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Film music depicting madness


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Hello there

 

Having recently watched The Lighthouse, I got inspired to think about film music used to depict madness or a cabin fever situation for a podcast episode. 

The score of The Lighthouse is from Mark Korven, and works well to the picture, but is more ambient, very similar to the approach used in the previous Eggers movie, The Vvitch. 

My favorite scores about that are Magic (1978, Jerry Goldsmith) and Images (JW, 1972). Vertigo from Herrmann is definitely about obsession close to madness. The Tenant from Philippe Sarde is a favorite too. Usually composers resort to unusual percussion or instruments like waterhouse, since Rozsa did it with the theremin first for Spellbound in the 40s.

Can you guys share some other exemples about it or how composers depicted madness in other scores?

 

Thanks!

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There is music from Psycho that depicts madness... not only for Norman’s motivations but Marion’s as well. 

There's plenty in The Bold and the Beautiful when the music gets frantic whenever a character becomes a stalker or goes crazy.

Madness? I demand the destitution, shame and loneliness of scorn. It is my destiny. It is my right. Nothing will deter me from it.

I think Altered States (John Corigliano) could qualify in the hallucination scenes if you don't mind a descent into madness being equated with a scientist's transformation to the primordial self.  Also Jacob's Ladder.  Basically films where characters are seemingly going insane but we might find out they were the victims of something more sinister, however from their point of view, they are questioning the reality of their perceptions as their reality is shaken. 

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44 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

Philip Glass' Notes on a Scandal does not depict madness per se but is a great representation of hysteria and a nervous breakdown.

Great one! Thanks!

37 minutes ago, karelm said:

I think Altered States (John Corigliano) could qualify in the hallucination scenes if you don't mind a descent into madness being equated with a scientist's transformation to the primordial self.  Also Jacob's Ladder.  Basically films where characters are seemingly going insane but we might find out they were the victims of something more sinister, however from their point of view, they are questioning the reality of their perceptions as their reality is shaken. 

I think Altered States classifies, it´s madness encapsulated in a movie! Jacob´s ladder is a hugely underrated score, thanks a lot!

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On 12/26/2019 at 2:44 AM, Balahkay said:

There is music from Psycho that depicts madness... not only for Norman’s motivations but Marion’s as well. 

 

I wouldn't call Marion's condition 'madness'. More a regular form of paranoia which Herrmann scores wonderfully in the car driving scene.

 

But there are plenty of examples throughout film history. Some have been mentioned already. Depending on what you mean with 'madness', there are things A BEAUTIFUL MIND (Horner), bits and pieces of TWIN PEAKS or MULHOLLAND DRIVE (Badalamenti), STOKER (Mansell), BLACK SWAN (Mansell), REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (Mansell), THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE (Fenton), POSSESSION (Korzynski), THE SHINING (Carlos etc.), ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (Nitzsche), DONNIE DARKO (Andrews), CARRIE (Donaggio), FIGHT CLUB (Dust Bros), MANIAC (Rob), REPULSION (Hamilton) etc. etc.

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Some tracks on the A Beautiful Mind score by Horner are a pretty good representation of mental illness and a mind filled with dread and anxiety, like these:

 

 

 

Also, I love the way Alex North uses his jazzy score to represent Vivian Leigh's descent into madness and despair on A Streetcar Named Desire. Romantic, but with more than a hint of danger and sorrow. From 3:00 onwards, this track becomes like it almost came out from a suspense thriller/psychological horror movie:

 

 

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10 hours ago, Thor said:

 

I wouldn't call Marion's condition 'madness'. More a regular form of paranoia which Herrmann scores wonderfully in the car driving scene.

 

But there are plenty of examples throughout film history. Some have been mentioned already. Depending on what you mean with 'madness', there are things A BEAUTIFUL MIND (Horner), bits and pieces of TWIN PEAKS or MULHOLLAND DRIVE (Badalamenti), STOKER (Mansell), BLACK SWAN (Mansell), REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (Mansell), THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE (Fenton), POSSESSION (Korzynski), THE SHINING (Carlos etc.), ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (Nitzsche), DONNIE DARKO (Andrews), CARRIE (Donaggio), FIGHT CLUB (Dust Bros), MANIAC (Rob), REPULSION (Hamilton) etc. etc.

Great stuff!  Black swan and Requiem for a dream definitely great examples. 

 

Howard Shore´s Spider and Dead Ringers also comes to mind.

6 hours ago, Edmilson said:

Some tracks on the A Beautiful Mind score by Horner are a pretty good representation of mental illness and a mind filled with dread and anxiety, like these:

 

 

 

Also, I love the way Alex North uses his jazzy score to represent Vivian Leigh's descent into madness and despair on A Streetcar Named Desire. Romantic, but with more than a hint of danger and sorrow. From 3:00 onwards, this track becomes like it almost came out from a suspense thriller/psychological horror movie:

 

 

Terrific example!

 

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