Def-Con 4
International Title
Music By: Christopher Young
Record Label: Intrada
Running Time: 72:51 Discs: 1
Release: March 1990 CD Number: MAF-7010D
Anthony Romero
I'm sure a number of people are wondering exactly what this compilation disc is doing on the site, considering none of the films covered here are Toho productions, let alone Japanese in origin. The answer to this falls into New World's hands, when they were preparing The Return of Godzilla (1984) for North American release. Somewhere along the line, the firm decided that Reijiro Koroku's music wasn't nearly as prevalent as it needed to be, while the new footage they were filming would need music to accompany it. Rather then looping Koroku's themes, though, New World decided instead to look toward other sources. Picking through their catalogue of films, the company choose composer Christopher Young's score for the Canadian movie Def-Con 4. Apparently, New World didn't have much faith in the much delayed disaster film, considering they were willing to reuse its score for a movie that would be released five months after its own theatrical debut.

Not surprisingly, Young's gothic score for the post-apocalyptic feature ended up working perfectly in the mid-1980's Godzilla feature, as the work from the future composer for the Hellraiser series managed to flow very well with Koroku's already dark soundtrack. What surprised me, upon hearing the movie's soundtrack here, was how much of the score New World ended up reusing. The majority of these themes will be instantly recognizable to people who grew up with Godzilla 1985. To run off some examples, they include: the chilling "A Message from Home" that was used during the Yahata Maru sequence before the Shockirus' victim is seen, "Ghost Planet" that was used when Steve Martin slowly uncovers his eyes, "Armageddon" for Godzilla's raid on the Soviet sub, "I Can't Go On" for the Evacuation scenes, "Defense Condition" for the nuclear missiles and a composite of even more cues to create the new credit music.

Despite what the cover might promote, though, this is actually a compilation disc. It covers four of Young's scores from 1985 through 1988. The soundtracks covered are from fairly infamous films though, such as the prostitute turned vigilante movie Avenging Angel or the Whoopi Goldberg vehicle The Telephone, for which Golberg tried to sue the filmmakers in order to halt its release (clearly to no avail). Having never seen these films, I can't say how representative these tracks are in terms of those soundtracks as a whole, just that The Telephone selection here was all stuff that never ended up getting used. I will say that all of the work included for these other films left me unimpressed. The Avenging Angel stuff in particular, with its jazz flavor as it brings in a lot of saxophone work, left me scrambling for the "next" button, while The Telephone tracks carry on a "club ambience" type of flow that doesn't translate that well as a stand alone experience. That leaves the one ten minute long track for Torment, which Young cited as his favorite off this disc. The track is a horror one through and through, with some sudden moments of piano work to heighten the mode, and while it does sound closer to Def-Con 4 than anything else, its mish mash of styles don't work all that well across the lengthy cue.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Def-Con 4 soundtrack as a whole, both the themes that were used for Godzilla 1985 and those that weren't. I would fully suggest the score to others, even though it does run a little under 30 minutes. Intrada's attempt to flesh out the CD with more content, however, back fired here due to the incredibly odd mesh of material, resulting in an almost train wreck like compilation. Due to rarity and its high asking price, this disc is really only suggested for the most hardcore soundtrack collectors.
Rating: Star Rating
    Def-Con 4
  1. Def-Con 4 (Main Title)
  2. Forced Landing
  3. The Liberation of Fort Liswell
  4. Armageddon
  5. Ghost Planet
  6. Gideon's Law
  7. The Terminals
  8. A New Man's Destiny
  9. Defense Condition
  10. The Juggernaut
  11. Electronic Ocean
  12. A Message from Home
  13. I Can't Go On
  14. The New Dark Age

    Avenging Angel
  15. Kit Carson
  16. Overdrive
  17. Molly Mey
  18. Ratamacue
  19. Dark Angel
  20. Never
  21. Bughouse Bust
  22. Good Golly Solley

  23. Thantos

  24. Vashti Blue
  25. Definitely Not Manhattan
  26. Pantomime
  27. Christmas in July