You still don’t get it, do you? He’ll find her. That’s what he does. That’s ALL he does!
— Kyle Reese
I saw The Terminator in the theater back in 1984 with my old man, and I remember us looking at each other in stunned silence when it ended. Neither one of us had ever seen anything like it before, a genre-bending moment, that period in the 1980s when special effects got to be pretty decent and filmmakers were willing to take violence to a different level, one of brutal ruthlessness. We were leaving the era of war movies that never showed blood, and certainly would never show any kind of gore. Not only had things gotten heavier, but often the violence was so matter-of-fact that it became even more chilling. Dystopian sci-fi was making it’s mark, a process that arguably started with Blade Runner (1982), and was still in that early stage when anything was possible and there weren’t a lot of old tropes to fall back on.
I’ve never been much of a soundtrack guy, with the exception of those comprised mostly of, for lack of a better term, “regular songs.” I’m thinking of things like Grosse Pointe Blank and The Doors and even Animal House, albums consisting primarily of songs you might hear on the radio, not orchestral compositions made specifically for a film. In fact this brand-spanking-new re-release of The Terminator (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) might be the first of this type I’ve ever bought. I know there are a lot of people out there who are way into soundtracks… but I’m just not one of them. However, after listening to this one, I might need to revisit that stance.
Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with, it doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop… EVER, untill you are dead!
— Kyle Reese
Let’s talk a bit about the physical product first. The folks at Milan did an outstanding job putting this thing together. The jacket is a gorgeous, heavy stock gatefold, with a gloss finish that is thankfully resistant to fingerprints and smudging. It has the quality feel I’ve come to associate with Japanese releases, with some real heft and solidity to it. The vinyl consists of two 180 gram records, one in red/white splatter (though mine seems a bit more purple) and the other blue/white splatter, and my copy arrived in the mail perfectly flat and beautiful. The musical composition is different from the original soundtrack release, consisting exclusively of the orchestral material and leaving out some of the pop songs included on side B of the prior versions – so even if you have an old copy in your collection, there’s plenty of new and remastered material here. Of course, now this makes me want to track down an OG copy as well… though those are pricey.
You can sit down and listen to The Terminator (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) like it was an industrial electronica album. The pairing of strings and electronic sounds, combined with the dark overall vibe, make it a killer nighttime spinner. In fact there are only two brief moments that breaks free from the darkness – on side A when we get the brief snippet that is “Sarah on Motorbike,” arguably the only upbeat moment in the entire film and when we’re first introduced to Sarah Connor as she rides her scooter to work, and a segment on side D that I believe is part of the final credits. The rest of it alternates between moody and pounding and musical anxiety. There are no segments of dialogue from the film included.
Even if you’re not into soundtracks, if you’re a fan of industrial you’ll find things to like on The Terminator (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). And kudos to Milan for putting together a fantastic physical object, one that looks and feels every bit as good as it sounds.
I’ll be back.
— The Terminator