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Section Header
The Fury
1990 Varèse

2002 Varèse

2013 La-La Land

Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
John Williams

Orchestrated by:
Herbert Spencer

Expanded Albums Produced by:
Nick Redman
Robert Townson
Mike Matessino

Re-Recording Peformed by:
The London Symphony Orchestra

Labels and Dates:
Varèse Sarabande
(April 25th, 1990)

Varèse Sarabande
(July, 2002)

La-La Land Records
(February 26th, 2013)

Also See:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Jurassic Park
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Audio Clips:
2002 Album:

CD1: 1. Main Title (0:33):
WMA (215K)  MP3 (267K)
Real Audio (166K)

CD1: 22. Gillian's Power (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (250K)
Real Audio (155K)

CD2: 2. For Gillian (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (241K)
Real Audio (150K)

CD2: 7. Gillian's Vision (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

The 1990 Varèse Sarabande album is a regular U.S. release, but was long out of print later in the decade. An identical album on the Alhambra label (Alhambra #A8914) was also released at the time (with a red border around a similar cover).

The 2002 Varèse Sarabande 2-CD set was a "Limited Collector's Edition" of 3,000 copies and was available only through the label's site or online soundtrack specialty outlets. It sold out within a few years of release, escalating to over $80 in value.

The expanded 2013 La-La Land Records product is limited to 3,500 copies and available primarily through soundtrack specialty outlets for an initial price of $30.


The Fury
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Buy it... if you seek a relatively obscure gem in the ranks of John Williams' fully symphonic expressions of brute force, not to mention some very keen adaptations of Bernard Herrmann's most challenging styles into a more accessible form.

Avoid it... on the 2013 La-La Land album if you are content with the sound quality and presentation of the 2002 Varèse product, for the additional remastering and supplemental bonus cues on the later set are not significant improvements to this melodramatic listening experience.

The Fury: (John Williams) The period of the middle to late 1970's ushered in a heightened popularity for religious, paranormal, and telekinetic horror films. It was perhaps the natural progression away from Irwin Allen's straight forward natural disaster epics, which were on a steep decline by the end of the decade. After the immensely popular, sequel-spawning classics of The Exorcist and The Omen, director Brian DePalma followed with another outlandish, head-spinning tale, The Fury. The plot of John Farris' self-adapted story continued the fad of these kinds of supernatural tales down the path of absurdity, as the concepts continued to stretch all reasonable lines of logic in search of renewed audience acceptance. The Fury in particular represented nearly the end of this genre at the time, proving that despite an impressive cast of young and old stars, audiences had seen enough people tortured by the mental will of another person. That said, few viewers can deny that the classic, conclusive scene of the film, in which Amy Irving uses her supernatural abilities to literally blow up John Cassavetes from the inside, isn't at least morbidly entertaining. At a time when pop culture action flicks made a habit of showing the same buildings and vehicles explode over and over again from ten different angles, the idea of using that technique for a nasty, not-so-spontaneous human combustion, complete with gallons of fake blood and a head that pops up like a cork, yielded a fittingly ridiculous conclusion to the movie. DePalma himself had directed the Hitchcock-inspired film Obsession a few years earlier and had the pleasure of employing the great Bernard Herrmann for the project's score. While Herrmann's talents would have been perfect for The Fury, he had unfortunately just passed away at the time, leaving a void in the composing industry for a new master horror artist to fill. In between his assignments to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Superman and living in the limelight of Star Wars from the previous year, John Williams enjoyed some lucky coincidences which ultimately led to a very emphatic offer from DePalma for his involvement in the film. Both men realized that the score would exist in the shadow of Herrmann's ghostly presence, especially with DePalma's insistence that the former maestro's style be explicitly integrated into Williams' music for the picture.

Williams responded by composing a remarkable score for The Fury with elements from his own thematic tendencies and motifs that are clearly direct tributes to, if not extensions of, Herrmann's body of work. Some film music historians argue that the period of 1977 to 1982 represented the best years of Williams' career, a time when the composer was at his highest level of motivation and talent. Indeed, The Fury reinforces that point of view, proving to be very effective and riveting both in the film and decades later on album. Nothing was spared in the scope of the score for The Fury. Williams' music is guided by a horrifying title theme, heavy on brass and very weighty in its brutal structural repetitions during the supernatural acts in the film. The waltz format of this theme, best heard in "Main Title" and "Gillian's Vision," is driven by both its elegantly swaying progressions on floating woodwinds and emphasized pounding of the theme's key by bass elements in a fashion that would gain more recognition in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The three or four full, rolling outbursts of this theme in the score represent some of the composer's most engaging material of the era, foreshadowing the harrowing tone of A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The lighter performances of this idea, as well as secondary themes, highlight tender moments between main characters, but even this material never entirely escapes the tense brass undertones. The main character idea, heard in full in the lovely "For Gillian," is a flighty and delightful combination of Williams' 1970's mannerisms and mysterious fantasy tones that would later inform his Harry Potter scores significantly, another ode by the composer to youthful innocence just waiting to be shattered by the paranormal. For fans of those moments when Williams unleashes ungodly noise and ruckus, however, The Fury offers over twenty combined minutes of horror music that will shake your room and cause your neighbors to call the police. Unlike Herrmann's often shrieking horror cues (when sustained), Williams refuses to approach the same level of challenging dissonance for long periods in the work. His emphasis on strong melodrama of character heart and personal struggle cause even the most horrifying cues in The Fury to have a bittersweet beauty to them. In these regards, his tribute to Herrmann's cascading woodwinds (and even an octave-alternating theremin in the explosive climax) becomes almost an improvement upon Herrmann's legacy.

Most importantly, Williams extends these classic Herrmann sounds into a brutal, menacing realm that actually makes it more accessible for modern listeners in The Fury. The "Gillian's Power" cue, with that memorable theremin employment (which is among the few elements of the ensemble to really stand out in that noisy scene in the film), is the culmination of all the Herrmann techniques employed in the score. But after Cassavetes has exploded and DePalma dwells on the final shot of his head bouncing off the floor, Williams shifts into accelerating, bass region ensemble strikes that are not only pure Williams in style, but would eventually evolve further during a climactic moment of Jurassic Park. It's arguably the most powerful moment of the entire score, and it's interestingly one true to Williams' own style. So influential a score had Williams created that bits of ideas in The Fury would turn up over the next twenty years in other supernatural or sci-fi thrillers. The title theme, in its ominously fluttering and steady eloquence, is a clear predecessor for Williams' own wondrous Hogwarts castle theme for his three Harry Potter scores. The quick, consecutive brass blasts in the bass region, meant to emphasize the beginning of a measure of music with the most powerful note possible, would show up again extensively in James Horner's Brainstorm and Christopher Young's Hellraiser II. Wavering, tense, and harsh brass tones, slowly alternating between two octaves of quivering notes, would serve as a foundation for Don Davis' elusive theme for The Matrix. Williams' insertion of carnival music, synthesizers for added mystery, the theremin, and the abnormally strong use of bassoons are all elements that were used in similar ways by other composers for years to come, including Jerry Goldsmith, who Williams even (likely unintentionally) emulates in brief flashes in this score. There are weaknesses in the music for The Fury, the openly carnival version of the "Death on the Carousel" cue among the most obvious; the re-worked recording of the cue that resulted from post-production tinkering is a painful and unnecessary revision to a scene that Williams had jokingly referred to as "Flying Arabs" in his cue sheets. On top of that, some listeners may be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of Herrmann references and/or the music's tendency to emphasize over-wrought melodramatic agony rather than purely ballsy horror. The need to address the teenage romance element of the story does limit the horror material's frequency, but its punch is unquestioned when it is allowed to flourish.

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On album, The Fury has existed in several forms. Williams re-recorded the score with the London Symphony Orchestra for the contemporary LP album (eventually copied onto a 1990 CD) in the same sessions with Superman, and this recording remains superior in his altered arrangements and sonic depth to the actual, film version recorded in Los Angeles. The original score as heard in context was first released in 2002 as part of the limited Varèse Sarabande Club, with only 3,000 copies available. That limited album, however, also included an incredible remastering of the LSO recording as well, making for a fantastic set. The London remastering featured with this popular Varèse product indeed sounds spectacular, with all the vibrant clarity of a digital recording of the 2000's. The original score includes some more precise performances in certain parts, and is an equally interesting experience, especially with the proper addition of the theremin for devious flavor. After the 2002 product sold out within a few years, demand continued for this powerful Williams work, and La-La Land Records returned it to circulation in 2013 with a 3,500-copy edition that once again remastered the sound quality using newer technology and this time added several source recordings and small snippets of score material that had been excluded from the prior limited release. The difference in the quality of the sound on the 2013 album isn't as noticeable as the improvement that was obvious when transitioning from the 1990 to 2002 CDs, though the London version still remains significantly superior to the Los Angeles original. The additional music available on the 2013 set is mostly a continuing reminder of why music from the 1970's is derided so thoroughly in retrospect. These pop-influenced song and score cues are seemingly intentionally recorded and mixed with background placement in mind, their tone ambient and presence a bit wetter and removed compared to the main score. The short "Bed Scene" orchestral bonus contains an ominous fragment of the main theme. Otherwise, the newly included music on the 2013 may be rather uninteresting to the causal listener, and with the sound quality not radically improved over the 2002 product, the La-La Land set's primary purpose, and a noble one at that, is to make this entertaining score available and affordable another time. Overall, no dedicated Williams or Herrmann collector should be without this demonic score, the two limited albums well worth their price for especially the London re-recording of the score's highlights. Then all you'd need is a creepy mannequin, a few dozen gallons of fake blood, a stick of dynamite, and forgiving neighbors. Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Score as Written for the Film: ****
    Score as Heard on the 1990 Varèse album: ***
    Score as Heard on the 2002 and 2013 Limited Sets: *****
    Overall: ****

Bias Check:For John Williams reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.74 (in 69 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.59 (in 336,247 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

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 Track Listings (1990 Varèse Sarabande Album): Total Time: 43:38

• 1. Main Title (3:12)
• 2. For Gillian (2:42)
• 3. Vision on the Stairs (4:09)
• 4. Hester's Theme and the House (4:35)
• 5. Gillian's Escape (6:14)
• 6. The Search for Robin (2:42)
• 7. Death on the Carousel (original version)* (2:51)
• 8. Gillian's Vision (4:02)
• 9. Death on the Carousel and End Titles (8:28)
• 10. Epilogue ** (4:37)

* original recording not featured on the Arista LP album
** not featured in the film

 Track Listings (2002 Varèse Sarabande Album): Total Time: 95:55

CD1: The Soundtrack: (55:35)

• 1. Main Title (2:08)
• 2. Out of the Water (0:43)
• 3. The Train Wreck (0:40)
• 4. Through The Alley (0:52)
• 5. The Fog Scene (2:36)
• 6. Hester's Theme (2:21)
• 7. For Gillian (1:48)
• 8. Vision on the Stairs (1:48)
• 9. Eavesdropping (3:42)
• 10. Surveillance (1:16)
• 11. Gillian's Vision (4:23)
• 12. The Conspiracy (1:36)
• 13. Descent (4:32)
• 14. Death on the Carousel (2:30)
• 15. Gillian's Escape (5:47)
• 16. Remembering Robin (2:07)
• 17. Before Dinner (1:08)
• 18. Approaching The House (2:04)
• 19. Lifting Susan (4:28)
• 20. The Fall (1:16)
• 21. Father Meets Son (4:05)
• 22. Gillian's Power (1:42)
• 23. End Credits (2:46)
CD2: The Album: (40:20)

• 1. Main Title (3:08)
• 2. For Gillian (2:37)
• 3. Vision on the Stairs (4:03)
• 4. Hester's Theme and the House (4:31)
• 5. Gillian's Escape (6:11)
• 6. The Search for Robin (2:38)
• 7. Gillian's Vision (3:51)
• 8. Death on the Carousel and End Title (8:21)
• 9. Epilogue* (4:37)

* not featured in the film

 Track Listings (2013 La-La Album): Total Time: 130:54

CD1: (68:26)
• 1. Main Title (2:06)
• 2. Out of the Water (0:42)
• 3. The Train Wreck (0:39)
• 4. Thru the Alley (0:52)
• 5. The Fog Scene (2:36)
• 6. Hester's Theme & The House (2:23)
• 7. For Gillian (1:51)
• 8. Vision on the Stairs (3:41)
• 9. Hester Eavesdropping (1:09)
• 10. TV Surveillance (1:15)
• 11. Gillian's Vision (4:23)
• 12. The Conspiracy (1:25)
• 13. Coming Down the Stairs (4:32)
• 14. Death on a Carousel (2:29)
• 15. Gillian's Escape (5:46)
• 16. Remembering Robin (2:07)
• 17. Before Dinner (1:09)
• 18. Approaching the House (2:05)
• 19. Lifting Susan (4:29)
• 20. The Fall (1:15)
• 21. Father Meets Son (4:06)
• 22. Gillian's Power (1:41)
• 23. End Cast (2:46)

Bonus Tracks:
• 24. Chicago Street (Source) (1:41)
• 25. More Bubble Gum (Source) (1:52)
• 26. Hold You (Source) - performed by Joseph Williams (1:50)
• 27. I'm Tired (Source) - performed by Joseph Williams (1:53)
• 28. Wild ARP (0:26)
• 29. ARP Theme (0:42)
• 30. Bed Scene (0:27)
• 31. Calliope Waltz (1:35)
• 32. Calliope Goes Wild/Death on a Carousel (1:57)

CD2: (43:38)
• 1. Main Title (3:07)
• 2. For Gillian (2:37)
• 3. Vision on the Stairs (4:03)
• 4. Hester's Theme and The House (4:28)
• 5. Gillian's Escape (6:11)
• 6. The Search for Robin (2:37)
• 7. Gillian's Vision (3:56)
• 8. Death on the Carousel and End Titles (8:20)
• 9. Epilogue (4:37)

Bonus Track:
• 10. Death on the Carousel (Original Version) (2:47)

 Notes and Quotes:  

Several versions of the cue "Death on the Carousel" exist, with all of them presented on the 2013 set. The 1990 Varèse Sarabande album insert includes a detailed note about the film and score. The expanded, limited edition Varèse Sarabande and La-La Land sets feature the labels' usual in-depth analysis of the score and film.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Fury are Copyright © 1990, 2002, 2013, Varèse Sarabande, Varèse Sarabande, La-La Land Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/21/03 and last updated 3/17/13. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2003-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved. One of my earliest memories of cinema was the scene in which John Cassavetes explodes at the end of this film; it gave me nightmares for years as a child before I learned to laugh hysterically at it as a teenager.