

NC: Speaking of the cult classic, “Tales From The Crypt”, what was it like to work on it and what did you take away from that experience? 

MV: In the early 90s I was just getting into the business. When I got out of college, I became very attracted to mixing and sound editing and went into audio post-production. We were just switching over to digital in those days, and that was an exciting transition for me. I started working at a place called Digital Sound and Picture and “Tales From The Crypt” was one of their series. I was added on as an editor but eventually signed on as an editing/sound supervisor, and that was a lot of fun! They had different directors take on each episode. The stories, at the time, were about twenty-three minutes long, and they could tell so much in that amount of time. Building a soundtrack for that was really my introduction to sound and editorial, and it was an excellent way to get started. It gave me the bug for “horror” which I never saw myself doing.

NC: What made you change your mind about working in the genre? 

MV: I always had seen myself as a drama composer, but there’s something magical about working on a horror film. There are no boundaries, and you aren’t expected to write in a particular way. Creative tension is a lot of fun in music, and I learned a lot of that from working on “Tales From The Crypt”.

NC: Last but not least, what other projects do you have in the works? 

MV: I’m working on multiple films at the moment; I’m completing my second horror score for Phillip Guzman, 200 HOURS, and I’m also working Director Carmine Cangialosi on the adventure/drama AMERICAN DRESSER. It’s like EASY RIDER meets CRAZY HEART.

DEAD AWAKE is now available to watch On Demand.

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Shannon McGrew

Founder/Editor-in-Chief at Nightmarish Conjurings
Shannon is the Founder of Nightmarish Conjurings and a lover of all things horror and haunt related. When she's not obsessively collecting all things "Trick 'R Treat" related, or trying to convince everyone that "Hereditary" is one of the greatest horror films ever made, you can find her designing interiors for commercial restaurants. An avid haunt fan, Shannon spends the entire year visiting haunts and immersive experiences throughout the Southern California area and hopes to one day design her own haunted attraction.
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