Welcome back to the Spool’s weekly interview podcast, More of a Comment, Really…, where editor-in-chief Clint Worthington talks to actors, filmmakers, composers and other figures from the realm of film and television.
Shudder’s latest original, Corinna Faith‘s chilling supernatural horror film The Power, charts one horrifying night in a dank, dreary hospital in 1974 London for Val (Rose Williams), a nurse in training whose idealism and naivete brushes up against the insular, competitive world of the hospital she’s been assigned, one with its own morbid history of ghosts and the violence of the past.
Stuck in the dark with little but her own fears, the animus of her colleagues, and the terrifying specter of a mysterious presence that haunts the hospital, Val’s in for a bone-chilling night that will touch on not just her own personal traumas, but the collective trauma of abused and disbelieved women throughout history.
Underpinning all of Faith’s bone-chilling terror is The Power‘s score, courtesy of English avant-garde musician Elizabeth Bernholz, also known as Gazelle Twin, collaborating with composer Max de Wardener. Gazelle Twin’s music (which you can hear in brilliant albums like Unflesh and Pastoral) is harsh, brittle, and confrontational, experimental works that jab a finger at the English patriarchy and advocate for the spirits of the dispossessed — fitting thematic links to The Power‘s feminist fury.
Together with de Wardener, himself an experienced composer with similar predilections towards deconstruction (see: Music for Detuned Pianos), the pair seamlessly meld droning ’80s synths with eerie, delayed vocals and scratches that blur the line between scoring and sound design.
It’s harsh, disquieting work that absolutely nails Faith’s sense of atmosphere, and chills to the bone even before you get to Gazelle Twin’s distorted, ominous single that closes the film, “The Well.”
I had the pleasure of talking to Bernholz and de Wardener about their collaboration on The Power, how the film’s themes and settings match their respective works outside the scoring world, and collecting the roster of rattles, scratches, and shatters in the score from the very same hospital in which The Power was filmed.
The Power‘s original soundtrack is currently available digitally courtesy of Invada Records, with a vinyl release to follow.
The Power is currently streaming on Shudder; read our review here.