Camp Cold Brook composer reveals the secrets to creating a terrifying score

Photo Courtesy of Camp Cold Brook
Photo Courtesy of Camp Cold Brook /
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Camp Cold Brook
Photo: Chad Rehmann.. Image Courtesy Andy Keilen – Camp Cold Brook /

Danielle Harris and Chad Michael Murray star in a terrifying new paranormal thriller called Camp Cold Brook. We chatted with the film’s composer, Chad Rehmann.

Calling all horror fans, don’t miss out on Danielle Harris‘s new film Camp Cold Brook, which follows a team of paranormal investigators as they check out an abandoned summer camp where a massacre occurred years before.

If you’re a fan of anything involving ghost stories or slasher movies, then Camp Cold Brook should certainly entice you. Along with Harris, the movie also stars Chad Michael Murray and Children of the Corn alum Courtney Gains.

We had the chance to chat with the movie’s composer, Chad Rehmann, whose previous credits include films like The Funhouse Massacre and more. He gave us a peek behind the curtain of Camp Cold Brook and it might surprise you to discover what goes into creating a suspenseful horror film score.

1428 Elm: I watched the movie yesterday and I thought it was really fun and definitely creepy!

Chad Rehmann: Awesome, that’s good to hear.

1428 Elm: One of the things I thought was interesting was the documentary angle. I know a lot of people are familiar with the stuff they do on the Travel Channel, did that affect how you composed the movie, like having to do genuine scenes along with the show-within-a-show format?

CR: Yeah, we had a lot of discussions about this because it sort of follows that found-footage style but it’s not found footage. When when I originally started scoring it, the conversation was, “do we score the scenes as being from the camera, kind of like Blair Witch?”

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And the conclusion that we came to was basically that we would prefer to not really differentiate if they’re on camera or not, but create this new world of sound. What does this camp sound like?

It switches back and forth between the camera and what they’re seeing with their own eyes so quickly, that by scoring those things differently it started to detract from the film itself. So we decided to play it a little more straight and not score it differently.

1428 Elm: What kind of instruments did you use for this score?

CR: One of the things that I tried to do was create a world at the camp that I haven’t done before. I tend to create more traditional scores but with Andy Palmer [the director] and the Petri Entertainment guys — who did the film, they gave me a lot of leeway to do what I wanted, obviously with their input.

So what I did was I recorded a lot of water sounds since water is a big part of the film. We also used static from walkie talkies, twigs snapping, basically anything you would hear at a kids’ camp — windows screeching was another big one.

I have two kids and I actually used them a lot in the film. Anytime there was an orchestral rise it’s a lot of the kids screaming in there that I heavily processed — now whether the audience notices it or not, that’s a question for debate — but there is a lot of that in there and there are some traditional orchestra moments and that’s normally in the scenes that take place outside the camp.

But once the audience is inside the camp, I tried not to use as many traditional instruments and skew toward sounds you would hear if you were in a kids’ camp.

Another thing we did is, I actually created a camp song, which is unfortunately not on the soundtrack itself, but it’s in the film. I wrote a song that we had about 15-20 kids sing for what a Camp Cold Brook song would be and that was manipulated and processed throughout the film. It’s almost the entirety of the end credits, they brought it back for that.

Petri Entertainment, they did [The Funhouse Massacre], which we did a few years ago. It was a film that took place inside a carnival and to get that creative control to create a soundscape inside of a world that doesn’t exist, is just a blast and why I love working with them.

Camp Cold Brook
Photo: Camp Cold Brook Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.. Image Courtesy Chad Rehmann /

1428 Elm: When you say “twigs snapping” or “scratching on windows,” is that something you guys created practically or was it through digital sound effects?

CR: Yep, in fact, I had huge buckets of water that we miked and we were dropping bricks in them and all that kinds of stuff, a lot of the hits, a lot of the booms, is actually water splashing but just slowed down and heavily processed.

For a lot of the lower sounds, I had a friend of mine record bugle calls that would wake kids up in the morning — traditional bugle sounds, and then, again, use those sounds, slow them down and process them. Once we get into the camp, we used a lot of slowed down bugle sounds.

It’s a fun element that, when you watch the film, you might not necessarily catch, but it definitely created a different kind of sound that hopefully, an audience hasn’t heard before.