Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Nathan Platte


The 1961 Hammer horror film, The Curse of the Werewolf, paired innovative make-up and set design with the avant-garde music of Benjamin Frankel (1906-1973). Frankel’s concert works had by this time embraced serialism, but The Curse of the Werewolf was his sole attempt at composing an almost entirely serial film score. This music more fully bridged the divide between the continental modernist practices found in his concert works with more conventional film music techniques. Thus, The Curse of the Werewolf’s score represents a crucial point in Frankel’s broader creative development as a composer who increasingly embraced twelve-tone methods in his concert works.

Drawing from historical surveys, analytical scholarship, journal articles, and Frankel’s own writings, this thesis provides historical context surrounding Frankel’s life and involvement with the film. Most importantly, this study examines Frankel’s implementation of serialism in The Curse of the Werewolf’s score and its relation to the film’s visual and narrative components. I examine three pivotal scenes through traditional film music analysis combined with twelve-tone analysis. These analyses show how Frankel pairs motives with onscreen characters and situations while still embracing serial methods. This study sheds light on serialism’s application in film through the work of an overlooked British composer.


Film Music, Film Score, Frankel, Serial, Twelve-Tone, Werewolf


ix, 101 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 97-101).


Copyright © 2017 Gregory Scott Newbold

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