Beneath the Darkness, a film by Martin Guigui is a tense psychological thriller that pulls back the curtain on the terrifying secrets that emerge when a teenage prank turns deadly in small-town Texas. Two-time Golden Globe nominee Dennis Quaid (Vantage Point, The Day After Tomorrow) stars as Vaughn Ely, the town mortician whose eccentric façade masks a psychopathic agenda.
Guigui, who has maintained a prolific dual career as both a filmmaker and a keyboardist-songwriter, assembled the soundtrack as well as the film itself. It’s a gritty, bluesy set of 12 songs from and/or inspired by the film, with an array of high-profile artists that includes Bret Michaels, Gregg Allman, Ellis Hall, Edgar Winter, Moreland & Arbuckle and several others.
“My mantra from both the movie and the soundtrack was ‘realism,’” says Guigui, co-founder and president of Sunset Pictures. “I wanted people to be entertained, but I also wanted them to come away feeling like this was something that could actually happen. I wanted people to know that this was from the heart. There’s heart and soul in this movie, and there’s heart and soul in this music as well.”
In addition to his work as a filmmaker and composer, Guigui is also co-founder of the First Time Film Festival and a vigorous supporter of numerous music-related charities, including Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, Ear Candy and Rock for Diabetes. He is also a founding member of the Unity Foundation, for which he regularly performs charity concerts throughout the world.
“Love Sucks,” the churning opener by Bret Michaels (Poison), is the appropriate leadoff track to the Beneath the Darkness soundtrack, seeing as it was the catalyst for the vibe that took shape around the remaining songs in the sequence as the movie was coming together, according to Guigui. Once he had locked onto “Love Sucks” as a good fit for the film, others quickly fell into place, including the anguished “Blind Man” by Gregg Allman, and the swampy “Electric Cigarette” by the Aerolites – the latter band being a supergroup that includes members of the Allman Brothers, Phish and John Mellencamp’s band.
Other noteworthy entries include Edgar Winter’s ominous “Eye on You” and Moreland & Arbuckle’s slow burner, “Shadow Never Changes.” Quaid’s band, DQ and the Sharks, make two contributions – the honky-tonk “Good Man, Bad Boy” and the cautionary “Harm’s Way” and Guigui himself steps into the mix with the shimmering “Just Make Love To Me.”
The soundtrack ends on a poignant note with “Bruce’s Theme,” a nod to the late Bruce Wilkinson, who wrote the screenplay to Beneath the Darkness nearly a decade ago but passed away in mid-2011 at age 61. “Bruce saw a rough cut in April, but he never saw the finished film,” says Guigui. “But he hummed a melody to me over the phone. It was 22 notes in all. It’s the last 22 notes with an orchestral arrangement by Ched Tolliver that you hear at the very end of the credits. It’s also the last minute and 22 seconds of the soundtrack. This movie was a dream of Bruce’s since he was nine years old. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason as to how things get done in Hollywood, but this movie and this soundtrack were meant to be.”
“Love Sucks” (Bret Michaels)
“Blind Man” (Gregg Allman)
“Good Man, Bad Boy” (DQ and the Sharks)
“Things That Move Me” (Gabe Dixon)
“Just Make Love To Me” (Martin Guigui)
“Eye On You” (Edgar Winter)
“My Mistake” (The Kingbees)
“Electric Cigarette” (The Aerolites)
“Shadow Never Changes” Moreland & Arbuckle
“Harm’s Way” DQ and the Sharks
“Love Sick” (Ellis Hall)
“Bruce’s Theme” (Ched Tolliver)
Beneath the Darkness is directed by Martin Guigui (Swing), from a screenplay by Bruce Wilkinson. The film is produced by Ronnie Clemmer and executive produced by Scott Mednick and Bruce Wilkinson, and stars Dennis Quaid, Aimee Teegarden (“Friday Night Lights”), Tony Oller, Stephen Lunsford, Devon Werkheiser, Brett Cullen, Amber Bartlett and Dahlia Waingort. www.BeneathTheDarknessMovie.com
The running time is 98 minutes. The film is Rated R for “some violence and language.”