When it comes to filmmaking, Quentin Tarantino places as much importance on soundtracks as he does on idiosyncratic dialogue and career-resuscitating casting decisions. And for the upcoming The Hateful Eight, Tarantino reached out to the man who defined the sound of spaghetti Westerns, composer Ennio Morricone. But, according to Consequence Of Sound, the celebrated Morricone didn’t have time to create a full score for Tarantino. So, to supplement the 25 minutes of original music Morricone composed for the film, they recycled his unused music from John Carpenter’s 1982 remake of The Thing.
At a post-screening interview with Christopher Nolan, Tarantino confessed that this was first time he felt the need to rely so much on single composer, rather than crate-digging his own compilation. “I had a little voice in my head saying, ‘This material deserved an original score,’” Tarantino said. “I didn’t ever want to trust a composer with the soul of my movie.” (Tarantino has featured Morricone’s pieces in Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Inglorious Basterds, and Django Unchained, but never hired him to compose a full soundtrack.)
And when he was unable to pry Morricone away from a previous commitment to Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore, Tarantino came up with the solution of using unused tracks that Carpenter had commissioned for The Thing. (Morricone composed two scores for that film, an orchestral one and a synthesizer one. Guess which one Carpenter plucked the film’s main theme from?) And though a movie about a shape-shifting alien tearing apart a remote antarctic science facility doesn’t seem to share much with a Western, there’s plenty of overlap. Both feature a hirsute Kurt Russell, a snow-packed set, and a group of men challenged with trust issues. There also the slim chance that Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character is sentenced to hang for the crime of being a shape-shifting alien.
After composing an original main theme and handing over the older tracks, Morricone, impressed by the footage he’d seen from the film, composed an additional 15 minutes of new music. As we previously reported, Morricone’s first score for a Western in three decades will be celebrated with a deluxe vinyl release, and of course you can hear it when The Hateful Eight begins its 70mm roadshow run on December 25.