Christopher Young has been composing movie scores for more than a decade now. Judging by the list of film credits, it is not difficult to conclude that Young is something of a horror specialist. He has scored movies like "Species", the first two "Hellraiser" films and sequels of both "The Fly" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" as well as others in the genre. In this sense he seems to follow in the footsteps of Howard Shore. The original "Hellraiser" soundtrack is mostly dark orchestral, but with some sound effects suggesting the chains and dungeons of the Cenobites abode. The sequel "Hellbound: Hellraiser II" is more explicit about the origins of the Cenobites and introduces wordless choral sounds into the mix, while altering the themes from the original film.
Recently Young has moved more into the mainstream and very successfully, too, with his credits including a number of A-List movies such as "Entrapment". Another mainstream thriller movie by Young is "Virtuosity" which featured a number of tracks by artists such as Peter Gabriel. There was even a brief airing for Russel Crow's own band "Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts" on the car radio! In our opinion, Young's most recent masterwork is undoubtedly "The Shipping News" which won him a Golden Globe nomination. When you hear this described as Celtic influenced, the immediate reaction is "Oh, no - not again!" but this is much more than just another Hollywood film with a penny whistle theme. The musical tone persists throughout the movie, is true to its traditions, authentic for the setting in Newfoundland and adds considerable depth and beauty to the story.
In January 2002, Christopher Young became president of the Film Music Society, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation and promotion of music written for film and television. Previous presidents have included David Raksin and Elmer Bernstein.
Following a small role writing additional music for Danny Elfman's "Spiderman 2", Young landed the top composer job in "Spiderman 3".
See our review of the Collector's Limited Edition Box Set of the Hellraiser Trilogy called Hellraiser The Chronicles, which includes Christopher Young's two contributions to the Hellraiser series and also Randy Miller's score for "Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth".
Christopher Young recently presented a show on BBC Radio 3 called "The Devil in Music", described as looking at musical scare tactics and the historical relationship between the violin and the devil. Classical examples included music by Weber, Mozart, Liszt and Wagner. Although we were unable to hear the broadcast we suspect it may have covered some similar ground to our article Horror in Music. The composer clearly had a lot of fun writing and recording the jazz-based score for The Rum Diary. He has an official channel on youtube which features a number of videos of the composer having fun (and sometimes helping out with shaker) while his band "The Neon Popsicles" plays his music from the film at a live show.
A number of Christopher Young soundtracks are available including the moody soundtracks for his excellent contribution to the "Hellraiser" series. Look out for the limited edition 3xCD pack of the first 3 films (no.3 scored by Randy Miller) if you can find it, but here are the links for the individual soundtrack for the first two films:
We also particularly recommend "The Shipping News" which is available from Amazon.co.uk in the UK, or Amazon.com in the US, and suggest paying a vist to the official Christopher Young web-site for more in-depth information and details of future projects.
Here are several CD covers signed by Christopher Young, with "The Fly and The Fly 2" also signed by Howard Shore, and "Madison" also signed by Kevin Kiner. Our thanks to Petr Kocanda for permission to use his collection of autographed CDs. Click on any thumbnail below to see a full size version of the image in a separate window.