Red Kingdom Rising

Mary Ann, a troubled young woman, has been tormented her whole life by dreams of a sinister figure called the Red King and his morbid fairytale kingdom. Following the death of her father, Mary Ann returns to her family home where she recalls the childhood stories of the Red King and Alice from Through the Looking-Glass that her father once read to her. Haunting events and suppressed memories propel Mary Ann through the dark corridors of her parental home into the realms of her nightmares where she must finally confront the Red King and gain closure to her scarred past.

The majority of the music for this feature-length fantasy/horror was, like my work on director Navin Dev’s previous short film The Tree Man, composed using the rules for twelve-tone composition. I also made substantial use of modernist orchestration techniques to emphasise the surreal nature of Mary Ann’s descent into her own personal horrific wonderland. The score itself was for the most part intended to be insidious and atmospheric, rather than grand and thematic, but the timbral “motif” of the Red King was anything but subtle! The instrumentation varies from upright piano and strings for Mary Ann through eerie woodwinds and whispers for Alice to pounding percussion and blaring brass for the Red King.

A special thank you has to go to David Caron who, in addition to playing the role of father in the film, also performed principal cello parts throughout the score. More information about the film can be found at the official website.

The film won the Best Fantasy Feature Film award at Feratum Film Festival 2014.

A nicely dense, imagistic feel and a grasp of the nightmarish (a Lynchian soundscape augments the Svankmajerish rough-hewn Alice imagery)…

Kim Newman

The perfect score helps to blend reality and fantasy seamlessly together.

Simon Hill (Eat Horror)

Martin Thornton’s soundtrack is powerful and impressively haunting.

Maynard Morrissey (Horror Movie Diary)

The music is also good, I think that was the film’s strongest point. It creates an eerie mood.

Tom Kleppe (Captain Christmas Filmblogg) [translated from Norwegian]

It’s a foreboding movie, very eerie and suspenseful in parts, with brass instrument music building the tension in an unnerving fashion.

Ramius Scythe (Horror Chronicles)

The soundtrack is fantastic and helps to add to the atmosphere.

Jorgen Lundin (Independent Flicks)


…is short for first feature film score! Red Kingdom Rising is a feature-length horror/fantasy film I composed for throughout summer 2011 with some rewrites in April this year.

Written and directed by Navin Dev (with whom I also worked on The Falling, Red Hood and The Tree Man), it tells the story of “a troubled young woman who must finally come to terms with her horrific past as she is propelled through dreams into the terrifying fairytale world of the Red Kingdom where she encounters figures reminiscent of her memories and fears”.

The film has been completed and is doing the rounds of festival submissions. I will post some cues for your listening pleasure very soon, but in the meantime here’s a rather disturbing poster to entice you…

More information about the film can be found at the official website.

Image copyright © 2012 Navin Dev. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Red Hood

Once upon a time, cloaked in her favoured red hood, Little Red-Cap set off to Grandmother. But soon she was drawn away from her designated path by what the surrounding woods had to offer – mysteries, beauty and the Wolf. Red, now a 40 year old woman, still bears the same fears, guilt and anger as she remembers the day her life changed. Creating a new red hood for her daughter, she struggles to make the ultimate choice as to whether or not to pass on her identity and in turn her fate.

The music for this psychological horror, written and directed by Navin Dev, was composed for orchestra, mixed choir and soprano. The soprano part was performed by Kasia Middleton.

Washougal International Film Festival 2008 award winner. Shortlisted for award at Sefton Short Film Festival 2008. Selected for Bootleg Film Festival Glasgow 2008, Branchage Jersey International Film Festival 2008, Gold Lion Film Festival 2008, Bacup Film Festival 2008, Amberg Horror Fest 2008, Filmstock International Film Festival 2008, Florence International Film Festival 2008, Omaha Film Festival 2009, Dam Short Film Festival 2009, International Film Festival Egypt 2009 and London Short Film Festival 2010. Available to view at Festival de Cannes: Short Film Corner 2008.