Writer/director Ryan Schifrin's debut feature film Abominable cannot be dismissed simply as a low-budget, straight-to-video monster movie for two reasons. First, it had a theatrical release -- technically. It appears to have played in one theater for one weekend in April 2006, when it grossed less than $2,000. Second, it has a surprisingly high-budget, full-scale orchestral score, played by the 90-member Czech National Symphony Orchestra
. (Outsourcing film scores to the non-unionized former Iron Curtain countries is a popular means of keeping costs down.) How can this be, when the film itself was made on the cheap? Ryan Schifrin's last name is the giveaway. He is the son of A-list Hollywood film and TV composer Lalo Schifrin
, who wrote the score and who is releasing this album on his own Aleph record label. (The disc seems to be a family affair, with Donna Schifrin
and Theresa E. Schifrin also in the credits.) Thus, Abominable
on the soundtrack and on this disc is of a different order from Abominable on the screen. Lalo Schifrin
has turned in a full-bodied horror-movie score full of tensely bowed and screaming string parts. He does not cheat the quieter moments of character development, either, with such tracks as "Preston's Memories" providing some respite from the scary stuff. Among the few film critics who had a chance to see Abominable, the most sympathetic were those who suggested it had an element of humorous self-parody. That tone, if intended onscreen, is not apparent in the music, which would support an effort much more ambitious than the first film by the composer's son.