The early 1980s was a watershed time in film music. After the success of Star Wars, studios began producing a flood of science fiction/fantasy & action/adventure films, calling for magical, exciting, and densely orchestrated music. A whole new crop of young composers were stepping up to the challenge.
It was an exciting time to be a fan of film music; but it was also a lonely time. The robust, inter-connected community of soundtrack lovers did not exist. Film Score Monthly and jwfan.com did not exist. There was no group known as Fans of Film Music. No composer pages, no FilmTracks soundtrack reviews, or any of the other resources we now enjoy. In fact, the Usenet newsgroup, rec.music.movies, did not even come into existence until 1994. Most film score fans enjoyed their passion in relative isolation.
One outlet, however, did exist for the publication of news, interviews, and discussion of the film music artists and the industry in which they worked: CinemaScore, a periodical magazine initiated by Randall D. Larson (who is still active in the soundtrack community, continuing to publish the multi-volume Musique Fantastique, a scholarly exploration into the history of horror, science fiction, and fantasy film music). In those days of exhilarating new sounds and voices in film music, CinemaScore was one of the few places you could find a glimpse into the inner worlds of film composers, to glean insights into their thought processes, to understand how industry and market forces influenced their creative decisions. It was a rare and fascinating opportunity to finally feel connected to others who payed attention to this obscure but magical world of film music.
One new and upcoming composer who deserved attention was James Horner. With his recent success on the big budget horror film, Wolfen, and an extremely high-profile assignment to score Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, Larson immediately recognized the potential of this young composer, writing a series of interview-driven articles featuring the composer and his ongoing projects. Larson has kindly permitted us to republish those early articles and interviews here at jameshorner-filmmusic.com. The first article was published in the fall of 1982, highlighting the composer’s newest assignment.