Sean Spillane, the brains behind the soundtrack to Lucky McKee’s The Woman

Everything happens as it should. There’s a reason for everything. There’s definitely a reason that USC (The University of Southern California) exists, and I’d be so bold as to say it was to bring the talents of Lucky McKee and Sean Spillane together. Lucky McKee is known for his talent behind the camera, as director of May, The Woods and most recently The Woman. Sean Spillane may not be as known at the moment, but his unadulterated talent showcased through the soundtrack to The Woman, makes it clear he should be.

Their initial meetings were as casual as any, both playing in bands while attending USC. They became friends and continued to play in the same scene. A few years later and they would both be off on their own paths away from school. A mutual friend suggested that Sean go see Lucky’s first film, May at its premiere, and Sean found himself impressed by his former schoolmate. As friends often do, they drifted apart but were brought back together a few years back by the charms of Facebook. Some time later Lucky contacted him specifically to see if he was still making music. Spillane had been making music on and off since leaving USC, most notably with a band called Arlo (SubPop), but was in a period of stepping back from music after having some brushes with major labels. He had some songs that had been sitting around that he thought were worthy of a listen so he sent them along and Lucky was blown away by what he heard. The songs titled “Distracted,” “JHP,” and “Patient Satellite” would go on to be the musical foundation that The Woman was built on. While Lucky was writing the shooting script of The Woman he found himself listening to those three songs on repeat, finding a way to mold key scenes around them. A couple of months later he asked Spillane if he would be interested in scoring the film, “’Not a horror score‘McKee said, ‘Just songs.’”

Soon enough Sean Spillane found himself driving cross country with his gear, ready to walk onto set and get down to work on creating the score for The Woman. Typical creative worries about whether or not he would succumb to writers block or whether Lucky would even like what he wrote quickly faded away. “Being on set, seeing the crew, being around all of them and absorbing the atmosphere of the town, it just made me write like crazy and gave me so much inspiration.” The first song he wrote while on set was “Time To Die” and it received an immediate resounding, “Yes! Keep going!” from Lucky. At the end of shooting each day Spillane would deliver what he had been working on and continued to get positive reinforcement from Lucky, a smooth and seamless collaboration to craft the sound of The Woman.

The score of the film melds effortlessly with the film itself. They’re complimentary to one another in such full effect that they are one in the same. You can’t imagine the film without that specific music and it’s hard to not think of the film when you hear the music even out of context. While the argument could be made that this is the very essence of film scores, there’s something quite striking about this one. Could it be the decision to have the music being created while in the presence of the film? There wasn’t some composer sitting at his piano trying to find inspiration, he was there taking in the vibe of the film, not just reading a description in a script. For me personally, the soundtrack to The Woman was absolutely my favorite album of 2011. I-Tunes tells me I have listened to “Distracted” and “Patient Satellite” well over 100 times…each. I may be slightly biased about my love for the film The Woman being a huge nerd for the films of Lucky McKee. But to be fair, it’s a fine and brutal film, and even if I had never heard of Lucky McKee before I saw it I would love it the same. As for the soundtrack so expertly created by Sean Spillane while it could be a standalone album part of its beauty is in its singularity with the film itself.

Take a listen:

Lucky for you (no pun intended) you can grab a digital download right now via Amazon but it gets better, on March 6th you can own the vinyl which includes the digital download code:

Last but certainly not least, The Woman drops stateside on DVD and Blu Ray on January 24th.

If you’d like some background on The Woman check out my list of 4 Films That Defined Horror For Me in 2011

About Kristy

Executive Director of Service & Sass for Fright Rags. Occasional writer for HorrorHound Magazine. Drinks juiceboxes, wears headbands. The Person You Benefit From Knowing
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  • Amy Bates

    Do you know how it is when you “hear” a song, and it immediately provokes a genuine reaction? The song “Distracted” really struck an inner chord, and I identified with the music. Pure tones – – clear music – – passionate words! I like the other songs, too – – the whole soundtrack is genius. I hope to hear more from this artist!

  • Joe neely

    Patient Satelite was the kicker for me. Great movie great soundtrack!!

  • John Adams

    This was an above average movie, it was refreshing to see a good horror movie. The soundtrack was fucking terrible and almost ruined the scenes. Simply terrible, monotonous, bland mash potatoes crap. And that is putting it lightly, though some were worse than others we almost turned the volume down but we got some serious laughs when we put the CC on and read the accompanying abysmally bad lyrics. Good movie otherwise

  • alison

    I am a massive fan of this movie and the amazing soundtrack! I can’t believe anyone saying otherwise! I didn’t realize Lucky wrote some of the scenes around the music but that completely makes sense to me after having watched it numerous times. I just watched The Battery recently and I feel the same way about that movie and soundtrack. The blending of the two is what makes a film really memorable for me. Thanks for such an awesome article :)