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The Ring title banner

By JASON COMERFORD

2002 audiences expecting weak sauce when settling in for Gore Verbinskiís The Ring got quite the surprise. Despite all the obvious warning signals to the horror faithful (big-studio remake, Hollywood stars, and a PG-13 rating), The Ring delivered the scary goods in high style, paving the way for a series of Asian horror retreads, including The Grudge and Dark Water, that never quite reached the same level of quality, or financial success. Verbinskiís prior films Mouse Hunt and The Mexican were scored by Alan Silvestri, but for The Ring, Verbinski turned to megastar composer/producer Hans Zimmer.

Zimmer is a controversial topic amongst film music acolytes but one thingís for sure: he brings great ideas to the table. With The Ring, Zimmer and his team created an edgy, unnerving musical tapestry to accentuate the onscreen action, building much of the score proper around unorthodox writing for his cello section. Despite Zimmerís pedigree in pulsating action-adventure anthemics, the score for The Ring is surprisingly low-key. In an interview with Sci-Fi Online, Zimmer explained:

There are a lot of silences in this movie, so we were talking about silences opposed to the next car chase. None of the fast action events have music. ...This score's only dark instruments are cellos. I was trying to get them to play higher all of the time. So the fear came from the musicians being uncomfortable playing their instrument in a way they're not used to - where it becomes dangerous, they make mistakes easily up there. That was my way of putting fear into it, having the musicians be actors.

The Ring reaches a peak of delirious terror as reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), investigating the origin of a mysterious videotape that kills its viewers after seven days, finds herself at the bottom of a deserted well. As the videotapeís full backstory finally becomes clear, Zimmer & his team turn the screws with an expertly restrained blend of hollow, whistling tonalities, jarring percussive strikes and harsh, sawing strings.

The Ring was the first in an ongoing collaboration between Zimmer and Verbinski which has continued through three Pirates of the Caribbean films, as well as The Weather Man (a career highlight for both), Rango and The Lone Ranger. The score for The Ring was combined with the Zimmer teamís score for the followup The Ring Two on a single-disc release from Decca in 2005; assembled for maximum listening impact, the album combines cues from both scores sometimes in the same track, making it difficult to ascertain what music is from which film. The album nonetheless makes for a marvelously spooky listen, and comes highly recommended.

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The Moment in Question:

Click [here] to listen to a sample of
"The Well," composed by Hanz Zimmer
and Henning Lohner.


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The Ring soundtrack cover

Awesome Websites!

Soundtrack available at SAE




Next Installment:

Toru Takemitsu goes for a stroll
in the snow. Kwaidan

about the author

READER COMMENTS:

Howlin' Wolf  
Prize Announcements for the fourth season of 13 Chills along with the first week's drawing coming this weekend! The prize give-away for the first week will be randomly selected from participants submitting comments on Wednesday, October 2 through Wednesday, October 9. Thank you again to everyone for making this event frightful fun!
     
Peloquin  
So this is a disturbing film and the score is to follow. Now the story of an evil video tape sounds rather funny in today's technology... I wonder what they would use now? Maybe a DVD/BLU-RAY, wait no it would be the digital download that would be evil. Sorry, this is my response before coffee, but this is a great score and it's interesting how Hans Zimmer and his career has gone the direction it has.
   
David W.  
Now here is a movie that the music made you look around your own living room for a pair of scissors or something!
     
Jonathan  
This is a masterpiece. I loved the movie and love the music. I play the CD regularly and it got the best of both films. I play Cello myself and I can totally relate to the fear Zimmer is talking about. The Ring is a wonderful choice.
     
Jeff  
I love this movie. My wife was out of town the night I saw this movie so I came home to an empty apartment. It was a pretty creepy night. I was ecstatic when the soundtrack was released. I haven't heard it in a while. I thinks it's time to revisit it.
     
Mike   This is another horror film I need to see. That's a lovely, chilling sample. Nice piano melody, and pretty unlike most of Zimmer's work that I'm familiar with. I love the use of cello in film scores. It's such a strong, evocative instrument.