I’m a big fan of the 1989 cult horror flick ‘The Laughing Dead’, If you’ve never heard of it and are a1980’s gore horror fiend, well I’ve a feeling that it’s gonna be your new favorite “lost” 80s gem. Rumor has it that it just might be getting a fancy blu ray release?! I hope that’s true! Well it’s director/cult horror novelist/composer extraordinaire S.P. Somtow is back after a long hiatus starring in and writing the latest creepy outing all the way from Thailand with ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’.
The tale of a musical genius haunted by his past and pushed into a state of pure insanity, The Maestro tells the story of a mentally unstable man named Arun (S.P. Somtow), a dedicated composer who attempted a run for fame in Europe but ultimately finds himself deeply depressed, back in Thailand teaching rich kids music at a local shopping mall. Behind the scenes though, he’s been secretly planning a wildly dark magnum opus called ‘The Tongues of Angels’, his ultimate goal: premiering it to the entire world on a livestream during the Covid 19 pandemic. His wildly demented ambition however may induce a lot more than musical madness but also death to those who threaten his journey.
So yeah I’ve been quite excited to check this out, but also had hoped Somtow would be at the mantle as director on the project. I really enjoyed his campy approach on ‘The Laughing Dead’ and the comedic elements incorporated with the heavy effects work of legend John Carl Buechler made it a total blast. That all being said ‘The Maestro’ does definitely deliver some of Somtow’s signature tones, but perhaps with a more artistic approach. Director Paul Spurrier does a decent job behind the camera, giving the movie at times a more slick approach then what I’d ultimately prefered. It combines lighter elements of horror with tense hypnotic dark classical music but also has a few more deeply disturbing psychological aspects at hand here as well that at times made me a bit uncomfortable. The lush locales of Thailand combined with Somtow’s intensely creepy musical compositions sonically assault in a truly unique way.
To be quite honest, his beautifully dark score is probably the biggest star of the entire movie. I’d been expecting something quite a bit different, with more old school fx leaning in on much more on the horror side of things. Instead this one plays out more a psychological thriller and is the first movie I’ve seen that takes place actually during the Covid 19 era. We finally see people on screen irritated with and fussing with their masks as well as trying to navigate life through these current bizarre times. But that doesn’t stop the shamed Maestro from seeking out his pawns, a crew of young musicians gathered from his mall class and the even from the streets.
Most of the madness takes place at a stunningly creepy decrepit mansion In the countryside where the symphony of horror begins to take shape. The Maestro has one thing on his mind: his music and will let nothing get in his way of composing the ultimate dark symphony.
This one’s definitely worth a watch, it’s got a great cast of young actors and Somtow shines again as the villain in a similar way he did back in ‘The Laughing Dead’.
I’m glad that S.P. has again returned to his horror roots, overall I think this is a pretty solid return to form. Going forward I’d like to encourage him to get back behind the camera again, I think he’s got the chops that the people thirst for today with the 80s cult camp fanatics. If anything ‘The Maestro: Symphony of Terror’ must be watched for it’s incredible musical finale, which blew me away. I’ll be hunting down the soundtrack for sure!!
I’ve mentioned S.P. Somtow here recently several times after discovering his long all but lost 1989 horror cult classic flick ‘The Laughing Dead’. If you’re a fan of gory, gooey 80’s horror comedies ala ‘Evil Dead 2′ then I definitely encourage you to track that film down asap. It sits in that sweet spot of the golden era of horror that I love so damn much and it’s desperately in need of a real release here in the good ol’ USA, as back in the late 80s for some reason it was only released overseas. A cool blu ray release would immortalize it as a bonafide lost genre favorite!!
Apparently the director has sadly stated he’s lost track of the film’s original prints over the years and even mentioned if he could find it he’d like to make a new cut of the movie. That doesn’t necessarily mean the print doesn’t exist anymore, but perhaps there just needs to be some sleuthing around perhaps to find them! Ok, so not only was he responsible for ‘The Laughing Dead’ but also much more in the horror genre, he’s also a cult horror novelist. Known primarily for his 1984 book ‘Vampire Junction’, which I’m planning on tracking down soon. Well now it’s come to my attention that he has a new horror movie in the works, “Maestro: Symphony Of Terror” that is currently in production in Thailand.
“The Maestro is a loving tribute to the cult classics of the past, that was conceived by acclaimed filmmaker Paul Spurrier and bestselling author and musician S.P. Somtow, It’s shot with the speed and energy of the classic horror thrillers while maintaining the wild inventiveness, ironic tone and relentless imagery that made those films immortal. It’s a story of a genius provoked and pushed into madness and beyond, The Maestro tells the story of Arun, a composer and conductor who tried to make it in Europe but has ended up teaching high society children in a Thai shopping mall. For years, he has been composing a magnum opus, The Tongues of Angels, and dreams of premiering it under his own baton. It is a work of transcendence, of wildness … and a touch of madness.” Here’s a sneak preview recently released:
I’m excited to check this one out it and see just what this bizarre horror flick has to offer! In the meantime let’s track down the original prints of ‘The Laughing Dead’ for a slick blu ray release and let that build the hype machine for ‘Maestro: Symphony of Terror’!