The Hateful Eight marks a few interesting firsts for filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, but possibly the biggest is the fact that he’s using an original score for the first time in his career. Indeed, Tarantino made a mark in the early 90s by eschewing original soundtracks in favor of choosing his own perfectly timed needle drops and bits and pieces of existing scores for his films. That trend continued over the course of his career until his new Western The Hateful Eight, for which Tarantino turned to previous collaborator Ennio Morricone to craft an original score. The result is, unexpectedly, something really special, and now the full opening song, titled “L’Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock”, has been released online.
While an embargo prevents me from getting into my thoughts on The Hateful Eight, I think this song speaks for itself. It is indeed from the opening of the film, and Morricone’s score is equal parts suspenseful, foreboding, and playful. It’s a tremendous piece of work, and it’s exciting to see exactly what an original score for a Quentin Tarantino movie sounds like—although Morricone also uses portions of his unused orchestration of his score for The Thing, which could very well make this spectacular piece of work ineligible for Best Original Score consideration at the Oscars.
Regardless of awards consideration, Morricone’s original work here is a thing to behold. Take a listen to the opening track below. The Hateful Eight opens exclusively in 70mm on Christmas Day, followed by a wide expansion on January 1st.
Here’s the official synopsis for The Hateful Eight:
In THE HATEFUL EIGHT, set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in these parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob (Demian Bichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all…