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'Batman: The Killing Joke' Composers Went Mad to Get Joker's Sound

To say all eyes are on Batman: The Killing Joke is an understatement. The animated version of Alan Moore’s comic that explores the origins of Batman’s arch-nemesis the Joker, amid a hostage plot, is one of the most-anticipated animated movies ever from comic book powerhouse DC. Its R-rating from the MPAA has only heightened anticipation ahead of its debut at San Diego Comic- Con this weekend.

Directed by DC veteran Sam Liu, The Killing Joke follows one night when the Joker — voiced by Star Wars alum and famed Joker actor Mark Hamill — lures Batman (Kevin Conroy) into a trap to prove that all it takes to become Joker-level mad is one bad night. The movie is set to be one of the biggest theatrical releases for Fathom when it opens July 25.

A faithful adaptation of Moore’s influential book, the film sports an expectedly creepy score from composers Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, and Michael McCuistion, of the Emmy-winning Dynamic Music Partners (DMP). Citing varied influences like Johann Strauss and Nine Inch Nails, DMP tells Inverse its stylistic cues for The Killing Joke were diverse, exploring jazz noir, Bernard Herrman … and their own worst experiences. To get in the head of Gotham’s clown prince of crime, DMP found itself looking at its members own inner demons.

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