Elisabeth Lutyens (1906-1983)
Elisabeth Lutyens composed many scores for British films and pioneered the use of ’12-note’ techniques in film music, which can result in music that sounds very different from ‘tonal’ approaches. It’s perhaps because of this that she ended up scoring many thrillers and horror films including quite a few for Hammer Films and Amicus Productions.
Among her best work are the soundtracks to the films Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960), Paranoïac (1963), The Earth Dies Screaming (1964), The Skull (1965), Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), The Psychopath (1966), The Terrornauts (1967) and Theatre of Death (1967). Her musical style is quite unique and often appropriately terrifying.
Lutyens wasn’t afraid to allow her imagination free rein, which sometimes produced very original new relationships between sound and image.
Steve Kilpatrick has written an interesting article on Lutyens’s film music.
There is an excellent biography of her life and work by Meirion & Susie Harries: A Pilgrim Soul (published by Michael Joseph, 1989).