Drive Angry 3D

Drive Crazy is Michael Wandmacher’s latest film score for director Patrick Lussier (after My Bloody Valentine 3D), but it’s vastly different compared to his prior work in the horror realm.

Piranha 3D (2010) is an orchestral & electronic gnashing of sounds meant to accent the feeding frenzy of prehistory piranha fish, whereas Cry_Wolf (2005) is a largely electronic, and is built around a simple melodic hook that reflects a group of doomed snotty students trying to solve a series of nasty murders when a prank goes very, very wrong.

Lussier’s car-friendly film is about rage on the road, the raging revenge of a grandfather named Milton (Nicolas Cage) determined to save his daughter from a satanic cult, and people going through life with rage and intolerance for others (if not humanity as a whole) – making Wandmacher’s blend of heavy bluegrass and rock letter-perfect.


Damn you, Jonah!


Mark R. Hasan: Drive Angry is your third 3D film, and you’re probably one of the few composers to have scored so many in the format, if not in such rapid succession.


Michael Wandmacher: It’s true… and if [director Patrick Lussier] keeps going the way he’s going, that’ll probably be a trend that continues.



MRH: Was Drive Angry a project that Patrick had already lined up after making My Bloody Valentine, or was it something that was on his mind and had yet to be written?


MW: As far as I know, the story (and I’m paraphrasing this, and culling it from Todd Farmer, the co-writer) was Lionsgate had turned down the idea of doing a sequel to My Bloody Valentine, and so Patrick and Todd weren’t really sure what was next after that.

It was just odd to them that with a film as successful as My Bloody Valentine, [Lionsgate] wouldn’t want to do a sequel, so they just decided they were going to sit down and write a script, and do a spec and see what happened… Millennium Films decided they wanted to make it. Nicolas Cage loved the script, got attached, and off they went. It was just a straightforward turn of events.


MRH: And did Lussier ask you to score the film with some advance ideas, or were you brought onto the project when they started filming?


MW: I was brought on right away. Patrick usually likes to assemble his team pre- and post-principle photography as early as he can, and if I’m available and he wants to work with me, he’ll try to get me signed on before they even start shooting… In this case there were pre-records involved, so I had to do some arrangements before shooting even started.

There’s a bar scene in the film where I had to take the song “Sandman” by the band America and re-arrange it as a bluegrass song that was being played in the bar. It’s actually very appropriate to the film, but it was something where the band was actually performing the song during the scene, and there are actually quite a few cutaways to the singer and the performers.


MRH: Was the bluegrass song something you suggested or did it came out of your discussions with Patrick?


MW: It was originally Patrick’s idea to do a bluegrass style version of something. We went through a bunch of songs. We were trying to find things that were appropriate to the script, appropriate to the characters, and also trying to find songs that were available and that we could afford. Once we had read the lyrics and found out [“Sandman”] was available, that seemed the most appropriate.

He just wanted it to be more upbeat, so we changed the tempo quite a bit; it’s a very traditional bluegrass ensemble, and we inserted the lyrics and made it work.

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