‘The Strangers’ Meets Joanna Newsom

The StrangersMy Mom, a classically trained alto, isn’t certain what would scare her more: being stalked by a trio of sadistic, masked killers or having to listen to Joanna Newsom. I get that. Newsom isn’t everyone’s cup of freak folk tea. While she has her share of frothing acolytes at her heels, to some, she sends shivers down the spine. My Mom is one of the latter. Worse, she says, would be to have that same trio of masked killers sneak into her house and play a Joanna Newsom record.

Now that’s creepy. Or at least Bryan Bertino thinks so.

Proving the old, tired adage, that the way to the director’s chair is to start as a grip, Bryan Bertino’s directorial debut, The Strangers, hit theaters next month. Bertino also wrote the script, which is about Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler and how they love each other very much. Oh, and there are three masked weirdos intent on busting up the love affair. I caught the trailer the other day. It’s a reasonably creepy affair, and impossible to judge, but its sweetest moment comes just after the minute mark. Tyler and Speedman are in one room of their remote cabin, fretting about stalkers and strange noises and income tax when in the other room, someone sets the needle down on Joanna Newsom’s “The Sprout & The Bean.”


First of all, we applaud the hip couple. Nice going. Joanna Newsom on vinyl. Then things get hairy. Axes come through doors, there’s screaming, there’s blood. Someone bumps the record player. The track gets stuck in a groove, the record skips. As the action gets more intense, the record skips faster and faster until…

The Strangers. Coming soon.

While the whole thing seems calculated, and the effect itself doesn’t make any sense (why would the record skip faster?) I love it anyway. I’m always interested in the creative use of music in film, and if it takes a contrivance to show me something creative, I’ll go along. I dunno if it’s enough to make me see the movie, but… but I… but…

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I’ll see it.

The Strangers

Interesting side note: the tune in the trailer is “The Sprout & The Bean” until it starts skipping, at which point it’s clearly no longer Joanna Newsom. I wonder if that was part of the rights deal? They could use then Newsom song, but they couldn’t distort it?

There are things for me to learn about Music Supervision…

About the author: will

6 comments to “‘The Strangers’ Meets Joanna Newsom”

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  1. Emily - May 12, 2008 at 6:57 pm Reply

    the song is called “Quicksilver” by Gillian Welch

  2. paul - May 15, 2008 at 2:21 pm Reply

    The title of the Gillian Welch song is “My First Lover.” It does, however, contain the lyric “quicksilver girl.”

  3. Will - May 15, 2008 at 10:25 pm Reply

    Thank you, both Emily AND Paul. I didn’t recognize the Gillian Welch tune, and Paul’s right. It’s off the album Time. Future post in store?

  4. guto sabia sha - May 16, 2008 at 7:07 pm Reply

    WIERD CRAP MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. ali - May 30, 2008 at 11:32 am Reply

    everyone is right. the first song is “the sprout and the bean” by Joanna Newsom. then the needle skips to “my first lover” by gillian welch. I can’t wait to see it!!!

  6. Will - May 30, 2008 at 11:46 am Reply

    I had to confirm the Gillian Welch thing against my own copy. Nice catch, all. I hadn’t caught that on first listen. I wonder why they chose to drop both tracks into the trailer. Very interesting…

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