Asylum’s Music Master- Chris Ridenhour

By Osvaldo Neto

1 – How do you fell in love with music and how it became part of your life?

The original Star Trek tv series. The music was so over the top and fun. It had a huge impact on me as a kid that still resonates with me today. Then of course Star Wars and pretty much anything John Williams did at that time.

After that I got heavily into classical music inspired from movies like Amadeus. Then a huge rock/metal phase. Now I?m going through a big Joy Division trip. I love going through musical phases, that?s how you learn.

02 – When you were younger, do you already thought about composing soundtracks?
The first time it occurred to me was when hearing Danny Elfman’s score for Beetle Juice in the theaters. The music was so inventive and fun, I was like ‘who is this Danny Elfman guy?’ It was a real revelation ? he had me totally hooked with that amazing overture. I’m sure a lot of people had the same experience with his films at that time. When I learned Danny was a just self taught guy who was in a band, it made the possibility of making a career in this business more realistic for me at the time. I thought: ‘I can do this!’

03 – What are your greater influences and favorite soundtracks?
Edward Scissorhands, The Godfather and Empire Strikes Back would be at the top. More recently I?ve really been enjoying the stark and powerful simplicity of composers like Clint Mansell and Carter Burwell. I?m also a big Nick Cave fan. Those three guys are at the top for me at the moment.

04 – Do you always were interested on cinema? B-movies too?
Yea, particularly Japanese films growing up ? anything with huge creatures destroying stuff. Any of the Godzilla films. Sometimes I have a better time watching something made on a shoestring budget with people having fun rather than paying $60 talking my family to see some pretentious bazillion dollar blockbuster with no soul that is supposed to manipulate our emotions and then try and sell us something at the end with some advertisement. Yes, I?m a fan of the underdog, always have been.

05 – How is working with the folks from The Asylum? They release a new flick every month, so you seem to write 10 to 12 soundtracks every year.
It’s been a wonderful life changing experience. The Asylum is like a family to me and they have given me amazing opportunities that I could have only dreamed of when starting out. Yes, as with most work in this business, the hours are long, but I found I really thrive on that pressure. I think I do my best work in that environment because it forces me to reach places musically I didn?t think I was capable of.

06 – Do you are excited about millions of people seeing you doing a cameo on the upcoming “Mega Shark vs Crocossaurus”? By the way, you’re killed too (laughs) ?
Yes, it’s awesome. I?m excited because my mom and kid get a big kick out of it! Unfortunately I’m not killed but I’m always holding out hope in a future project! My friend Ashley, who works at Asylum, was recently voted the best Syfy death scene for Mega Pirhana!

07 – Your daughter Kathrine plays a part in the first family movie from The Asylum, “Princess and the Pony”. How the daddy heart is going?
It was a real treat having her be a part of it. I always wanted to score a family movie, so I put everything I had into it, 110%! Rachel Goldenberg, the director, was super awesome to work with and she suggested Kathrine be in the film so I am very thankful for that. Rachel has a very exciting and identifiable style of film making. I think she has a great career ahead of her.

08 – You are involved with alternative projects? We knew Ravenswood by the songs in “Merlin and the War of the Dragons” and “DragonQuest”, the group it’s still active?
Yes, Ravenswood is still going but is pretty much a song writing project as Sanya and I haven’t had time to put together a complete band. We have a magical creative connection. We just think alike musically – its very easy to write songs with her because everything she sings just sounds so inspired to me.
We do have an amazing video in the works. Hopefully it will be completed this year. It?s going to be pretty epic.

09 – Tell us what are the favorite scores you’ve done.
I?d say Merlin and the war of the Dragons. That was the first score I felt like I really put my heart into. I really identified with the characters and I think the director Mark Atkins did an amazing job. More recently I’d say Moby Dick. As with Merlin, I felt like I connected emotionally with the characters that made scoring it a real treat. I really thrive in those moments.

10 – What’s next for Chris Ridenhour? Talk about your upcoming projects.
At the moment I?m finishing up Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid. It has been a wonderful opportunity to work with the director Mary Lambert. She directed one of my favorite horror films of all time, Pet Cemetery. I?m always asking her questions about her work and I learned a lot from her. She is amazing.
Also coming up this year is a big dramatic feature film by my good friend Daniel Lusko called ‘The Persecuted’. He has some amazing people attached to the project and I’ll be working with a full size live orchestra for the first time, so I?m very excited!

Chris Ridenhour scores are being released by MovieScore Media: