< Previous Project
Return to index page
Next Project >   

 
 
 
Dawn Of The Dead - Extended Cut Ultimate Soundtrack
 
Completion Date: 
February 9, 2014 (Last upgrades)
Production Time: 
9 Weeks
Number Of Discs: 
2
Number Of Tracks: 
72
Total Running Time: 
01:11:21
Source(s): 
Retail R1 NTSC DVDs
 
Retail 12" Record Albums
 
Retail CD Albums
 
Online Sound Effects Libraries
 
 
 
 
This was a 2009 project to research & edit the fullest soundtrack possible to the 1979 Extended cut of the George A Romero film Dawn Of The Dead. There are actually three versions of the film, each with a slightly different score; the Theatrical version, the European (AKA Argento) cut, and the Extended (AKA Cannes) cut. All three were mainly scored using edited & mixed tracks from stock library music from the De Wolfe, Rouge, & Hudson catalogues, and up to now, it wasn't general knowledge which out of the thousands of existing cues were used.

A number of the cues could previously be found on official & unofficially released albums (including some sampler CDs released by De Wolfe), although all these albums put together only cover about 25% of the total number of cues used. The fullest soundtrack previously available was a 49 track 2 CD release tailored to the Theatrical version of Dawn Of The Dead called 'The Complete 1978 Soundtrack' running at 1 hour 19 minutes 17 seconds, created by an American fan, Chris Stavrakis (webmaster of LivingDead.com, now defunct) some years ago. He had found a number of the cues and edited the most complete soundtrack he could. Unbeknownst to him, this was pirated, and then became widespread once uploaded onto the internet. In 2004, Trunk Records released a 14 track CD running at 38 minutes 44 seconds, called 'Unreleased Soundtrack Music to the George A Romero's Dawn Of The Dead', although this was simply 14 cues which played in full, rather than the edited & mixed form in which they appear in the film. Music specifically written for the film by Italian band Goblin was also used, but is quite different in tone to the library music and has been available as an LP and later CD running at 51 minutes 47 seconds, since the film's theatrical release.

It was only fairly recently that the original library albums became available to the wider public. Up until about 5 years ago, such listing were still being removed by Ebay. Some of the library companies (fortunately not De Wolfe) objected to "just anyone" being able to buy their material as it was never sold commercially. Massive interest forced them to change their stance. Now, many library LPs are held by private collectors, and that's where this project began. On the 12th of April 2009, I made contact with an Ebay user Boogiejuice69, who was selling large collection of assorted library LPs on Ebay. He had already recognised & prominently noted selected Dawn Of The Dead cues on a number of the LPs he was selling, that weren't on any of the released CDs. I decided it would be worthwhile to work with him and others, to make a complete list of every single cue used in all three versions of Dawn Of The Dead.

I decided to take a more technical approach than just trying to find random tracks I liked. I took the Dawn Of The Dead R1 Anchor Bay 'Ultimate Edition' four disc DVD box set, and copied the audio track from each of the three films to my hard drive. I then used Reaper (an audio multi sequencing program) to edit every single piece of music used, into it's own individual sample file. Then I gave each track it's own listing in an index text file. Approaching the project from this angle meant that nothing could be missed, if I still had unidentified tracks left at the end, then I knew hadn't identified everything, and I had a sample of exactly what I was.

While doing this I, was also working the project from the opposite end; making various other online contacts to try and get copies of all the likely tracks & albums I thought I might need. It was only once I had started, that I found that someone else had already attempted much the same sort of project. Chris Stavrakis had posted a cue sheet to his website LivingDead.com around March 2001, giving a supposedly 'complete' list of all 58 cues used. A few months later around October 2001, Chris was contacted by Library LP collector & avid fan; John Toman, and using his information some entries on the list were removed, some added & some corrected, making a revised list of 67 tracks.
 
'The Complete 1978 Soundtrack'
 
'Unreleased Soundtrack Music' - Trunk Records
 
Zombi Soundtrack by Goblin - Cinevox
 
I made contact with both Chris and John, and with their help, and that of other like-minded collectors, I went beyond Chris's earlier work and created a master list which identified the majority of the tracks used in all three versions of Dawn Of The Dead. This final list puts the number of library cues used across the three films (both identified & unidentified) at about 86 (not including any of the 17 released Goblin tracks), although 11 of those 86 cues still remain unidentified. I now know, that there were still some errors in that revised 67 track LivingDead.com list. There were some little mistakes in naming & reference numbers, Some tracks were mistakenly listed, which turned out not to have been used, and others notable tracks were left off the list altogether. That said, the cue sheet did put me far ahead of where I would have been, and due credit goes to Chris Stavrakis, Dawn fan Patrick Doody, Music Supervisor Llyswen Vaughan and the assistance of DeWolfe's New York manager Mitchel Greenspan who collectively assembled it. I did recognize one of the old LivingDead.com's cue sheet tracks; 'Barry Stroller - Speed' as actually having been used in the George A Romero 1973 Dawn pre-cursor; The Crazies, although I haven't taken this any further, but might in the future as I know The Crazies also used many similar unidentified library cues.

Using my cue list, along with copies of the newly identified library tracks themselves, kindly given to me buy the collectors I was working with, I spent around 6 weeks mixing a soundtrack to the Extended cut of the film, using Reaper 3.01; an audio multi-sequencing & editing program.
 

CD cover artwork - back & spines (click to enlarge)
 
The finished soundtrack covers virtually all the library cues used in the film, and some parts of the Goblin score (where used). It has 71 tracks and runs for 111m 21s, including a bonus track from the Argento cut of the film.

Track 57 of the soundtrack was deliberately as 2 seconds of blank audio. It's made up from a single cue, but the source used to produce it has not yet been identified, so space has been left allowing it to be easily be integrated in the future without having to re-number the rest of the tracks again. Another 4 short cues in addition to these also remained unidentified, but for the purposes of the soundtrack, they were 'faked' either by using samples from the original film soundtrack, or from sound effect samples, or by careful audio editing, meaning the final tracks sound as identical as I could make them. Should any of these cues be identified they would obviously be integrated into any future release.
 
Depending on how the tracks played in the film, I either let the cues play in full, edited them, or mixed them. Of the 71 tracks, 1 cue is completely missing, 14 have been left unedited and play in full as per the original source cues, 14 have been either edited down, shortened or mixed, but still made from a single source cue, and 42 have been mixed from 2 or more source cues. In certain places a little licence has been taken from the original film audio, in order to smooth over some edits & cue starts or finishes. In the film these maybe overlaid with speech or sound effects, but listened to in isolation sound quite jarring.

Although this was always intended to be an MP3 album, as an interesting side-project I created CD covers & disc artwork for this release using GIMP 2.6.7. The design concept was adapted from my earlier artwork for the Dawn Of The Dead Ultimate Cut DVD cover. I also assembled all my findings into a website which preserves the information I have collected and makes it easily accessible to other fans, where you can see the cue listings themselves, along with more information about the project via the link below. This site was later taken up and integrated as a sub-site in the popular zombie genre website HomePageOfTheDead.com.




Currently the only people who have this at the moment is myself, and three of the people who assisted me on the listing project, along with a couple of others who have contacted me since. I have contacted a few likely distributors to see if there was a company willing to properly licence the cues and distribute the album, including De Wolfe, Cinevox & Trunk Records, but there didn't seem to be much interest. Given I have got nowhere in the few years since I created this and that the finished soundtrack is 1 hour & 50 minutes long which will cost a whole heap of money to licence if paying by the second, I doubt this will ever happen. That said, it doesn't hurt to put this project out there, and maybe some sort of deal could be worked out. I would only really see big potential in releasing the (finally) complete ultimate soundtrack, not just another edited down version.

I currently have no plans to make soundtracks for the European or Theatrical version soundtracks, but owning most of the raw source cues, that option is perfectly possible and remains open for the future. Major credit for this project must also go to Boogiejuice69 (Darren Stuart), John Toman, Allen Lighthiser, and of course Chris Stavrakis. Without their input (and large collection of library LPs) this project would not have been possible.
 
CD cover artwork - folding front sleeve (click to enlarge)
CD cover artwork - inside back (click to enlarge)
 
Just as a 2014 update written some years after completing the bulk of this project, I did try hawking this round and never got so much as a bit of interest. I've since discovered that the way library tracks work, a company can only release a whole cue, it can't be edited down, nor can it be edited/mixed in with other cues. It has to play in full & un-tampered or they can't get the rights. That means this score as made is basically unrealisable, as some of the cues might only feature for a few seconds in the film. That's probably why the recent Trunk Records score left so much material out, because so many tracks were made up of multiple cues and are unrecognisable when played in full in isolation, so they included only the ones which could play in full and still for the most part be recognised.

To release all of the 74 source cues in full would run at 199m 24s. My edited score runs at 111m 21s, meaning there would be roughly around 90 minutes of music which HAD to be on the CD and paid for by the second, but wasn't actually in the film (probably more like 120 minutes due to the inclusion of various Goblin tracks and repeated cues in those 111m 21s). 'Track 34 - It Got Him...' in the finished score for example is 90 seconds long, and is edited from five separate tracks with a total running time 10m 25s. That means a listener would have to sit though 8m 55s music not used, which would not only render a full release pointless, but vastly expensive too.
 
 
Disc 1 of 2 - Disc Artwork & Details
 
Total CD Running Time: 
00:55:07
Disc Format: 
CDR-80
 
 

Disc 1 - Disc artwork
01. We're Losing It (4:10)
02. Three Minutes Martinez (0:48)
03. Wooley! (2:01)
04. Shoot It, Man (2:44)
05. Soon, They Be Stronger Than You (0:49)
06. Stop The Killing, Or Lose The War (0:29)
07. It's All Done, Man (1:30)
08. Straight Up (4:31)
09. It's Everywhere (0:51)
10. Twenty-One Bottles Of Beer! (2:51)
11. Get The Gas Tank! (0:09)
12. Guess They All Took Off (1:18)
13. Run! (2:36)
14. Why Do They Come Here (2:28)
15. Hit And Run (1:22)
16. Keys To The Kingdom (1:21)
17. Fat City Brother (0:43)
18. How About A Little Music? (1:45)
19. You Game? (1:41)
20. They're Maniacs! (0:29)
21. We Ain't Doing This For The Exercise (1:38)
22. What The Hell Was That? (0:48)
23. Let's Get Him On Our Side (0:46)
24. Run For It! (2:29)
25. What Do We Do? (2:41)
26. The Old Okie Doke (0:42)
27. One Stop Shopping (0:40)
28. Don't Shoot! (3:35)
29. Nobody Cares About My Vote (1:34)
30. Pure Motorized Instinct (1:44)
31. Too Tall, Too Slow, Two (2:50)
32. Roger Move! (2:37)
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 2 of 2 - Disc Artwork & Details
 
Total CD Running Time: 
00:54:38
Disc Format: 
CDR-80
 
 

Disc 2 - Disc artwork
01. Perfect, Baby (2:10)
02. It Got Him! (1:35)
03. We're Coming & We're Ready (1:54)
04. Gotta Lock Those Main Doors (1:19)
05. The Keys! (1:54)
06. You Get The Latches, I'll Get The Locks (1:40)
07. Going On A Hunt (2:19)
08. We Whipped 'Em And We Got It All! (0:21)
09. This Place Is Going To Be Rotten (2:00)
10. Mall Musak Montage (We Are The Champions) (2:16)
11. Mall Musak Montage (Ragtime Razzamatazz) (2:45)
12. Mall Musak Montage (Tango Tango) (0:59)
13. Mall Musak Montage (Fugarock) (1:26)
14. Mall Musak Montage (You're Breaking My Heart) (0:47)
15. There's No More Room In Hell (0:46)
16. You'll Take Care Of Me (1:02)
17. It's Really All Over (1:07)
18. We Can't Stephen (0:59)
19. It Wouldn't Be Real (2:53)
20. Hurry And Do Your Shopping (0:37)
21. What Have We Done To Ourselves? (1:31)
22. Tonight (1:17)
23. Just Three (0:57)
24. Downstairs First (0:24)
25. (Missing) (0:00)
26. Let's Not Make It Easy For Them (1:12)
27. They're In (1:07)
28. It's Ours, We Took It (1:17)
29. I See You! (3:02)
30. I Know He's In Here! (0:56)
31. Son Of A Bitch (1:23)
32. I'm Coming! (0:29)
33. Flyboy! (0:56)
34. Maybe He's Alright (0:50)
35. He's Coming Up (2:02)
36. I Don't Want To Go (0:34)
37. Get Out Of Here (2:18)
38. How Much Fuel Do We Have? (1:26)
39. The Gonk (1:51)
40. Bonus Track - Goblin Zombie Jump (0:16)
 
 
 

   < Previous Project
Return to index page
Next Project >