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“Stephen McKeon’s titillating score enhances the feeling of a hungry blackness anxious to devour everything…” (Killer Horror Critic)

“The powerful symphonic score by Stephen McKeon is put to good use, ramping up the drama.” (The Scariest Things)

“A note perfect score from Stephen McKeon…” (Live for Films)

The Cellar (Stephen McKeon)

Original score from the 2022 horror feature film directed by Brendan Muldowney, starring Elisha Cuthbert, Eoin Macken and Tara Lee, produced by Epic Pictures, Hail Mary Pictures, Savage Productions and Wrong Men North,  released by Shudder (USA).

THE STORY: Keira Woods’ daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new house. She soon discovers there is an ancient and powerful entity controlling their home that she will have to face or risk losing her family’s souls forever.

THE SCORE: I’m a great believer in the leitmotif approach to film scoring and in this case the film concerns a family who move into a mansion which has a cellar with ten steps leading down to it and also, unfortunately, hell. Those steps formed the basis of my leitmotif. Woven throughout the score is a low percussive rhythm at a slow walking pace. It creates the ominous feeling of dread and of something wicked this way coming, to misquote Shakespeare. That slow percussive rhythm instantly lets the audience know that evil is all around and that it’s getting closer. I also took the slightly unusual approach of recording a lot of live material before I started composing. This consisted of strings, choir and low brass and woodwinds. I spent a few days recording them performing a range of experimental techniques in the style of Penderecki and Ligeti. The reason I did this was to deliberately cut myself off from the possibility of writing anything too ‘controlled’ or ‘expected’. Once the scoring process began I took that recorded material and abused it dreadfully! It was chopped up, reversed, layered and manipulated to create the feeling of terror and dread I was after. I used a relatively small string section of just violas and violins which, far from making the score feel smaller, actually injected a visceral rage into the performances which would have been smoothed out if bigger sections had been used. The score was composed and mixed at my Moonflower Studio in Co. Wicklow, Ireland.” – Stephen McKeon

THE COMPOSER: Composer Stephen McKeon has received the Irish Film and Television Awards for Best Music three times – twice for John Boorman films, Queen & Country (2014) and The Tiger’s Tail (2004) and then for Pilgrimage (2017) whose score has been released by MovieScore Media. He was also previously nominated for Blind Flight (2003), Savage (2009), the children’s animated feature Niko 2 – Little Brother, Big Trouble (2012) and more recently for The Hole in the Ground (2020). Besides his credits on over 80 films, McKeon is also known for his music for television, including multiple seasons of The Clinic, Primeval, selected episodes of Agatha Christie’s Poirot starring David Suchet as well as the “Fifteen Million Merits” episodes of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.

MMS22018 THE CELLAR (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Music Composed by STEPHEN McKEON
Release date (digital): April 15, 2022

Stephen McKeon on MovieScore Media

Horror Music on MovieScore Media