LOST EMPIRE, THE - Original Soundtrack by Alan Howarth (2-CD SET)
BSX Records presents the original soundtrack to THE LOST EMPIRE, featuring music composed and performed by Alan Howarth, in association with Alan Howarth, for the 1983 action adventure fantasy written and directed by Jim Wynorski (CHOPPING MALL, DEATHSTALKER II), starring Melanie Vincz, Raven De La Croix, Angela Aames, Paul Coufos, Robert Tessier, Angelique Pettyjohn and Angus Scrimm in the role of Dr. Sin Do.
THE LOST EMPIRE tells the story of Angel Wolfe (Vincz) a police officer seeking to avenge the death of a brother officer at the hands of a gang of jewelry store-robbing ninjas. That’s right. Ninjas who rob jewelry stores. At night. When Angel learns the ninjas are working for unapologetically evil Dr. Sin Do, who is in league with the mysterious evildoer known only as Lee Chuck (Scrimm, in a dual role), Angel recruits some of her athletic lady friends, Whiplash (Aames) and the legendary Indian spirit goddess Whitestar (De La Croix) and they all take off for Dr. Sin Do’s hidden island fortress for some good old fashioned payback. As it happens, Dr. Sin Do, a would-be heir to the mantle of Fu Manchu, is headquartered on a fortified island, not quite unlike Dr. NO, where captive women are imprisoned and forced to fight as gladiators in sadistic tournaments to please the members of his Satanic syndicate.
Released in 1983, THE LOST EMPIRE was the feature film debut of exploitation director Jim Wynorski. A mixture of camp fantasy, corrupt villains, and chesty babes – not to mention caped ninjas and killer apes – the film is a wild and surreal action fantasy that makes the most of its resources despite the lack of a workable budget and loaded with plenty of charm and beautiful women. Wynorski had grown up in New York with aspirations of becoming a movie director, but his announced desire to “be Roger Corman” got him kicked out of a college film program for “lack of aptitude”. So Wynorski moved to California in 1980 and got a job making coming attractions trailers for… Roger Corman. While working for Corman, he wrote and co-produced three exploitation movies for Corman’s New World Pictures in the early 1980s, leading up to THE LOST EMPIRE, which was produced outside of Corman’s company. With a story torn from the headlines of decades’ old pulp magazines and enlivened with a bevy of buxom beauties, THE LOST EMPIRE’s storyline is largely a place setting for Wynorski’s predilection for gorgeous gals, and the director spared no opportunity to exhibit their abundant assets in the telling of his tale.
When it came to scoring THE LOST EMPIRE, Wynorski selected composer Alan Howarth, who at the time was John Carpenter’s musical associate, having worked with the director/composer to develop the scores for ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, HALLOWEEN II and III, and CHRISTINE. Howarth had just branched out to do solo work (adding some additional cues to Sam Peckinpah’s THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND after the film’s main composer, Lalo Schifrin, had completed his score); LOST EMPIRE would be Howarth’s first feature film score on his own. THE LOST EMPIRE gave Howarth the chance to do something the minimalistic vibe of the Carpenter scores up until then hadn’t, and that was to compose exciting adventurous melodies and heroic themes. Howarth played straight man to the film’s humor, embracing Wynorski’s blend of fun fantasy, fierce fights, and frolicsome female flesh with music that supported the action and adventure of the storyline.
Alan Howarth, in addition to being a composer, is an accomplished sound designer and editor, having worked on films such as STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, POLTERGEIST, TOTAL RECALL, ARMY OF DARKNESS, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, STARGATE and many others. He has been a frequent music collaborator with John Carpenter on his films beginning with ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK in 1980 and including HALLOWEEN II & III, CHRISTINE, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, THEY LIVE and PRINCE OF DARKNESS and Alan has scored many films on his own, including RETRIBUTION, HALLOWEEN 4 & 5, THE DENTIST, HEADLESS, BOO!, EVILUTION, BASEMENT JACK and most recently, HOUSE AT THE END OF THE DRIVE and BRUTAL.
Previously released on compact disc by Silva Screen Records in 1990 and long out of print, BSX Records brings THE LOST EMPIRE to compact disc again, presented on 2 CDs. The music has been newly remastered and includes previously unreleased music. Disc 1 contains the music as it was presented in the film. For the final film mix, the music was mixed into mono but is presented here in stereo. Disc 2 contains the original album program that was assembled by the composer for the original compact disc release, where he combined shorter tracks and remixed many of them to exhibit additional stereo dimensionality for a better listening experience. The booklet contains new liner notes written by author Randall Larson, including new insights by composer Alan Howarth on the creation of the score.
Fans of director Jim Wynorski and composer Alan Howarth will be very happy with this new soundtrack release of THE LOST EMPIRE and can also look forward to a forthcoming Blu Ray release of THE LOST EMPIRE in Fall 2013, courtesy of Polyscope Media Group, which will benefit greatly from a recent high definition transfer supervised by the director himself.