73: Murder by Decree with Paul Zaza
This week, we're talking to Canadian film history royalty as award-winning composer Paul Zaza joins us to talk the 1979 thriller Murder by Decree. It's always a treat when we get to see a hidden gem from the Canadian film canon and this is one hell of a gem. Imagine, if you will, a movie where, Christopher Plummer and James Mason play Holmes and Watson hunting down Jack the Ripper, where Donald Sutherland is a weirdo psychic with spectacular facial hair, and Genevieve Bujold delivers a one-scene-wonder powerhouse performance. Imagine no longer - cause that's this movie!
In addition to walking us through some great behind the scenes stories, as well as addressing some pervading internet casting rumours, we take a walk through Paul's incredible resume. Get ready for some personal Bob Clark, Christopher Plummer and Carl Zittrer stories, fantastic deep cut Canadian film recommendations, and a redemption argument for Porky's. Ever been curious about scoring inspirations and techniques for film? Don't miss this episode.
Visit the Canuxploitation Blog for more information about Bob Clark and his films.
This week's end credit music is the suite from Murder by Decree by Paul Zaza and Carl Zittrer.
On this week's show
Canadian composer and songwriter Paul Zaza started out as a classically trained pianist. Zaza has a degree from the prestigious Toronto Conservatory of Music. Moreover, Paul played bass in a Canadian touring company production of the hit musical "Hair" and toured with the The 5th Dimension in the 1970s. Zaza first began doing film scores in the late '70s. He's worked in a diverse of array of genres that include comedy (Hog Wild(1980), Gas (1981)), drama (Isaac Littlefeathers (1984), which was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Music Score), thriller (American Nightmare (1983), _Blindside_), action (Bullies (1986), No Contest (1995)), and science fiction (The Vindicator (1986), The Pink Chiquitas (1987)). Paul frequently collaborated with director Robert Clark: Among the Clark movies he composed the scores for are Murder by Decree (1979) (Zaza won the Genie Award for Best Music Score for his terrific score on this particular picture), the first two uproariously raunchy "Porky's" flicks, the delightful A Christmas Story(1983), Turk 182! (1985), From the Hip (1987), and both Baby Geniuses (1999) films. In addition, Zaza has supplied chillingly effective scores throughout the years for such horror features as Prom Night (1980) (he also composed the music for the sequels), Ghostkeeper (1981), My Bloody Valentine (1981) (this is perhaps Paul's single most spooky and melodic horror film score to date), Curtains (1983), The Brain (1988), Popcorn (1991), The Club (1994), and The Dark (1993). Paul also did the theme music for the long-running Nickelodeon children's TV series Mr. Wizard's World (1983). Besides a Genie Award, Zaza has received fourteen SOCAN Awards as well. Paul Zaza has his own state-of-the-art studio called Zaza Sound Productions Ltd.
The My Bloody Valentine vinyl release can be purchased from Waxworks Records.
Bio from IMBD
Shrimpton's Suggested Short
This week's Shrimpton Suggested Short is The Stratford Adventure provided by the NFB.