Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire – Dario Marianelli

When people think about the music for the 80’s movie Ghostbusters, the first thing that probably comes to their minds is the famous song by Ray Parker Jr. There is perhaps also a large group of people, including me, who think about the iconic theme by Elmer Bernstein. After a hiatus of a couple of decades, a new sequel, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, came out with music by Rob Simonsen, who wrote a fantastic score in which he not only used Bernstein’s theme perfectly, but the whole score had a clear Bernstein feel to it. For the most recent film, Ghostbuster: Frozen Empire, continuing the story, Dario Marianelli was given the job of taking on Bernstein’s legacy.

You can hear the Bernstein influences right at the beginning of the album, with the spooky theremin sounds in “Manhattan Adventurers Society,” and there are recognizable nods to the theme present throughout the score, with “Firehouse” and “Chess in the Park” as excellent examples. That last track is also a great example of a new theme Marianelli introduced for this film: a lovely melody on harp, piano and other instruments that represent the relationship between Ghostbuster Phoebe and the ghost Melody. The evil antagonist, Garraka, also gets his own original music. His theme is only a couple of notes and appears in several places. The theme’s melody sounds ominous and dark in “Dr. Wartzki,” performed by female vocalists, and is more bold and haunting performed by the orchestra in “The Horns.”

When I was watching the film in the theater, I was kind of disappointed. I was smiling each time I heard the iconic theme, but I thought the music was straying away from being a traditional Ghostbusters score. That changed when I analyzed the score back home. Marianelli’s music started to click when I realized what he had done with the music. While it looked like Marianelli used less of Bernstein’s music, it was, in fact, the opposite. Almost every track contains a part of Bernstein’s DNA, with a part of the theme merged into excellent music to support a scene. I am afraid that Marianelli’s music is a bit too sophisticated to be picked up by the general audience, since it does not stand out when watching the film. It is a bit of a shame, because Marianelli did a stellar job mixing his creative mind with Bernstein’s legacy, which is worthy for the next generation of Ghostbusters.

Listen or buy


The highlights are in bold.

  1. Manhattan Adventurers Society (1:55)
  2. The Sewer Dragon (4:08)
  3. Firehouse (0:58)
  4. Ray’s Occult (1:52)
  5. A Ghost in the Attic (1:22)
  6. Chess in the Park (2:27)
  7. When the Light is Green… (1:18)
  8. Paranormal Research Center (3:08)
  9. A Call (0:40)
  10. The Orb (1:52)
  11. A Tour of the Firehouse (3:06)
  12. Slimer (1:13)
  13. Dadi’s Secret Room (1:32)
  14. Should We Investigate? (1:45)
  15. Dr. Wartzki (3:52)
  16. Patience (3:04)
  17. Golden Years (1:10)
  18. It’s Your Turn (1:45)
  19. Ionic Separator (3:57)
  20. Now He Can Control You (1:11)
  21. The Horns (1:44)
  22. Back to Headquarters (1:05)
  23. New Proton Packs (2:20)
  24. Possessor’s Mistake (2:02)
  25. Was Any of it Real? (2:17)
  26. Last Frozen Stand (4:11)
  27. The Thawing (1:51)
  28. In the Fabric of the Universe (3:21)

Total length: 1 hour and 1 minutes
Sony Classical (2024)


  • Anton Smit

    Anton is the editor-in-chief and founder of Soundtrack World. After writing about film music occasionally, he thought it was time to create his own site to celebrate music from film but also other media. Next to working on this website, Anton is a member of the International Film Music Critics Association, has a job in IT and plays the tuba in a local orchestra.

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