The films that never were and the movie soundtracks that could have been… 

The films that never were and the movie soundtracks that could have been… 

Everybody loves a classic ‘70s/‘80s horror thriller flick and often the low-budget soundtracks that went with such movies took on a notoriety of their own. Try to imagine “Halloween” without Carpenter and Howarth’s dark, pulsating synth soundscape or Romero’s “Day of the Dead” bereft of John Harrison, his trusty Prophet 5 and that Caribbean-flavoured cavalcade of bleak and beautiful music cues…  Kish Kollektiv takes you back to those golden days of synth-driven and guitar-led sonic backdrops and eerie “sound design” style pieces. The music will take your imagination on a journey; it’s a movie for the mind and the ears, keeping you on the edge of your seat about what might happen…NEXT!!! Kish Kollektiv orchestrates a musical thriller with “counterfeit” soundtrack scores where the movie can only be seen with your mind’s eye…

Dwellers 1

Take a listen to the score here –


Born of Italo-Celtic stock into a slowly rusting northern England in the throes of Thatcher-era de-industrialisation, the young Michele Sarto (“Mike” to those closest to him; other people just can’t pronounce the name properly) was bitten by the horror bug early. After having been “encouraged” to sit through an uncut version of Lucio Fulci’s surreal schlock masterpiece “City of the Living Dead” at the age of 6 by mischievous elder cousins, a lifelong fascination with the darker side of fiction was born. Equally haunted and excited by aftermath images of reanimated corpses, horrific “skull-crush” kills and a young woman literally vomiting out her innards, another element of that particular production was to make an indelible impression on the young Sarto; the maestro Fabio Frizzi’s masterful synthesizer-driven score.


Through the intervening decades, this enchantment with the prog rock horror scores of his distant Italian brethren never left him, perhaps the largest component of a much greater love of film and TV soundtracks in general. Always a frustrated soundtrack composer at heart, Sarto’s imagination was captured by Roger Manning (of the short-lived but legendary Jellyfish) and Brian Reitzell’s (formerly of Red Kross) project, “Logan’s Sanctuary”. This was a soundtrack score for a sequel to “Logan’s Run”…but no such film existed. It was entirely imaginary. Sarto had skirted close to such an idea as a teenage composer messing about with a Fender Strat in his bedroom, multi-tracking his own works on an ancient Pioneer cassette deck…but he simply could not conceive of a market for “film music without a film”.


Bitten by the bug anew in 2015, Sarto’s creativity was fired up by a spate of stories in the UK media about the mysterious black-eyed kids, pint-sized (apparently) demonic entities in hoodie tops imploring innocent suburbanites to allow them access to their homes…and possibly killing them when they did. By this point, technological advances and economies of scale had led to the rise of home-based “DIY” musicians crafting their work in garages and spare rooms before releasing it directly via the World Wide Web, often to small but dedicated fan bases.   Adopting the “Kish Kollektiv” moniker (an “ironic” collective of one, taking its name from a biblical city mostly for reasons of alliteration) for his new enterprise, armed with his trusty old Strat and other second-hand equipment and instruments, Sarto scored a horror film about the so-called “BEKs”, becoming simultaneously the screenwriter and director of a movie that existed only in his imagination.


“Children of the Cambion” was finally realised and released in 2018 to a certain degree of appreciation but very little in the way of sales. 


Undeterred, Sarto began his next project with considerable vigour, another imagined soundtrack born out of a simple “what if”; if the late Karl Edward Wagner’s infamous short story “Sticks” had been loosely adapted into a UK horror film (in the style of late period Hammer and Amicus) in the early 1980s, what might its low budget synth score have sounded like?

This was the “parallel universe” conceit: “Produced for UK television in 1982 by ATV,  the undeservedly obscure “Dwellers in the Earth” is a loose adaptation of the late Karl Edward Wagner’s short story “Sticks” (itself an inspiration for “The Blair Witch Project”). The film – thought lost for many years until a somewhat degraded can of film reel turned up in a private collection in Hong Kong in 2009 – has been routinely described as one of the scariest made-for-television horror movies of all time. It was directed by the late Freddie Francis and starred Robert Powell and Jenny Agutter with Michael Ironside, Ian McCullough and Linda Hayden in supporting roles.

With the kind permission of the composer’s widow, Nadezhda Mastandrea, Kish Kollektiv has painstakingly recreated Staszek Korolenko’s long lost soundtrack score for the mysterious film. The UK-based Kollektiv gratefully acknowledges Mr. Korolenko’s huge influence on its own work. The Anglo-Belarusian composer died at the age of only 43, while the master recordings of many of his scores were later destroyed when the cellar of his family home flooded in 1989.”


“Dwellers in the Earth” is available on Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon and a variety of other platforms from Monday June 24th.


Check him out on Social Media


For a musical excursion that will stay with you  Kish Kollektiv is something that should be on your list~

For all enquiries please contact Al Geiner PR

Sarto 3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s