Saturday, July 11, was a spooky day for the audience at BMI and Krakower Poling PR’s annual ‘The Character of Music: Classic Horror Special Edition’ panel at Comic-Con International, held at the San Diego Convention Center. Co-moderated by BMI’s Anne Cecere and Krakower Poling PR’s Chandler Poling, the discussion on music in horror films kicked off with an appropriately bloody introduction by actor Douglas Tait (Jason in Freddy vs. Jason), complete with Freddy Krueger’s severed head. Participants included composers Charles Bernstein (Nightmare on Elm Street), Harry Manfredini (Friday the 13th), Tyler Bates (Dawn of the Dead), Laura Karpman (Carrie), Richard Band (Re-Animator) and Maurizio Guarini of the band Goblin (Suspiria). Each panelist discussed their writing process, their interactions with acclaimed directors, and the creative force that drives them to produce such stunning and iconic music that sends chills up the spines of viewers.
Prior to the panel, fans of horror were able to meet and greet the composers during a special autograph signing in the Sails Pavilion, where lines formed to receive exclusive Comic-Con posters. A steady stream of eager fans, young and old alike, were able to interact and take photos with the panelists. “I’ve always wanted to meet Charles Bernstein,” one attendee said. “His scores mean so much to me – thank you for putting this together.” Another attendee confessed enthusiastically to Harry Manfredini, “It’s such a pleasure to meet you. Your music gives me nightmares.”
Afterwards, fans rushed the stage to chat with the panelists with one attendee stating, “This was the best music panel I attended the entire convention. The others don’t compare.” A mother and a daughter approached the moderators saying, “Thank you for putting a woman on the panel. It was great to hear from Laura Karpman. My daughter wants to be a composer and it’s inspiring to see a woman on one of these panels.”