Carnage Park, the latest collaboration between indie-horror wunderkind Mickey Keating and composer Giona Ostinelli, will be hitting theaters on July 1. (The two previously worked on this year’s unnerving Hitchcock-cum-Polanski horror hit Darling, as well as 2015’s Pod and 2013’s Ritual.) The A.V. Club has an exclusive preview of the soundtrack below, and we spoke with Ostinelli about his work on the film and creative process.
Carnage Park recalls the dark desert highway terror of Duel, Race With The Devil, and The Hitcher, but despite the throwback nature of the film, Swiss-born Ostinelli did not look to any particular classic film score for inspiration. “I don’t like getting inspiration from composers, but rather from the script and the director,” Ostinelli tells The A.V. Club. “For Carnage Park, Mickey wanted something new, and I like creating something different. We know what we can achieve and we push each other a lot. I love working with Mickey. He loves to experiment.”
Carnage Park takes place a in Southwestern desert in the late ‘70s, with a pair of out-of-luck bank robbers taking a hostage (The Last Exorcism’s Ashley Bell) after a heist goes wrong. They end up stranded, and being hunted by a deranged sniper portrayed by Pat Healy. It was a concept that Ostinelli took a shine to: “It’s a Western film, but I wanted to create a Western score that’s not Morricone. We wanted to recreate the genre.”
Ostinelli was inspired at a young age to make his way into film scoring, influenced by the traditional scoring techniques of Alan Slivestri (Back To The Future, Forrest Gump) and John Williams, amongst others. But while Ostinelli utilizes traditional instrumentation in his film work, he also enjoys using more experimental techniques in his own work, by simply “wondering what would happen” if you run a recording of a string quartet through a Marshall amplifier or use a nail gun to achieve “violent percussion.” “I record in the studio first and then build off of that,” he says. “I work in my home studio and even out in the field recording natural sounds.”
Carnage Park’s score is full of unnerving dissonance, fueling the sense of dread created that Consequence Of Sound describes as “an exploitation movie down to its very bones, from the lurid real-life trappings to the excessive lingering violence.” But for all the off-kilter instrumentation and recording techniques, Ostinelli always keeps a notion of harmony and melody underneath the surface. “Melodies are what make you remember something. Anytime I can create melody, I will,” he says. “It’s perfect for Carnage Park because the score works on different levels, much like the film.”
Carnage Park opens Friday, July 1 in New York and Los Angeles, and will also be available On Demand and on all digital platforms.