His ghoulish look, atmospheric sound and theatrical presentation have always had as much to do with horror films as with Alice Cooper, and after appearances on the "Strangeland" and "Blair Witch 2" soundtracks, Marilyn Manson's music is again headed for the big screen.
He recently contributed an insidious version of "Tainted Love" to the "Not Another Teen Movie" soundtrack (see "Marilyn Manson Cover 'Tainted Love,' Record Live DVD"), and he's currently exorcising other screen demons literally. While he's working on material for his next album, which he hopes will be released next spring, he's putting together the opening theme, incidental score music and possibly a new single for "Resident Evil," a science-fiction zombie movie based on the splattery video game of the same name.
Manson was approached for the project earlier this year by director Paul Anderson ("Event Horizon," "Mortal Kombat") and was asked to work with composer Marco Beltrami ("Scream," "The Crow: Salvation") to create a contemporary and creative score.
"There's a lot of incidental items that I'm contributing to things that Marco does to help it be more cohesive," Manson said Tuesday before shuffling off to record a voiceover for an upcoming MTV animation series. "There will probably be about 10 bits of music, and most importantly the opening theme, which will carry itself through the whole movie."
For fans of traditional film scores, the music is a departure from the norm, but it may also be a shock to the systems of Manson's minions.
"It's the opposite of what people would expect from me," he said. "It's very classical in its composition, but very unclassical in its sound texture. I've tried to take the traditional method of film score and just use more interesting instrumentation. So it has an electronic feel to it while combining strings and traditional instruments as well."
Manson isn't working on "Resident Evil" with his longtime bandmates, bassist Twiggy Ramirez, guitarist John 5 and drummer Ginger Fish. Instead he's melding minds with Tim Skold (KMFDM, Skold), whom he originally recruited for the cover of "Tainted Love."
"That was our first project together, and it went so well that we just continued working," Manson said. "He's also helping out on the new Manson record. He's co-producing it at this point, and from what we've accomplished so far it's a great collaboration."
Although he wasn't nearly as involved in "Not Another Teen Movie" as he is with "Resident Evil," Manson was grateful to have the chance to rework Soft Cell's new wave hit "Tainted Love," itself a cover of a '60s track by Gloria Jones.
"They were looking for a track to fit into their film in a very conventional rock and roll soundtrack kind of way," Manson said. "They wanted to use 'Sweet Dreams' in particular, and I felt it had been used too many times in movies, so I wanted to record something else. And 'Tainted Love,' much like 'Sweet Dreams,' always had a different connotation in my mind. I wanted to focus on the 'tainted' part of the song and make it into something that was more dirty."
At the moment, Manson is plenty busy with "Resident Evil" and his next record. But he has already received offers to score other films that he won't name but hopes to get involved with.
"Scoring is something that comes very naturally for me," he said. "Whenever I'm making a record I always have so many visuals in my head, so it's great to be able to have an actual image in front of you and make music that goes with it. It's also nice for me not to worry about making music into a song that has a chorus and singing on it myself and just being able to sit down at a keyboard and compose things that create a mood or help things become as scary or sad or tense as it needs to be. It's a very powerful thing."