Director Brian De Palma has talked about the huge influence Bernard Herrmann's scores for Hitchcock had on him, and he actually hired the composer for this low-budget shocker at the outset of his career. Herrmann's fee was the movie's highest expense, but it was worth it as his tremendously effective main title theme reflects. Veering between the composer's signature high-pitched, violent strings and clamoring horns, tinkling bells (symbolizing innocence), and unusual instrumental colors thanks to plenty of Moog synthesizer, this was Herrmann at his most frightening since "Psycho." De Palma planned on working with Herrmann on "Carrie" in 1976 but after the composer's death in 1975, instead went on to a very successful collaboration with Pino Donaggio whose elegant, symphonic score for that film and the subsequent "Dressed to Kill," and "Blow Out" were heavily influenced by the late maestro.
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