New Interview With Harry Manfredini


Steve De Roover is back with a brand new interview with legendary composer Harry Manfredini. Read Harry’s thoughts below and don’t forget to check out and for great information on all things cinema.

1) How did you get involved in the scoring-business and of course in Friday the 13th?
I always wanted to score films from when I was very young.  There was something about it that just fascinated me I guess.  It took a long time for me to even get there.  When I was going to school in New York, the opportunity came up for me to do some film music and I was on my way.   Started with doing many short childrens films which were quite successful.   One of my directors, Gary Templeton, was connected in some way with Sean Cunningham who was doing some films, and I got to meet him, and did a couple of films for him before we hit on Friday the 13th…. And the rest is history I guess.
2) Next year Friday The 13th will celebrate its 30th anniversary. What is the enduring appeal in this film and the following franchise?
I guess it is just our enjoyment of fear and the u nknown.  The films were simple, but they worked on the level of the fan base I guess.  I think fans would go, and then bring their pals, and watch their pals get scared. I don’t think there is any kind of secret as to how it worked.  Jason is kind of like having a visit with an old friend who stops by now and then.. a crazed killer
Friend, but still an old pal. 
3) Were you aware at the time that you were working on something special?
No.  I don’t think anyone envisioned what it has become. 
4) Did the huge success of Friday the 13th opened doors for you?
Friday the 13th opened doors.  And I suppose closed some as well.  At the time it surely put me on the map, and it opened other film offers. At the same time, it stereotyped me into being a horror guy.  It was early on in my career. So as a film composer I have had to find ways to get other genres into my resume. All things being said, it opened doors, and gave me the career I wanted for so long. I am grateful.
5) You did write the famous ‘Ki Ki Ki – Ma ma ma’-sample and the iconic score for Friday The 13th. Every Friday-fan does now by now what the sample means, but it always struck me as if you were influenced by Bernard Hermann of Psycho-fame. Am I right about that and if not what are your biggest influences?
Well, first of all, it is almost impossible to write almost any film score and not be influenced by Bernard Herrmann.   His fame and musical stature goes far, far beyond Psycho. Of course I know his music and have studied numerous scores he has written. At the time of writing Friday, I was studying Jerry Goldsmiths Score to COMA, and also the music of Kristov Penderecki, both of whom influenced the score to Friday the 13th as well. The Penderecki being one of the main influences of the so called “jason sound” to which you spoke. 
6) You also did the soundtrack for the following parts except Part 8. I personally love the score for parts III and VI, because these have a different vibe then the others. Can you explain how those scores came about?
Well, I also did not do the score to VII. I think they reused some of my earlier scores in places, but I did not do the whole score.  I was doing another picture at the time of 7, and I think the same on 8. So that was one reason. I also seem to remember that these films had a Canadian content contract and so it was to their advantage to use a Canadian composer. I think Fred Mollin did the scores.  Nicely done, I might add. 
And Thanks for those nice words about III and VI.
7) You also were involved in other classic horror films like Swamp Thing, House, The Hills Have Eyes II, Slaughter High and Deep Star Six. Some of these are also from Sean S. Cunningham. What is your relation with Mister Cunningham and how is it to work with him and Mister Craven?
These are two very smart and talented people.  I think many fans would love to know that even though they are horror icons, they both have amazing senses of humor.  I blesses to know each of them…
9) Explain also your experiences of working on these classic genre films?
It is nice to have that backward perspective.  I don’t think any of these were classic genre films when I was working on them. They may have become classics, but not at the outset.  Every film has its own journey.  I think my approach is the same for all films, to find the character, and subplots, the form and textures, the shape and substance, and the intentions of the director.  If they become classics, then I guess we all did our work properly. I enjoy every film I score.   
10) Do you have affection for the horror genre? And if so, why is that?
It may or may not surprise you, but I am not huge horror fan. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good horror film. What I do like about horror films, or should I say, scoring horror films, is that it is a wide-open palette of musical possibilities.  All bets are off, and you can write and go for anything that crosses your mind, or ear. From the farthest out aleatoric music, music concrete, to just silence. Yes, silence is a big part of a score.
11) After Friday The 13th Part VIII the franchise went to New Line. You composed totally different kind of scores for Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X. Why this departure and what were the differences to work under New Line instead of Paramount?
As far as New Line vs Paramount, there was no difference at all.  The differences in the scores should be pretty obvious in that they were both pretty different films from the previous films.  
12) Why weren’t you involved on Freddy vs. Jason and the Friday The 13th reboot? What did you think of the scores of these new movies?
I don’t know the answer to this question. This is something you should ask the producers or directors of those films. I did not see or hear either of them, so I cant honestly comment on either scores.
13) You did also other well-known movies like Kickboxer III and Iron Eagle III. What is your favourite movie on which you worked and what is your favourite score?
Every film I do is a fav. I know that is a cliché, but I think it is true to some extent. Every film has its own fun for me.  Iron Eagle, had its big military march and action, House and House 2 had baby pteradactyls and worm dogs, old cowboys, a gun, a car, a blonde and ofcourse Aztecs. Let me play my sax in a film noir setting!  Many of the Lifetime films I have done give me a chance to be dramatic and tender. So you see they all have their qualities. 
14) What will the future bring for you? Can you enlighten us about some of your upcoming projects?
I have a number of films in the future. A couple of horror films,  a psychological thriller and a horror comedy. I just finished something called The Black Waters of Echos Pond. Kind of a Jumanji meets Psycho. 
Thanks for your time!
Thanks for asking me for the interview.  I hope these help

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9 Responses to “ New Interview With Harry Manfredini ”

  1. i hope he comes back to the francise, although unlike a lot of people i thought the score for the reboot was good. Was sure I’d read that there was no new score for part III, just spliced together music segments from the other two movies? I guess the interviewer was referring to the disco theme. ;-) That being said, the score for three was the best in my opinion. i loved the pt 1 ending surge music (from when jason pops out of the lake to grab Alice) being applied to Loco’s pitchfork in the gut. Part III is the best! Let’s get back to the clean cut Jason

  2. Good stuff. Ive always liked the music styling in which the early friday the thirteenth films were set. It seems like they were often imitated in other (horror) films but never duplicated. Good interview it has some good info.

  3. I have seen on youtube where people have rescored the new friday with Harry’s old score. It feels forced at times, and a little superimposed, but I see where the fan-editors were going with it, and it really would have been an improvment over the final product if they had used harrys score.

    Here are some links.

  4. Thanks for the compliment Dustin… There is more on the way…

  5. Thanks again for the interviews. It’s nice to know what the people involved in the frranchise are thinking and what they are up to now. :)

    I actually liked a lot of parts from his score of Jason Goes To Hell. The opening scene has a lot of his classic cues and sounds. I like the fast pace music he used uring the chase scenes as well. Overall, one of my favorite scores!

  6. Any chance we’ll get some of the music released on CD or downloads for the anniversary (or ever)?

  7. I haven’t heard any news on a anniversary edition release. There are a lot of issues that would probably keep that from happening with rights between the composers and studios. The music from Part 7 and Part 8, which was composed by Fred Mollin, is for sale on a seperate CD.

    Check out this Amazon listing for the Part 7 and 8.

    The Jason Goes To Hell listing

    The Jason X listing

    The Freddy vs Jason Graeme Revell score

    You might be able to find these cheaper on eBay sometimes too.

  8. It surprises me that Harry’s famous music from the series hasn’t seen more official releases. Think of just about any horror movie, and you can find a soundtrack. The only thing you can find for the first six Fridays is bootlegs (or a rare release that has music from the 1st three)!!! Maybe its all rights problems?

  9. Ross,
    Not sure if you have these already or would be interested, but if you go to Harry’s website, you can download portions of his score from the original Friday’s for no charge.

    I do agree that I think at some point they should release this music for the fans. But, as you said, it believe it’s all about the rights issue.

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