Soundtracking is a regular column that appears on looking at the music featured in the biggest new releases both in theatre and on home video. Shane McNeil looks at the music for Adam Wingard’s latest film: THE GUEST.

Originally published on – October 6, 2014.

What would you put on a mixtape for a homicidal maniac?

Veteran horror director Adam Wingard and writing partner Simon Barrett (You’re Next) provides some potential answers with his latest offering, The Guest, which hits Toronto theatres next Friday.

The film, which had its Canadian debut at the Toronto International Film Festival boasts a soundtrack based largely on the tastes of its female lead, Anna (Maika Monroe). Riding home with “the guest”, himself (Dan Stevens as the title character) Anna’s musical selections catch his ear.

“I really like this song,” he says.

“Really? … I’ll make you a mixed CD.”

The rest of the soundtrack, we can then assume, stems from Anna’s musical collection. The film’s musical backdrop is a gathering of modern electro and 1980s British post-punk that sets the eerie tone for the film’s unravelling narrative.

Wingard, of course, is no stranger to planting ear-worms into his films.

You’re Next opens with a track through a crime scene under a cranked stereo. But instead of going for a massive hit or a trendy buzz band, Wingard reached through the AM vaults for the Dwight Tilley Band’s “Looking for the Magic.”

While that selection may have been more at home on The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, The Guest’s compilation takes its cues from a rediscovery of the darker side of 1980s Britain.

Following in the footsteps of films like The World’s End  – which similarly showcased The Sisters of Mercy  – and fellow TIFF selections This is Where I Leave You and While We’re Young (both of which featured The Psychedelic Furs), The Guest finds its strength in post-punk.

Another addition to the brooding tone of the film is the use of a trio of tracks by Dutch band Clan of Xymox. While their early outputs did not yield many major hits, they serve as a solid bridge in tone and style between the likes of the Sisters of Mercy and Annie.

But the centrepiece (and leadoff track to the album) this time around is the eight-minute “Haunted While the Minutes Drag” from Love and Rockets’ debut album “Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven”.