Mastered from an original vinyl copy.
In 1974, the release of Jorge Grau’s The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue demonstrated that European horror filmed in England could result in oddly compelling results. Five years later, Italian director Angelo Ascerbi decided to shoot his “rural masterpiece” Bethany’s Cradle in the Lake District, utilizing Antonio Baresi’s script and mainly English actors. Financed by Lupus Pictures, Bethany’s Cradle tells the story of a young woman, Bethany, an apparent virgin who nevertheless becomes pregnant, and her involvement with a strange cult who carry out their rituals near the lapping banks of Lake Windermere. Klaus Morlock, at that time resident in his native Germany, was commissioned to write the score. Working from the first draft of Baresi’s screenplay, Morlock recorded the majority of the score in his home studio, a converted barn on the outskirts of Cologne. As far as we know, he made use of his own Mellotron, Solina String Machine, upright piano, and ARP Odyssey, as well as a Yamaha CS80 borrowed from Ken “Prof” Freeman. The precise nature of the effects units used by Morlock are unknown, although he did record to two four-track Studer machines, inexpertly hooked together by himself.
Shooting got underway on May 14th 1979, and at least three scenes of cultic activity were shot in the small town of Penrith. These are widely regarded as being some of the most evocative scenes in the history of folk horror cinema. However, only a seedy VHS print of the scenes survives, along with the title card screen (which forms the cover for the soundtrack LP) and some tasteless footage of a naked Ascerbi “capering” around with a plastic gravestone.
Eight days later, disaster struck. Lupus Pictures boss Billy Woolf, after a mysterious altercation with Ascerbi, pulled the plug on the entire production. Meanwhile, Morlock continued to record the score, unaware that the film had been abandoned. In September 1979, the soundtrack album was released on the obscure Lambent Records label, and a small run of vinyl copies trickled into the shops.
As Mr. Morlock’s curator, I’m very pleased to have discovered a somewhat battered, but playable, copy of the album. I have transferred it to the digital realm, utilizing minimal noise-reduction equipment. The soundtrack to Bethany’s Cradle is an interesting glimpse of the post Bridmore Lodge, Child Garden and Penumbra Morlock, shortly before his music plunged into the murky depths of paranoia-fueled expressionism.
released November 25, 2016
All titles written by Klaus Morlock.
Klaus Morlock: Mellotron, ARP Odyssey, Piano, Yamaha CS80
Holger Binz: Bass
Simon Magus: Bass guitar on "The Farewell Letter"
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