Imagine the opening of John Carpenter’s Halloween particularly the opening credits with the slow zoom on the jack o lantern. Why is that scene so intense? There really isn’t much to it. A pumpkin with a face on it comes slowly towards the audience, growing until it takes up the entire screen. It’s not anything too spectacular, but for some reason, it sends chills down the spines of millions of fans. The tension comes no from the jack o lantern, but rather the eerie score written by Carpenter which creates the dark and dreary feeling that is carried out through the film.
Score and soundtrack are paramount in creating the ambiance in genre films, and this week’s Featured FearMaker has dedicated his life to creating those soundscapes. Paolo Greco has been composing scores for the stage and screen for over a decade, and he’s just getting started.
The son of Spanish dancers José Greco and Nana Lorca (former director of the National Ballet of Spain), Paolo Greco was always surrounded by the arts. He was about four years old when Paolo saw his dad perform The Passion of Dracula at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York. This show sparked an interest for nor just horror, but anything involving mystery, suspense, fear, thrillers, and the uncanny.
Greco eventually gravitated to music as his passion, which he studied extensively in school. He has received a BA in Music from The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, and an MA in Music & Media Technology from Trinity College Dublin. His thesis was titled ‘The Communicative Power of Silence: the cinema of David Lynch’.
While in Dublin, he worked for October Eleven Pictures in their preternatural documentary The Twilight Hour: Visions of Haunted Ireland, narrated by the late British actor John Hurt for Discovery Channel. Since then Paolo has scored several films and plays ranging from the American icon A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams to the German classics Michael Kohlhaas by Heinrich Von Kleist and Mary Stuart by Friederich Schiller
Paolo Greco’s filmography to date includes an array of short films and documentaries produced in the US, Spain, Ireland, and Norway, some of which have been included and/or awarded at festivals in Europe, Canada, Mexico and the USA. In 2016, the feature film Backseat Fighter by Mario Pagano (starring Martina García, Homeland) saw its premiere at the Madrid Premiere Week and was an official selection at the Venezuelan Film Fest NY and Festival Internacional Cine Fine Arts.
In recent years Paolo found himself relocating to Los Angeles, where he has been scoring short films non-stop. Working with short films in Los Angeles means working with little to no budget, which is often difficult to work with, particularly ith directors who don’t understand how expensive scoring can be. While having a full orchestra sounds great, paying the 20-90 musicians day rates along with the composer, recording tech, and space adds up rather quickly.
Paolo Greco has been working nonstop on building his portfolio with excellent work. We will, no doubt, be hearing his name again soon.