By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
If you ever see a high school chemistry teacher kidnapped by a burly, drug-crazed sociopath and a conflicted seductress, and then you recognize the haunting guitars and echoing keyboards that complement the action, don't panic. You're not flipping out, though watching the movie Good Chemistry wouldn't be considered "normal" behavior, either.
Denton musician Jason Reimer, the creative force behind Denton experimental rock band History at Our Disposal and an occasional player for the Baptist Generals, recently completed the score to Chemistry, a dark independent film described by its director as a "twisted love story" now in post-production by Epinephrine Filmworks.
The collaboration with director Kris Hardy and screenwriter/actor Lance Davis came easily, Reimer says. They had previously worked together on the eight-minute short Jack Eliot, which screened at a few film festivals. For Chemistry, the three discussed movies with soundtracks they liked, such as 21 Grams, and the work of past and contemporary masters like Ennio Morricone, Sergio Leone and Angelo Badalamenti. Hardy wanted something "ambient and minimal," Reimer says, so he started every track behind the drum kit, the best way for him to act as the conductor of a one-man, multitracked orchestra.
"We had a lot of conversations about the rhythm of the movie, and I wanted one instrument to arc through the whole thing," he says. During the opening credits, the melancholy tone of the theme is in contrast to the beautiful Ozarks scenery, hinting that something isn't quite right. Reimer says he enjoyed the chance to write darker music than the '60s-aping pop he wrote for Tribeca Film Festival hit Jesus Henry Christ, a 2003 Student Academy Awards silver medal-winning, Wes Anderson-inspired comedy short directed by Dennis Lee.
"If it's a dark movie, I get a little more fun out of it," Reimer says. "It's like playing the bad guy. By far, the hardest parts to write music for are the love scenes."
Hardy says that he and Lance Davis, his Epinephrine partner, are very pleased with the results, and that Reimer nailed the organic sound he wanted and did so much more efficiently than a four- or five-person band would have.
"It's a little rock 'n' roll, a little bit atmospheric and eerie with some cool, small rock 'n' roll moments," Hardy says.
Of the hour and 45 minutes Reimer wrote, nearly an hour of music will be used in the film. Hardy also followed Reimer's suggestions of pop songs by local bands Bridges and Blinking Lights and John Wesley Coleman to fill out the film.
Hardy, who is also a partner in Tactics Productions, the company behind the camera for numerous local music videos, is now shopping the movie to distributors with Davis. The film project and other obligations forced Reimer to put History at Our Disposal on hiatus for most of last year, but with the soundtrack finalized he is planning multimedia shows to support the band's recently mastered fourth release, Symbols in the Architecture.