If you ever thought that Chelsea Wolfe's music would be the perfect soundtrack for an arthouse horror movie, you're in luck: The goth-rock auteur recently collaborated with composer (and Jerry Cantrell producer and band member) Tyler Bates on the score for the new A24 slasher film X, directed by Ti West (The Sacrament) and starring Kid Cudi, Mia Goth, Jenny Ortega and Brittany Snow. The movie hit screens last week, and the score — which includes Wolfe's hair-raising cover of Arthur Field's 1918 "Oui Oui Marie" — dropped today (March 25th).
With that in mind, we talked to Wolfe about her favorite horror movies and horror-movie music, and what it was like working with Bates on her first-ever film score.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE HORROR MOVIE?
It's a tie between The VVitch and Thirst.
The VVitch [2015, directed by Robert Eggers] because it kinda shows that if you call a woman a witch enough times, she'll fuckin own it and become one. I love the costume design, the incredible acting, the setting, the ending. It's a glorious film.
And Thirst [2009, directed by Park Chan-wook] is so gorgeous. All the subtle emotions portrayed, the ASMR quality, the color palette, the transition from powerless to powerful.
Both of these movies have a hyper-religious to witch/vampire pipeline, so that must be what I'm into.
HOW ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE HORROR-MOVIE SCORE?
Poltergeist [1982, score by Jerry Goldsmith] has a great one. Such an interesting blend of unsettling, curiosity and sweetness with all the gliding strings and Carol Anne's theme weaving in and out. I loved that movie so much growing up so it's very nostalgic for me, as well.
WHAT WAS THE BEST OR MOST REWARDING PART OF WORKING ON THE SCORE FOR X?
It was a great learning experience, working with Tyler Bates. And it was really interesting to dig into the complexity of the characters and lend vocalizations to them that went beyond like, villain = scary, or main character = innocent. Neither of them were that simple — that was clear especially after working on the film for so long. So yeah, the challenge of layering and twisting voices and energies to try and reflect their complexities was really rewarding for me.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? HOW WAS IT DIFFERENT THAN MAKING YOUR OWN MUSIC?
With X, there was a freedom to try a bunch of ideas and see what stuck, but naturally, doing a score, there are specific assignments, specific scenes that need pieces of music written to them. So I suppose the hardest part was worrying that I wasn't getting those right. But it's also a big collaboration between Tyler, Ben Chisholm and myself, and then also the editor who ultimately chooses what pieces end up in the film, so I had to detach a bit more than I would with my own music.
IF YOUR OWN MUSIC WERE TO SOUNDTRACK A MOVIE, WHAT DO YOU IMAGINE THE MOVIE WOULD BE?
Probably a supernatural movie about a sleep paralysis demon who sits on the main character's chest every night, but somehow over time they fall in love and find a way to be together in the same realm. Robert Eggers, hit me up!
For more Wolfe, watch her on Revolver's "Fan First" podcast, diving deep into her personal journey as a fan and creator: