The 1981 cult classic “The Evil Dead” is full of many things: demonically possessed trees, gore, Bruce Campbell.
The film also has Joseph LoDuca’s first film score.
“It was totally against my sensibility,” LoDuca said. “I was traumatized by films like “The Exorcist” as a young person, but I went along for the ride.”
He’s gone on one heck of a ride since. LoDuca has continued to work in the horror genre – a genre where he said you will meet some of the nicest people – including “The Evil Dead” sequels, the brief follow-up TV show “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” and “Curse of Chucky.”
But horror isn’t all he does. Over the years he’s worked in just about every genre between his work in television and film.
Action/adventure? Check. Romantic comedy? Check. Fantasy and thriller? Check those two. That variety is part of the reason he loves composing for films and TV so much.
“Every assignment hopefully has something unique and something where I’m going to make a discovery that keeps me inspired,” said LoDuca, who splits his time between Bloomfield Township and Los Angeles.
Considering he’s worked in the entertainment industry for over 30 years, it seems he’s still finding inspiration, including what he’s done on television.
He’s worked on the hit shows “Spartacus,” “Leverage,” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” That list doesn’t even include the two shows he won primetime Emmy Awards for – “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Legend of the Seeker.”
Lately, a lot of LoDuca’s work is on Netflix, like the Kathy Bates show “Disjointed,” where he wrote songs with the show’s showrunner, David Javerbaum.
He has lots of projects coming out soon as well, including the upcoming Netflix comedy series “Mr. Iglesias” and thriller “Bad Samaritan.” Last fall LoDuca – who used to be a jazz guitarist – did his first off-Broadway score, “Before We’re Gone.” Oh, and he’s gotten to travel all over the world to perform with symphony orchestras, where he’s conducted his own music.
So what keeps him going?
“I love music itself more than film, but I also love the collaboration aspect of being the person on the team that holds down the music chair and is the go-to person for all things musical,” said LoDuca, who has a studio in his Bloomfield Township home. “And also the aspect of using music to tell the story.”
When LoDuca is brought in on a project, it’s at the end, after all the actors and crew have gone home. He’s presented with a finished, or close to finished, edited product. Before he begins, he discusses some sort of plan with the producers and director. Then LoDuca said that plan is often thrown out the window, leaving the group to see what sticks to the wall and what everyone is pleased with.
When asked what it’s like to hear his finished product on the screen, LoDuca laughed.
“Well, the first and most honest reaction is, ‘Did they mix it loud enough?’ And that almost never happens. That darn dialogue, those car crashes,” he said. “But the gratification of seeing something that really works and something that can engage an audience…That’s the biggest gratification of it.”
There is something that’s surprisingly even more thrilling for a composer like LoDuca.
“When you get in front of an orchestra and you get to hear something you sweated over, and lost sleep over just the night before, getting played by a large ensemble – It doesn’t get any better than that because every moment of the process after that, the music will be tucked away.”
Dang dialogue and car crashes.
Photo: Laurie Tennent