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Scored to Death: The Dark Art of Scary Movie Music

has successfully raised funds on Kickstarter

and is now in production! Coming in 2025.

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Try to imagine the shower scene in Psycho without the famous staccato strings of Bernard Herrmann, and you begin to realize how important music is in making your skin crawl while watching a horror film. In J. Blake Fichera’s fascinating book, Scored to Death, he introduces you to some of the genre’s greatest composers as they explain the process of creating unforgettable nightmares of sound.

— Stuart Gordon

    director, Re-Animator 

Music is the single most essential ingredient for me when making a scary movie....

J. Blake Fichera has done a brilliant job of helping us understand how these magicians make their secret sauce.

— Eli Roth

    writer-director, Cabin Fever & Hostel

J. Blake Fichera's interviews with horror's top composers combine a journalist's penetrating curiosity and attention to detail with a fanboy's infectious enthusiasm and the combination is irresistible for lovers of film, film music, and our beloved genre.

— Don Mancini

    writer-director, creator of Chucky

Horror films live and die with their musical scores, and J. Blake Fichera has delved deeply into the craft of finding that rear lobe of the brain where terror connects with sound. Some of these composers are well known to horror aficionados, others will be surprising discoveries, but all of them have something unique to say about this least understood aspect of genre filmmaking. If you claim to know how horror movies work, this book is a must-read.

-- Joe Bob Briggs

  film critic, author and TV host



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Scored to Death collects 14 info-packed, terrifyingly entertaining interviews with renowned film composers who have provided music for some of the horror genre's greatest films and franchises, including Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street,

Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, Maniac, The Fog, Prince of Darkness, Cujo,

Dawn of the Dead, Deep Red, Suspiria, Santa Sangre, Zombie, The Beyond, Insidious, The Conjuring, Hostel, The Strangers, House of the Devil, and many more!

Interviewed are director-composer John Carpenter; sound designer-composer Alan Howarth; Italian composers and members of the band Goblin (known for their scores for Dario Argento films) Claudio Simonetti and Maurizio Guarini; Hollywood composers Christopher Young, Tom Hajdu (of the composing team tomandandy), Charles Bernstein, Jay Chattaway, and Nathan Barr; as well as

horror notables Fabio Frizzi, Simon Boswell, Joseph Bishara, Jeff Grace, and 

Harry Manfredini.

And it received a nomination & honorable mention for

"Book of the Year" at the 15th Annual Rondo Awards.

Scored to Death 2 FINAL COVER for Blake.

Following in the spirit and style of Scored to Death (2016), his popular first book of interviews with horror music greats, J. Blake Fichera's Scored to Death 2 collects 16 brand-new, info-packed, terrifyingly entertaining interviews with renowned composers who have provided the music for some of horror's most revered films, film franchises, and TV shows, including Get Out, Us, Martin, Re-Animator, The Walking Dead,

Puppet Master, Saw, Creepshow, Day of the Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4:

The Dream Master, Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Dark Shadows, Burnt Offerings,

The Terminator, The Serpent and the Rainbow, Ring, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Audition, Ghoulies, Happy Death Day, It Follows, Gretel & Hansel,

and many more!


Interviewed are composer-director-producer John Harrison and eminent scary-good composers Michael Abels, Richard Band, Charlie Clouser, Brad Fiedel, Joseph LoDuca, Donald Rubinstein, John Massari, Bear McCreary, Craig Safan, Kenji Kawai, Holly Amber Church, Koji Endo, Robert Cobert, Rob, and Disasterpeace, all bookended by a Foreword by writer-director Eli Roth and an Afterword by composer Christopher Young.

And it received a nomination for "Book of the Year" at the 19th Annual Rondo Awards.











Scored to Death 2

Playwright William Congreve wrote, 'Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast.' And I'm certain if any of the composers in Scored to Death 2 were tasked with soothing a savage breast in a scene, their score would do so. In this book, these remarkable artists reveal their influences, approaches to a scene, and secrets that make us care, worry, tense up, and scream in terror. Their music takes us into our minds darkest realms. They are the magicians who make what is invisible to our eyes visible to our imaginations.

— Tom McLoughlin, writer-director, 

    Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, 

    & Sometimes They Come Back

This was music to my eyes! About time someone shined a light on the unsung heroes who compose many of the soundtracks of our nightmares. Great insight into their varied approaches to the craft.

— Jeff Lieberman

    director, Squirm, Blue Sunshine

    & Just Before Dawn

A fascinating and entertaining deep dive into the creative process of some of the genre's most talented composers. Blake asks all the right questions. . . . I couldn't put it down.

— Jamie Blanks

   director, Urban LegendValentine

This book is the best opportunity you will have to peek behind the curtains of those people who create the soundtrack of your life! The music they create provides the emotional road map to the narrative for the audience, and embeds those moments in your memory forever. I highly recommend this for any film or music buff!

-- Tom Holland

  director, Child's Play & Fright Night

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Tracklist and Artists:
01 – Main Title (Stepfather II) — Steve Moore
02 – Lullaby for Damien Thorn — Wojciech Golczewski
03 – Sette Note — Anima Morte
04 – Main Title (Puppet Master) — Jerry Smith
05 – Dracula —The Beginning — Brooke Blair & Will Blair
06 – Main Title (Phantasm) — Voyag3r
07 – Main Title (The Shining) — Holly Amber Church
08 – Maniac Assault — Alan Howarth
09 – Walk to the Lighthouse — Richard Christy
10 – Profondo Rosso — J. Blake (ft. Richard Christy on Drums)
11 – John Lectures/What Hell Is Like — Steve Greene
12 – Cannibal Holocaust (Main Title) — The Brisco County Youth Orchestra

Author/executive producer J. Blake Fichera, the man behind the critically acclaimed Scored to Death book series about horror film music, brings collectors an exciting new compilation album. Created as a companion to Scored to Death Entertainment’s upcoming documentary, Scored to Death: The Dark Art of Scary Movie Music (coming in 2025), the company’s debut release was originally created as a crowdfunding reward and features an all-star line-up of musical talent performing 12 unique cover versions of some of horror’s most iconic—as well as obscure—movie themes, recorded by an impressive line-up of musical talent specifically for this release.

The tracklist consists of new arrangements of music from the iconic horror films The Omen (1976), Phantasm (1979), The Shining (1980), The Fog (1980), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), as well as the cult favorites Day of the Dead (1985), Puppet Master (1989), Stepfather II (1989), and Basement Jack (2009). The world of Italian horror also finds representation with ambitious interpretations of the signature themes from Deep Red (1976), Sette Note in Nero [a.k.a. The Psychic] (1979) and Cannibal Holocaust (1980).

With proceeds from the sale of the album going toward the completion of the above-mentioned documentary, Scored to Death: Musique d’Horreur is truly a labor of love for both Fichera and the contributing artists.
















Scored to Death: The Podcast is the Rondo Award nominated official companion podcast to the books, Scored to Death: Conversations with Some of Horror's Greatest Composers andScored to Death 2: More Conversations with Some of Horror's Greatest Composers, and is an ongoing exploration into the world of film music and the people who create it.

It is available from most podcast providers, including:

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In addition to writing the Scored to Death books and hosting its

companion podcast, J. Blake Fichera has taught film studies at the

State University of New York at Purchase, has been a professional

film/television editor and producer since 2001, and has contributed

as a writer and interviewer to several noteworthy film and

music-related publications and websites, including

Video Watchdog magazine, Rue Morgue magazine, Scream magazine

MovieMaker magazine, and


Blake has also written album liner notes for Cadabra Records 

and Mondo/Death Waltz Records. In 2018, he hosted the 

Damn Fine Network's horror film music podcast, 

Cuts From the Crypt. He also cohosts the popular film-themed

podcast Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers and has been a featured guest of such

notable podcasts as Wrong ReelF This MovieFilmwax RadioDamn Fine Cast, 

Hellbent For Horror and others.


He is a gigging musician in the New York City area and a New York Blues

Hall of Fame inductee.

Production & Editing CV/Résumé

Blake's Music Website




“One of the most comprehensive collections of interviews with horror composers ever.” 

– Rue Morgue magazine


“Fichera knows the kind of questions to ask that will prompt memories and generate comprehensive discussions...providing an ongoing conversational examination about the art and science of fright films which is both intriguing and instructive.”


“The interviews come across as natural dialogues between people who love movies and music...the accessible style will appeal to a wide audience of horror buffs, not just the ones with specific technical knowledge. This gives a real warmth to Fichera’s interview style—you feel like you’re part of a discussion, not a lecture. ”

– Film Score Monthly


“Fichera’s interviews are hefty and comprehensive…he asks both challenging and educated questions about the art and science of scoring the suspenseful and the scary….the book presents a thorough examination of the composers’ perspective toward scoring horror cinema.” 



“Interviews with fourteen film composers best known for their work in horror films could possibly get boring, but the clever interviews of author Fichera let Scored to Death illuminate a darkened corner of horror film writing.”



“By diversifying its roster of talent in a variety of ways, Scored to Death 2 offers fresh new perspectives that touch on an abundance of new and distinctive topics.”

– Nightmare on Film Street


Scored to Death is an excellent book, full of intriguing interviews….Fichera gets these composers to open up about their lives and skills, and they share some amazing stories about their techniques and methods, and how it is to work in this genre.”

— Starburst Magazine

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“It’s one of those books that virtually reads itself. You find yourself drawn into the subject and the pages turn quickly. Scored to Death stands out as a lively set of insightful interviews that in the end gives you a very good idea about how the music comes to be and its function in the making of a modern horror film. I recommend it highly.”

– Gapplegate Music Review


“Fichera has assembled a series of in-depth, intelligent interviews with some of the genre’s greatest living aural architects, composers whose work has helped shape the history of dark cinema….Scored to Death may not be the last word on the subject of horror film composing, but it is a mini-masterclass, passionately designed and intent on proving the essential nature of music in the genre.”




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