Director Sacha Gervasi's 2012 Alfred Hitchcock biopic was less of a proper biography and more of a breakdown of the events leading up to the release of 1959's Psycho. Composer Danny Elfman's elegant score reflects that sense of minutia, offering up a scant 38 minutes of material, much of which clocks in at under a minute. Elfman's signature blend of dread, whimsy, and mischief serves the tone of the story well, and while it may not be as stocked with memorable themes as some of his better-known works, it dutifully conveys the pathos, unpredictability, and humor of its source material.
This album was sort of tossed out by MCA without fanfare after Darkman was released to only minor success. It's another in the series of dramatic, heavily orchestrated scores Elfman is known for, orchestrated by Steve Bartek with an assist from conductor Shirley Walker. While comparisons have been made between this score and that for Batman, there are major differences – this score is brighter, often more obvious in its effects than Batman was, with a brassier overall tone that works well. There are also some delightfully demented moments – "Carnival From Hell" is fairground music tilted at an angle, the funhouse mirrors peeking through. For some people, the differences in tone and attitude won't be enough to make it worthwhile, and it's certainly true that there's some repetitiveness involved here – Elfman needs to break away for a while from fantasy/horror/science fiction/comic book scoring and develop his compositional abilities in other directions.
The Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box,' a very special box set that features expansions of the 13 original scores that Elfman has composed for Burton's iconic films. This is a newly-produced library of 16 CDs each packaged with artwork by Burton, adding up to more than 19 hours of music, including 7 hours of previously-unreleased Masters, demos, work tapes and other rarities.