Emmy-award winning composer Joseph LoDuca has been providing horror fans with delightfully ominous music since he created the scary score for The Evil Dead, and his artistic talents can currently be heard on Don Mancini's Chucky series on SYFY and USA Network. We had the great pleasure of catching up with LoDuca in our latest Q&A feature to discuss how he got involved with the beloved new series, creating the main theme for the iconic Good Guys doll, and he also reflects on returning to the Evil Dead franchise for Evil Dead: The Game.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these for us! Having collaborated with Don Mancini on Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky, when did you first become aware that there was going to be a Chucky series and what discussions or direction did you initially receive from Don Mancini?
The Chucky series has been in the works for some time. With the creation of Peacock and Universal Content Productions in 2019 and COVID last year, there were obvious delays. I saw the script for the first episode and a lookbook over a year ago, and was thoroughly impressed. The vivid blues and reds suggested the score would also have a rich color palette. I always felt that since our main characters are middle schoolers, the sounds of contemporary pop would factor into the score.
Horror has really changed over the last ten years and especially horror television. How did you approach this project compared to some of your previous feature films? I understand that you created the theme for Chucky using a toy piano, which is so clever and perfect for this character! Can you talk about the process of bringing Chucky's new theme to life?
The changes in horror are a direct reflection of our culture. Maybe audiences now are more sophisticated, maybe more desensitized, maybe a bit more cynical or should I say skeptical. For all of us involved, it means we have to work a bit harder to deliver the shock and dread.
My idea for a Chucky theme came about because I learned that he didn’t have one that was continuous throughout the previous five films when I came aboard on The Curse of Chucky. Don’s original intent for Chucky was as an indictment of American consumerism. So what better sell for Chucky than a Saturday morning TV jingle on a toy piano? Except detuned and in a minor key. I think it immediately creates a snapshot of devious and demonic innocence.
Technology has evolved so much since the days of the Evil Dead movies. How has your process changed over the years and how did that help inform the direction you took with the sounds of Chucky?
In my first films, all the sounds were created by my own hands, or the hands of other musicians. When sampling came along, sounds could be created and easily placed among the live performances. Synthesis was an add-on and generally its own set of tracks. The lines between these families of sounds have all but disappeared. The power and the ease with which we can manipulate a sound or an idea is limited only by time, budget, and of course, the imagination. Horror depends on sounds you can’t quite put your finger on, but that make your skin crawl. It takes a lot of effort, and the results are well worth it.
There are more horror movie, TV, and video game releases than ever before! What are some horror releases and composers that you really enjoy and/or inspire you?
I thought The Lighthouse was a terrifying and unique film and Mark Korven’s score was perfect. Was it processed brass? How much of it was electronic? I don’t know, but it delivered on such a primal level. I really like what my friend Joe Bishara is doing with chamber strings on the Insidious franchise and spinoffs. He is alway searching for new ways to terrify.
Aside from Chucky, can you talk about your involvement on the Evil Dead video game?
I was asked to compose a main theme and a few others for scenarios of the game. The charge was to encompass the feel of the entire history and franchise and set it in the video game world. It was me dipping my toe into the gaming world, and it was a fun assignment. Steve Molitz wrote the score for the actual playing of the game.
What other projects do you have coming up?
Look out! Chucky’s coming back! He always does.
Thanks, Daily Dead!