Science fiction is an exciting genre of movie – it can frighten and it can amuse. It can go pretty much anywhere because it’s not really based on fact – the name ‘fiction’ is there in the description. It’s the music of science fiction that really stays with us, though – here are some of the greatest soundtracks to science fiction movies ever recorded.
Mysterious Island (1961) By Bernard Herrman
This film is epic, crazy and fabulous. It’s about civil war refugees who are stuck on an island that is populated by giant crabs, killer bees, and even Captain Nemo! The music is brilliant, and really evokes a sense of the danger that the refugees are in. The highlight, perhaps, is the giant bee’s score, as the music actually seems to move in time to the creature’s flight. Bernard Herrman is usually fondly remembered for writing the music to Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion movies, but this one is a little different – and well worth a watch.
The Mothman Prophecies (2002) By Tomandandy
The music for the sci-fi/horror movie The Mothman Prophecies starring Richard Gere (who was also in Chicago – and if you want to compare the music you can buy Chicago musical tickets), is intense and scary. It really ramps up the tension when watching this film which is part terrifying, part other-worldly, and all enjoyable.
Predator (1981) By Alan Silvestri
If you sit and listen to the musical score from Predator without watching the film, you can imagine what’s happening, even if you’ve never seen it. The music in this movie tells a story all on its own, which is the mark of an expert composer. Sadly, much of the score had to be abandoned and reworked when the film was edited together, as, with whole scenes missing, the score no longer made sense. Despite these problems – which delayed the movie’s release – the music is still a wonderful thing to listen to and makes the movie much deeper.
Forbidden Planet (1956) By Bebe and Louis Barron
Forbidden Planet was a movie that was way ahead of its time on its release in 1956, and the music had a big part to play in that. The music was produced by Bebe and Louis Barron, who were pioneers of electronic music. It was created using hand-crafted circuitry (synthesizers had yet to be invented) and the revolutionary sounds impressed and scared audiences in equal measures. Because it was so modern, it means that, even if the film itself is becoming rather dated, the music is still very much something that can be listened to and enjoyed.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) By Jerry Goldsmith
When Star Trek: The Motion Picture was being made, there was a lot of pressure on everyone involved to make it as great as the TV show had been. Many fans were waiting eagerly and did not want to be disappointed. This was also an opportunity to find new fans and perhaps extend the franchise. Everything had to be perfect. That’s why Gene Roddenberry personally asked Jerry Goldsmith to create the score for the movie. Goldsmith later said it was the hardest job he had ever had to do, but he managed to create a memorable, recognizable score that everyone loved.